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Hiram – At the last meeting of the Hiram Village Council, Police Chief Ed Samec reported that his Department received three grants in February. The first grant, from Ohio Criminal Justice Services, will outfit Hiram PD patrol cruisers with two in-car digital dash camera systems. The second grant, from the US Department of Justice, will be used to replace outdated bulletproof vests, at a value of $2,795. The third and final grant, from the Department of Homeland Security, will provide a mobile data terminal for a police cruiser. Now all three of the Department’s vehicles are similarly equipped. During Legislation, Council passed a resolution authorizing the Village to enter into an agreement with Bryant & Stratton College, allowing the Hiram Police Department to sponsor a Police Academy with the College. According to Chief Samec, 23 cadets are waiting to begin training at the newly formed Academy, which will offer a two-year program at a facility in Fairlawn. The Academy will be funded by cadet tuition, at no cost to the Village.

Next, Chief Bill Byers provided the Fire Department’s Year-End report. He reported that in 2014, the Department responded to 395 incidents: 37 in the Village, 175 in the Township, and 96 at the College. In addition, they also responded to 87 calls for Mutual Aid. Chief Byers reported that the average response time was five minutes and 13 seconds. He reported that in 2014, Firefighters and EMTs participated in 2,590 hours of training. Lastly, Chief Byers reported that the Department has received an America Grows Farmers grant, given on behalf of the Groselle Family Farm. The $2,500 grant will be used to purchase helmets, boots and gloves.

In other news, Mayor Bertrand reported that the Village would hire an Assistant Village Administrator to replace Bob Wood, who retires at the end of 2015. In addition, the Village will also be hiring an Assistant Fiscal Officer to replace Rosemary Yukich, who will retire in April. In other news, Township Trustee Kathy Schulda gave the Hiram Township report, sharing that a consortium of local governments have decided not to participate in the County’s Solid Waste plan. Schulda shared her concerns about Portage County’s abilities to provide such services, stating, “It’s ineffective. So many private companies are in this field, giving us the opportunity to get a better price for our citizens, and to save wear and tear on our roads.” Contracts are currently under discussion, and include the communities of Hiram Village and Township, Freedom, Mantua Village and Township, Ravenna City and Township, Shalersville and Streetsboro. Ms. Schulda was appointed as the Village’s liaison for this matter.

Lastly, Chris Szell reported on behalf of the Parks Board about several grants it had recently received, and several more applications that were in process. He noted that Parks Board member Sam Bixler was reappointed in November 2014, and that Susan Merrill would be stepping down as Board Chair. Mr. Szell would assume the role. At the conclusion of the report, Council President Tom Wadkins asked that the Parks Board work with the Finance Committee to discuss progress on the Hike & Bike Trail.  The Beautification Commission will meet on Friday, March 6th at 8:30 am, and the Parks Board will meet at 9 am.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Hiram Village Council will be held on Tuesday, March 10th at 7 pm. Residents are encouraged to attend.

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Stacy Turner is a wife, mother, and contributing reporter who has lived in the Mantua/Hiram area for over a dozen years. After enjoying a career in marketing, where she spent her time writing on behalf of other people, she gets a kick out of writing under her own name. Mostly, she enjoys the opportunity to learn more about her community through the stories she covers.