United Way campaignis seeking $1.1 millionThe United Way of Portage County is aiming to raise slightly more than $1.1 million this year to aid residents in need. The campaign kicked off Oct. 22 at Hiram College.Pacesetter organizations, which help jump-start the campaign each year, have raised $300,000 toward this year's goal, said Steve Kleiber, president and CEO of the United Way."It's so important to our larger community that we all participate in the campaign," Kleiber said.More than 50 United Way friends and donors were guests of Hiram College and treated to food, music and causal socializing in the Coleman Recreation, Sports and Fitness Center.Hiram College President Tom Chema said the college is committed to the community and is kicking off its own United Way drive soon.Portage County agencies which benefit from United Way include Big Brothers-Sisters, Children's Advo-cacy Center, Community Legal Aid, Townhall II, Salvation Army, Mobile Meals, Coleman Professional Services, the Red Cross and Family and Community Services.Attorney pleads guiltyto stealing from estateA Chagrin Falls attorney originally accused of illegally taking more than $300,000 from the estates of a deceased Portage County couple pleaded guilty Oct. 26 to one count of aggravated theft.Richard P. Ziegler, 61, entered a guilty plea before Judge Laurie Pittman in Portage County Common Pleas Court.Ziegler originally was charged with two counts of aggravated theft -- one for stealing more than $124,000 from the estate of the late Raymond Bogden and a second for stealing more than $201,000 from the estate of the late Virginia Bodgen.Assistant Portage County Prosecutor Eugene Muldowney told Pittman the state was willing to dismiss count two, relating to the theft from Virginia Bogden, if Ziegler pleaded guilty to the theft from Raymond Bogden.Pittman told Ziegler he could face up to $10,000 in fines and a maximum of five years in prison.Portage given grant toaid victims of violenceThe Portage County commissioners have received a grant of $309,399 to assist people who have been the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.The two-year renewable grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Violence Against Women and will be used to support several programs.In Portage County domestic violence is one of the most common calls received by the sheriff's office. Officers spend more than 30 percent of their time dealing with such calls.The grant will help a recently created collaboration called Advocate, Train and Respond to streamline efforts between law enforcement and social agencies to respond to and prosecute violent offenders.Members of the ATR group include the prosecutor's office, county courts, adult probation, Townhall II, Safer Futures and the Children's Advocacy Center.State rep is proposingOhio sales tax holidayState Rep. Stephen Dyer of Green introduced a bill Oct. 26 that would create a sales tax holiday in Ohio during the second weekend in August.The proposal is modeled after a similar measure in Massachusetts.Dyer started working on the measure after a visit to Massachusetts. He was amazed at how it turned back to school shopping into a huge event, boosting consumer confidence during a typically moribund shopping period."It's like Thanksgiving weekend," he said. "I said to myself, 'Here's a state known for heavy taxation that has among the finest schools in the country, as well as universal health care, and they can do it. Why not Ohio.'"Similar measures throughout the U.S. save consumers between $10 million and $49 million. Massachusetts residents save about $17 million a year.Holiday home tour setin Mantua Village soonMantua's Christmas Tour of Homes this year will feature four unique homes decorated for the holidays, lunch at the decorated St. Joseph Catholic Church and a craft show at TL Express on Main Street.The tour will be offered from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 2-3 and 9-10 and 12:30 to 5 p.m. Nov. 4 and 11.Each home on the tour is decorated with a different theme in mind -- winter wonderland, Christmas through the years, collage of fun and English country lavender and roses.Those buying tickets in advance can enjoy an opening candlelight tour Nov. 1, the decorated homes and the craft show. Tickets are limited.To purchase tickets, call 330-274-2376. Tickets for the daytime tour can be obtained on the days of the tour at Red Caboose at Mantua Station Drug Store after 9:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturday and afternoon Sundays.The cost is $10 per adult and $5 per child under 12.