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Windham – The Windham Board of Education (BOE) voted at their latest meeting to withdraw from the Portage Trail Conference (PTC) effective in 2013-2014 school year. The district will enter the Northeast Athletic Conference (NAC) which is comprised of small schools like Lordstown, Bristol, Southington, and Maplewood. Superintendent Gregg Isler stated that “It was a bittersweet for me because I am a graduate of Windham schools and have deep ties to the PTC.” He also stated that “The league has been very good to Windham but we needed to do this for the kids.” The declining enrollment in the district and the rapid growth in the PTC played a role in their decision. Isler stated that  the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) increasing the number of volleyball games and basketball games played each season by two will ensure Windham will still be able to play rivals like Garfield. This was an important factor in the decision. When asked if he thought the rivalry with Garfield would die with the two schools not in the same conference he said he didn’t think it would change anything. The change will not go into effect until the 2013-2014 school year.
In other board news, the board approved a contract with the teachers’ union. Principal Chaffee stated that they have a good relationship with the union and was pleased that an agreement was reached. Superintendent Isler stated that earlier this year the district had 24 proposed layoffs to balance the districts budget. After retirements, elective class adjustments, and staff adjustments the board announced that they only had to R.I.F. (Reduction in Force) two employees. The BOE was able to re-instate music and band at 70% of what they had and choir at 50% of what they once had. They were also able to re-instate art for the junior and senior high schools.

The BOE accepted the resignation of Elementary Principal Joanne Brookover, and the retirements of Claudia Hoover, and Sharon Versch. One year contracts were awarded to Principal Mike Chaffee, and Technology Coordinator Brian Shanower both effective August 1, 2011. Other contracts issued were Diane Ewing as head cook, Robert Kujala as Director of Special Services/Assistant Principal, and Jeff McCune, Maintenance/mechanic.

The BOE meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7pm at the high school.

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Windham – The W.V.F.D. (Windham Volunteer Fire Department) Joint Fire District Board held their monthly meeting for June recently.

The chairman Dann Timmons opened the meeting.  The minutes from May were approved as read. The board also approved the May bank reconciliation and expenditures.

Fire chief Mike Iwanyckyj presented purchasing options for a generator for the fire station. The chief state that the generators they were looking at would run on natural gas and depending on which size they purchased they were looking at $9200 and $14,000 for a generator. Questions were raised on availability of natural gas if there was a disaster verses the available of gasoline and if the natural gas generator could be easily converted to use other fuels. After reviewing the options the board made no decision and will take the information under advisement.

The chief said that truck # 2815 was in need of tires and Kauffman Tire gave him an estimate of $1181.34.  After some discussion it was determined to purchase tires from Kauffman Tires in Ravenna.  The district’s van also needs tires due to dry rot and the chief will present a price as soon as tires can be located. It appears that the tires on the van are obsolete and finding suitable ones have become a challenge.

The grass fighter needs new nozzle, but because they are difficult to find and pricey he recommended switching out the pump, hoses and nozzles to a more readily available model would cost $750 verses $1000 for just the nozzles. The chief said he could do the work and get all the parts at the hardware store.  The board approved this measure.

Other items the chief requested were the repair of two pagers, replacement parts for a helmet, repair of two walkie talkies, and a pair of fire boots. The board approved these requests. The chief recommended the appointment of Jonathan Hoffstetter as fire fighter/EMT, after some discussion the board approved the appointment. Other items discussed were the carnival success, the construction date of the “lounge room” at the station and 10 mile residency rule. No decision was made on the residency rule. Iwanyckyj also announced that the new rescue squad expected date of arrival is approximately late July or early August.

The fiscal officer said she had received the village’s Haz-Mat bill for 2010 & 2011, she stated that in the past each entity (township and village) paid their own and the township has paid theirs for those two years. She also stated that she has sent it back to Haz-Mat to bill the village. After some discussion the board agreed to assume the Haz-Mat bills for both entities starting in year 2012.

Lastly, the fire district would like to thank the person who prefers to remain anonymous for their work on the handicap walkway at the fire station. They also wish to thank Mr. Altiere for the handicap signs.

The next fire board meeting is the July 14th at 7pm., prior to the July meeting the fire board will hold a public hearing on the budget beginning at 6:30 pm. The public is invited to all meetings which are held at the fire station.

 

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Windham – Windham Police are seeking individuals who have an interest in becoming Auxiliary Police Officers.  The unpaid voluntary position will be comprised of a limited number of men and women, over the age of 21.  Other qualifications of the applicant is to have no criminal history, good driving record, and be of good character. Background checks will be conducted. Auxiliary Officers will be uniformed, unarmed, and will assist with traffic control, parades, and assist on limited basis with regular officers on patrol, amongst other duties. Potential candidates must reside in either Windham Village or Windham Township.  Those interested may obtain an application in person from Chief Gene H. Fixler at the Police Department, 9621 East Center Street, or call Chief Fixler at 330-326-2206 for information.

 

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Windham – The WVFD Fire Board met for their regularly scheduled meeting for May at the fire station with all board members and fiscal officer present. In the fire chief’s report, Chief Iwanyckyj asked the board if they could partition part of the meeting room off to make a lounge for the medics who are on call. The cost of the partition would be paid out from the firemen’s fund. After some discussion the board gave their approval for the men to make a lounge area. The chief showed the board the molding they received from Johnsonite for the meeting room. The molding was donated to the firemen. The chief stated he has access to a reduced rate pulse oxygen sensor that the firemen will purchase from the firemen’s fund if the board would agree to purchase the finger sensor for the unit. The unit is needed for the second ambulance. The board approved the finger sensor for the new oxygen sensor.   The fire chief said they were covering most of the EMS calls, with a few being covered by North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and Community Ambulance. Windham has also done a few mutual aid calls for Community Ambulance. This brought up the discussion on whether they should change their first back-up responder from NEAS to Community Ambulance to improve response times. After a discussion it was determined that the response times were within the national average for rural areas so they determined to leave well enough alone and review the system again in six months. In maintenance report Mr. Polichena reported that the trucks were in good shape, he has installed the new light bar on truck 2817 and took the light bar from that truck and had it installed on the fire jeep. Truck 2815 is in need of new tires due to dry rot. Polichena will get prices by the next meeting.A discussion was held on the fuel tank situation and it was determined that they would need to develop a plan for purchasing fuel rather than trying to bring current tanks up to the ever-changing EPA codes. The chief will look into fleet fuel purchasing with Circle K. Circle K is open 24/7 so obtaining fuel would not be a problem. The chief will explore the options and report back to the board next month.The board adjourned to en executive session, to discuss personnel matters. After the executive  session the board reconvened and addressed the multi-gas detector issue.  The fire chief said the charger for the unit had disappeared and the unit they have is useless without a charger. The cost to replace it would be $103.90. They use the detectors to detect harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, propane, natural gas etc leaks. The board approved the request. With there being no other business, the meeting was adjourned. The fire board meets on the second Thursday of each month at the fire station at 7pm. Meetings are open to the public.

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Windham - The regularly scheduled meeting of the village council was rescheduled for April 27, 2011. The council was missing one member. The pledge of allegiance was recited and the meeting began. The last council meeting the fire chief explained that the village had received a warning about their fuel systems not being in compliance with the new standards. After doing some research, the village decided to eliminate the fueling system and enter into a contract with Circle K. Legal council presented the contract to purchase their gas and diesel fuel at Circle K. Circle K is opened 24/7 so there would be no problem obtaining fuel when they need it. Council approved the contract with Circle K.Council president Linda Rininger reported that she and Chief Fixler attended Government Day at Head Start. The two read books to the kids and joined them for a tomato soup and grilled cheese luncheon. The police chief was a hit with the kids.A discussion was held on the payment for Portage County Hazard Materials Response Team for 2008, 2009, & 2010. Council decided they would pay the 2008 & 2009 bill. They determined they would turn the 2010 bill over to the fire district as they would be the ones handling Haz-Mat matters. Council approved the re-hiring of Loretta Workman as a part-time dispatcher. Workman recently resigned her full-time position as a dispatcher for Windham to take a job elsewhere. Council filled her position with a full time position so when she wanted to return to the department all they could offer her was a part-time position.Windham’s recent purchase of used cruisers has left them with two old cruisers they do not need. Council authorized the chief to sell the cruisers at www.govdeals.com to see what he could get for them.Council authorized the fiscal officer to apply for credit with the Tax Exempt Lease Corporation for the purchase of new water meters. The current water meters are out dated, inaccurate and require one to physically go to each meter to read it costing the city valuable labor time. The new meters will be read by an infrared scanner that can be done from a vehicle rather than walking house to house. After approving acquiring credit for the meter project council also approved to replace meters throughout the entire village. Council meets regularly on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the village hall.

Camp Ravenna – Early Saturday morning almost 200 people sacrificed sleep when they arrived at 7:30 a.m. at the Renaissance Family Center for a tour of Camp Ravenna.  The excited folks enjoyed coffee and donuts while they waited on the buses to take them to see first hand what really lays behind the gate at Camp Ravenna Military Training Facility aka the Ravenna Arsenal. The four hour tour was set up by the Windham Historical Society as a fundraiser for the Bicentennial to be held later this summer. The group traveled by school buses that were paid for by the historical society to see what goes on and to get a little history lesson on the camp. Everyone was greeted by the Garrison Commander Lieutenant Colonial Ed Meade. Meade addressed everyone and told a little bit about what we would see and he introduced each bus to their tour guide.  The tour took us to the old stone arch bridge that spans Sand Creek which fascinated everyone. Our guide Major Richard Saphore explained that the bridge was constructed in the late 1800 and the military recently spent $250,000 on restoration of the bridge. A large percentage of the restoration money was spent on scientific research to determine the type of mortar they would need to use to replicate the original mortar of the bridge. At the bridge one could see the dam the Boy Scouts built years ago and see a small water fall. Everyone was thrilled with the sight, took advantage of the photo opportunity and asked many questions about the camp. The second stop took a detour around a broken culvert to see a bunker. The bunkers are virtually invisible from an aerial view and even had trees growing on top of them. They built the bunkers in staggered rows 1500 feet apart to prevent a chain reaction of explosions if one was filled with ordinances was hit. Currently they do not store any ordinances in the bunkers but occasionally they store weapons from drug raids there until the case goes to trial, then the weapons are destroyed. The cost of removing the bunkers is staggering so for now they are used for storage for a variety of items. The camp has 693 bunkers.  The next stop on the tour took one to what used to be the officers housing and a tour of one of the houses. The officers’ housing is set up in a circle simulating an old pioneer village. The colonial houses built in the early 1940’s had beautiful hardwood floors, three- four bedrooms, two baths and a fireplace; although the houses are not in livable condition and are now used for training purposes, one could see that they were once a place of splendor. The former officer’s houses will be torn down in the future, but for now they use them to train drug dogs and train military personnel.  The Readiness Center and the newly built barracks were the next stop. There one saw new recruits learning how to properly wear fatigues, get ready for basic training, and glimpses of the small mess hall. The barracks that were recently finished gave one a snapshot of a soldiers’ life at the camp. There are three barracks that can house up 2500 soldiers and the last one was recently finished and is waiting on furniture.  The last stop of the tour took the group to the simulated training area. The humvee rollover simulator was interesting to see. The simulator is computer programmed to simulate any type of situation the soldiers may find themselves in when using the humvee. The humvee simulator is an actual humvee set on a mechanical arm that is computer controlled. The mechanical arm rotates the humvee to various degrees including the ability to do a 360. The simulator rotates the vehicle at various degrees imitating a rollover, which the soldiers learn how to escape from different angles and scenarios. The driving simulators are programmed to simulate any vehicle the military has to offer and have the feel of actual driving. If you are driving on a rough road the seat will bounce you around as if you’re actually traveling on a road. Each simulator computer stores data and allows one to see how they did and what one needs to do to improve their skills. The artillery simulator was real interesting too. Tourists had the opportunity to see how a computer can control the scene that the shooter sees and how the laser weapons are used to improve marksmanship. The computerized laser guns tell you if you’re jerking when shooting, hesitating or improperly holding the gun and even give one the feel of a real gun when they feel the recourse of every shot fired.  It also records how many shots were fired, how many hits, and how many kills. The simulator shooting scene can be changed from a clear day, to fog, rain, night time, cloudy etc. giving a soldier a chance to prepare for all types of adverse conditions. The tour lasted four hours and just showed snippets of what all happens behind the intriguing gates of Camp Ravenna. To see the entire facility in action one would need to be a soldier, however the portions we did see, really gives one an idea of what happens behind the gates and the role Camp Ravenna plays in our nation’s security and the freedoms we all experience everyday.

Windham – The children of Windham’s KT Elementary preschool were treated to a visit from Yo-Yo the Clown.  Steve Blasko from Youngstown has performed for over 40 years.  He demonstrated for the children how he transforms himself into a clown. Teacher’s Aide Ms. McLean and a student, Briah Daniel, joined in the fun by applying clown makeup.  The preschoolers smiled and watched in amazement as Yo-Yo made each of the them an animal-shaped balloon. Registration is now open for next school year.  If interested, please come to KT Elementary.  Any questions, call the school at 330.326.9800.

Windham – The state budget is in and said what everyone hoped it wouldn’t say — big revenue losses for the Windham School District. The board of education (BOE) was hoping it would not come down to loss of jobs but after running on bare bones the last few years a Reduction in Force (RIF) was their only alternative if the district is to survive. At the March BOE meeting the district announced that it would eliminate 26 positions and they would determine the specific staff members after analyzing everyone’s credentials. The other shoe so to speak fell as the BOE felt it had no alternative but to RIF 23 employees and adjust their curriculum.  Mr. Gregg Isler superintendent said it was a difficult but necessary process that needed to be done so the district can survive. The list of staff cuts included art, music and band instructors; however they will be offering those electives in some capacity next year. So those who are wondering about the new band uniforms, yes they will be worn and used in the 2011 -2012 school year.  Some of the staff cuts involve elective courses that only had a few students interested in taking them. The courses they eliminated will be replaced by more interesting classes that will benefit the students and still fulfill college requirements. Prior to the RIFs the district had students fill out a survey on what electives they would like to see offered and the number one desire was to have a Science of Sports. This class would help students mathematically figure out the entire hows and whys of the sports facilities, equipment, and etc. using mathematical computations. The district anticipates having the full elective course list in place in the next week or so. Questions were asked about the future of the district. Isler said he anticipates that they will have to continue to adjust their staff and budget over the years but doesn’t anticipate that it will be as severe as this year. The district plans to announce they will have a public forum in the near future to answer any questions the public may have on these issues.  I took to the streets last week to see what the public had to say about the cuts in the district. The over all feeling was Ohio needs to change the way it funds districts and they need to do it soon. Many thought it was a sad day for public education in the community, and felt badly about the losses the district faced, while hoping there would be some changes in the funding that would allow the district to bring some of the staff back for the next school year. While there were those who felt bad, others were more indifferent about the scenario and pretty much were resolved to the attitude of it is what it is. Many of the folks who weighed in on the issue were quick to put the blame on student losses to open enrollment and on the housing units demolished in the projects. So I checked with the district and found they have 101 students opened enrolled in other district while taking in only 46 from other districts. So there are some losses here that effect the over all budget. I also checked on the housing situation and yes they have torn down some of the project housing but most of the ones they took down were unoccupied and in poor condition. The tenants who occupied some of the units that were demolished were relocated to other unoccupied units in other buildings. So this has had little if no effect on the situation.In other BOE news, the board approved to house their own multi-handicap unit in the elementary school rather than bus them to other schools. Isler stated, “That they feel confident that they can best serve those students needing this service, in their own district.” They also approved to have an ED behavioral unit at the Jr. / Sr. high school. Lastly the Board announced that they would make up their calamity days at the end of the school year. Seniors will be required to return to class for two days after commencements due to state requirements. The state allows seniors to be dismissed from three days of classes, however by adding the calamity days at the end of the year forces the district to either change graduation day or have the seniors return after commencements. The board chose to have the seniors return. The BOE meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m.

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Windham Twp. – Windham Township Trustees met for this April meeting with all trustees and the fiscal officer present. The first item on the agenda was guest recognition. Fire Chief Mike Iwanyckyj asked to address the trustees. The chief stated that the fire department had received a notice that their fuel tanks were in violation of the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. The chief stated that they currently have single walled tanks that are too close to the building and are not fenced in with the proper fencing. The chief said he was forewarning the township that they may be hearing from the EPA because they have been out investigating several local municipalities and schools in the area after receiving complaints from someone. After some discussion the trustees will look at possible options to the dilemma. One option was to seek out purchasing fuel locally and foregoing the township tanks. No decision was made and the trustees thanked the chief for the information.

Another guest addressed the board and wanted to know why the minutes were not available on the web site, nor could she get a copy of the minutes emailed to her. She stated that she has asked for them repeatedly and has yet to see any of them. She also wanted to know why they were not printed and available for everyone at each meeting. After some discussion, it was learned that the web site now has the minutes that have been approved by the trustees posted. Anyone wanting them may print them or read them off the web site. The first NOPEC Grant Project was started and hit a snag; apparently the electric bill for The Green is in involved in a joint venture utility discount with the village with the bill in the village’s name. Ohio Edison will not allow the township to do anything because in the utility company’s eyes they are not the owner. The township wants to update the lighting on The Township Green before the Bicentennial. Timmons said they will  get it all sorted out and hopefully will be able to proceed with the project so it will be done by the Bicentennial Celebration slated for the end of July. Speaking of the Bicentennial Celebration, the trustee approved the payment of $2500 to the Bicentennial Committee to be used for the birthday bash.

Trustee Dann Timmons, the township’s representative to the fire board reported that they met with Lieutenant Colonel Ed Meade of Camp Ravenna and updated the Fire and EMS Contract. The original contract was signed before the fire board was established. LT. Col. Meade also requested that Windham handle their calls on the Braceville side of the camp as well. The fire board will discuss this issue at their regular meeting next week. Mr. Timmons said they did not want to infringe on the township of Braceville and cause an issue between the two entities.

Zoning inspector Rich Gano stated that the tires that were starting to re- appear at the Horner’s property were removed but the shingles were still there. It has been almost two years since the township took legal action against the homeowner and assisted them with the clean-up and removal of over 8000 tires from the premises. The trustees will keep an eye on the situation and reopen the case if they have to do so.  Gano also reported that there were zoning violations at 8536 Gotham Road, he had issued a letter and stopped by the premises and they have not responded so he will be turning it over to the prosecutor.

The trustees meet on the first Thursday of each month at the town hall at 7pm.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Windham – The Windham Volunteer Fire Department (W.V.F.D) Joint Fire District board met for their regularly-scheduled meeting with four of the five board members. The board’s first action was to approve the fiscal report and expenditures. After a month of research and review, the board has approved the purchase of a new ambulance. The board goal is to try to purchase a new ambulance every five years so that they have an ambulance that is no older than 10 years in service. The oldest ambulance will be marketed and if it isn’t sold before the new one arrives they will trade it in on the new one. The new ambulance will not arrive for about 120 or so days after it is ordered.

Fire  Chief   Iwanyckyj reported that he had a fire fighter who needed to take  the 36- hour fire class and he had two who wanted to take the 84-hour transition class at Maplewood the cost for the classes are, 36 hour class is $335 and the  84 hour class is $635 per person.  Both classes qualify for the state reimbursement program. The board agreed to pay for the classes. The chief also requested that the board consider paying extra staff to be on call for the weekends. He stated that the department is loosing money because they have to have Community Ambulance cover for them when they are out on another call. He stated that since there are two ambulances available, having enough people on call to staff the second squad would allow the department to recoup the cost of the runs now going to outside organizations. After some discussion the board agreed to  additional manpower to be on call over the weekends and review the new policy in six month to determine if it is cost effective. Iwanyckyj appointed Justin Martin, Nate Bushek, and himself to a grant committee. The committee will look for grants and apply for them as they become available.

Len Polichena gave the maintenance updates and reported that most of the trucks were in good shape except engine 2811. This truck is at Kepich Ford for ball joints, brakes and other issues. He also reported that engine 2815 is waiting on parts but is able to make runs while waiting.  Other maintenance issues, seat belts for the jeep have been ordered and will be installed as soon as they arrive, trucks are being put on an oil change schedule, and the van will eventually need tires but for now it is ok.
In other news, the board accepted the resignation of Don West and hired Kevin Kulesa as a medic. Mr. Kulesa was recommended by the chief. The fire board meets on the second Thursday of each month at the fire station at 7 pm. All meetings are opened to the public.

Windham – The Windham Historical Society continues their busy 2011 schedule on Monday, March 21, at 7 PM in the Brick Chapel on North Main Street in Windham.

The program for this meeting will be presentations by two Windham High School seniors, Jeremy Isler and Jarrod Davis, as the final step in their pursuit of Windham Historical Society scholarships.

These scholarships are underwritten by the Stuart Higley Foundation, administered by descendants of one of Windham’s founding families. The Higley Foundation has been a long-time benefactor of the Historical Society.

Jeremy will be speaking about the history of the Taft farm on Route 82, one of the oldest farms in Windham Township.
Jarrod, who has been an intern with the Historical Society for several years, will talk about the history of the only major industry in Windham, the Harbison-Walker Refractories.

The Brick Chapel opens at 6:30 to all interested visitors for a meet-and-greet and a chance to look at exhibits before the meeting, including the wonderful new Huber King art archives.

The Windham Historical Society is ramping up all of its activities, which will culminate in the Windham Bicentennial Celebration beginning July 28th, a homecoming for thousands of Windhamites around the globe.
The Society is always interested in obtaining, whether permanently or on loan, any object with relevance to Windham. Items of special interest include pictures, scrapbooks, ephemera, newspapers, advertising, tokens, school items, sports items, or family genealogy.
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 Twp. – Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting last week with all trustees and the fiscal officer present. Trustee Dann Timmons announced that the NOPEC Grant has been approved and the first payment should be received soon. New lighting on “the Green” will be the first project slated to begin soon so it can be  ready for the Bicentennial celebration this summer. Other projects will be started as the weather breaks.
The chairman Dann Timmons recognized guest Bill Isler Sr. from Islerscaping. Islerscaping has handled all the mowing, fertilizing and flower bed maintenance for the township. Mr. Isler presented the new contract for mowing as $164 per each mowing not to exceed 25 mowings for 2011, for a maximum cost of $4,100 per year. The annual cost may be lower because price is determined by how many times they need to mow, with mowing to be done after grass exceeds 3 3?4”. Other expected landscape costs are $125 for edging, $400 for pruning small trees, $534 for mulch ( this cost has risen sharply due to skyrocketing cost of mulch and Islerscaping has had to increase the cost this year to cover their costs), $50 for fertilizer and $25 for each plaque that they install on the memorial trees. The memorial trees are planted free as a public service with the $25 cost covering the purchase of the plaques and hardware. After some discussion, the board approved the contract with Islerscaping.
Brian Miller stated that he invited Todd Teets, a representative from Regional Planning to the meeting to help resolve zoning questions about the new proposed zoning changes.
Many residents felt some of the new proposed changes would infringe on their rights as property owners and felt the folks on the committee were not in touch with what they want for Windham. The representative stated that it was the residents’ community and they should eliminate items that don’t reflect the desires of the community. Zoning sets the minimum standard for the township and by not having a standard anyone could do anything to their property with little or no regard to their neighbor’s property or property values.  Timmons stated that they have sent the proposed zoning changes the public has problems with back to the zoning commission and they will revisit the areas in question and re-present it to the trustees. The trustees will then schedule another public meeting on the issue. In other zoning issues Zoning Inspector Rich Gano stated that Horners are starting to gather more junk on their property. He said he counted 90 tires and caught a roofing company dumping shingles there earlier in the week. Last year the township removed 8000 tires and assisted the Horners in cleaning-up the property after years of legal battles with them over multiple zoning violations. Trustee Timmons stated that he will look at the court documents and contact the prosecutor about the violation.
Road Supervisor Rich Gano said he had to repair two culvert wash outs, one on Gotham Road and one on Frazier Road from the heavy rains. He stated that he also purchased three ton of limestone from Lakeside Gravel for the repairs.
The township trustees meet at the township hall on the first Thursday of each month at 7pm.

Windham – The W.V.F.D. Joint Fire District Board met for their regularly scheduled meeting recently.  Prior to the meeting each board member had an opportunity to see the possible new ambulance for the district. The new ambulance is a 2010 Ford E-450 super duty that is set up exactly like the primary ambulance they are already using. This unit, if purchased, will replace the older of the two units they have in service. After viewing the ambulance, they called their regularly-scheduled meeting to order. First item on the agenda was to choose a chairman and vice chairman of the board for the new year. The board chose Dann Timmons as the chairman and Donny Altiere as the vice chairman. Next item on the agenda was the approval of the minutes of the last meeting, bank reconciliation, and January bills and wages.

Fire chief reported that all the trucks were in good shape except for truck 2815.

Engine 2815 was sent to Wire Wizards in Akron to have electrical work done to the inverter when the alternator shorted out. The alternator was replaced as well as two regulators in the inverter.

The chief also reported that the fire extinguishers, Scot Air Paks and new radios were in, however the air packs came without audio which is needed and the board agreed to order them. When the department purchased these previously they came standard with the air paks but now they have to be ordered separately. The Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (M.A.B.A.S.) is been revamped and is ready to be used. This procedure is set up for our dispatchers to make calling for mutual aid departments easier. When activated, the dispatcher will be given a box alarm and number. In the number is all the information he/she needs to call out the mutual aid. Such information includes the fire department, equipment needed and phone number of the M.A.B.A.S. requested.

The chief stated that the office is almost completed and they will be soon working on painting the meeting room. The firemen will do the labor. All the board will need to do is purchase the paint. The chief also reported that after they had evaluated everyone’s gear and discovered that two sets are outdated and two other sets need to be cleaned. The gear was sent to Warren Fire who routinely handles their equipment needs. Finally the chief reported that Rich Gano has submitted a resignation for retirement from the fire department. Mr. Gano has faithfully served the community for 29 years as a firefighter and a medic. The board regretfully accepted his retirement and thanked him for all the years he had served the community faithfully.

Mr. Terry Fund from Lifeline Emergency Vehicles presented figures to the board for the purchase of a new ambulance. After some discussion the board tabled the approval of the purchase until next month so the board could review the proposal and inquire about a lease-purchase.

The fire board meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the fire station. All meetings are opened to the public.

Windham Village council met for their regularly scheduled meeting in council chambers at village hall.  Council members in attendance were Rachel Barrett, Scott Garrett, Kelly Meszaros, and Jena Miranda. Council member Phil Snyder was away for a family emergency. Fiscal officer Lloyd Billman reported that the expenditures for January were $ 150,437.91 and the bank reconciliation for January with an all-funds reconciled balance of $561,620.73.

Council president requested an executive session to discuss personnel issues. Council members returned from the executive session after a half hour with no business to vote on from the session.

The board had a prior request from Mr. Dave Apthorpe who is the plant manager for Harbison Walker. Mr. Apthorpe had concerns over new water and sewer rate the village instituted last month. Apthorpe claimed the company’s previous consumption was 685,000 gallons for a month and their bill was $5,768.89. This last month they used 615,000 gallons and were billed $11,838.75. Apthorpe complained that this was double his previous bill for fewer  gallons used. Mayor Rob Donham stated that they re-configured how they bill water and sewer rates to make them more fair. In the past everyone was billed for minimum usage and those who were single or used less water were being billed for water they didn’t use or need. The rates are now billed per 1000 gallons used. The new rates would encourage conservation and equalize the injustice for the low volume users. In the past many residents who used the least amount were funding those who used the most water like the area businesses. Mr. Apthorpe complained that this was a 125% increase and what was he supposed to tell the corporate head why his budget he submitted for the year won’t work. The mayor explained that this was how it was going to be and suggested they look at ways to use less water or loop their water so they could re-use it to reduce their cost.  (Harbison’s large consumption of water is used to cool their machinery.) Donham also offered administrative help to explain to Harbison’s corporate head why the bills have increased.

Paul Blewitt also had a prior request to speak. He was questioning the village’s hiring practices. He wanted to know what it took to get an interview, if and when they actually advertised the position and if they interviewed applicants for the full-time temporary labor position at the water plant. The mayor responded by saying they don’t disclose personnel issues to the public,  however they follow the guidelines set by the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) and the codified ordinances of the village. After some bantering back and forth the mayor stated that they did interview some of the applicants and they hired the best candidate for the position.

In other business, council authorized the purchase of a 2007 Crown Victoria Police Cruiser. The action ratified the authority council gave the police chief at a previous meeting to purchase a cruiser. Council also approved the carry-over of the balance of the police chief’s sick leave hours from the State of Ohio Department of Mental Health at Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare where he had been previous employed. They also adopted the new sewer rates, tabled the adoption of the water rates and tabled a contract with Glacial Energy of Ohio Inc and the contract with the Library. The contracts were tabled so their legal counsel could make changes to the verbiage of the contracts. Lastly Cecelia Swanson from the Portage County Library thanked council for helping them relocate to another facility in the village. She also inquired about the further use of the structure only so they knew how much they needed to dismantle, clean etc. The mayor told her to leave what they wanted and they would take care of it since it appears that the building that housed the library will probably be demolished. The village council meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the village hall.

Pictured above are (front row) Hallie Zdanczewski, Caitlyn Isler, Julia Brookover; (back row) Jeremy Isler, Sarita Greene, Marietta Brown, Barb Burns, Kendra Wilmington - Manager of the Windham Salvation Army, and Principal Michael Chaffee

Pictured above are (front row) Hallie Zdanczewski, Caitlyn Isler, Julia Brookover; (back row) Jeremy Isler, Sarita Greene, Marietta Brown, Barb Burns, Kendra Wilmington - Manager of the Windham Salvation Army, and Principal Michael Chaffee

Windham – Recently the students of Windham Junior and Senior High Schools had a canned food drive to benefit the Windham Salvation Army.  The students collected over 300 canned goods and raised $120.  As a reward for reaching their goals, the students were treated to a demonstration from the Portage County Sheriff’s Department Canine Unit.

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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.

(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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Windham – The Village of Windham’s search for a police chief came to an end last week with council approving the hiring of Gene H. Fixler to serve as the Chief of Police for the village.  Mayor Rob Donham II issued the oath of office to the chief in front of a crowd of well wishers, friends, former colleagues and family at the December council meeting. The chief’s son Brian Fixler was given the honor of affixing the Windham Police Department (WPD) chief badge on his father.

Chief Fixler brings 36 plus years experience to the Windham Police Department. During the course of his career Fixler has served in various capacities in law enforcement and most recently served as a Lieutenant with the Grand River Police Department and also served as a Lieutenant of the State of Ohio of Mental Health Police Department Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare. Chief Fixler is expected to be officially on the job within the next few weeks.

In other council news, Mayor Donham stated that he attended the last Portage County District Library (PCDL) board meeting and the board appreciated the village subsidizing the library. The Village of Windham agreed at their November meeting to subsidize the library $800/ month if they would relocate to a facility within the village limits. The PCDL expects to relocate to the Renaissance Family Center (RFC) in the next month or so. The village also thanked Windham Township for their willingness to loan them snow removal material if their supply became depleted in the recent storms, however, the assistance was appreciated and turned out not to be needed. Finally, the Parks and Recreation Committee announced the winners of the annual lighting contest. Committee chairman Phil Snyder stated that they had 160 homes entered in the contest and the winners are:

1st place: Bud and Rella Mullinax of Spring Drive,

2nd place: Carl and Marian Angus of Spring Drive

3rd place: Ken and Kaye Friend of North Main Street

Honorable mention: Don and Kim Ridenbaugh & Ken and Freda Shearer

Mr. Snyder thanked all the participants and encourages more folks to considering entering next year. Prizes were donated by local businesses.

In other Windham Safety news, the W.V.F.D. Joint Fire District issued the oath of office to newly-appointed Fire Chief Mike Iwanyckyj. The Fire Board Fiscal Officer Jayme Neikirk issued the oath of office while retiring Fire Chief Clair Simpson affixed the chief’s new badge.

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Windham – The New Year was barely a day old when long-time patrons gathered at T& J’s restaurant in Windham to say good bye and enjoy one last breakfast at the local eatery. Patrons stated that losing a morning place to gather, eat breakfast and catch up on local news is just another sign of the times and they hoped someone would consider opening another eatery in the same location soon. “It is truly a sad day in Windham as we see another business becomes a victim of the economy,” stated one resident, who just shook his head and said, “It is just a sad day.”

The restaurant-closing rumor began circulating earlier this week and was later confirmed late Friday by one of its employees. Owner Tim Goodwin said the closure is bittersweet. “I am sad about the closure but looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life. I have recently finished nursing school and I am scheduled to take my state boards later this month. Besides my full time job at the Ford Motor Company I plan on seeking part-time work as a nurse.” The owner cited the sluggish economy as the primary reason for closing the facility, however changes to his family dynamics over the past few years were also a contributing factor in his decision to permanently close the facility.  Goodwin stated that the last few months have been rough and the business started to decline when the economy tanked in 2009. The closure leaves nine employees out of jobs effective January 2, 2011 with four of the employees being Goodwin’s adult children.

Goodwin purchased the local eatery in 2005 when it was formerly known as Vi’s Family Restaurant. About nine months ago he relocated the restaurant from the old Dairy Queen building to the Shops of Windham. The Shops of Windham are located in the former Windham Pharmacy Facility next to the Sparkle Market. Tim said when he purchased the restaurant he was laid off from his full-time job and had time to run the eatery with his dad’s help.  Since that time, he started to pursue and has obtained a nursing degree, and was called back to his full time job, both responsibilities left him little time to run the business, especially when he was unable to be there.

When asked about hiring a manager to run the eatery he said it was considered but because of the economy they decided the best thing for them would be just to close. He also stated that he had several inquiries from folks who were interested in purchasing the eatery but no one was able to secure financing or come up with the funds needed to purchase the facility. I asked about the future of the building and he stated he was uncertain what the building owner’s plans were. (Calls to the building owner were not returned before press time.)

The restaurant was slated to close at 3 pm Sunday January 2, 2011 and leaves Windham without a sit down eatery. Prior to closing time Goodwin stated that he would auction off all his equipment and any remaining inventory to the public.

The equipment was purchased by Patti and Jim Moore and is being included with their property that is currently for sale on SR 303.

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Windham – The Windham Historical Society begins its new year on Monday, January 17, at 7 p.m. in the Brick Chapel on North Main Street in Windham.
The Brick Chapel opens at 6:30 to all interested visitors for a meet and greet. The Society has increased its membership tremendously in 2010, and hopes to expand even more in the new year, which marks Windham Bicentennial.
At the November meeting, a large turnout heard sports historian George Belden discuss Basketball before Marty Hill, a salute to the great Windham teams of the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Among the attendees were members of the late 1950’s Bombers of Coach Dick Schlup, which averaged over 20 wins per season. From left to right, they are Tom Denvir, Ken Rowan, Jerry Tacy, Bill Barker, Bill Isler, and current Windham coach Marty Hill.
For more information on the January meeting, please call Society President Lynnea St. John at 330-326-6061, or email her at Lynnya45@yahoo.com.

Commissioner Marsilio being sworn in by her mother, Sandy Pelphrey.

Garrettsville – On Tuesday, December 28, 2010, amid  Portage County political figures, law officers, friends and family, Tommie Jo Marsilio was sworn into office as Portage County Commissioner. The ceremony took place in the Iva L. Walker Auditorium, a fitting location for this James A Garfield alum  who credits former Social Studies teacher, Iva Walker, for her desire to get involved in government.

Assistant County Prosecutor David Brode led the proceedings.  Members of Garrettsville Girl Scout Troop 632 opened the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance and Pastor Gray of the First Baptist Church in Garrettsville offered the Blessing.

Commissioner Marsilio was sworn in by her mother, Sandy Pelphrey.

Tommie Jo Marsilio offered her thanks to those who supported her during her campaign and for their continued support. She vowed to do her very best in holding government officials accountable for their actions and to bring government back to where it truly represents the people.

Everyone who attended was offered refreshments of cake and punch in the Commons area following the ceremony.

January 3rd was Tommie Jo’s first official day in office.

Windham –  All little girls have a dream of being Cinderella even if it is only for a moment. Danielle Hickman has had two opportunities to have Cinderella experiences in her life. The first one was last fall when she was crowned homecoming queen at Windham High School. The second opportunity presented itself because of the first one. Danielle received an application through the school to apply for America’s Homecoming Queen Court to represent the area at the Liberty Bowl held in Memphis, Tennessee on New Years Eve. Danielle was one of 107 homecoming queens nationwide selected to participate in the half-time show at the game. The event wasn’t a contest nor was there a naming of “America’s Homecoming Queen”, per se, it was just an opportunity to represent the area and participate in the half-time performance at the Liberty Bowl Game.

Each participant was required to purchase a bowl package that included tickets to the game, a welcome reception, a luncheon and tour of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, pre-game buffet, participation in the parade and local transportation to the bowl festivities. The girls were welcomed on Wednesday and the next few days were a flurry of activity. Danielle said she felt like a celebrity as they ushered her around to the various events and deemed it a once in a lifetime experience.

The featured event was their performance with the O’Jays during the half-time show at the game. The girls were featured in long white gowns and danced to “Love Train” which was performed by the O’Jays. According to Danielle’s mother, Tammy, it was an awesome site to behold.

The Windham senior said “The trip was an incredible experience where I was able to make new friends from all over the country; it was a trip I will never forget.”  Miss Hickman was one of five Ohioans selected for the honor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of the many structures that will be removed as part of Windham's revitalization

Windham - The buildings, dubbed “the projects” had been constructed in the early 1940’s. They were originally built to house the workers that would flock to the Windham area as the Ravenna Ordinance Plant was getting geared- up for production in the early ‘40’s. The structures, that were designed to last around 10-15 years, had far surpassed their life expectancy when they were reduced to a pile of rubble to make way for re-development of the area.

The village purchased the 20 blighted properties earlier this year for $2000 each from the bank that held the loans that were in foreclosure. They then started the process of demolishing 20 buildings in the Maple Grove area several months ago when they hired a crew to remove asbestos and other hazardous materials from the old, dilapidated buildings before the arrival of the wrecking ball. Many of the twenty buildings were four or five family units, which could provide housing for approximately 120 families if properly maintained. When the village purchased the properties, only five units in the 20 buildings were occupied. The village helped the tenants by relocating them to other more stable buildings then started the process of tearing the old buildings down. This past week the large equipment arrived; the demolition process began and will continue until all of the 20 buildings are down.

This demolition project brought out all kinds of questions. What happens when the projects are gone? Where will folks live? When you keep demolishing the projects the population will decline if the population declines than what is the future of the Village? The plan is to replace the demolished buildings with single family homes and a multi- family complex similar to South Wood apartments in Garrettsville. The goal is to provide housing for people in a variety of economic levels, fostering strong neighborhood ties. Strong neighborhoods build strong communities. The days of poverty- concentrated neighborhoods of transients in Windham will soon be a thing of the past.

When asked about the decline of the population of Windham and the demolition of the projects contributing to it, the mayor said that it is simply not true. “The Windham Police Department has been pro-active on crime and has made it more difficult for criminals to conduct business in the village so they have started to leave and go to other areas where police aren’t as proactive.” The dilapidated buildings were a hazard to the community because they attracted squatters and curious children. Eventually, someone was going get hurt in one of the buildings; it was just a matter of time. Therefore, demolishing them became a safety issue as well as part of the re-development of the area.

Donham sees the future of Windham as bright. The village’s agreement to provide water and sewer services to Camp Ravenna will eventually lead to the opening of the gate in Windham, allowing soldiers access to the village and its businesses. The agreement brings improvements to the village’s infrastructure which will generate more money for the village by the sale of city utilities to Camp Ravenna.

Besides the agreement with the Arsenal, Donham has also been working on getting a turnpike exit in Windham. The possibility of an exit in the village will have the potential to open doors for distribution centers, manufacturing facilities and other businesses to consider Windham as the new, up-and-coming place to conduct business. Having a direct access to the turnpike will be a huge draw for this area and will eventually bring more jobs to the region.

The mayor stated “This is not your grandfather’s Windham any more.” The administration has plans to market the village as the most economical place in Portage County to live; lowest taxes in the county, suitable family housing at a reasonable cost and excellent safety forces. The re-development of the project area will offer more affordable housing for families, seniors, singles, etc and will be a big draw to the community It will no longer be a concentrated area of one social economic group, it will be a diverse neighborhood. The diverse neighborhood will attract families which will increase the population in the village and in the schools, which will be a win-win for everyone.

The buildings coming down are just part of the vision. The vision has many phases before the ultimate goal of a healthy, strong, diverse community can be established. The face of Windham is changing and is happening one step at a time; this is only the beginning. Before too long the old reputation of the village will be a very distant memory as the new Windham emerges.

Windham – The Windham Friday Club held its October meeting at Mimi’s Restaurant in Ravenna.  Members welcomed guest Helen Gourley, the mother of member Pegge Petkovich.

A short business meeting was conducted.  Club members donated candy and other sweets to make two baskets that were then donated at the October chili cookoff  fundraiser for the upcoming Windham Bicentennial fund.  Members also voted to give a $25 donation to the Windham Sports Boosters for their upcoming Chinese Auction fundraiser.

Members played fall trivia with questions related to the season.  Betty Lou Yost and Jodi Woolf each won a pumpkin candy.

Each member received a bag of Halloween cookies that were a gift from President Pam Cree.

The next meeting will be held on November 19 at the home of Pat Clayton, with Ruth Ann Brown as the cohostess.

Windham – Windham Village Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting with all council members and the fiscal officer in attendance. The council approved the fiscal officer’s expenditures, and the September bank reconciliation. Items on the agenda were: the purchase of new cruisers, revisions to income tax filing requirements, mineral rights lease, water and sewer agreement with Portage County and questions from the public.
The board authorized $55,000 to purchase two new police cruisers from Ford Motor Company. The agreement will be a three-year lease to purchase.
An ordinance to revise and amend section 181.07b of the Village of Windham income tax code and filing was defeated. This would have required village residents to provide their 1040 federal when filing their village income taxes.  Some council members stated that they objected to this because of privacy issues. They felt that the social security numbers of their children and other items on the 1040 form other than income was none of the village’s business. After a discussion was held on redacting private information the council decided they would review the ordinance during their committee meeting next month and revisions will be made before being brought to a vote again.
Council then approved a gas and oil lease with Kenyon Energy, LLC for the rights to explore oil and gas on village property. Part of the contract would require that the energy company do a water study before or after they start drilling to ensure the water quality remains as it was prior to the drilling. The energy company will pay $550 per acre for the exploration of minerals. The village owns approximately 100 acres that would be involved in this lease.
The board approved a resolution authorizing an agreement with Portage County, Ohio for water and sanitary sewer discharge. This agreement is part of the contract the village has with the arsenal. The contract is to sell water and sanitation services at the current rates residents pay. The tap-in fees for the arsenal are expected to generate approximately $250,000 for the village.
Residents  asked questions about when they would name a new chief, inquiry on the ballot, and the library building. The mayor stated that the new chief should be announced in the next week or so. A resident and a council member questioned the ballot inquiry about moving the council offices to Renaissance Family Center (RFC) when the center is owned by the church. How can we enter into a lease with RFC when they do not own the building was asked? The mayor stated that the item on the ballot was an inquiry and if RFC doesn’t own the building then they would not be entering into a lease with them. (Council objects to entering into any lease agreement with a religious organization such as a church. Currently the church is the registered owner of the facility.) He said they were just trying to see what the public’s preference was prior to making a decision on the issue. Several residents and a council member thought the item on the ballot was deceptive, especially when they do not know who has the authority to enter into a lease agreement.
A resident asked what was going on with the library. The mayor responded by saying that after council toured the facility they have determined that a new facility would be needed. The council agreed to subsidize the cost for a new facility providing it was located within the village limits; however the library board would have to search for an acceptable facility. (Public libraries in communities rely on either community subsidy or the community providing a proper facility for the library) Other questions to council were: What happens to the current building if village offices and council chambers move to another facility?  Does the village have a reserve set aside for emergencies? The response to the building move was that they will either rent it or demolish it. The resident stated that if it is good enough to rent why don’t they just stay there? The mayor stated that it would be a short term rental and ultimately the building would need to be demolished in the near future. The mayor responded to the question about reserves and stated that the village has a 10% carry over to pay for emergencies.
The village council meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 pm in council chambers.

Two years ago Windham football season started with the usual elements, players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans but  one important element was missing on the field. The band.

Two years ago Windham football season started with the usual elements, players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans but one important element was missing on the field. The band.

Windham – Two years ago Windham football season started with the usual elements, players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans but   one important element was missing on the field. The band. The band helps lead cheers and adds to the spirit of the game, but they were absent on that opening day two years ago. They were absent all season except for a brief appearance of a seven-member pep band for homecoming that year. Well, that was then and this is now. This season the band has 26 members, including majorettes and a flag line, and now performs at all football games, home and away. Although they may be small in numbers as far as marching bands go, they are mighty in sound. When I first heard them a few weeks ago I thought they were bigger than 26. They had a rich sound that made one think they were larger than they really are.

What was the change? Everyone says the band director played a big role in the growth and rejuvenation of the marching band. In 2008 Becky Kresen came aboard as the band director bringing with her a fresh vision for the school’s instrumental music department. When Kresen came to the district, she told the board it would take maybe five years to rebuild the band program and probably three years before they would be able to put a marching band on the football field. Well here we are two years into the rebuilding program and she already has developed a quality marching band and so much more.

In the elementary school she started recorders for the fourth graders and then added xylophones for the third graders. She also has plans to add boom whackers to the program for 2nd graders. Kresen explained that when the kids are exposed to musical instruments prior to taking up instrumental instruction  they have less difficulty with the instrument because they already have the concept of reading music under their belts and all they have to do is learn the mechanics of the instrument.

Kresen has impressed the Board of Education so much that they approved the purchase of new uniforms last year. The school board and the music boosters jointly purchased 30 or so uniforms with the plans to have 60 uniforms purchased by the end of three years. When all the uniforms needed are purchased, they will continue to buy a few each year to replace the older ones as they wear out. The uniforms they purchased were $432 each with a reversible/removable breastplate. The band uses the breastplate for marching band and removes it for concert band.

The band that started off as a seven member pep band two years ago has grown beyond just marching at football games. This year they have marched at the Ravenna Balloon- a-Fair, their homecoming parade, Memorial Day Parade, and performed at two band showcase nights at Mogadore and LaBrae Schools. Along with the marching performances, this year they have plans to enter their first solo’s ensemble contest. As they continue to grow and develop, expect to see more of them at area competitions.

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Windham Library invites kids of all ages to a special Thanksgiving storytime on Monday, November 15 at 10:30 am.   Storytime is an opportunity for both parent and child to spend some one-on-one time enriching the child’s environment with stories, music, finger plays and movement.

A Thanksgiving craft will be available November 15-November 19.  Crafts are open to all ages during the library’s hours of operation. On November 24 at 12:30 p.m. we will be offering a family-friendly, updated movie version of a Charles Dickens’ classic. Old miser Scrooge must face the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-Come. The spirits must help bring kindness to his otherwise cold heart and remind him of the man he used to be.

Windham  Library  and  the entire Portage County District Library system will be closed on Thursday, November 11th for Veterans Day and Thursday November 25th for Thanksgiving.

For more information, call the Windham Library at 330-326-3145.  The library is  located at 9647 East Center Street.