The state of Geauga County is strong. That was the conclusion from a group of politicians, business owners, educators and residents who gathered earlier this month to talk about what’s happening in the county. Their views reflected past progress as well as a peek into the future.

There’s no denying that a love for making maple syrup runs through the veins of generations of county residents. James Miller, owner of Sugar Valley Maple Farm in Middlefield, talked about his passion for maple syrup that started on his grandparents’ farm with 400 tree taps compared to 3,000 today.

Making syrup the traditional way never gets old. Commenting on his latest sap collection, Mr. Miller said, “It’s the most delicate syrup I’ve ever made.”

John Epprecht, vice president of Great Lakes Cheese, said the hardworking and kind people of Geauga make a real difference in the family and employee-owned company. His comments mirror the feelings of many business owners.

Though Geauga is not immune to the opiate crisis sweeping the nation, the number of deaths here dropped last year thanks in part to increased awareness of the problem and the use of the Narcan recovery drug, law enforcement officials said.

Education is top notch in Geauga, from the public and parochial schools to private schools like Hershey Montessori, with its innovative programs at its campus in Huntsburg Township.

And no one can mention Geauga without stirring up fond memories of the Great Geauga County Fair.

Ann Blair, president of the fair auxiliary, represents the third generation in her family to take part in the oldest continuous county fair in Ohio. She looks to the younger generation, including those who were behind the 700 junior fair exhibits last year, to keep the tradition going strong.

Though not idyllic to everyone, it’s always satisfying to pause, look around and celebrate everything Geauga.

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