Portage GOP will pick
interim commissioner
Janet Esposito, head of the Portage County Republican Party, has set Feb. 11 for a meeting of its central committee to select an interim county commissioner to replace Tommie Jo Marsilio.
The latter resigned to take a job as an attorney with the Ohio Turnpike Commission, leaving less than a year on her term, which expires the end of 2014. Esposito set the meeting for 6:30 p.m. at Maplewood Career Center in Ravenna.
Esposito said nine people have expressed interest in the appointment: Sabrina Christian-Bennett of Rootstown, Jack Groselle of Hiram Township, Kathy Karg of Brimfield, Ken Lewis of Ravenna Township, Larry Lohman of Rootstown, Kristen Morris of Garrettsville, Joel Petkovich of Ravenna, Larry Solak of Shalersville and Tim Wilhelm of Paris.
Groselle was a commissioner for two years until the end of 1996. He served out two years of the term left when Esposito was elected county auditor. He lost his bid for a full four-year term to Kathleen Chandler in 1996.
Feb. 5 is the deadline to file for the May primary, so whoever wants the appointment will have to file petitions before the central committee meets.
— Mike Sever, Record-Courier
Muldowney to run for
judge’s seat of Enlow
Eugene Muldowney, a Portage County assistant prosecuting attorney, has announced he is a candidate for the Portage County Common Pleas Court judgeship this year.
Muldowney is running for the seat currently held by Judge John Enlow, who is retiring when his term is completed at the end of this year.
Muldowney has run for judgeships twice before, starting in 1996 when he lost a race for the common pleas bench to Enlow. A year later Mudowney was one of five candidates vying for a municipal court judgeship. That race was won by Laurie Pittman, who went on to win a seat on the common pleas bench.
Over the past 24 years Muldowney has served at the Portage County prosecutor’s office as an assistant to Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci. He also maintained a private law practice handling civil matters.
Muldowney, a Democrat, said his extensive experience as a felony prosecutor and civil attorney provides him with background to be a common pleas judge.
— Mike Sever, Record-Courier

Applications for land
tax reduction sought
Portage County residents age 65 or older can still apply for the state’s homestead tax break without meeting an income limit.
County Auditor Janet Esposito said the Ohio Department of Taxation has revised the guidelines for Homestead applications. People who were 65 in 2013 or who were determined to be disabled as of Jan. 1, 2013, can apply for the property tax reduction with no income limit being reported.
An applicant turning 65 in 2014 will need to verify their total household income is $30,500 or less. Income from Social Security or disability payments are not included. The application period is Jan. 1 to June 2.
Property owners with questions may contact Esposito’s office at 330-297-3565 or 330-297-3569.

State liquor sales hit
$898 million in 2013
Ohioans continue to imbibe at record levels, according to new liquor sales statistics released last week by the Ohio Department of Commerce. Spirituous liquor sales reached $898 million for 2013, up about $49 million from 2012.
The state’s liquor control division reported sales of 12 million gallons for the year, up from 11.9 million in 2012, 11.4 million in 2011 and 11 million in 2010.
The total dollar value for retail sales of beverages containing more than 21 percent alcohol by volume rose to $635 million, with a wholesale level of $264 million, increases of 7.4 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.
Top sellers for 2013 were Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey (351,125 gallons), Kamchatka Vodka (294,168 gallons), Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey (286,451 gallons) and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum (283,000 gallons).
Others in the Top 10 were Absolut Vodka, Bacardi Superior Light Rum, Smirnoff Vodka, Jagermeister, Blue Velvet Canadian Whiskey and Korski Vodka.
— Marc Kovac, RPC capital bureau

86 meth labs put out
of business in Portage
Portage County Drug Task Force agents took down 86 illegal methamphetamine labs in 2013, and they are now finding a fair amount of toxic refuse left over from the process being dumped around the area.
On pace to surpass the 2012 haul, agents saw fewer labs in the second half of 2013 than in the first. As of July 2013, agents had found and dismantled 65 labs, Sheriff David Doak said at the time. The final tally was one fewer than in 2012, according to the drug task force.
Agents raided, seized and dismantled 87 meth labs in 2012, seizing 182 grams of finished meth as evidence. That was a nearly 500 percent increase over 2011, when agents uncovered 15 labs and seized less than 1 gram of finished product, according to Doak’s 2011 and 2012 annual reports.
The increased number of labs can be blamed on a number of factors, according to Larry Limbert, Portage County Drug Task Force administrator. Some meth “cooks” are using newer, simpler techniques to manufacture the drug, including “shake-and-bake” method that require only the ingredients and a two-liter soda pop bottle.
— Dave O’Brien, Record-Courier

Businessman indicted
in benefit money theft
Streetsboro Stringz & Wingz owner “Chef” Bill Thompson was arrested Jan. 23 in Cuyahoga Falls, according to Portage County Sheriff David Doak.
Doak said Thompson has been indicted by a Portage County grand jury on a third-degree felony charge of theft.
On Dec. 30, Streetsboro Family Days founder Chuck Kocisko filed a report with the Streetsboro Police Department alleging Thompson hadn’t paid him money raised during a Nov. 15-16 fundraising concert benefiting Cleveland-based rock singer Sonny Geraci, who has performed many times during Streetsboro Family Days’ summer festival.
Geraci suffered an aneurysm nearly two years ago and the funds were to help the family pay medical bills, Kocisko said.
Thompson said since the police report was filed he would pay more than $23,000 to either Streetsboro Family Days or the Geraci family, but that had not happened as of Jan. 27.
— Bob Gaetjens, Gateway News
Region in deep freeze
High daytime temperatures in Northeast Ohio were expected to plunge near zero degrees on Jan. 28 and today (Jan. 29) and then rebound into the 20s by the end of the week.
Many area schools, including Aurora, were closed Jan. 27, and there was a possibility of closing on Jan. 28.
Meanwhile, snow caused treacherous driving conditions in some areas on Jan. 25.