Employees’ future uncertain

Newbury Local School District employees can expect to lose their jobs before any territorial transfer takes place with West Geauga Local School District.

Kristin VanderMaas, vice president of Newbury Educational Association, representing certified and classified employees, addressed the Newbury Board of Education Monday to discuss what she said could result in 87 percent of the district becoming unemployed. Ms. VanderMaas noted that an attorney representing school employees had threatened West Geauga officials with litigation if reductions in staff occurred before West Geauga officially took over Newbury.

Newbury Superintendent Dr. Jacqueline Hoynes said the district will notify employees about their employment status when the district votes on new contracts. She said cuts in staff will be due to declining enrollment, not the territory transfer. “We’re meeting the needs of the district,” she said.

New program administrator named

The Geauga County Department of Development recently appointed Jessica Kaluga to the position of program administrator in the community and economic development department.

Having served as a departmental director, Ms. Kaluga brings strong resource and project management skills to her new role in the county. She also has experience obtaining grant funding, which enabled her to increase service levels for her clients in her prior role.

Ms. Kaluga will manage the county’s revolving loan fund program, which is a key economic development incentive that provides Geauga County businesses low interest loans for job creation through business expansion or new business start-ups.

Ms. Kaluga will also manage the allocation grant projects that are awarded to the department by the state of Ohio.

She can be reached at jkaluga@co.geauga.oh.us or by calling 440-279-1790.

Pelanda to visit Claridon

A meet and greet will be held with Ohio’s newest director of the department of agriculture.

Dorothy Pelanda, director of the state’s department of agriculture, will be making an appearance at 10 a.m. April 29 at Claridon Woodlands, 11383 Claridon Troy Road in Claridon Township.

The meet and greet will be hosted in conjunction with the Geauga County Soil and Water Conservation District and is open to the public.

Newbury buildings discussion

The fate of Newbury Local School District buildings will be the topic of discussion in May.

Newbury Board of Education President Maggie Zock said Monday a joint meeting between Newbury school officials, Newbury township officials and West Geauga Local School District representatives is being planned for May.

Mrs. Zock said officials at that meeting will develop an agenda for a second joint public meeting on the issue.

Mrs. Zock also noted that the school’s newsletter, Knightlines, was delayed in printing. The newsletter, she said, is intended to provide monthly updates to the public on the district’s transitional plans for joining West Geauga through a territory transfer.

Drug disposal event upcoming

Geauga County residents will have the opportunity to rid their homes of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs through a joint program run by the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Residents may bring their prescription drugs to the Geauga County Safety Center at 12450 Merritt Road in Munson Township from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27. The program is being done in conjunction with Geauga Medical Center’s Environmental Services, which will provide a biohazard container for disposal of unwanted needles, syringes, liquids and aerosols.

Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand said he encourages residents to take advantage of this opportunity to dispose of unwanted medications. He said prescription drug overdose is a serious health crisis in Ohio.

Since 2002, prescription medications, such as opioid pain relievers and benzodiazepines, have contributed to the deaths of more than 9,000 Ohioans. A recent survey by the Ohio Department of Health found that more than one in five (21 percent) of Ohio high school students reported using a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription one or more times during their life.

Sheriff Hildenbrand also added that the safety center has disposal boxes in the lobby available any other time.

County to keep city involved in plans

Geauga County Commissioners assured Chardon city officials that they will have a voice in the county’s plans to relocate offices.

In a March 26 release, commissioners wrote they are reviewing the options for preserving the Geauga County Courthouse provided by city officials that focuses on maintaining county offices on Chardon Square.

“While the Geauga County Commissioners have identified the need for new county facilities, the location of these facilities has not been determined,” the release stated. “The information that has been provided by the city of Chardon along with the feasibility study that the county has completed will be considered before these important decisions are made.”

The release stated commissioners intend to continue discussions with city officials on the issue.

Leadership Geauga kickoff event

Leadership Geauga will be providing two opportunities in April to become part of the upcoming class of 2019-20.

Applications are now open for adults who work and/or live in Geauga County to become more deeply involved and aware of the community through the Leadership program. It offers an innovative way to meet leaders from business, nonprofits and government while experiencing topical education on a variety of subjects that impact the daily life of every citizen and the greater community.

A “Taste of Leadership” event is planned for 5-7 p.m. April 24 at Munson Township Hall, 12210 Auburn Road, and offers a chance to meet and speak with alumni of the program as well as members of the current class. Refreshments will be served and the event is open to all.

Those looking to learn more or wish to attend may contact any Leadership Geauga graduate, call 440-286-8115 or email executivedirector@leadershipgeauga.org.

KSU Geauga to receive service award

Kent State University Geauga has been named the 2019 recipient of the Geauga Growth Partnership Frank Samuel Distinguished Service Award.

The award will be presented at GGP’s annual partnership meeting 7:30 a.m. May 1 at the Sisters of Notre Dame Education Center in Munson Township. In addition to the award, a short business meeting will be held and keynote speaker Jim Tressel, president of Youngstown State University, will speak.

The award is given to those who demonstrate community service, make an investment in economic development in the county, serve as advocate for the county, have a commitment to leadership excellence and development of human capital, have made major impactful accomplishments, a reputation for generosity, transparency as a critical thinker and have a strong business acumen with a collaborative leadership style.

“We are pleased to name Kent State Geauga campus as our 2019 Frank Samuel Awardee,” GGP President Tracy Jemison said. “Kent Geauga, through the years, has been at the center of workforce development. We are so fortunate to have a world class university in Geauga County as an economic development partner.”

“We are so honored to be chosen as the 2019 Geauga Growth Partnership Frank Samuel Distinguished Service Award honoree,” Angela Spalsbury, KSU Geauga Dean, said. “It is our mission to meet the educational needs of our community. We look forward to furthering our partnerships with GGP and other county constituents in the coming years.”

Farm Bureau hosting policy luncheon

The Geauga County Farm Bureau will host its annual policy development luncheon in Chardon at 11 a.m. April 26 at St. Mary’s Banquet Hall, 401 North Street in Chardon.

Those attending are asked to share ideas on issues and needs of Geauga County as they relate to agriculture. The policies adopted serve as the foundation for programs and activities hosted by the group as well as issues that are lobbied for to protect its members and the future of agriculture.

Those unable to attend may still make recommendations by sending them to Geauga County Farm Bureau, 28 West Jefferson St., Jefferson, Ohio 44047.

RSVPs are welcome, but not required to attend. RSVPs can be made by calling 440-426-2195 or emailing Geauga@ofbf.org. For questions or more information, call Mandy Orahood, organization director, at 440-426-2195.

Commissioners OK road projects

Geauga County Engineers lined up two more resurfacing projects for the coming year.

Geauga County Commissioners unanimously approved contracts Tuesday with Ronyak Paving of Burton to resurface portions of Rapids Road in Troy Township and Clay Street in Montville and Thompson townships.

Nick Gorris, deputy engineer, said Ronyak was the low bidder at $446,735 for the Rapids Road project that will proceed from Main Market Road (Route 422) to the Portage County line. They were also the low bid at $645,885 for the Clay Street work from Rock Creek Road (Route 166) to GAR Highway (Route 6).

Mr. Gorris said the work is likely to begin at the end of May and traffic will be maintained through both projects.

In addition, a $297,875 contract was approved for the construction of a steel storage building at the Geauga County Engineer’s Yard. The contract was awarded to Hoar Construction Company.

Bainbridge Senior Center lease

A new Bainbridge Senior Center was approved by Geauga County Commissioners Tuesday.

Commissioners unanimously approved an $835 a month lease with Bainbridge Community United Church of Christ for use of the sanctuary, social hall, lounge and classrooms for the new center.

Jessica Boalt, director of the Geauga County Department on Aging, said the new location offers 7,125 square feet of space that will be available to seniors Monday through Friday.

She noted that the new location on Chillicothe Road (Route 306) is more convenient for delivering meals than Chagrin Falls Park, the location for the previous senior center, which closed in December.

Action against resident put on hold

Geauga County Commissioners were hesitant to approve action against an Auburn Township resident regarding an improperly maintained stormwater basin Tuesday.

Bob Griesmer, a technician for the Geauga Soil and Water District, had asked commissioners to approve a notice of violation for a property at 11795 Ascot Lane, but Commissioner Timothy Lennon questioned whether there were alternatives to the notice.

“This puts us in a somewhat precarious position,” Mr. Lennon said, who asked whether the matter could be worked out amicably.

Mr. Griesmer said his agency had attempted to work with the property owner, but found resistance.

He said the soil and water district is responsible for 500 stormwater basins in the county and inspects them on a three-year cycle.

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