Streetsboro firing
two band leaders
The Streetsboro Board of Education meeting Jan. 24 ended in tears from students and angry shouts from parents as the Board voted 4-0 to authorize the termination of Streetsboro High instrumental music teacher Gretchen Weaver and Streetsboro Middle School instrumental music teacher Shane Ellsworth.
Board member Kevin Grimm abstained from the vote at the advice of the Ohio attorney general's office. He was one of the people interviewed as part of an investigation into allegations the band directors were involved in or turned a blind eye to hazing during a July 29-Aug. 1, 2016, band camp trip to Camp Muskingum in Carroll County.
Ellsworth and Weaver both declined to comment, citing the advice of attorneys and union representatives.
Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh said he was sad to recommend the initiation of termination proceedings against Ellsworth and Weaver.
“We have a duty to follow the clearly established Streetsboro school district guidelines to protect all students,” he said.
Daulbaugh said Weaver and Ellsworth have the opportunity to appeal the decision with representation from the Ohio Educators Association before a hearing officer assigned to the case by the Ohio Department of Education.
— Bob Gaetjens, Record-Courier

Gleneagles to get
a new clubhouse
A new $6.1 million clubhouse will be built to replace the current facility at Gleneagles Golf Club in Twinsburg, possibly opening its doors a little more than one year from now.
City Council recently approved a contract (4-2 vote) with Cavanaugh Building Corp. in Akron to construct the 19,000-square-foot clubhouse, which will include a restaurant and banquet facilities, pro shop and an area underneath the building to house golf carts.
A related ordinance to “construct, furnish and equip the facility” at $6,138,200 was passed 5-2. A third clubhouse-related ordinance, which would approve the issuance and sale of the same amount in notes in anticipation of the issuance of bonds, was passed unanimously.
Mayor Ted Yates said he anticipates a groundbreaking for the new facility by the end of February and a completed facility by March 2018. Right now, the city is working on the parking lot “to accommodate the spring golfers.” Once that is complete, the groundbreaking will be scheduled, he said.

Portage murder
trial set for May
The trial of a Summit County man accused of killing a Rootstown man in April 2016 inside a Smith Avenue residence will start in early May, a Portage County judge decided.
Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman set May 2 as the starting date for the aggravated murder, arson and robbery trial of Jabari D. McKee, 28, of Hammel Street in Akron. McKee is accused in the death of Bryan Burns, 41. A final pretrial hearing is set April 14, though Pittman said additional hearings may be required between now and then.
Grand jurors indicted McKee last summer on one count each of aggravated murder, an unclassified felony with a firearm specification; aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony with a firearm specification; aggravated arson, a first-degree felony; grand theft of a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony; two counts of theft of credit cards, both fifth-degree felonies; and one count of theft, a first-degree misdemeanor.
He pleaded not guilty and is being held in the Portage County Jail on $2 million cash bond. The aggravated murder charge makes McKee eligible for the death penalty, under Ohio law.
— Dave O’Brien, Record-Courier

Head Start lands
$1 million grant
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan announced Jan. 23 that $1.54 million will be awarded to the Portage Private Industry Council for its Head Start programs.
Portage Learning Centers, which administers the Head Start program, operates child development centers in Atwater, Kent, Ravenna and Streetsboro.
“This grant from the Department of Health and Human Services is welcomed news for Portage County. This critical investment will bring real and lasting good to our community,” said Ryan, whose 13th Congressional District covers much of Portage County.
“Head Start has always provided necessary social services, including nutrition and wellness programs for low-income children. These funds will continue vital services that enhance their cognitive, social, and emotional development.
“Head Start programs are crucial to our nation and community's most vulnerable children and I am happy that this grant is going to such a good cause.”
This grant is part of the Department of Health and Human Services Head Start Projects, with the grant period ending in June of 2020.

Dozens give food,
toys over holidays
The Center of Hope and Kent Social Services issued a public statement of thanks to the entire community of individuals, schools and business who donated to the Holiday Giveaways.
During the holidays, more than 1,400 full boxes of nonperishable food items and frozen turkeys were given away to needy families for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Because of the donations, the organizations were also able to provide more than 679 children with toys for Christmas, which can take the stress away from parents who would typically worry about providing items for their children.

According to a press release from Family and Community Service, which supervises both agencies, several families and business donated above and beyond previous years.
F&CS is one of the largest social service agencies in Northeast Ohio and has spent the past 75 years helping individuals of all ages. The agency covers 21 counties and has more than 71 programs.

Heroin, opioids to
be NEOMED topic
A public community awareness and informational event on the heroin and opioid epidemic will take place from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 11, in the NEW Center ballroom at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, 4209 S.R. 44 in Rootstown.
The event is free, open to the public and handicap accessible. Drug overdose deaths have increased rapidly across the nation and in Portage County, becoming a major public health issue.
Visitors will learn about the drug overdose crisis; the addiction process; resources in Portage County; and Project DAWN, a program of the Portage County Health Department that seeks to prevent overdoses deaths through the distribution of naloxone (Narcan) kits, which can reverse overdoses causes by opioid drugs such as heroin, morphine and fentanyl.
It is sponsored by NEOMED, the Portage County Health Department, the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County and the College of Psychiatric & Neurological Pharmacists student chapter. In crisis? Call 330-678-4357 or 330-296-3555.

Ravenna festival
gets welcome $$
The Ravenna Balloon A-Fair, a festival that has been a staple in Ravenna for 38 years, will go forward after all, after three years of rainy weather had threatened to wash out the event's finances.
Linda Pierson, president of the Balloon A-Fair committee said an anonymous donor, a member of the Balloon A-Fair committee, surprised Pierson at work by presenting her with a $15,000 check.
“She said 'I love Balloon A-Fair, I love my Balloon A-Fair family, and I don't want to see it fold,'” Pierson said.
The annual festival had appealed to the public through the fundraising website GoFundMe, describing the event as “bankrupt.” Three years of rain had resulted in falling attendance, with fewer than 1,000 people attending activities at Sunbeau Valley Farm.
The group was asking for $16,000 to pay vendors from last year's event and cover early expenses of the festival. Pierson said various community groups also are pledging their support to the festival, and a Facebook post she put up generated 163 responses.
— Diane Smith, Record-Courier


Charges added vs.
area businessman
Nearly two-dozen additional criminal charges have been filed against a Streetsboro businessman alleged to have stolen upwards of $585,000 from customers and creditors over the past five years.
Additional criminal complaints filed with the Streetsboro Police Department by alleged victims of John C. Thompson have brought the amount of money and merchandise he reportedly stole to an estimated $414,000, Police Chief Darin Powers said.
Thompson, who has pleaded not guilty, is being held in the Portage County jail on $500,000 cash bond. Police believe he may have stolen from more than 50 victims, Powers said.
— Dave O’Brien, Record-Courier

Eklund get top

legislator award

State Sen. John Eklund (R-Munson Township) recently received the 2016 Legislator of the Year Award from the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities for his leadership on mental health and addiction issues.

"It is humbling to be chosen for an award such as this," Eklund said. "I believe in the kind of legislation that can bring hope, the kind that has the power to transform lives and the kind that makes the men, woman and children of Ohio feel secure and cared for."

The OACBHA each year names a legislator who has exemplified leadership in regard to the Association's mission, who has strived for legislative excellence on related issues.

"We are please to recognize Senator Eklund for his leadership in addressing mental illness and addictions throughout Ohio," said Cherri Walter, CEO of the OACBHA. "He is committed to ensuring that the citizens of Ohio have access to critical treatment services and recovery supports."