Shalersville – The Mantua-Shalersville Area Chamber met for their monthly meeting at the Shalersville Town Hall last Wednesday November 20, 2013. President Christine Pittsinger called the meeting to order.  After brief introductions were made, the guest speaker, Peter Young from Benefits 1 was introduced. Mr. Young talked about the up and coming changes to workers compensation and other insurance benefits available to the business community. He discussed discounts that will begin next year for those businesses that use random drug testing as a preventative measure along with other insurance changes.

Mantua Township reported that the contractor has begun the painting on the Mantua Town Hall and their road department is ready for winter.

The village reported that they received the FEMA Grant that they applied for to help repair the damage from last summer’s storm.   Repair work will begin soon.

In Shalersville, they are still in the process of filing for a grant for storm damage repair from last summer’s storm. They are also looking at grants for walking trails for the park. The historical society received a grant to demolish the building at the corner of State Route 303 and State Route 44, which has taken place. They are going to move the small building that remains and preserve it because it is the first original house in the township.  It was announced that the daycare center housed at the old school will relocate back to the church, citing a decline in enrollment due to the district adding all day kindergarten.  The school still has rooms to rent if anyone is interested.

Crestwood School news: Middle School Principal Julie Schmidt reported that the students held a ribbon sale for cancer and raised $100 for charity. They also will have a giving tree, a canned food drive, and will be collecting non-perishables and presents for servicemen and women overseas. Recently, they started a clothing closet at the middle school as well.

In the high school, the students held a talent show that raised $8,000 for a family in the community that needs a wheel chair-accessible van.

Superintendent David Toth announced that the school will host a program “Hidden in Plain Sight” on December 10th 2013 at 7:30pm. “Hidden in Plain Sight” is a program that teaches parents what risk signs to look for regarding drug abuse and suicidal tendencies in their children. The forum is being brought to the community by Crestwood Schools, with the help of Mantua Police Department along with Bath and Copley Police Departmentsl.

Downtown Mantua Revitalization Corporation (DMRC) is currently looking at grants for sidewalk improvements, and for the Light-up Mantua Campaign. The flag pole in front of the town hall will be completed as soon as the lift truck for the project is available. The goal is to have the flag up by the end of the year.

Claudia James, from Portage County Regional Planning was in attendance to facilitate a survey on what should be done with the Mantua Township School Building.

The joint fire district reported that they have reached an agreement with the union and the contract was approved. They had the apron to the driveway repaired as well.

In New Business, the Giving Trees’ locations were announced; they will be at a variety of places throughout the Mantua-Shalersville area including Mantua Drug Store, Jake’s, Buddy’s Middlefield Bank, Chase Bank and Cortland Banks in Mantua.  One may take a tag off the tree and return the unwrapped gift to one of the area collection sites. The chamber is also collecting for gift cards for the older kids.

The Chamber’s Holiday Social will be held on Monday December 9, 2013 at pm at Jakes.

Santa will arrive in town on December 6th at 6pm in the Mini Park in downtown Mantua. The children will get to tell Santa all their Christmas dreams as they light up the park. Candy canes for the event were donated by Hayletts.

The budget committee was still working on the budget and they expect to present one soon.

In Old Business, a report on the steak fry at Jake’s was given. There were 43 in attendance and everyone seemed to have a great time. Also it was noted that Jakes will celebrate their Fourth Anniversary in on November 29, 2013.

The members approved the minutes and the treasurer’s report before they adjourned.

The next meeting will be held on January 15, 2014 at 7:30 am at the Shalersville Town Hall.