Waterline break hits 16 streets

Residents of 16 streets in Chagrin Falls, South Russell and Russell Township were without water for about 12 hours on Dec. 9 due to a leak in the 10-inch main line under East Washington Street east of Daisy Lane.

According to Village of Chagrin Falls Administrator Rob Jamieson, Chagrin Falls Utilities Department employees replaced a 4.5-inch section of line. That repair is considered permanent.

He added that area of East Washington is not within the scope of the large East Washington Street utilities replacement project budgeted for next year.

Grendell files, Eklund withdraws

State Sen. John Eklund has dropped out of the race for the 76th District State Representative seat. Sen. Eklund, R-Munson Township, is serving his last term in the state senate due to term limits. He had announced on Nov. 18 that he would seek the Republican nomination for the state house seat during the March 15, 2020 primary.

“Since my decision in November to run, I have found myself thinking, acting and sometimes talking like a professional politician,” Sen. Eklund said in a press release. “That’s not who I was in 2011, and that’s not what I am now.”

The seat currently is held by Rep. Diane Grendell, R-Chester Township, who was appointed in May by the Republican House leadership after Sarah LaTourette, R-Chester, resigned to take a job as executive director of Ohio Family and Children First. She was appointed the agency head by Gov. Mike DeWine.

The House Republican Caucus came out in support of Rep. Grendell after she declared her candidacy last week.

Rep. Grendell filed her petitions last Friday to run for the Republican nomination during the 2020 primary.

“It is an honor and a privilege to represent the residents of Geauga and Northern Portage Counties in the Peoples’ House,” she stated in a press release.

Rader files to run for senate seat

Russell resident Betsy Rader, an employment attorney and child advocate, filed her petitions to run for the Ohio Senate in District 18 in 2020. She is the only announced Democratic candidate for the seat and the only candidate to file petitions to date.

“It’s time for change in Columbus,” Ms. Rader said. “Ohio’s economy continues to lag behind the rest of the country, our public education system continues to be unconstitutionally funded and health care costs are way too high. We need leaders in Columbus who will stand up to lobbyists and fight for what really matters to hardworking Ohioans – good-paying jobs, quality public education, affordable health care and clean air and water.”

Senate District 18 will be an open seat in 2020 because Sen. John Eklund is term-limited. It includes eastern suburbs of Cleveland and Akron, covering portions of Lake and Geauga counties and all of Portage county.

Schulz wins cybersecurity competition

U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Bainbridge, congratulated Sears Schulz of Moreland Hills on Tuesday for winning the individual category of the first annual President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition. Currently a senior at the U.S. Air Force Academy studying Cyber Science, Mr. Schulz said he hopes to attend graduate school to study cybersecurity and/or artificial intelligence. 

“Five years ago, I was honored to nominate Cadet Schulz to the U.S. Air Force Academy,” Rep. Joyce said in a written statement. “I had no doubt that he would grow to be a great leader and couldn’t be prouder of all he has achieved. We live in a world far more connected than ever before and it is critical we encourage young Americans like Cadet Schulz to continue developing their cybersecurity skills.”

“I have been involved with cybersecurity competitions since my freshman year through the Air Force Academy’s Cyber Competition Team, which I am now the captain of,” Mr. Schulz said. “Cybersecurity competitions, such as the President’s Cup, are an excellent way to learn and practice cybersecurity skills that are applicable to the real world. It is a rapidly growing field in both the public and private sector, and these competitions are a great educational and recruiting tool.”

The competition is conducted by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

After two qualifying rounds that began in September, Mr. Schulz was one of 10 individual finalists who came to Washington, D.C. for the final round at the CISA Cybersecurity Lab. The finalists were given 10 challenges to solve over an eight-hour period. Cadet Schulz came in first, solving four.

Group to expand focus

Chardon Tomorrow, an organization dedicated to preserving Chardon’s historic character and promoting growth in the city, will be expanding its approach in the coming year.

Mary Glauser, executive director for Chardon Tomorrow, told Chardon City Council last week the organization will be adopting a community development corporation model in 2020. While focus has previously been on Chardon Square, Ms. Glauser said, the new focus will encompass the entire city with a focus on all small businesses. She said it provides more opportunities for grants.

Much of the organization’s events will remain such as Brewfest, which recorded the highest number of attendees this past year with 1,400, she said. Some new programs will focus on promoting the city’s restaurants, such as Savory and Sweet in the County Seat, planned for March 21.

The community is also invited to share their ideas for improving the city in a series of programs known as We Share, which will be held in January, February, April, May and September.

One program that caught the attention of council was entitled Volunteer Speed Dating. Ms. Glauser explained it is not the romantic speed dating that one would think, but an opportunity for those looking to volunteer to meet and speak with civic and charitable organizations to determine their best match.

Chardon seeks grant for updates

The city of Chardon will be seeking state monies this year to assist in upgrading the city’s emergency dispatch system and improvements at a city park.

City Manager Randal Sharpe told City Council last week the city would be seeking a $500,000 grant to assist the city in a $600,000 project to upgrade the dispatch system as well as associated furnishings.

In addition, Mr. Sharpe said, another $79,805 will be sought in a grant application to provide improvements at the Chardon Living Memorial Park. He said the cost of the project is estimated to be $106,406 and will include the completion of a woodland trail, the purchase of pre-fabricated restrooms and the addition of security cameras.

Mr. Sharpe also noted that the city will be bidding the work for the completion of the city-wide trail, known as Maple Highlands Trail, at the end of February 2020.

Parks to expand senior activities

The city of Chardon may be joining forces with outside organizations to better the city parks and programs.

Councilwoman Nancy McArthur told City Council last week the city will be looking to expand its offerings for senior citizens and people with special needs.

She said the city may team with the Geauga County Department on Aging to offer five to six trips for seniors. She said the city will also be looking at possible programs for those with special needs.

In addition, Mrs. McArthur said, the city is investigating the possible cooperation of the Geauga Parks Foundation to fund a master plan for city parks.

Tax abatement OK’d

Chardon City Council approved a tax abatement for a new medical building last week.

Steve Yaney, community development administrator, explained the 12-year tax abatement was approved for Medical Partners, locating in new construction on Fifth Avenue. The construction allowed a team of cardio-vascular physicians to remain in the city rather than move to Mentor.

He said the construction was a $3 million investment in the city and retains the $2.5 million payroll with the promise of adding another $500,000 in payroll in the first year.

The abatement applies to taxes that would have been applied to improvements on the property.

City Manager Randal Sharpe added that Chardon schools and the joint vocational school will continue to receive the same taxes they would have received had the land remained vacant. “So, they are not losing anything,” Mr. Sharpe said. He said the schools do receive a boost as the city is required to share 50 percent of income taxes when a business’ payroll exceeds $1 million.

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