Tax deadline near
The last day for the payment of first half 2016 real estate taxes is Feb. 21. Current taxes paid after that date will accrue a penalty of 10 percent.
Failure to receive a tax bill will not avoid a penalty except as provided in the Ohio Revised Code. It is the obligation of the taxapyer to seek his or her tax bills before the closing date.
Any questions can be directed to the Portage County treasurer’s office at 330-297-3586.

Red Cross seeks

blood donations

The American Red Cross needs blood donors to make appointments so patients can continue to receive lifesaving treatments.

To make an appointment, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Those who donate through Feb. 26 are eligible for a $5 gift card via email.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

High school students and other donors 18 years and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Nelson is favored
for elections unit
The Portage County Democratic Party voted Feb. 9 to recommend Pat Nelson for the county Board of Elections.
Party members vote only to recommend a person to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who will finalize the picks later this month.
Nelson won the vote “unanimously,” said Craig Stephens, party chairman and current member of the elections board.
Nelson has served on the board for the past seven years and has been a member of the central committee since 1998. She was expected to run unopposed, but instead faced off against newcomer Marty Simmons.
“I saw the notice and thought I'd throw my name in,” said Simmons. “I don't expect to rain on anyone's parade tonight because nobody knows me. Based on recent events, it's important that my generation gets out and comes here.”
Nelson and Stephens talked about how the board works in a nonpartisan way in order to decide actions of votes. The board reviews and counts ballots during elections, as well as works with the regular board staff to ensure the cycle runs smoothly.
Nelson would serve for four years unless she steps down. She will join newly picked Republican Elayne Cross, the vice chairman of the Portage County Republican Party.
— Matthew Merchant,

Automatic signup
of voters sought
Ohioans would be automatically registered to vote unless they opt out of the process, under legislation being introduced by Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent).
She estimated that 1 million Ohioans would be added to the voter rolls as a result of the bill.
“Automatic voter registration is the solution to voter purging and voter oppression,” Clyde said during a morning press conference Feb. 9 at the Statehouse. “There's no valid reason not to enact this legislation in Ohio The registration should be an opt-out system, not an opt-in system.”
Under the bill, residents with drivers licenses or state identification cards would be automatically registered or have their existing voter registrations renewed when they interact with certain state agencies, including disabilities, veterans services and job and family services offices.
High school students who turn 18 also would be automatically added to the rolls. Those not wanting to be registered could opt out in person or through the mail.
Additionally, the legislation would allow eligible Ohioans who do not hold a photo ID to register using the state's new online system.
— Marc Kovac, state bureau

Aid for addicition
offered in Portage
Residents in need of addiction treatment and support can call the Addiction Helpline for Portage County, which is perated by Townhall II with funding from the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County.
The phone number is 330-678-3006 and it is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Dealing with addiction can seem overwhelming for the person affected ?and their loved ones,” said Joel Mowrey,executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County. “We’d like the residents of Portage County to know there is a place they can turn to for help.”
People can call with questions about alcohol or drug treatment, whether they are struggling with an addiction themselves, or are concerned for a friend or family member. “Drug addiction is a complex illness and there is not just one solution to fit everyone,” explained Rob Young, clinical director at Townhall II.
Individuals calling will be assessed for referral to area detoxification centers, including the UH Medical Support Program which treats symptoms of addiction withdrawal.
Callers also may be referred to local residential treatment facilities or recovery housing at Root House, On Track to Recovery House for men, Horizon House or Portage Area Recovery Center for women.
Information is available about medication-assisted treatment providers and intensive outpatient and individual / group counseling.
Portage APL eyes
animal adoptions
In hopes of increasing adoptions, the Portage Animal Protective League has scheduled an adoption event called Meet your Match.
Through Feb. 18, potential adopters will receive a surprise gift to take home with their newly adopted animal family member. There will is a flier on the APL's Facebook page featuring a discount on adoption prices.
Potential adopters can bring the flier in to receive a discount.
All dogs and cats adopted are up to date on vaccines, spayed or neutered, checked for appropriate disease and free of fleas and worms. Many are also microchipped and have an additional medical history. Regular adoption fees are $65 for cats and $125 for dogs.
The Portage APL is a private, nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity and kindness of individuals and businesses to make our community a safer place for thousands of animals who have no voice, Lowry said. The shelter continues to rescue animals every day and the need is constant.
For more information, call the Portage APL at 330-296-4022.

Singer Geraci dies
Sonny Geraci, former lead singer of the Outsiders and a longtime performer during Streetsboro's annual summer festival, died Feb. 5.
Geraci performed at the festival from 2005 to 2011 and would likely have continued to perform had he not had an aneurysm in 2012, according to Streetsboro Family Days founder Chuck Kocisko.
eurysm in 2012, according to Streetsboro Family Days founder Chuck Kocisko.
“He loved us, and we loved him,” said Kocisko. “I think that was because of our relationship that he kept coming back year after year.
“I'm very sad about Sonny, very very sad. I'm really hurt, and I'm going to miss him.”