I've always marveled at how amazing it is when a community comes together to help others.

Whether it's after a disaster, helping a particular person who is down on his or her luck, raising funds for causes such as cancer research -- like Relay For Life -- or providing services such as raking leaves for the elderly in the fall, Americans have a great legacy of pitching in.

Nowhere was that more evident than right here in Aurora, when dozens of volunteers took to the streets last weekend to collect food for the annual Fill a Bag, Feed a Family effort.

It was quite a sight to see so many people lending a helping hand at the warehouse where the food was sorted. Not to mention those who were riding around in their cars in the pouring rain collecting the bags from residents' homes.

And then there were the local Boy Scouts who stood in the rain at the Marketplace at Four Corners accepting nonperishables

All of the items donated go to Aurora's Volunteers of America food pantry run by Sue Altman. More than 20,000 pounds of goods have been donated each year since the drive began three years ago.

Thank goodness for people like Fill a Bag, Feed a Family founder Bruce Harris and this year's co-chairmen John and Katie Monroe, plus all the other young and old helping hands.

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There have been a lot of exciting things going on in Aurora lately, certainly none bigger than the high school earning the No. 1 designation among Northeast Ohio schools in U.S. News & World Report's annual listing.

A couple of new businesses are going up -- namely Tire Max on West Maple Lane and the Liberty Ford dealership at Route 43 and Squires Road. Plus the Aurora Veterinary Clinic and Kennels has found a site for its expansion.

Piping Rock Health Products' announcement iearlier this year that it plans to move into a large industrial building on Lena Drive and hopefully bring over 300 jobs to the city is great news.

And the fact that Aurora Commons and part of Barrington Town Square have new owners could be another positive for the city.

The Aurora High baseball team is having an excellent year, and has the ability to make it all the way to the state tournament for the third time in the last five years.

Best wishes to Aurora resident Karl Warnke, who announced recently that he will retire as chief executive officer of the Davey ree Expert Co. after 37 years of service there.

And the same goes for Linda Lawyer, who is stepping down after 35 years as administrator at Hope Christian School. Both of those two have had fulfilling careers, I'm sure.

The outcome of Tuesday's school levy vote was not known when I wrote this, but hopefully it passed and School Board members can breathe a sigh of relief that adequate funds will be available for a few more years. If it didn't, they face some tough decisions.

Less than a month from now, more than 200 Aurora High seniors will bid farewell and head out on their journey into college life. And some local athletes will continue their playing careers in college.

With only a few more weeks of school, that means summer is fast approaching, bringing such activities as baseball, outdoor concerts at various area venues and Aurora's July 4 celebration.

So enjoy the summer!

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Like all who knew him, I was saddened to learn of the death of former City Councilman Joe Kastelic. I've covered many Council sessions, committee meetings and activities that he was associated with. He had a lot to do with moving Aurora forward in a time when the city was growing rapidly and faced several challenges. He always approached issues with the utmost conviction and sincerity. The community will miss him.

Email: klahmers@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189