VOLUME 47 No. 15
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
The Great Geauga County Fair
The Great Geauga County Fair Aug. 29 - Sept. 2
Rides • Animal Exhibits Demolition Derby Shows • Food • FUN!!
Your Community Newspaper Since 1967
8389 Mayfield Rd. B-5, Chesterland, Ohio 44026 | P: 440.729.7667 | F: 440.729.8240 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.chesterlandnews.com
Former Clerk Accuses Chester Officials of Financial Bungling By Diane Ryder Near the end of a four and a half hour Chester Township Trustees meeting Thursday, in front of a standing-room-only crowd, former Fiscal Officer Karen Austin accused township officials of mishandling the township’s finances over the past year since she left office. Austin read her remarks from a letter she said she planned to distribute to the news media and other public officials. The discussion quickly degenerated into a lengthy shouting match between Austin and Trustee Judy Caputo, who became visibly shaken when Austin asked why trustees had recently brought in Local Government Services, a branch of the Ohio Auditor of State’s Office, to examine the township’s books during the past year. “Who’s exactly watching over our finances?” Austin asked
trustees. “Are we going back and repeating history?” Austin was apparently comparing the current financial situation to the Michael Spellman scandal of almost 10 years ago, when the township’s previous fiscal officer was convicted of stealing more than $4 million in township funds. Spellman is currently in prison for his crimes, but some in the community remain wary of township officials’ financial dealings as a result. Austin accused trustees of denying her requests to see the findings of the local government audit, which trustees said is not yet completed. She said that she believed trustees had violated the Ohio Sunshine Law by not notifying the public 24 hours before special meetings.
Chester Officials• Page 3
Hannah Zannetti, a sophomore member of the West Geauga varsity volleyball team, gets thrown from a mechanical bull while her teammates look on during Saturday's ChesterFest at Chester Township Parkside Park. See page 10 for collage.
Russell Service Depts. Merge Metzenbaum Renovation Starting Next Month By Ann Wishart Merging the maintenance and road departments to save money and reorganize the general fund took up part of the Russell Township Trustees special meeting last Tuesday. In an effort to deal with state funding cuts and elimination of the inheritance tax that would lead to a general fund deficit of $583,0 0 0 in 20 15, township officials have been making numerous changes. The combination of the maintenance department with the road department was at the top of the list developed over the last few months.
Maintenance Superintendent Jack Gallagher, who has been using the old fire station for equipment and materials storage, has announced his resignation as of Nov. 15, leading officials to set the merger date for Nov. 16. At that point, Gallagher’s assistant, Vince Gambino, will begin reporting to Road Superintendent Gene Layne, a move that will place his pay and benefits within the road department budget, Fiscal Officer Chuck Walder said last Thursday. Trustees agreed not to change the name of the merged
Road Dept• Page 5
By Ann Wishart The pastoral campus of the Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Center is about to undergo some structural changes that should be good for the residents as well as the staff. When the four buildings that house the center’s developmentally disabled residents are remodeled in the next year or so, the number of individuals living on campus will decrease to 25, said Michelle Hawthorne, intermediate care facility manager. When the four buildings were first constructed, there were about 40 residents on the campus, she said.
“Each (unit) was designed to be a home with a house manager who cared for eight people,” Hawthorne said. It was a kind of foster arrangement with higher-functioning folks who were mobile and able to be involved in more activities, such as playing baseball, she said. Those now remaining at the center spend part of their days either at the school nearby where they can enjoy the pool or art and music, or at the sheltered workshop. Still, at the end of the day, crowded conditions prevail and cause friction.
West Geauga BOE Approves Fundraising For HS Field Turf By Gwen Cooper After a brief huddle, the West Geauga Field Turf Committee has passed the ball to seek donations for installing artificial turf at Howell Field at the high school. Following an introduction by school board member Michael Kilroy and a discussion between the committee and the board, the West Geauga Schools Board of Education voted Monday night to allow the group to solicit funds for the estimated $650,0 0 0 project designed to
accommodate football, soccer and lacrosse games. The school board members stipulated, however, the money be deposited into a school account and the turf committee provide a monthly status report. The group’s spokesman, Chester Township resident Tim Ritt, said the committee plans to begin selling commemorative bricks through the football team’s Gridiron Club to raise funds at the opening home football game against Chardon.
Field Turf• Page 5
Intemediate Care Facility Manager Michelle Hawthorne, right, explains the downsizing program at Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Center in Chester Township to a family of a center resident last April. The center’s residential housing will be renovated beginning in September.
In the 1980’s, there were usually two people in a bedroom and the homes had community bathrooms, said Don Rice, superintendent of the county’s board of developmental disabilities.
Renovation Vital to Purpose Walking through the larger of the four units, their age is apparent. Worn purple carpets and lime-green bath tiles go back decades. Although proper upkeep of the building is evident, the chopped-up floor-plan is inefficient for supervision of the individuals now in residence and difficult for people with mobilty issues, Hawthorne said. “Today, most are mobility limited,” she said, with many in wheelchairs. They are also essentially non-verbal, so having two in a bedroom is awkward, Rice said. The close quarters are fine for mobile, speaking individuals, not so good otherwise. “Having another adult in your bedroom is not normal for adults,” Rice said, adding it can lead to behavioral problems. So the remodeling includes six bedrooms per unit, most of which will be suites with shared bathrooms.
Metz Center• Page 7
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Chester Officials from page 1 Austin said current Fiscal Officer Mike Stark, her successor, is at the center of the financial difficulties. Stark did not attend Thursday’s meeting. Austin said Stark had mistakenly listed the same $640,000 in two places in the 2014 budget that trustees recently passed and sent to the county budget commission for approval. “When the fiscal officer submitted the budget, $640,000 was listed as the beginning balance and listed a second time as estimated revenue,” Austin accused. “Nobody saw it till the budget commission had to tell you about it. Checks and balances are supposed to be in place, but currently it doesn’t seem to be working in Chester Township.” She said on Aug. 8, Stark told trustees he was decreasing the certificate of estimated resources. Trustee Judy Caputo said she had questioned the discrepancy and believed the only way to resolve it had been to decrease the appropriation to make the budget balance. Caputo told Austin Ohio law only requires local governments alert the media at least 24 hours before a special meeting and that email notification to individual residents is merely a courtesy and not required under the Sunshine law. She denied any wrongdoing. Austin said in March, trustees approved $126,000 in appropriations to the road department, but had only $16,0 0 0 available. “Why did you guys wait till Aug. 13 to finally correct it? That’s a heck of a lot of time,” Austin said. Caputo, visibly upset, said she had been dealing with some personal family issues at that time and said she was “about to lose it” about Austin’s comments.
“I know I’m supposed to be a trustee 24/7, but I had personal issues at that time,” Caputo said. “Did I slide? Yes.” Trustee Mike Joyce interjected and said, “That’s enough; we’re moving on.” Resident and former Trustee Ron Cotman added, “Maybe the fiscal officer needs more training.” “I see a big red flag when Local Government Services has to come in and reconcile 15 months’ worth of bank statements,” his wife, Cathy Cotman, told trustees. Joyce said he would decline comment on that, adding the LGS had not completed its findings. “We will meet with LGS next week,” Caputo told her. Austin said any discussions with LGS had to be done during an open public meeting. Caputo said Austin’s earlier public records request concerning the LGS contract had mistakenly been rejected on the basis that it was attorney-client privilege. “I found out yesterday that it is not a confidential contract,” Caputo told Austin. Austin said trustees are not up to date with the finances. “We went through this before,” she said adding her phone messages to Stark go unanswered. Caputo said because Stark’s position is elected, he is not answerable to trustees, nor are trustees answerable to him.
She acknowledged when Austin was fiscal officer, the township’s books were gone over line-by-line with trustees every month. “You don’t do that anymore,” Austin told her. Joyce asked the board to move on with the meeting. Cathy Cotman accused trustees of over-reporting the budget to bring it up to $10.6 million so trustees’ salary, by state law calculated on the basis of the budget, would be the highest allowed by law. “If it’s under $10 million, your salaries would be five or six thousand less,” she told trustees. She asked Joyce what the law requires for special meeting notification. He told her the law requires the news media be notified at least 24 hours before a meeting and the township had complied with the rule. “I think we did that plainly enough,” Joyce said. Trustees adjourned the meeting at 11:35 p.m.
Now Available at Galiar di’s Hair T alk Galiardi’s Talk
Spa Pedicure $2000 (Reg. $3500)
Your feet will feel like a baby ’s!
Galiardi’s Hair Talk
440.729.1304 Call for an appointment
8595 Mayfield Road, Chesterland
Visit Our Website: www.chesterlandnews.com
IT’S NOT GOING AWAY! BE INFORMED! Subscribe to your community paper!
Save up to 20% on a subscription to the Maple Leaf, delivered to your home every Thursday, online every day!
$ For more stories on Chester Township and the surrounding communities, pick up a copy of this week’s Geauga County Maple Leaf.
Mail this form to: Geauga County Maple Leaf, I want to subscribe! P.O. Box 1166, Chardon, OH 44024-5166
One Year, In County
One Year, Out of County
Prices subject to change without notice.
Credit Card #
Subscribe online at: www.geaugamapleleaf.com
crier CHESTERLAND LOCATION: 12575 CHILLICOTHE ROAD
7 DAY SALE AUG/SEPT WED
SUN MON TUE
Tea or Lemonade Assorted Flavors 23.5 oz Can
16 oz. Limit 4 total please
99¢ Open Pit BBQ Sauce
Lay’s Potato Chips
Assorted Varieties 18 oz Bottle.
Assorted Flavors 9.5-10 oz.
BUY ONE GET ONE FREE
2 $ 29
Aug. 28: Free Community Lunch 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Join at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 1190 0 Chillicothe Road, Chester Township, for a free community lunch. Held in the Fellowship Hall. Presented by the Women’s League at St. Mark. All are welcome. Call 440-729-1668 for more information.
Aug. 30: Food Pantry 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The food pantry at Chester Christian Center A/G Church, 11815 Chillicothe Road, Chester Township, is open to the community. Pantry is open to anyone in the community in need of food. Call 440-729-6203 for more information.
Aug. 31: Fishing Tournament
Al Salomone Chesterland OH
TIMBER KING TREE SERVICE
610 River Road Gates Mills OH 440-423-4845 Bible Study 9:30 am Worship Service 10:45 am www.littlechurchinthevale.org
Pastor Robert Sandham
Skilled professionals or beginner fishermen, boat or no boat, are welcome to join with Jimmy Houston in conjunction with Word of Grace Church for a multi-species fishing tournament. Held at Pymatuning State Park, 10 0 Pymatuning Lake Road, Andover. Check in, 6-11 a.m. Weigh-in no later than 3 p.m. $10 registration fee or $25 on-site registration; pre-registration ends Aug. 23. All participants must possess current fishing license. First-place winner receives $1,000. Call 440-729-7006 for rules, to register or for more information.
Sept. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30: Square Dance Lessons 7-9 p.m. Broken Wheel Square Dance Club will be offering modern square dance lessons every Monday in September. Sept. 9 and 16 are free fun nights. Held at Community Church of Christ, 90 17 Chillicothe Road, Kirtland. Call 440-257-1851 for more information.
Sept. 5: CCOC Golf Classic All are welcome to golf in the Chesterland Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Classic.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Held at St. Denis Golf Course, 10660 Chardon Road, Chardon. 9 a.m. registration; 11 a.m. shotgun start. Proceeds benefit the missions of the Chesterland Chamber of Commerce. Raffles, breakfast, skins, mulligans, skin games, free driving range, winner take all putting challenge, lunch, hole-in-one car contest, prizes, giveaways, skill shot contest, drinks, appetizers and dinner available. $125 per individual golfer. Dinner includes one dozen clams, New England clam chowder, one half chicken, sweet potato, corn on the cob, rolls, butter and beverages. Clams may be substituted for a 12 ounce strip steak. Not a golfer? Join for a clambake or steak dinner for $45. Sponsorship opportunities available. Register online at www. chesterlandchamber.com or call 440-729-7297 for more information.
Sept. 7: Chesterland Apple Festival 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The first annual Chesterland Apple Festival will be held at West Geauga Plaza, northwest quadrant of Mayfield and Chillicothe roads. The festival is a nonprofit event that will highlight the attractions of Chester Township which, to many in the region, is the bridge between suburban Cuyahoga County and rural Geauga. Home to fruit farms, golf courses, a historic village and a variety of small businesses, Chester Township is a destination for many in Northeast Ohio. Activities include food vendors, arts and crafts show, music by a variety of individuals and groups, pie baking contest, pig roast and a “Cruise In” of vintage cars. Eddy Fruit Farm and Mulberry Corners will be on hand with apples, pumpkins and related products, along with kids’ activities and demonstrations. The arts and craft show will feature Geauga County artists, with special emphasis on artists from Chester Township. Vendors include painters, potters, sculptors, jewelry makers and fiber artists. A pie baking contest also available. Registration forms available at Chesterland Floral. Professional bakers and anyone under 16 years old not eligible. Deadline Sept. 6. No store bought pies or crusts. No pies that need refrigeration. Judging held between 5-5:30 .m. at the festival. Two categories are pumpkin and apple.
Free admission. Call Kathy Fadorsen, 440729-3130, or email email@example.com, for more information.
Sept. 9: Girl Scout Recruitment Night 6:45 p.m. Come learn about Girls Scouts at Girl Scout Recruitment Night. Held at Geauga West Library, 13455 Chillicothe Road, Chester Township. Currently looking for leaders. Call Amy Reynolds, 440-2561535 or agreynolds@hotmail .com for more information.
Sept. 14: Munson Township Flea Market 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mark calendars for Munson Township’s annual outdoor flea market held at Munson Township Park, 12641 Bass Lake Road. Stop in and browse for a special treasure or rent a space to get rid of unwanted clutter. Visit www.munsontwp.com to download a form to rent a space. Call 440-286-9255 for more information.
Sept. 14: Chesterland Lions Poor Man’s Raffle 5 p.m. to midnight Join the Chesterland Lions for the 16th annual Poor Man's Reverse Raffle and Chinese Auction at the SNPJ Hall, 10946 Heath Road, Kirtland. Tickets are $60 per couple or $40 for single ticket. Ticket price includes roast beef and pork dinner, beer/wine and music. Raffle format will be to draw five numbers only. Call Mike Stark, 440-6665600, for more information.
Sept. 21: Community Recycling Day 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. West Geauga residents and business are welcome to join at the Drug Mart Plaza, 12575 Chillicothe Road, Chester Township, for document shredding, electronics and metal recycling. See flyer in this week’s paper for items accepted. Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of West Geauga in conjunction with Chester Township. Tax deductible receipts available upon request. Call Ken Mantey, 440-7292869, for more information.
Sept. 22: Woofstock Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village announces Woofstock 20 13, Northeast Ohio’s largest one-day, outdoor fundraising festival for dogs and dog owners. Held at the Holden Arboretum. 9550 Sperry Road, Kirtland.
Towne Crier• Page 7
Have a position open?
FREE ESTIMATES • Senior Discounts Available
Advertise in The Chesterland News Help Wanted Section! Call (440) 729-7667 for rates and information.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Road Dept from page 1 department to “service department” but to leave it as the road department. The road department has been supported by the general fund in the past, but trustees are placing a 1.1-mill road and bridge levy on the November ballot. If it passes, the levy would provide the department with its own funds. Keeping its name as the road department avoids confusion, Walder said. Trustee Jim Dickinson said the old fire station could be cleaned out and trustees should consider what to do with it. Trustee Jim Mueller recommended a gradual shift. “I think Gene Layne needs a
“(The department) will morph as it goes along. Gene may find ways to streamline.” – Jim Mueller little bit of a free hand,” he said. Joining the departments and combining some of the responsibilities may take time to work out and Layne may want to organize the department a little differently, Mueller said. Trustee Justin Madden said the township may end up outsourcing some of the work done by the maintenance department in the past. “We want to let Gene do things as he sees fit,” Madden said, adding the trustees can provide guidance when needed. “(The department) will morph as it goes along. Gene may find ways to streamline (operations,)” Mueller said. Not replacing the maintenance supervisor will save the township about $100,000 per year, Walder said last Thursday.
Field Turf from page 1 Donations for the turf project will be tax-deductible because the funds will go to the school, he said. Ritt said he is confident the group will raise the money through individual and corporate
Tim Ritt of Chester Township speaks to the school board Monday night about the West Geauga Field Turf Committee's plan for upgrades to the stadium.
“We expedite quality and service.”
SIDING • WINDOWS • GUTTERS Owner Operated • Free Estimates
440-975-1901 • 440-423-1454
General building maintenance will be the responsibility of the separate department heads and will come out of their budgets as well. Walder said the fire and police chief have been taking care of their own buildings for a while. Other levies on the ballot include a five-year, 0.25-mill cemetery levy and a 1.5-mill replacement continuous police levy. In other action, trustees accepted a date change for the retirement of Susan Baker, fiscal officer assistant, to allow at least 60 days between her retirement and her return as a part-time employee with the fire department. Walder said she will receive a retirement payout of about $12,0 0 0 and Gallagher will receive a $11,500 payout. Trustees also passed a resolution authorizing Walder to apply for a credit card with the bank that offers the best deal. Walder said the township will be reimbursed about $400 by making an early payment to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The bureau recommends taking advantage of the 1 percent payback from the credit card, Walder said. The card is there specifically for the bureau payments, but there is also a 2 percent payback on office supplies, he said. Trustees also said the deteriorating, burned-out house on Hemlock Point Road owned by Annette Scott is now part of a bankruptcy filing.
Secretary Melissa Palmer said she asked the township’s legal counsel, Geauga County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Sheila Salem, if a township can go ahead with Russell trustees’ intent to have the deserted house demolished and was told probably not. Trustees recommended Palmer talk to a bankruptcy attorney to find out if a township qualifies as an entity that is exempt from bankruptcy protection and may tear down buildings that constitute a danger to the health and safety of the community.
donations, along with in-kind donations for excavating work. The group already has verbal commitments for about onethird of the funds through “wordof-mouth” discussions, he said. West Geauga is one of the last schools in the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Divison that does not have a turf stadium, while Chagrin Falls, Kenston and Orange school districts have them. “It’s becoming a necessity,” Ritt said. The cost includes about $350,000 for the turf carpeting and $100,000 in sand, stone and other materials. The remaining $200,000 is an estimate for labor. The committee is considering a supplier named FieldTurf. The estimate is on the high side, Ritt said. If more funds are raised than are needed, the surplus could be used to resurface the track and add other components, such as a cork layer that would help keep the field cooler in hot weather.
If the group is successful, work could begin on the field in June 2014 and be completed in time for the 2014 fall sports season. Construction is estimated to take 30 days, Ritt said. Superintendent Geoff Palmer praised the group for being business-oriented. “They have an excellent plan in place and I am confident they will succeed,” he added. Another committee member, Joe Mazzurco, attended the Aug. 19 meeting. “I’m a West G graduate and a football coach,” he said. “I really want to see this happen for our students.” Ritt said he has three children in the West Geauga school district. “I have two daughters who are in gymnastics,” he said. “They’ll never use the field, but my son, who is in second grade, might. I just believe in the project and want to help.” Ritt also named Bill Patterson as another key committee member. Patterson was not at the meeting.
Spring cial! Spe Window BUY 5
Double Hung Solid Vinyl Replacement Windows and
RECEIVE 1 FREE WINDOW of Same Value
Offer expires Aug.4th 31, 2013. Exp.: July (Wood common openings up to 101 U.I.)
Mention this ad and RECEIVE 2 FREE STORM DOORS w/ purchase of Whole House Siding.
Serving your community for 18 years. Mueller
OWNER INSTALLS EVERY JOB! Licensed • Bonded • Insured
12656 Chillicothe Road Chesterland OH 44026
Stop by Our Booth at the
1st Annual Chesterland Apple Fest Saturday, Sept. 7th 9am to 6pm at West Geauga Plaza Apple Fritters • Candy Apples Apple Cider Cake Donuts HOME OF THE ORIGINAL CLEVELAND CASATTA Walder
often imitated, but never duplicated!
Largest Selection of Scratch-made Italian Cookies ALL BAKED FRESH DAILY here at LaPuma’s in Chesterland Check out our Daily Specials on Facebook!
INSIDE OUR BAKERY FEATURING:
Fresh Apple Pie Fresh Peach Pie All made with fresh Apples & Peaches from our local Eddy’s Fruit Farm8
Certified Collision Repair
Did You Know? In Ohio (by law) you have the right to have your vehicle repaired at the shop of your choice. Don’t let anyone make that choice for you. • All Insurance Claims Honored • Rentals Available on-site • State-of-the-art Unibody & Frame Repair • Complete Auto Body Services trer n e C e • State of Ohio certified aCirent p e r auto body repair shop npRai 06) 6) e o i R s i oonll (Rt. 3(Rt. 3R0ds. i r i C s a p i e l We R Cibooldhye Road Road2u6lberry 6 ARE! y C d h n t i w ibuoga hUillicot oOthHehe4&40M 4402 n U ga 15a74 C erlanicd t H u a 1 Ge est Ch
Angelo J. Mar Marrali rali Sales PPar artner ar tner to John DeSantis Mega Million Dollar PProducer roducer Howard Hanna Real Estate Ser vices Services
Real Estate Services
' % !#
Business Owners Ready For First Annual Apple Festival
By Josh Echt
•Locally Raised Organic Frozen Chicken & Ground Beef (grass fed) •Stutzman Family Farm Grains - Local Organic Flour, Grains & Crackers •Middlefield Cheese Original Cheese Co-op •Large Assortment of Whitehouse Chocolates Visit our Online Store to view our Catalog • www.eddyfruitfarm.com
Transforming Spaces and Building Relationships for Over 30 Years
cell 216-789-6607 office 440-729-0169 440-729-7798 fax firstname.lastname@example.org
Concrete • Excavating • Hardscape • Sewer
Commercial & Residential
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Licensed. Bonded. Insured.
A large, wooden table fills a meeting room at Arabica Coffee House in Chester Township. A vertical neon “ICE CREAM” sign stands in a corner, next to a potted plant. Around the table, local business owners are planning the upcoming Chesterland Apple Festival, which will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 7 at West Geauga Plaza. And they’re hoping the festival will be as enjoyable as the Arabica roast brewing in a nearby machine. The business owners — West Geauga Plaza manager Tom Basista, Chesterland Floral’s Kathy Kavulis and Arabica’s Kathy Fadorsen — discussed final preparations for the festival at a Monday morning meeting.