SAGAMORE HILLS -- A flag raising ceremony was held July 5 at a vandalized Safety Town at Rushwood Elementary with U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce and other area dignitaries on hand.

Sagamore Hills police told the News Leader the site had been vandalized approximately 3-4 weeks before the ceremony.

Sagamore Hills Ptl. Dan Decrane, school resource officer for Rushwood, learned of the damage about a month ago, according to Ptl. Tim Ellis, who told the News Leader a local sign shop is making new signs to replace the damaged ones and the school was increasing video surveillance of the area.

Nordonia Hills Rotary member Syliva Hanneken said the replacement signs will likely be replaced before the start of the annual program July 17. A cost of the replacement signs was not immediately available, but Hanneken said the Rotary Club would be footing the bill.

"We made a commitment to the people who donated to maintain Safety Town," she said. "I just didn't think we would have to replace things this soon."

During the flag raising ceremony, conducted by Girl Scouts from Troop 90724, led by Troop leader Susan Petro, Joyce presented a U.S. flag that has flown over the U.S. Capital to Rotarian Derek Mercer, Executive Director of the Nordonia Hills YMCA. Mercer runs the Safety Town program.

Numerous individuals were credited for their efforts in raising more than $50,000 for the Safety Town project, as well as for the donation of hundreds of hours of volunteer service. They include: Karen Byers, of Nordonia Hills Building Boosters, which paid for the flag pole; Rushwood Elementary Principal Dr. Jacqueline O'Mara; Rotary Club member Dave Fike for organizing, planning and building Safety Town and for the maintenance program; Rotary Club member Sylvia Hanneken, fund-raising chair; Rotary Club member Robin Bugenske, Rotarian of the Year; and Rotary District 6630, which provided additional funding.

For more information about Safety Town, contact Nordonia Hills YMCA Executive Director Derek Mercer at at Derekm@akronymca or telephone 330-467-8366.

Phone: 330-541-9433