Ox Roast coming

up at St. Joseph's

The annual St. Joseph's Ox Roast Fair is coming up July 21-21. Activities will run JUly 21 from 6 to 11:30 p.m., July 22 from 1 to 11:30 p.m. and July 23 from noon to 10 p.m.

July 21 festivities include an antique tractor pull at 6 p.m., the "Ox Roast Idol" competition from 6 to 11 p.m. on the talent stage, Disco Inferno performing from 7 to 10 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m.

The Run of the Ox distance run opens July 22 activities at 8 a.m.. Other activities throughout the day are a garden tractor pull, Jungle Bob, One Hit Wonders, an indoor casino, Heroes Rock, Tyrone's Blues Sinsation, Tracer, "Ox Roast Idol" and kiddie, tractor and semi-truck pulls.

Jungle Bob, Pasten Project, Southern Overdrive and Matt Vanfossen will perform on July 23, and other activities are a frog jumping contest, 4-wheel drive pickup truck pull, a blessing of bikes and main raffle drawings.

The Ox Roast Fair started 54 years ago to help pay for the church's school. Proceeds now support the mission and ministry of the parish.

There are many food booths, a beer garden, a dining hall, amusement midway, indoor casino, instant bingo, games and karaoke, plus the famous Ox Roast beef, several prize and money drawings and a raffle.

Loan program in

Portage expands

Recent changes by the Portage County Investment Advisory Committee have expanded the number of homes eligible to participate in the county's home improvement loan program.

When the program, which makes low-cost home loans available to local homeowners, was first approved in 2015, it was limited to properties that the county auditor assessed having a value of $175,000 or less. Project costs were also capped at $40,000.

Under the new rules, homes valued at up to $250,000 are now eligible, and the project cost cap has been raised to $50,000.

"We initially approved the program for up to $1 million in lending. As of today, our partner banks have issued approximately $416,000 in loans, and we would like to see more of that available money being utilized to improve our community," said Portage Treasurer Brad Cromes.

Feedback coming into Cromes' office and at participating banks called for higher caps.

For more information, interested borrowers should call the treasurer's office at 330-297-3586, Hometown Bank at 330-677-6026, Middlefield Banking Co. at 330-247-0881 or Portage Community Bank at 330-296-8090.

Fatal crashes fall

Portage County's Fatal Data Review Board reported that fatal crashes in the first half of 2017 numbered five, while there were eight in the same period in 2016.

"Although our year-to-date fatal crash statistics are lower in 2017 than 2016, we still have a lot of work to do to make our roadways safer for everyone," said County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci.

"For years, alcohol-related crashes were a serious problem for us. Then distracted driving became equally dangerous and epidemic.

"Now our heroin situation has greatly increased the risk for crashes. Drivers are not just under the influence, they are shooting up while they're driving."

Streetsborans to

decide parks levy

Streetsboro voters will see a 5-mill property tax on the November ballot to fund construction of a $15 million recreation center, which is being planned as the lynchpin of a new city center.

If approved by voters in the fall, the levy would cost property owners $175 more in taxes per $100,000 in property value, according to city officials.

Mayor Glenn Broska said the recreation center likely will include basketball courts, an indoor turf field, cardio machines, weight machines, free weights, exercise studios, a four- or five-lane pool and an aquatic area for children.

In addition to funding the recreation center, the money also would be used for parks and recreation department operations and improvements to existing parks.

"That levy is going to be used to improve our entire park system," Broska said. "People that use our parks will see immediate results in our parks in better baseball fields, in walking paths, in a playground and in improvements to Thomas Heritage Park."

-- Bob Gaetjens, Record-Courier

Business' owner

sentenced to jail

A former Streetsboro businessman who bilked customers and friends alike out of more than $500,000 in an attempt to keep his struggling business afloat is headed to prison for up to a decade.

"It just blew up," John C. Thompson Jr. of Rootstown told Portage County Common Pleas Judge Becky Doherty on June 30 at his sentencing hearing in her courtroom, referring to a nearly five-year illegal scheme to keep Thompson Campers open for business.

Doherty sentenced Thompson, 69, to up to 10 years behind bars, based on a joint recommendation worked out by attorney Tim Hart and the Portage County prosecutor's office.

Total restitution was ordered in the amount of $512,852.51 to about 26 victims. Others likely will have to file civil lawsuits -- and a number already have been filed -- against Thompson to try to get back the money he took, Assistant Prosecutor Steve Michniak said.

"The numbers and amounts of money these folks have lost, and even some of the lower numbers to many, many people that is such a major loss that it will affect so many aspects of their lives," Doherty said.

"And because of your selfish behavior, there are a lot of people sitting out there devastated, trying to figure out how they're going to recoup the money. You put so many people in the horrible position of that financial loss."

Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier

Pair is charged in

prostitution caper

Two Stark County residents were busted July 4 after allegedly traveling to Portage County for the purposes of prostitution.

Melissa Wylie, 29, of North Canton was charged with one count each of tampering with evidence and illegal conveyance, both third-degree felonies, possession of criminal tools and possession of drugs, both fifth-degree felonies, and soliciting prostitution, a third-degree misdemeanor.

Michael Forsea, 66, also of North Canton is charged with one count each of promoting prostitution, a fourth-degree felony, and possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony.

The Portage County Sheriff's Office alleges Forsea drove Wylie to the 8300 block of Infirmary Road in Shalersville, where she allegedly was going to engage in sexual intercourse in exchange for $80.

Wylie allegedly tried to destroy and hide suspected cocaine and drug paraphernalia in the back of a marked sheriff's office cruiser, and had less than 5 grams of cocaine and drug paraphernalia in her possession while being booked at the Portage County Jail.

Additional or amended charges are possible once the case is reviewed by a Portage County grand jury.

-- Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier

Portage memorial

bricks now on sale

Order forms for the Portage County veterans memorial bricks are now available.

The memorial is located outside the Portage County Courthouse on Main Street in Ravenna. An annual ceremony held on Veteran's Day -- this year on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. -- recognizes those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The memorial, which honors the more than 1,400 veterans from Portage County, is laid out in the shape of a bald eagle, the national bird, with five smaller memorials along the "wings" of the eagle. Memorial bricks are placed along the walkway of the memorial each year before the ceremony.

In order for bricks to be installed before this year's ceremony, orders must be received by Aug. 15. An 8-by-8 inch brick is $100 and a 12-by-12 inch brick is $250.

Order forms, with ordering instructions, are available on line at www.co.portage.oh.us/vetsmemorial.

Bridge in Mantua

Township closed

A bridge on Mantua Center Road in Mantua Township is closed until further notice, according to the Portage County engineer's office.

The bridge over Black Brook Ditch was closed July 13 afternoon because of unsafe conditions. An inspection of the bridge found deteriorating support beams.

Mantua Center Road to the north will be closed between the bridge and Winchell Road, and to the south from the bridge to Wayne. Residents can still reach their homes on either side of the closure.

A detour is in place from Route 44 to Route 82 to Winchell Road. County Engineer Michael Marozzi said the roadway will be closed until further inspections can be made.

"If repairs are needed, we're looking at a few months. If the bridge needs to be replaced, I will have to seek outside funding and it could take more than a year," Marozzi said.

Mantua Township Trustee Jason Carlton said the township road crews were unaware of the closure until an email was sent late in the day on July 13.

Highway projects

continuing in area

Local drivers heading toward Mantua on Route 82 are reminded that microsurfacing is continuing between the eastern Aurora corporation limit and Route 44, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Route 44 between Route 82 and the Geauga County line also is on the microsurfacing list in the coming days. There will be various daily lane restrictions.

Meanwhile, work on Frost Road in Streetsboro continues between Ellsworth Road and Phillips Parkway and at the intersection of Route 43, where occasional lane restrictions will be in effect for road widening. That project is scheduled to be completed by late September.

Route 303 in Shalersville Township between Diagonal Road and Route 44 is closed. through mid-September for two bridge replacements. The detour is Route 14 to Route 44. It is part of a $1.6 million project to resurface Route 303 between the eastern Streetsboro corporation limit and Route 44.

The following routes have daily lane restrictions: Route 88 between the southern Garrettsville corporation limit and Route 82 and the northern Garrettsville corporation limit and Route 305 and Route 303 between Route 88 and the western Windham corporalation limit.

Route 44 in Ravenna Township has daily lane restrictions at Enterprise Parkway, plus signal improvements at the Routes 14-44 intersection.

Art sale to benefit

Parks Foundation

The Portage Park District Foundation is looking for artists to submit arts and crafts for a juried art sale slated for Dec. 7-8.

The show will be from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Downtown Gallery, 141 E. Main St. , Kent. Paintings, photography, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, metals, mixed media, note cards and stationery will be considered.

Artists must complete the online entry form at www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3679192/Portage-Park-District-Foundation-Arts-and-Crafts-Sale-2017 by Nov. 1 for consideration.

"We are looking to promote regional artists with nature-inspired artwork," said Sally Kandel, president of the Portage Park District Foundation.

All artwork will be sold on consignment with 60 percent of selling price to the artist and 40 percent of selling price to support the Portage Park District Foundation.

Artists will be notified by Nov. 10 if they have been selected. There is no cost to apply or to present in the show. For more details, visit www.portageparkdistrict.org or contact Kandel at skandel2@neo.rr.com.