Ravennan dies in

a single-car crash

A 26-year-old Ravenna man was killed and a second Ravenna man injured in a traffic crash April 17 on Infirmary Road in Shalersville.

The Ravenna Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said Marc D. Guttman was a passenger in a 2005 Cadillac DTS traveling south on Infirmary Road at about 9 p.m. when the vehicle crossed the center line, went off the left side of the road and struck a tree.

Guttman, whom troopers said was not wearing a seatbelt, suffered fatal injuries. The driver, 55-year-old Gustav Z. Stern, was wearing a seatbelt. He was transported to University Hospitals Portage Medical Center in Ravenna with non-life threatening injuries, according to the highway patrol.

Alcohol use and speed are believed to be contributing factors in the crash, which remains under investigation. It was the second fatal crash in Portage County in two days, and the third in the county so far this year.

4th traffic fatality

in Portage in 2017

For the third time in five days, a motorist died in a traffic crash in Portage County -- this time April 20 on Route 14 in DeerfieldTownship after a collision with a tractor trailer.

William M. Martyne, 72, of Deerfield was pronounced dead at University Hospitals Portage Medical Center in Ravenna.

The Ohio Highway Patrol said troopers responded to the area at shortly before 9 a.m. According to the highway patrol, Martyne's 2005 Cadillac STX was traveling east on Route behind a 2015 Peterbilt semi driven by 29-year-old Shivinder Singh of Caledon, Ontario, Canada.

Troopers said the semi began to slow down to make a turn onto Johnson-Sebring Road, and the Cadillac rear-ended it.

Martyne was not wearing a seat belt and suffered fatal injuries. Singh, who was wearing a seat belt, was not injured, according to the highway patrol. It was the fourth fatal traffic accident in the county this year.

Portage removes

public defender

The Portage County Public Defender Commission has placed chief public defender Dennis Day Lager on administrative leave through the end of his contract in August.

Lager was placed on leave effective March 13, said attorney Timothy D. Smith, who has been appointed interim chief of the office that represents indigent defendants in Portage County courts.

Smith said the commission felt it needed to "make a management change" due to issues within the office because "the morale in the office needed some addressing. That included a change in the top leadership."

Lager's contract with the county ends Aug. 7. Smith said his role as interim chief of the office also will end that day, and the commission hopes to advertise for the open position "shortly."

Smith said Lager's leave had nothing to do with a lawsuit filed in 2015 in federal court by a former assistant public defender, Leonard Hazelett.

-- Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier

Expanded use of

center squashed

The Portage-Geauga Joint Board of Commissioners voted last week to maintain current practices at the Portage-Geauga County Juvenile Detention Center despite concerns over the facility's financial state.

Public records reveal that for months, members of the board have been debating on whether or not to allow expanded use of the facility through a system of renting bed space to surrounding counties.

The center is located on Infirmary Road in Shalersville Township, but is funded and utilized by both counties for juvenile delinquents.

The joint board of commissioners approved a resolution passed down by the board of trustees to "maintain the current practice that the PCJDC shall not contract bed space with other counties." The resolution does grant both judges authority to m

That resolution should act as a final note in the months-long debate over the future of the facility.

-- Matthew Merchant,


APL gets $50,000

from foundation

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation has awarded a grant of $50,000 to Portage Animal Protective League, the second of four special $50,000 grants to the community that the Morgan Foundation will announce throughout the year in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

Serving Portage County since 1955, the Portage APL rescues nearly a thousand animals each year, caring for them until they can be placed in permanent homes.

The organization will utilize grant funds to erect a much-needed pole barn on its Ravenna property and provide the community with additional low-cost spay and neuter clinics for cats. Construction of the pole barn will begin this summer and is expected to be completed by winter.

APL Executive Director Chalan Lowry said, "The board of directors and I are absolutely ecstatic over this generous gift. We are a small shelter with big hopes for the future. This grant will have an invaluable and long term impact on Portage APL and our services.

"We will be able to save money and help more animals and people in the community as a result. The Burton D. Morgan Foundation has given us a gift we could not have given ourselves and will forever have a place in our hearts."

A rabies warning

The Portage County Health District is issuing a reminder to county residents of the ever-present threat of rabies. The district has confirmed two cases of raccoon rabies variant so far this year.

Rabies is a fatal, viral zoonosis and a serious public health threat, the district said. All mammals, such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats, are believed susceptible to the disease.

Rabies is transmitted when the virus is introduced into bite wounds, open cuts in skin, or onto mucous membranes from saliva.

To report a bite incident or possible rabies exposure, call Melissa Stranathan at 330-296-9919, ext. 136.

DUI citation given

A Hiram Township man is facing at least his third lifetime felony drunken driving charge after crashing his pickup truck in Howland Township in Trumbull County on April 19.

Mark A. Meadows, 45, was charged by the Ohio Highway Patrol following a fiery traffic crash on Route 82 near East Market Street at the Warren city limits.

Charged with operating a vehicle under the influence and driving under suspension, Meadows will be arraigned May 5 in Warren Municipal Court, records show.

It is at least Meadows' third felony drunken driving charge in the last 12 years and his 10th overall, according to court records. HIs last drunken driving arrest in Portage County was in 1992.

4th local fatality

in the past week

A one-car crash on Moff Road in Atwater township early April 23 killed a 22-year-old Deerfield man and also damaged an above-ground pipeline, spilling approximately 20 barrels -- about 840 gallons -- of oil in the area.

According to the Ravenna post of the Ohio Highway Patrol, Nickolas D. Williams was driving a 2016 Ford Escape headed eastbound on Moff Road west of Route 183 at 5:20 a.m. when he crossed the center line.

The SUV went off the left side of the road, struck a ditch and a tree before hitting an above-ground oil pipeline access valve, causing a leak. Witnesses said the SUV suffered severe damage.

Troopers said alcohol and speed are believed to be factors in the crash, which remains under investigation.

The crash is the fourth traffic fatality in Portage County in the past week. One of those is believed to be the result of a medical issue, according to the highway patrol.

A local contracting crew from the pipeline owner, Houston, Texas-based EnerVest, and two Ohio Department of Natural Resources workers also responded to the scene to clean up spilled oil.