Portage will upgrade

phone, data systems

Portage County officials are moving toward upgrading the county's telephone and data systems.

On Nov. 12, county commissioners agreed to hire Elert & Associates, a Minnesota-based consulting firm, to assess the county's current data and telecommunications status and make recommendations on how to bring it up to date and fill its future needs.

Commissioners interviewed three consultants and chose Elert based on the firm's extensive work with governments and recommendations from clients. Estimated cost of the assessment is $27,500. Final contract details are still being worked on.

Commissioner Tommie Jo Marsilio said the assessment will "look at where we need to go and what will be the cost" of updating the county's systems.

"Domestic relations court regularly has issues, the server sometimes can't keep up. We have an absolute stellar IT department, but they have done as much as they can," she said.

Marsilio said Brian Kelley, head of the county Data Processing department, and Auditor Janet Esposito have estimated the cost of a full upgrade at "upwards of a million dollars."

-- Mike Sever, Record-Courier

Survivors will gather

A local gathering is planned Nov. 23 to mark the 15th annual International Survivors of Suicide Day from 12:45 to 3 p.m. at the Sue Hetrick Building on Lovers Lane near Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna.

It is sponsored by Coleman Access Services, the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County and Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition. There is no cost to attend and parking is free.

Walk-ins are welcome, but preregistering will help with planning. To preregister, call 330-673-1756 ext. 203 or emaiukl joelm@mental-health-recovery.org. For further information, visit www.afsp.org.

Courthouses closed

The Portage County courthouses in Kent and Ravenna will be closed Nov. 28-29 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. The courts will reopen and resume regular business Dec. 2.

Portage waste district

turns trash into profit

A sure sign that the economy is recovering is how much people buy -- and throw away.

Portage County's economy is on the road to recovery, if measured by generation fee revenues for Portage County's Solid Waste Management District, which saw this year's income nearly match all of the 2012 level by September.

"We are bouncing back," said William Steiner, district director. He said the district is anticipating revenues from generation fees to be about 13 percent higher this year than in 2012. "We are expecting to hit $906,064 and we budgeted $800,000" he said.

Transfer stations and landfills pay generation fees to the various solid waste districts in Ohio. Portage's rate is $9.60 per ton for trash collected in the county. The district also has income from selling recyclable materials.

Steiner said he expects the district to take in about $2.8 million in total revenues this year, a bit less than the $3 million budgeted for receipts.

"People are buying more, and there is more industry tonnage," Steiner said of material going to landfills.

-- Mike Sever, Record-Courier

More people obtaining

licenses to carry guns

Ohioans have obtained more permits to carry concealed firearms so far this year than in all of 2012 or any previous year, according to statistics released Friday by the attorney general's office.

From January to September, 82,186 new concealed carry permits were issued, compared to 64,650 new licenses issued between January and December of last year. The latter was a record result and compares to 45,497 licenses issued in 2004, the year Ohio's concealed carry law took effect.

The attorney general's office reported 18,705 new licenses and 13,913 renewed ones from July 1 through Sept. 30. That compares to 13,949 new licenses and 3,447 renewals during the third quarter of 2012.

State law requires the attorney general to track the number of permits issued, renewed, suspended, revoked and denied and compile the information in an annual report.

Additional information about Ohio's concealed carry law is available at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.

-- Marc Kovac, RPC state bureau

Don't be victims when

aiding typhoon vicitms

After the devastating typhoon in the Philippines, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is urging citizrens to be cautious when responding to requests for donations.

DeWine urges citizens to do research before contributing. Visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov to determine if an organization is registered in Ohio and to find additional good-giving resources.

Donate to well-known, established charities and beware of copycat charities.

Be wary of unsolicited calls or emails asking for donations. Do not give credit card or banking details over the phone or click links / attachments in unsolicited emails.

Do not make checks payable to an individual. Specify the purpose of your donation in writing, when possible. And do not be pressured to give.

Those who suspect charitable fraud should contact the Ohio attorney general's office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.

Philippines help eyed
Portage County TEA Party Executive Director Tom Zawistowski is asking area residents to reach out and help the Filipino people who were devastated by a typhoon.
The group collected $200 at its meeting last week, which it donated to Philippine Pediatric Society in America, Ohio Chapter, at 2824 Shakercrest Blvd., Beachwood 4122 to help with the relief effort.
“The destruction in the Philippines is horrific and two of our Filipino members, Oscar Castro and Dr. Marisha Agana, have relatives in the Philippines, and have been hearing first hand about the needs of the people there,” Zawistowski said.
“Our members were glad to make a small contribution and will more to help with the recovery efforts. We encourage others to give to the Philippine Pediatric Society or the United States Red Cross.”