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Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting with about ten residents in attendance. Fiscal officer Mr. Finney presented bills and wages to the trustees; after reviewing them they approved the affidavits. The trustees noted that the windows at the community house were installed and the doors should be in by the end of March.
Mr. Turos gave an overview of the state township meetings that the trustees attended. Items they discussed were cyber liability, snow removal liability, roads, and bridge liability. Mr. Turos also stated that he had the opportunity to share with other townships the legal situation Nelson is in with U.S Liquids. He said he found many were interested in the situation because they were also approached by a “green” company that was interested in establishing a product recycling center in their township.
Trustee Wilson stated that they had received an offer to have the gas well swabbed out this week and this would be cheaper than previously thought. Before the well could be swabbed, they need to prove who is the owner of the wells and pump. Once that is determined, the wells will be swabbed and they will be able to start using the fuel from them in the maintenance building. For the last few months they had been heating the building with portable units.
Trustee Leonard stated that he is still investigating the fuel tank situation and it appears they can do most of the work themselves saving the township money.  New EPA mandates are the reason Nelson has to replace their current tanks with double-walled tanks. Trustee Leonard also stated that the Block Watch Program conducted by Sheriff Doak was attended by 30 residents. The program lasted an hour and everyone seemed interested in seeing this instituted.
Leonard also reported that the web site was up and running. After some investigating and checking with the prosecutor, it was recommended that they not do a blog on the website.
Fiscal officer Finney reported that the general fund of the budget was very tight and he wasn’t sure where else he could cut. This brought up a discussion on the rising insurance cost for township employees and elected officials. Mr. Turos stated that “The insurance cost are a cancer that is eating away our funds”. He also stated that, “It is the trustees responsibility to take care of the roads and cemeteries and the funds are just being eaten up by insurance costs and it has to stop.” The trustees agreed they would have to do something with the insurance costs and would look into it in the near future. Finney stated that the other designated funds were good it was just the general fund that was running very lean.
Mr. Leonard re-introduced Boy Scout Josh Gula from Mantua who is a member of the Nelson troop. Mr. Gula brought drawings for the trustees to check out for the two signs he will build for the township. The signs are Gula’s Eagle Scout project. One will be located at the new baseball field at Pixley Park and the other at the Community House.
The trustees decided to move the township meeting to the Community House until May, that way there will be no confusion over the meeting place while they solve the heat dilemma at the maintenance garage. The trustees meet at 7:30 on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

Garrettsville Mayor Craig Moser and Council President Rick Patrick took a gentlemen’s bet, whether the bridge it would reopen by Monday, February 21 or not.  Guess who won?  Pictured are ODOT Engineer-Craig Dunbar, Community Ambulance-Pam Collins, Fire Chief Dave Friess, Ambulance Chief Chris Sanchez, Mayor Craig Moser, Police Chief Tony Milicia, Council President Rick Patrick, and Councilman Bob Matson.

Garrettsville Mayor Craig Moser and Council President Rick Patrick took a gentlemen’s bet, whether the bridge it would reopen by Monday, February 21 or not. Guess who won? Pictured are ODOT Engineer-Craig Dunbar, Community Ambulance-Pam Collins, Fire Chief Dave Friess, Ambulance Chief Chris Sanchez, Mayor Craig Moser, Police Chief Tony Milicia, Council President Rick Patrick, and Councilman Bob Matson.

Garrettsville – The break in winter weather we experienced last week was just what ODOT needed to take the wraps off the State Route 82 Bridge and re-open it to vehicle traffic… nine months after the old bridge was closed for demolition and reconstruction.
The new, rolled steel frame bridge spanning Eagle Creek at Windham and Main Streets (SR 82) opened on Thursday, February 17 after being closed since May 2010. The historic arch bridge that once linked motorists to downtown Garrettsville had been built in 1932.
“It has been a long and complicated struggle for everyone; especially the Main Street merchants,” stated Council President Rick Patrick.
The new bridge was originally scheduled to re-open in early October 2010, but the extensive demolition process, time-consuming detail work, weather problems and engineering snags accumulated, prolonging the bridge closure. In January 2011, ODOT engineer Craig Dunbar warned that bridgework had to be suspended throughout the remainder of winter, because concrete would not set unless we experienced several consecutive days of dry, above-40-degree-days. Considering the severity of this winter’s weather, Dunbar expected to get back to work in April, with the total project coming to completion in May, one year after the project began.
But that prolonged delay did not sit well with Patrick, who wanted to relieve local businesses and patrons from the inconvenience of the extended bridge closure. “I have been in contact with Craig Dunbar right from the beginning, and just recently had told him that enough is enough! The weather is getting warm enough to re-open for vehicles and we need to make it happen. Craig has been very cooperative throughout the whole project and agreed to do what it would take to get it reopened that week,” Patrick said.
A stretch of sunny, spring-like weather last week melted away the mounds of snow that had covered the bridge all winter, and allowed work crews to make saw-cuts across the deck of the bridge pavement, providing road surface traction. Plastic sheeting came down from around the bridge railings, allowing the concrete to cure in the sun. Roadblocks were removed, detour signs came down, and surprised motorists began crossing the new bridge on Thursday.
The noticeably wider bridge features baluster concrete railings and is illuminated by antique replica iron lamp-posts with etched-glass globes. It is open to motorists, but is not totally completed. Sidewalks, landscaping, concrete sealing and road striping have yet to be done, and a special dedication of two historical markers will be made in the late spring or early summer… and then the $1.8 million project will finally be done.

Garrettsville – True artists are said to look at the world differently. They tap into that side of themselves that allows them to find beauty and melody in things that other people just see as objects. Vox Voronet is a band made up of four musical artists who derived their band’s name from a color of blue seen in a fresco, Voronet Blue. This vibrant, intense shade of blue signifies the intensity of their music.
Vox Voronet’s members came together last spring to create a style of music that is both appealing and intriguing. Like many bands, each member started out with a passion for music. Andy Kohler, originally from Nelson, plays guitar and sings; Chris Wetzl, originally from Youngstown, plays the bass and synthesizer and sings; Matt Kluchar, also from Youngstown, plays drums and sings; and Scott Teresi, originally from Garrettsville, plays the piano and saxophone. Each band member brings his own style and influence to create a unique style of music.
The band’s indie/pop music —  music that is independent of major labels — and its direction are in the hands of the band itself,  not grounded in any specific genre of music. When they practice and play in concert, each member listens to the flow created by the other members and joins in with his own contribution. Their goal is to capture their audience with their music, allowing them to be swept away in the moment and crave more when it is over.
Vox Voronet started doing live shows in the fall of 2010, their first show being at Sadie Rene’s in North Canton. They have played at many different venues since. The band continues to practice and create new music. Their long-term goal is to rework their live performance music into studio format to create a CD for distribution. Currently you can hear them at http://voxvoronet.bandcamp.com and www.youtube.com/voxvoronet. You can also follow them on Facebook to see where they are performing next and what they are up to.
If you are intrigued by this band and their unique sound, you have a chance to see them locally on March 4th. The band is returning to Scott and Andy’s hometown of Garrettsville to perform at the Roller Hutt from 10-11:30pm (admission is $5). This isn’t just a show for the younger generation, parents are welcome to attend and enjoy the show.

“Sizzlers” star Pastor Rick Hughes.

“Sizzlers” star Pastor Rick Hughes.

You’ve still got time to get to some Family Week activities sponsored by the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club.
Friday, February 25 is Friday Night Out.  Take your whole troop to one or more of the local activities-bowling skating, dining, etc.–featured in the Villager pages.  Make an evening of it.  Connect.  Enjoy.
Saturday, February 26 is the Family Fun Festival at the James A. Garfield Elementary School from 11:00am to 2:00pm…food, fun inflatables…games, great doughnut holes…what a good time!  Ask-A-Doc is a new wrinkle and an introduction to Dr. Jessica Bittence, who’ll be the guiding light at the coming Robinson Health Center at Garrettsville.  Come meet the “new kid on the block,” get your blood pressure checked, get information on services and support groups offered by Robinson.  Stay for the awards and prizes.  Bring the family. Make a day of it!
Of course, you missed the 10th Annual Family Music Festival.  It was the kick-off event for the whole week and featured performers from across the spectrum of local talent, from Jill Waters, who opened the proceedings with the National Anthem (accompanied by Rotarian Jim Irwin), through the “Sizzlers” of the Nelson United Methodist Church (You know how the TV people do those “roasts” of celebrities ?  Well, this was a “kinder, gentler”…funnier…version for local consumption.  No major flames but some cute sparks), the Singing Grannies, the choir of the Windham United Methodist Church, the Windham Country Classy Red Hatters, harpist Ellen Eckhouse with a medley of Irish tunes, Tom and Brenda Mesaros and those ever-popular Friends– Roy Pancost, Dale Lacan, and Butch Seiler.  Tina Lemley rounded off the afternoon by leading the audience and performers in singing a family-themed farewell.  Great stuff…and just the beginning!

Hiram – Hiram College’s Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature invites you to attend a convocation with poet and essayist Rebecca McClanahan on March 1, 2011 at 7 p.m. in the Pritchard Room of Hiram College Library.
Rebecca McClanahan has published nine books, most recently Deep Light: New and Selected Poems and a suite of memoir-based essays, The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings, which won the 2005 Glasgow Prize in Nonfiction. She has also authored four previous books of poetry and three books of writing instruction.
McClanahan’s work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Best American Essays, The Pushcart Prize series, Poetry, Kenyon Review, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, Boulevard, and Ms. Magazine, as well as in anthologies published by Beacon, Norton, Doubleday, St. Martin’s, Putnam, Penguin, and others.  She conducts readings, workshops, and lectures throughout the country, and teaches in the low-residency MFA programs at Queens University and Rainier Writers Workshop. Her current work-in-progress, a multi-generational nonfiction saga of an extended Midwest family, focuses on the difficulties and rewards of communal bonds.
The Lindsay-Crane Center wishes to thank the following organizations for their generous support of this event:  Building Community Through the Arts, the Office of Institutional Advancement, the Office of Alumni Relations, the Office of Special Events, and the Department of Education.

Mantua – About 400 parents, teachers, current and incoming high school students attended Crestwood High School’s first ever 8th Grade Information night, Feb. 15 at Crestwood High School. Forty-five different high school groups participated in the event, ranging from academics to extra-curricular and co-curricular subjects. Many of the tables that the high school students created for the student showcase involved interactive activities and games. Some offered prizes and giveaways.


bout 400 parents, teachers, current and incoming high school students attended Crestwood High School’s first ever 8th Grade Information night, Feb. 15 at Crestwood High School. Forty-five different high school groups participated in the event, ranging from academics to extra-curricular and co-curricular subjects. Many of the tables that the high school students created for the student showcase involved interactive activities and games. Some offered prizes and giveaways.

About 400 parents, teachers, current and incoming high school students attended Crestwood High School’s first ever 8th Grade Information night, Feb. 15 at Crestwood High School. Forty-five different high school groups participated in the event, ranging from academics to extra-curricular and co-curricular subjects. Many of the tables that the high school students created for the student showcase involved interactive activities and games. Some offered prizes and giveaways.

Crestwood Middle School students and their parents were invited to the event which was organized in order to help ease the critical transition between middle school and high school.

“Statistics show that if a student is not successful during his or her 9th grade year, they are much more likely to continue to be unsuccessful during their remaining years of high school and are at an increased risk of not graduating,” said Crestwood High School guidance counselor and event organizer Tracy Kuntz. “We feel that providing guidance and support to students and their parents when they are making the transition from middle school to high school is critical in helping our students to have a successful start to their high school career and future.”
In addition to the student showcase that took place in the high school gym, there were two additional presentations: The first featured high school counselors outlining graduation requirements and scheduling classes for high school. In the second presentation Kent State University Geauga branch representative Tom Hoiles discussed what 8th and 9th graders should be doing now to plan for college after high school.\
“This was the first time that we held this event at Crestwood High School,” said Kuntz. “The participation and dedication that was shown by our high students and staff was remarkable. Everyone came together to make the evening great. This was truly a team effort and a huge success for our students, our building, and our community.”

Mantua – About 400 parents, teachers, current and incoming high school students attended Crestwood High School’s first ever 8th Grade Information night, Feb. 15 at Crestwood High School. Forty-five different high school groups participated in the event, ranging from academics to extra-curricular and co-curricular subjects. Many of the tables that the high school students created for the student showcase involved interactive activities and games. Some offered prizes and giveaways.Crestwood Middle School students and their parents were invited to the event which was organized in order to help ease the critical transition between middle school and high school.“Statistics show that if a student is not successful during his or her 9th grade year, they are much more likely to continue to be unsuccessful during their remaining years of high school and are at an increased risk of not graduating,” said Crestwood High School guidance counselor and event organizer Tracy Kuntz. “We feel that providing guidance and support to students and their parents when they are making the transition from middle school to high school is critical in helping our students to have a successful start to their high school career and future.”In addition to the student showcase that took place in the high school gym, there were two additional presentations: The first featured high school counselors outlining graduation requirements and scheduling classes for high school. In the second presentation Kent State University Geauga branch representative Tom Hoiles discussed what 8th and 9th graders should be doing now to plan for college after high school.\“This was the first time that we held this event at Crestwood High School,” said Kuntz. “The participation and dedication that was shown by our high students and staff was remarkable. Everyone came together to make the evening great. This was truly a team effort and a huge success for our students, our building, and our community.”

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Windham – The wait is finally over for the patrons of the Windham branch of the Portage County District Library. Last Thursday, the library opened to débuted its new facility after being closed for about a month. The library is now located at 9005 Wil-Vern Drive inside the Renaissance Family Center (RFC). The hours to the library have changed so please note the new hours: Monday & Friday 10:00am – 4:00pm and Tuesday – Thursday 12:00pm – 6:30 pm. The library is still waiting on internet connections for their computer lab and phone lines but all other aspects of the library are open. The staff anticipates having all services up and running with in the next two weeks.  They also expect to have their same phone number as soon as the phone company releases it. Watch for the children’s programs to be announced soon.

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Hiram – All council members were present during the February 8th council meeting except Councilperson Donley.  At 7 pm, Mayor Bertrand called the meeting to order.  After a moment of silence and the Pledge of Allegiance, the Mayor asked for approval of the 1/25/11 Special Council Meeting minutes and the motion was passed as were the minutes from the 1/11/11 regular council meeting.
The Mayor then asked if there were any public issues to be addressed.  A concerned citizen spoke up regarding her concern about the local bar at Hiram College.  She had found out from Facebook and other sources that the bar was planning on having exotic dancers, a wet t-shirt contest and that there was underage drinking and fights occurring.  The Mayor asked the police chief to address those concerns as well as the fire chief.
The police have been aware of these allegations and have been doing routine ID checks especially during the peak business times.  It was thought that the dancers and contest had been cancelled.  Two arrests were made from the fight mentioned above and that  situation was controlled.  The fire department has gone there to check for fire code violations and to verify that the establishment is well within its occupancy limits.  During one check, the occupancy limit was exceeded, the place was closed for a few hours and allowed to reopen as long as limits were kept to the standard.  After much discussion, it was determined that the police and fire were employing diligence to keep the area safe and keep underage patrons from drinking.  They will continue their vigilant stops and watches.
The Police Report was submitted to council along with the yearly report.  The report detailed past and on-going police training schedules and requirements.  Sgt. Fletcher retired after 19 years of service as well as many other years of service elsewhere.  He was praised highly for his service and commitment. The police chief reported that arrests were up.  They are increasing the off-duty police rates to be more current.
The Fire/EMS Report was submitted to council.  They answered 42 calls last month with an average response time of six minutes and two seconds.  The new fire truck is in and they proudly showed it off after the meeting.  They are very happy with the craftsmanship.  The fire/EMS crew has worked very hard getting all the equipment installed and it should be in service shortly.
The village administrator’s report was submitted to council.  He reported that the cemetery fund spent a little more than the income to date.  The first check for the NOPEC grant has arrived and it was allocated to replace the furnace which was an unexpected expense but he was glad to have had the funds.  The new furnace is a highly efficient unit.  There are still two more payments coming from that grant.
The Mayor’s report was also submitted to council.  He detailed more about the NOPEC grant and how it is to be used for energy efficiency and energy improvements.  He commented on a Public Works Grant.  He explained that the Village is trying to purchase some Hiram College land  (at no cost to the residents): no word back at this time regarding the purchase.  He met with the President of Hiram College to discuss a contract increase for fire and police over a two year period.  He also mentioned that the trash hauler contract would include the college.
The Fiscal Officer’s Report was submitted to council.  The fiscal officer urged the council to come up with a five-year plan; to set aside funds for improvements, repairs, and to prepare for other future costs.  She asked for a motion to approve the financial report submitted and it was passed.  She then asked for a motion to pay bills and it was also passed.
Ordinances:
2010-24: Trash Hauler – Removed from table.
2011-01: Zoning Permit and Fee Schedule (2nd reading) – There was more discussion regarding the fee schedule.  It was thought by council, that the proposed increase of variance fees to $250 was too high for residents.  It was determined that the fees charged help cover costs associated with inspections for variances.  A motion was introduced to make the fee $50 instead of $250, the motion was passed.
2011-02: An ordinance amending the permanent appropriations in several funds and declaring an emergency.  A chart was distributed that outlined the funds that needed amendments.  The motion was passed.
2011-03: A resolution authorizing the application for and subsequent acceptance of grant funds by the Village of Hiram and declaring an emergency.  There was concern that the rates were not reflected in the resolution.  The verbiage was changed.  The Village Administrator will present the current resolution for second reading at the next meeting.
The meeting then convened into Executive Session.

The Weekly Villager has prided itself on covering local area news for over 30 years. Our readers look to our paper to provide stories that have meaning to each community.  We also pride ourselves on being a family-friendly newspaper.
Our reporters cover meetings and events, many of which can be controversial. We do our best to report the facts. Our aim is to provide our readers with an unbiased look into situations which at times can be very emotional.

Over the years we have fielded many phone calls asking why we did not report all of the “he said, she said” activity at a meeting or event.  Our answer is simply this — we will report the news objectively.

We firmly believe that once again, another small American town will overcome the in-fighting and band together!

That being said, we at the Villager feel that Newton Falls is a great community, one which has a lot to offer its residents, businesses and visitors and one which we are proud to be associated with!

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Garrettsville – Just when it appears that there will be no end to stagnating winter doldrums, Family Week breaks up the monotony with live entertainment, contests, dinners out, a health fair and carnival of fun. Sponsored by the Garrettsville-Hiram chapter of the Rotary Club, this annual weeklong celebration to empower the family runs from Sunday, February 20 – Saturday, February 26. And it’s all free!
New this year is a Health Fair on Saturday during the Family Fun Festival, 11a.m.-2 p.m. Robinson Memorial Hospital will be at Garfield Elementary School to introduce Dr. Jessica Bittence of Garrettsville Family Medicine and the Robinson Health Center at Garrettsville, which will open near the high school and Just for Kids child care center on State Route 88 later this spring. Dr. Bittence will be at an “Ask-A-Doc” table, so the community can meet her and ask questions. The doctor will offer blood pressure readings and hand out information on different services and support groups Robinson offers.
The week’s activities kick off with a Music Festival featuring live performances by local vocal groups at 2 p.m. Sunday, February 20 at Garfield Middle School’s Iva Walker Auditorium.
Tuesday, February 22 is Grandparents’ Night at Portage County Library’s Garrettsville Branch, from 5-6:30 p.m.
Friday, February 25 is Family Night Out, with participating local merchants offering special deals to inspire families to go out together for the night. (See the ad in today’s Villager.)
Winners of family-friendly contests will be publicly awarded at Rotary Family Week’s Recognition Program on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., following the festival. Students aged K-12 from Garfield, Windham, private and home schools are competing in an art contest with pieces that reflect the Rotary Family Week Theme: “Putting Families First.” Judges will select from each grade category the three entries that best reflect the Family Week Theme, originality and neatness.
A community-wide photo contest (open to all residents of Freedom, Garrettsville, Hiram, Nelson and Windham) is also based on the “Family First” theme in two categories – individual photo and a photo collage. These family photos reflect any one or all of the following characteristics:
• Having Family Fun Together
• Memorable Family Activity
• Our Family Adventure
• Reflecting a Family Tradition
• A Humorous Family Moment
• A Special Family Vacation
• Other Family Photos depicting special events or memories
The Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club has also searched out the longest-married couple living in the communities of Freedom, Garrettsville, Hiram, Nelson, and Windham. The Longest-Married Couple in our area will be honored during the awards ceremony on Saturday, February 26. In addition to being recognized, the couple will receive an assortment of gifts from local businesses, including Sparkle Market, IGA, Art N Flowers, The Hiram Inn, and Main Street Grille Restaurant.
Finally, the selection of a Family-of-the-Year (from Freedom, Garrettsville, Hiram, Nelson, or Windham) will be celebrated as part of Rotary Family Week, because “Strong families are the building blocks of strong communities,” says Rotary president Amy Crawford. A family exemplary of the Family Week theme will be recognized and honored Saturday afternoon, with an Ohio Family Fun prize package.
Eligible families have been nominated by community members who submitted essays describing how the family puts their family first and increases family time together. This contest — and the entire line-up of Rotary’s Family Week activities — was founded on the basis of former First Lady Barbara Bush’s famous statement, “Our success as a society depends not on what happens in the White House but on what happens inside your house.”

Garrettsville  – Just when it appears that there will be no end to stagnating winter doldrums, Family Week breaks up the monotony with live entertainment, contests, dinners out, a health fair and carnival of fun. Sponsored by the Garrettsville-Hiram chapter of the Rotary Club, this annual weeklong celebration to empower the family runs from Sunday, February 20 – Saturday, February 26. And it’s all free!
New this year is a Health Fair on Saturday during the Family Fun Festival, 11a.m.-2 p.m. Robinson Memorial Hospital will be at Garfield Elementary School to introduce Dr. Jessica Bittence of Garrettsville Family Medicine and the Robinson Health Center at Garrettsville, which will open near the high school and Just for Kids child care center on State Route 88 later this spring. Dr. Bittence will be at an “Ask-A-Doc” table, so the community can meet her and ask questions. The doctor will offer blood pressure readings and hand out information on different services and support groups Robinson offers.
The week’s activities kick off with a Music Festival featuring live performances by local vocal groups at 2 p.m. Sunday, February 20 at Garfield Middle School’s Iva Walker Auditorium.
Tuesday, February 22 is Grandparents’ Night at Portage County Library’s Garrettsville Branch, from 5-6:30 p.m.
Friday, February 25 is Family Night Out, with participating local merchants offering special deals to inspire families to go out together for the night. (See the ad in today’s Villager.)
Winners of family-friendly contests will be publicly awarded at Rotary Family Week’s Recognition Program on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., following the festival. Students aged K-12 from Garfield, Windham, private and home schools are competing in an art contest with pieces that reflect the Rotary Family Week Theme: “Putting Families First.” Judges will select from each grade category the three entries that best reflect the Family Week Theme, originality and neatness.
A community-wide photo contest (open to all residents of Freedom, Garrettsville, Hiram, Nelson and Windham) is also based on the “Family First” theme in two categories – individual photo and a photo collage. These family photos reflect any one or all of the following characteristics:
• Having Family Fun Together
• Memorable Family Activity
• Our Family Adventure
• Reflecting a Family Tradition
• A Humorous Family Moment
• A Special Family Vacation
• Other Family Photos depicting special events or memories
The Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club has also searched out the longest-married couple living in the communities of Freedom, Garrettsville, Hiram, Nelson, and Windham. The Longest-Married Couple in our area will be honored during the awards ceremony on Saturday, February 26. In addition to being recognized, the couple will receive an assortment of gifts from local businesses, including Sparkle Market, IGA, Art N Flowers, The Hiram Inn, and Main Street Grille Restaurant.
Finally, the selection of a Family-of-the-Year (from Freedom, Garrettsville, Hiram, Nelson, or Windham) will be celebrated as part of Rotary Family Week, because “Strong families are the building blocks of strong communities,” says Rotary president Amy Crawford. A family exemplary of the Family Week theme will be recognized and honored Saturday afternoon, with an Ohio Family Fun prize package.
Eligible families have been nominated by community members who submitted essays describing how the family puts their family first and increases family time together. This contest — and the entire line-up of Rotary’s Family Week activities — was founded on the basis of former First Lady Barbara Bush’s famous statement, “Our success as a society depends not on what happens in the White House but on what happens inside your house.”

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So did you make it down to the Community EMS Boot Camp last Saturday? Why not? You still have time to join in the effort to shaping up our community. Joining doesn’t mean you have to lose weight, maybe you would like to simply tone up or get into shape for the upcoming summer. The point is that you can still join the other sixteen participants by calling Community EMS at (330) 527-4100.
In my last article I told you how well we at the Villager did on our physical fitness test. (Yes, I’ve still got muscles hurting that I had forgotten that I even had!) This week I promised to let you know what our plans are for reaching our goals. Michelle has set her personal goal to tone up. She has decided to focus on walking and doing sit-ups; push-ups are not high up on her list as she feels that each paper-delivery day she gets plenty of upper body work out. Chris has set her personal goal to strengthen her core muscles to help alleviate back pain and lose a little weight. She has decided to change her eating habits, exercise and keep a positive outlook. (Secretly, Michelle and Chris want to make sure they live long enough to become a burden upon their children.)
I have set my personal goal to lose some weight and get into shape. This week I began the weaning process. (I know it sounds like procrastination to you all, but from a professional procrastinator like myself I assure you it is not.) I have cut down on the salt, sugar, soda pop, and snacking. I have also kept myself out of the kitchen after 7pm and am drinking more water.
I also plan to add some exercise at least three times a week – beginning Monday. Like a true friend, Michelle has offered to steal my hidden stash of candy and run, thus causing me to chase her and that would definitely count as exercise. If you have Time Warner you may be surprised that there are many exercise channels that allow you to do anything from kickboxing to Pilates. I am going to focus on aerobics to help burn calories. I would like to start losing some weight before I switch my exercises to tone up.
Need some helpful ideas on getting started? How about keeping a small notebook to record what you have eaten, how much water you have drunk, and how long you are exercising. This may not seem like much, but it gives you something to look at to improve upon. Remember that reaching your goal is competition with yourself, not others. How about finding that favorite summer outfit in the back of your closet, go ahead and try it on. Does it fit? Hang it on your closet door and try it on every week to measure how well you are doing. Stay away from the scale! I don’t own a scale for a reason – they are more depressing than the evening news. Exercising also causes you to build muscle that weighs more than fat. If you don’t totally avoid the scale, then at least don’t step on it every day; it does nothing for your ego.
Community EMS Boot Camp is planning fun things for the participants to do, including canoeing and walks. Not only can you improve your self-image and your self-esteem but you can make some new friends while you are at it!

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Garrettsville – Village Council opened their monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 10th  with Mayor Moser  recognizing Council President Rick Patrick’s half-century birthday; they then got down to business.  The mayor, five council members, the village solicitor & clerk-treasurer were all in attendance (councilwoman Karen Clyde was absent).  The minutes of February’s meeting were approved with one minor correction to who was in attendance.  There was a quick discussion about tax revenue increasing and upcoming bills that would need to be paid before a motion to pay the current bills was passed.

The first thing on the agenda was to clarify the definition of employee comp time as presented in the village employee manual.  After much discussion, it was deemed that the intent of the original definition was that no employee shall carry more than forty hours of comp time at any time.  The mayor and council further clarified the issue by stating any comp time earned in excess of the forty hours will be paid as overtime by the end of the pay period in which it was earned.  Currently, employees carrying more than forty hours will be paid for the overage in the next pay period (the end of February) to bring everyone down to the forty-hour cap.   It was also suggested an ordinance was needed to purge the employee manual of confusing verbiage.

Next, council passed a motion to pay the Garrettsville branch of the Portage County Library a portion of the cost of their annual 2010 utilities as has been done in past years.

Up for discussion next were the vehicle replacement options for the village police department.  The new vehicle will be replacing an older, high-mileage cruiser and will also be able to accommodate the K-9 unit.  After looking at what was available and considering the benefits and needs of the department, council voted to approve the purchase of an outfitted Chevy Tahoe.  The cost of the base vehicle through Charles Chevrolet is $26,914.55 and will come from the general fund.  The equipment needed to outfit the new cruiser will cost $16,136.85 and will come from the drug & alcohol fund.  Council President Rick Patrick said the cruiser that is being replaced will be auctioned off.

Councilman Chuck Klamer reported on the status of the sidewalk project.  He said the plan is to finish Center Street and then move to Liberty Street.  He also reported that no determination has been made yet to whether the sidewalks on Liberty Street will be on the east or west side, but that the east side would have a tie-in with the [Reserve at Eagle Creek] development which is required to put in sidewalks as part of zoning.  It was decided to table further discussion on the project for now.

The mayor updated everyone on the Economic Development Board meeting that was held February 3rd.  He stated the topic of discussion was whether chicken coops were against village ordinance or not.   He said currently residents were allowed to keep the fowl as long as they were contained and not allowed to roam free.  A motion was passed for the Development Board to do more research on the subject before a final determination is made.  The mayor also stated that talks are on hold with T-Mobile for the antenna project for the top of the water tower.

Council President Rick Patrick gave an update on the SR 82 bridge.  He said all work is on hold until the weather stays above 40 degrees.  The contractor still has to make cuts in the concrete decking which can’t be done in the cold temperatures.  He also said the state’s plan is to seal the bridge with the same colored sealer they used on the South Street bridge.  He said the contractor advised him to send a letter to the state requesting a clear sealer.

Patrick also updated everyone on the accessorizing of the new dump truck and said the old truck it replaced will be listed on eBay soon.
The next regular Village Council meeting will be held on March 9th at &:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

Garrettsville – Brian Gorby is a proud father. And he has every right to be. His son, Travis, has been selected as McDonald’s Student Athlete of the Week, representing the Greater Cleveland/Northeast Ohio area. A television news crew from WEWS Channel 5 traveled to the Garrettsville G-Plex sports complex on Tuesday night to video and interview the freshman soccer standout for broadcast on Wednesday.

Travis  — who just turned 15 in October — coaches a soccer foot skills clinic every Tuesday night at the G-Plex for rookies aged 4 -14. Travis started every varsity game this year as a freshman at James A. Garfield High School, playing outside midfielder. The JAG varsity soccer team won a record number of games this past season, advancing to the state regional tournament against CVCA, which ultimately won the state title.

Not only did Travis earn his varsity letter, but he received the Top Freshman Award from Head Coach Michael Coney, and the Portage Trail Conference Scholar Athlete Award for Academic Achievement while participating in the sport. Travis maintained a perfect 4.0 grade average while taking Advanced Placement college-level classes…  with perfect attendance, too.

Travis has been playing soccer for 11 years now — on 55 different teams. He has played in almost 500 soccer games, scoring 650+ goals and making 700+ assists. While in eighth grade, he was playing on four different teams in four different leagues at the same time (finishing up two indoor leagues while playing on two outdoor leagues). The teams went a combined 44-1-1, with Travis scoring 96goals and 106 assists, primarily playing the center midfielder and forward positions.

While WEWS Channel 5 puts Garrettsville in the regional spotlight, its prestigious honor is especially significant for Travis, who has been selected for an award usually set aside for upperclassmen; and among peers from big schools in the most competitive athletic divisions.

Since 2007, relatively few student athletes from Portage County have been named McDonald’s Student Athlete of the Week. The only former James A. Garfield student listed is Olivia Dressler, named during her 2008-09 senior year; one of the top female goal scorers in Ohio soccer history.

The McDonald’s Student Athlete of the Week honors teens who are “true all-stars, both on and off the field.”  Nominations are taken on behalf of those deserving recognition for hard work and a winning attitude.

Coaches, teachers, friends, family members, teammates, classmates or neighbors can submit the names of students who excel at their game, give back to the community and value education. News Channel 5 honors athletes each week who set examples in the classroom, on their team and in the community.

Travis is accustomed to achieving high aspirations at a young age. While in middle school as a member of Beta Club, he was selected as a People to People Student Ambassador and traveled throughout Europe for three weeks during the summer of 2009, visiting Belgium, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

He has also been Student of the Month at Garfield almost every year since first grade, and has won numerous other academic and athletic awards over the years, including a Portage County D.A.R.E. essay award when he was in fifth grade.

According to Travis’ father, “His trophies and medals almost clutter his room because there are so many, and I have cut out many articles and saved stacks of newspapers with his name in them for his scra book, along with all of the academic and athletic awards programs from the school that I save with his name in them. He has numerous letters of recognition and congratulations from the superintendent, the board of education, his past principals and teachers. I could go on and on… and if you couldn’t tell, I am very proud of him (I’m proud of all three of my sons).”

Freedom Twp. – Highlights of the February 3, 2011 Trustee meeting were:

Mr. Tom Mesaros was appointed to the Zoning Commission for a one-year term.

Zoning Inspector Derthick reported one permit issued for a new single family home.  A resident on St. Rt. 700 has not responded about removing an unlicensed vehicle from his property. Trustees approved turning the problem over to the Prosecutor’s Office.
A request was made by a resident to transfer a grave lot to her. It was determined this could not be done as it is part of the deceased’s estate, so no action can be taken without proper legal authority on behalf of the estate.

Rental fee for the town hall pavilion was discussed. It was agreed to charge $25 rental plus $25 security deposit, both to be paid at the time of rental. A resident questioned why the fee should be the same for residents and non-residents. After discussion trustees changed to $25 for residents and $50 for non-residents, with corresponding security deposit.
It was noted Freedom Township will be hosting the County Association dinner/meeting on August 20, and the Community Picnic will be held on August 21.
Mr. Zizka said the bad weather has set back town hall roof construction work and it may be mid-February before work is started.
Mrs. Nicholas reported being contacted by the J.A. Garfield Class of ’61 asking if the pavilion and town hall were available for their class reunion June 19, and what the fee would be. Both buildings are available that date. It was agreed to waive the fee for this non-profit group, as many of the graduates are township residents.
Earlier in the meeting Mr. VanSteenberg reported they have been plowing and salting to keep the roads clear and they have not yet ordered any of our current allotment of salt, but will as soon as we have the space available.

(front row) Brooke Heavner, Brett Hammonds, Mrs. Bell, Rachel Gruszewsk, (back row) Josh Whan, Kendall Morrison, Mike Jajcinovic and Danielle Hickman(photo courtesy of Josh Simmons/Bird’s Eye Photography)

(front row) Brooke Heavner, Brett Hammonds, Mrs. Bell, Rachel Gruszewsk, (back row) Josh Whan, Kendall Morrison, Mike Jajcinovic and Danielle Hickman (Photo courtesy of Josh Simmons/Bird’s Eye Photography)

Rivalries have been around for years and many times the rivalries brings out the not so good in people. Folks get so caught up in the rivalry they have a tendency to be more negative than positive, but that has been changed recently with the Garrettsville–Windham Rivalry.

Last fall when Mike Chaffee took over as the principal of Windham Schools, he wanted to revive the rivalry that had somewhat died down over the years with Garrettsville. Chaffe wanted to turn what often  becomes a week of pranks and sometimes vandalism into a week of positive, healthy competition for a good cause.  He thought: after all, we already have one good cause that both schools are involved with, the Volley for the Cure. The annual Windham-Garrettsville volleyball game has always been Volley for the Cure, a fundraiser for breast cancer, so why not expand it to other causes for other head-to-head competitions.
Chaffe had several ideas and contacted Joe Malmisur, principal of neighboring James A.  Garfield High School, to see if he would be on board with the idea, Malmisur agreed that the kids needed to have their energies channeled into a positive challenge rather than a negative one, thus creating “Rivals for a Cause.”

The “Rivals for a Cause” was launched the week of the Garfield- Windham basketball game held at Windham on February 4, 2011. The schools each had planned a food drive, t-shirt sales to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the head-to-head basketball competition for a chance to keep the revolving trophy that was established for the entire 2011-2012 school year.

The hospital  benefit  suggestion came from Danielle Hickman who had recently toured the hospital when she represented Windham at the Liberty Bowl over the Christmas holiday.  The hospital tour inspired her to consider raising funds for the facility. Both principals agreed it would be a good cause. Both schools’ student councils were challenged to raise funds by selling t-shirts, with the proceeds going to the hospital. Each school sold different colored t-shirts; Windham sold white shirts while Garrettsville sold gray shirts to raise funds for the hospital.

The rivalry week came and the t-shirts were ordered, but due to two snow days that week, the sales week was limited to two days. In spite of the shortened week, the schools were still able to raise a combined total of $1,500 for the hospital.
The yet-to-be-named revolving trophy will be awarded at the end of the school year to the school which has won the most varsity head-to-head sporting events this school year. The winning school will have the trophy to display until the end of the next school year. They will  hold the bragging rights for the year as well.

The schools also plan on holding a name-the-trophy contest later this year. Each school will submit name ideas and the principals of each school will choose the top 5 or 6 entries from each school. They will then give the mayors of the two towns the job of deciding the winning name for the trophy.

The food drive seemed to be a fantastic way to serve the community and still rival one another, however the two snow days that week severely limited the collections at both schools and they have decided to postpone the drive to the week of the Garrettsville-Windham baseball games.

Portage County – At the January meeting of the Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition, one of our members said, “We are in the business of hope.”
The comment came after the Portage County Coroner’s report that showed 2010 as the highest year on record for completed suicides since 1980 when the office started organizing the information.
The Coalition was established in 2003 to increase awareness of warning signs, combat stigma, help survivors and be a touch point for hope in this crusade to save lives. We have provided forums for learning about prevention and safe places for survivors, those left behind, to talk.
In 2007, there were 11 suicide deaths. That number has been increasing up to last year’s total of 28.  A similar, alarming increase occurred in Stark County for 2010. At the same time, calls to Townhall II’s Helpline, a 24-hour crisis phone line funded by the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County, have increased 69 percent.
From 1995 to 2009, there was one completed suicide by a child or teen. Since 2009, four young residents under 20 years old have died by suicide.
What would you be thinking if you were on the Coalition? Is this hopeless? Is there no way to reach mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends and co-workers at risk? How can you know when someone is in such pain?
That is when the one voice cuts through the despondency and says, “We must continue to tell people that there is hope.”
The heartache that comes with even one loss of life to suicide is what drives Coalition members to continue to talk in the community about the warning signs, what to do when someone you care about is at risk and where to go for services. There is hope if one person is helped.
“Most people don’t feel comfortable saying the words, ‘Are you thinking about suicide?’ or telling family or school counselors that this person is talking about suicide. The coalition wants to help community members learn to take life-saving action,” said Paul Dages, Coalition coordinator and emergency services coordinator for Townhall II.
What are the warning signs? They include: feeling depressed; life crises, such as relationship problems, school difficulties and financial issues; talking about death and suicide; giving away prized possessions; taking unnecessary, dangerous risks; having a predetermined method of suicide and sharing it; appearing suddenly happy after a long depression; withdrawing from family and friends; losing interest in regular activities; changing eating and sleeping habits; access to firearms; and family history of depression and suicide.
Teens may show many of the same may signs but may exhibit some unique symptoms including childhood trauma and abuse; recent break up of a relationship; presence of a psychiatric disorder; frequent expressions of rage; increasing use of alcohol or drugs; exposure to another’s suicidal behavior; family instability and significant family conflict. In addition, teens who are being bullied and/or those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are at increased risk.
Joel Mowrey, Ph.D., associate director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County, said research has established action steps to prevent suicide. First, listen without judgment. Second, ask the person if she or he is considering suicide. Finally, arrange for the person to seek services, including a suicide prevention phone line, 24-hour crisis service or hospitalization. Mowrey advises not to keep suicide ideation secret or leave the person alone. He also adds that it is important to give the person hope that things can and will get better.
“The goal is to get that person to counseling and treatment. Depression, along with other mental health problems, is highly treatable and counseling can help with other life issues,” said Mowrey. Treatment services are offered on a sliding fee basis through community agencies that receive funding from the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County.
Portage County has 24-hour crisis intervention services through Coleman Professional Services and Townhall II. Both agencies answer crisis calls and offer walk-in services.
The numbers for Townhall II’s 24-hour suicide prevention HELPLINE are 330-678-HELP(4357) and toll free 1-866-449-8518. The agency is open for walk in counseling from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday at its offices, 155 N. Water Street, Kent. Persons needing help should call the HELPLINE before arriving.
Coleman Access Services at 3922 Lovers Lane, Ravenna, is available for calls and walk-in counseling any time of day. The 24-hour phone numbers are 330-296-3555 and toll free 1-877-796-3555.
The Coalition meets the third Thursday of each month at 3 p.m. at the MHRB, 155 E. Main St., Kent. New members are welcome. Call Paul Dages, the coordinator, at 330-678-3006 for more information.
The Mental Health & Recovery Board has also established a monthly support group for persons who have lost a loved one to suicide. The Survivor of Suicide group meets the last Wednesday of the month 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the MHRB office, 155 E. Main St., Kent. Call Mowrey at 330-673-1756, ext. 203, for more information. Or email joelm@mental-health-recovery.org.
The Web site of the Mental Health & Recovery Board has a section on suicide prevention with links to related Web sites. Go to www.mental-health-recovery.org.

Windham – Monica’s Café is slated to open early February 2011 in the old T&J’s Restaurant located in the Shops of Windham next to the Sparkle Market in Windham.  The first question I asked owner Monica Welton was why a restaurant in this economy, and why now? Monica responded that she had always wanted to have her own restaurant and when the opportunity presented itself she felt now was the time to do it.
Welton grew up in Windham and now resides in Freedom Township. She has never owned a restaurant before but has had twelve years experience as a cook, inventory control and supply purchasing. She has also had a lot of experience in the catering field. Owning a restaurant is a new venture for her, but she says she is up for the challenge. Monica sought out professional advice and enlisted the help of her husband, DJ, family and friends to help her get the business launched.
The last few weeks for her have been a total whirlwind, ordering supplies and equipment, designing a menu, figuring out seating arrangement, décor, hours of operation and, of course, all those permits one needs to open. If that wasn’t enough,  Monica volunteered to cook January’s free community meal at the Renaissance Family Center last week too. She was using this as a community service opportunity and to introduce herself and her food to the community. A win/ win for everyone.
One can expect the café to serve home-style foods made from scratch. The menu will showcase homemade soups, entrées, salads, and fresh bakery.  They will also have daily specials, and even features like “Italian Night.”  Breakfast will be served daily and those who eat out often may want to join the “Breakfast Club.”  The Breakfast Club offers a punch card, when you purchase nine breakfasts, you receive the tenth breakfast free — unlike the movie, detentions will not be required to join the club.
Other plans are to offer a delivery service to the businesses community in the Garrettsville and Windham area, fish fries on Friday night, fresh fruit in season and more.
The Café is open Sunday thru Thursday 7 a.m. -7 p.m. with hours on Friday and Saturday 7a.m.– 9 p.m.

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Mantua – Meghan Sara of Mantua won the Girls 10 year old division while representing the K of C Mantua Council # 3766 at a recent District level of competition in Kent.  Meghan will receive a medallion for her success and an invitation to the Regional level in Warren later in February.  Eight participants from the Mantua area were the largest council representation at the district level competition.  All contestants performed well while attempting to achieve the best of 25 Free Throw shots.  Members of the Mantua K of C would like to thank all of this year’s participants once again and wish the best of luck to Meghan

Garrettsville – The First  Annual G-Men Classic High School Bowling Tournament was held on Saturday, January 29th at SkyLanes.
A packed house of hundreds watched sixteen teams consisting of the top boys and girls in Northeast Ohio bowl for the championship trophy in each division.
The boys from Massillon Perry defeated Garfield in the finals while the Hubbard girls (pictured) dominated all the way through and beat Cuyahoga Falls to grab the title in the girl’s division.
Some outstanding individual scores were shot on this action packed Saturday.  Leading the way were two bowlers from Hubbard.  Alex Toy grabbed top honors in the boys division with a fine 722 series and Samantha Dudley was the girl’s medalist with a 677 series.

Mantua - Mantua Youth Wrestling took First Place at the Portage Lakes Varsity Tournament on Saturday, January 22, 2011.
This tournament was a six team round robin that included: Springfield, Coventry, Akron Copley, Portage Lakes Wrestling Club and Barberton. This was the first time in Mantua Youth Wrestling’s history that the team won 1st place overall.
The team was lead by coaches: Dean Olson, Mike Picone, Kevin O’Neil, Kit Brunty and Jeff Dunfee. The dominating varsity team included: 6th graders Zach Brunty, Lucas Gerardi, Alex Kachenko, Jake Kollman, Michael Picone, Nick Vespucci, Max Weatherbee and Josh Williams, 5th graders Tom Carson, Lincoln Chiller, Nick Scarl, Dominic Szuhay and Mackenzie Tayerle, 4th graders K.J. Brunty, Jeffery Dunfee and Domenic Picone, 3rd graders Kayton Craft and Brett Szuhay, 1st graders Evan Daniels and Jacob Rowe.

The team had eight  undefeated wrestlers that day. They are now preparing for the upcoming Sectionals, Districts and States.

Windham – The students in Windham High Schools’  Design & Illustration classes participated in the NAACP Art Show as a part of the organization’s  annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast held in Kent , Ohio.
All Portage county students were invited to contribute artwork depicting Dr. King’s life and legacy.
The artwork of Sherry Corley, Kyle McManus, Kaitlyn Nagy, and Megan Howell was selected from Windham  to go to Kent for the show.

Congratulations to Megan Howell who won 2nd place at the show!  All of the artwork was on  display at the United Church of Christ in Kent during  the month of January.

Nelson Township – The Nelson Township trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting with the fiscal officer and two of the three trustees present. Trustee Bill Wilson was unavailable. Fiscal officer Dave Finney presented bills and wages to be approved. Finney also stated that the first electronic IRS payment for withholdings had been sent and that because of his disability he has been given the approval to use a facsimile signature rather than a handwritten one. He stated that under the Ohio revised Code ORC elected officials are permitted to use a facsimile signature on checks and reports. Mr. Finney also presented an affidavit from Davey Tree for $149 to fertilize trees on the circle. After some discussion the trustees agreed to approve this expenditure because it would help keep the trees healthy.

Trustee Joe Leonard announced that after months of hard work the new township web site is up and running. The website has a brief history of the township along with pictures from various activities, meeting times and dates, local attractions, zoning information and more. One can checkout the website at www.nelsontownshipohio.org.

The township received a letter from the prosecutor that stated they had not proved their case against a property owner over junk vehicles. It stated that since the vehicles had engines, transmissions and it appeared that he wasn’t using his property for commercial use they ruled in favor of the property owner.

A&M Doors was able to amend and revise their door bid by offering the township an alternative door solution. The doors they propose will save the township about $1782.55 and were a better quality door than the original specs called for. The township approved the amended proposal for doors from A&M Doors and they should be installed by the end of February.

Trustee Joe Leonard stated that he had been working with Ravenna Oil to solve the fuel tank issue. It appears that the township legally can not purchase fuel from the school, so they need to get their fuel tanks updated. Ravenna Oil has made a proposal that the township could rent to own a 520 gallon tank and pay $90 a month for 5 years then it would become property of the township. The tank carries a 30 year warranty. Mr. Leonard stated that he will contact other oil companies to see what plans they offer. The fiscal officer explained that when they moved to Pixley Park all their fuel tanks were in compliance with the laws at that time, however the laws have changed and the township needs to get it’s fuel system in compliance with the new laws before they start issuing heavy fines.

In other business the board approved the appointment of Chris Conkol to the zoning board of appeals (ZBA). Mr. Turos stated that after interviewing the two candidates that they feel they chose the best one for the position. He stated that both candidates were qualified and encouraged the other one to re-apply for a position on the board that that will be open next year.
The Nelson township trustees meet on the first and second Wednesday of each month.

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Windham – The Windham Lions Club recently invited Windham Mayor Rob Donham to give an outline of what the village plans for the future are. An interesting talk was enjoyed by the members as the mayor took them from his inauguration to present day Windham. His remarks reassured everyone present that the Village was moving away from old ways and was headed in the right direction.

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Newton Township – The January meeting of the Board of Trustees opened at 7:30pm with all members present. Business was as usual with reports from the zoning director, the sheriff’s department, and cemetery news. The road crew reported two new street signs and two stop signs that had been stolen and replaced, as well as general plowing and salting efforts. The crew has ordered seventy-five ton of salt and seventy-five ton of mixing to help drivers get through the typical Midwest winter.

By way of Township finances, Ella Johnson discussed increases to annual expenses and Mr. Nemet announced that the Township will be saving some money this coming year – the next five years, as a matter of fact. Every year the Township contributes monies to help with the operating costs of the Newton Falls Joint Fire District which is responsible for keeping the citizens of not only the city but the township safe. Each year the contribution automatically increases by 3%. It has been decided that the Township’s annual contribution will be frozen at the amount given in 2010 which was $53,758. This freeze will be active for the next five years so that the years 2011-2015 will remain the same. For 2011 the Township is saving $1,612 but over the next five years the savings will be $25,177 for not automatically increasing the contribution. Mr. Nemet stated that the “fire department will be able to survive without that money” and now the Township will not be seeking a levy on township residents to help out with that annual contribution increase. The next increase will be in 2016.

Also in fire department relations, the NFJFD has been utilizing a building across from Arby’s to store a few of the fire trucks. This garage is currently owned by the Township, which also stores some vehicles and supplies there. It was proposed that the Township offer the building up for sale to the fire department for $50,000, payable over the next five years as a $10,000 decrease from the now-frozen annual contribution. The trustees plan to schedule a special meeting to discuss the actual selling price, whether to raise or lower it, or even the possibility of simply donating the building to the shared fire district as a goodwill gesture. An audience member inquired if the fire department was ever going to build the new station over by First Street, but that project is at an indefinite standstill.

In other news, Mr. Page reported that the pressure washer is having mechanical difficulties. Mr. Augusta said that they are working on updating and upgrading the website. He mentioned last month’s meeting about the fracking and reported a “good turnout” of about a hundred people. There will be an upcoming meeting on February 15th in Liberty that will discuss how the oil industry operates as well.

Back in November possible changes to the cemetery guidelines were  discussed about  to determine residency versus non-residency rates and other potential alterations. The goal was set to close that subject by the February meeting.
Other highlights include updates to the employee handbook, and a motion passed unanimously to give the Cemetery Association $1,000 to offset the cost of moving trees.
There was no new business except to pay the monthly bills and the meeting adjourned in just under an hour.

Windham - The Windham Historical Society has become the repository of many of the artworks of world famous woodcarver Huber King, who spent his entire life in Windham. King received numerous awards in juried competitions, including his American Bicentennial carving, pictured above, which he boldly entered into a British woodcarving show in 1976.The carvings are the donation of his son, Dr Darryl King of West Virginia. They will be on display at the next Historical Society meeting on Monday, February 21, at the Brick Chapel, 9001 North Main Street. Doors will open at 6:30 and the public is welcome to tour the museum.

At 7 PM, longtime area antiquarian Larry Fischer will speak on “Gizmos, Gadgets and Doodads”. There aren’t many artifacts or thingamajigs that Fischer hasn’t encountered in his travels, and he’ll present some of his more entertaining discoveries.

The Historical Society continues to work hand in hand with the Windham Bicentennial Committee in coordinating the 200th Anniversary Days the village will stage in late July, with several days of parades, celebrations, homecomings and general merry-making.

The Society is always interested in obtaining, whether permanently or on loan, any object relevant to Windham. Items of special interest include films, pictures, scrapbooks, ephemera, newspapers, advertising, tokens, school items, sports items, or family genealogy. The society has extensive facilities for copying paper items.
For more information on the Society or the Bicentennial plans, please call President Lynnea St. John at 330-326-6061, or email her at lynnya45@yahoo.com.

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Windham Township – The Windham Township Trustees held a public meeting prior to their  regularly scheduled meeting to discuss proposed zoning changes.  The zoning proposal brought out about 25 residents who wanted to have their say about the zoning issues. After about an hour of discussing flag lots, lot sizes, square footage allowances, frontage, variances and other property use changes, the trustees decided they would toss the proposal back to the planning committee and to have another revision drawn up before making any permanent changes. With that being done the regular business meeting was called to order.

In safety, the Portage County Sheriff wants to increase patrols in the northern part of the county and plan to use the North Post more. (The sheriff’s office uses a portion of the town hall for their North Post in the county.)  The sheriff’s office would like to have an outside phone installed at the facility so people will be able to contact them when the post isn’t manned. The trustees stated that they would need more information on the issue before making a decision on the outdoor phone.

In zoning,  Zoning Inspector Rich Gano stated that the agricultural use form he created was deemed legal by the prosecutor and he would like to institute it soon.  A resident questioned whether if a resident paid the $300 variance fee and the variance was granted, could the township reimburse the money paid for the variance application? The resident complained that they were punishing the residents by charging $300 fee for a variance just because the zoning code doesn’t address a certain issue and he felt that the zoning board of appeals (ZBA) should not make a profit. The trustees stated that the ZBA doesn’t make a profit. After some discussion, the trustees stated that they would see what other townships do before rendering a decision but they would not be able to refund the entire fee because they have to pay for the court reporter and zoning appeals members to hear the case.

Road Supervisor Rich Gano stated that the roads were in good shape, plenty of material was available  and all the equipment was in good running order. The trustees thanked the road crew for all their hard work and also stated that the roads were looking good in spite of all the recent snow and ice
Trustee chairman Dann Timmons passed out the new employee handbook proposal for the trustee to look at. He stated that the township’s insurance carrier is mandating that they have one. The trustees will have a month to look over the proposal before making any changes to the handbook at the March meeting. Mr. Timmons also stated that they had applied for the NOPEC grant and should be hearing from them in the next few weeks. The trustees meet on the first Thursday of each month at 7 pm at the townhall.

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary caught a glimpse into an appalling abyss with Roger Cram’s presentation on the hidden world of human trafficking, something that few are aware of and fewer still wish to acknowledge, confront or take adequate measures to end.  While calling the U.S, “the ostrich nation”, he offered statistics on the numbers of  street kids, illegal immigrants, homeless persons in this country as well as the forced labor (enslaved people, young and old) worldwide  involved in the production of many popular products, both agricultural and industrial, and in the sex trade everywhere.
January has been designated National Human Trafficking Month but little recognition of this fact is to be found in the media, or anyplace else.  Unrecognized, as well, is the existence of slavery as the fastest-growing enterprise of organized crime.  The laws applicable in these cases tend to frame the victim as the culprit and fail to recognize the psycho-social, emotional, economic and dependency issues behind the complex situations which contribute to the continued existence of slavery in the modern world.  Slaves are cheap, cheaper now than when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, hidden behind food, electronics, carpets, natural rubber products, diamonds, tennis shoes….
The U.S. Department of Justice has publications on-line containing shocking revelations.  The Alliance Against Human Trafficking, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, is another source. If it is, indeed, true that “there is none so blind as he who will not see”, we must open our eyes and deal with this scourge…once again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Readings:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Janet Pancost

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

Rotary Report

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

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

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

Historical Society News

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

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

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

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

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

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

History just keeps right on happening!

A Toast

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

Congratulations !  Keep on brewin’!

Hall of Fame

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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