New Chief of the Uniontown Police Department Hired

Township trustees on Monday appointed Capt. Jack Coontz to be the new chief of the Uniontown Police Department.

Coontz, a 26-year veteran of the department, had been in charge of the department following the retirement of former chief Don Hensley last month.

Trustees announced Coontz’s selection as chief after a 32-minute executive session. The appointment is effective Jan. 24. Coontz’s salary is $61,000 per year.

In other business, trustees also:
• Approved permanent appropriations of 2009 of $11.4 million for the total of all funds.

• Authorized paying bills including $66,000 for road salt purchased from Cargill Salt through the Stark County Cooperative Purchasing Program.

• Agreed to buy three bulletproof vests for part-time officers of the Uniontown Police Department from D&G Uniforms of Akron for $1,590.

• Accepted the resignation of Russell Diehl, an auxiliary police officer with Uniontown Police Department.

• Reappointed Bob Capelli to the township zoning commission for a five-year term through Jan. 29, 2014.

• Agreed to send a letter to the Stark County commissioners to express their support for the proposed improvement of Market Avenue and Lake Center Street.

• Approved the use of a $2,400 recycling grant from the Manning Group.

The trustees approved the purchase of three bulletproof vests for the police department at a cost not to exceed $1,590. They also accepted the resignation of police Officer Russell Diehl and reappointed

4-year-old Blake Davis (Son of Jessie Davis) has no parents, but he has Jenn a former Uniontown resident

jennOver the past 18 months, Jenn Snyder has established a college fund, collected furniture – and even helped get a home – for the family of 4-year-old Blake Davis.

Snyder didn’t even know Blake until she saw him on television in June 2007.

The Ohio boy’s missing mother had just been found dead. The prime suspect was his father.

“I was sobbing watching the press conference,” said Snyder, 36, of Charlotte. “I thought, ‘This little boy has no mom or dad.’”

She decided to help.

Snyder has spent more than a year collecting money and donations to help Blake and his family in Akron, Ohio.

A trust fund she established – Blake’s Bright Tomorrow – raises money for the boy’s college education. She is also trying to find someone willing to give the family a vehicle to replace their car, which she said often breaks down.

Her effort has already persuaded a mortgage company to donate a foreclosed house to the family. Businesses from Charlotte gave $32,000 to pay the gift tax and help furnish the house.

Celebrities such as singers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, NBA star Lebron James and Carolina Panthers players Steve Smith and Jake Delhomme contributed autographed items last year that helped her collect $25,000 during a fundraiser.

“It has totally changed my life,” said Snyder, who works as executive director of Hood Hargett Breakfast Club in Charlotte, a business networking group. “I can’t imagine what life would be like without it.”

Blake’s story made national headlines. His mother, Jessie Davis, 26, was nine months pregnant when she went missing from her Ohio home in June of last year. Patty Porter, Blake’s maternal grandmother, found him alone in the duplex two days later.

Davis’ dead body was discovered nine days later about 25 miles away in a national park.

The boy’s father, former police officer Bobby Cutts Jr., was later convicted of murder and aggravated murder of Davis’s unborn child and sentenced to life in prison.

During the sentencing hearing, Porter publicly forgave Cutts, her daughter’s boyfriend and the father of the unborn child.

Porter, 62, is now raising Blake, whom she describes as personable and smart. He can count to 200 and spell names of all his family members, she said.

Blake also asks questions about what happened to his parents.

“We never lie to him,” Porter said. “He knows Dad’s in a long time-out. He’s progressed to Dad’s in jail.”

Snyder grew up in Uniontown, Ohio, a small blue-collar town not far from where Blake lives. Her parents still live there.

Blake’s story gripped the town. Thousands signed up to search for Davis’ body.

“My dad got choked up on the phone telling how all these people were searching,” said Snyder, who has lived in Charlotte for 11 years. “These were people who didn’t have a lot of money taking time off their jobs.”

Snyder wanted to do her part, so she started organizing a silent auction in Ohio. It was held in July 2007.

She persuaded business associates to give jewelry, a television and other merchandise. Homebuilders and other volunteers agreed to renovate the family’s new house, furnish it and buy play equipment for the backyard.

Her boss, Chuck Hood, allowed her to work solely on the fundraiser for three weeks.

“She became so passionate about it,” Hood said. “She was not going to be content until she had done it 110 percent.”

On the day of the fundraiser, Snyder and other volunteers surprised Blake’s family with the three-bedroom, split-level house. Six family members previously had been living in a two-bedroom apartment.

When Porter saw the laundry room with a washer and dryer, she turned to Snyder and hugged her. Porter had never owned her own house and did not have a washer and dryer.

“She said, ‘My daughter would have loved you so much,’” Snyder said. “It was an amazing moment between us.”

But perhaps the biggest gift, Snyder says, is the relationship between her and Blake’s family. Snyder and family members said they talk at least once a week by phone and she visits their home every few weeks. They are planning a pajama party to celebrate Christmas together.

“She is like one of my daughters,” Porter said.

Snyder keeps a card that Blake wrote for her. On one half of the card, he traced his hand and wrote, “I love you.”

Plane Crashes in Uniontown

CantonRep.com staff report

LAKE TWP. —The pilot of a single-engine airplane died when he crashed Friday evening, narrowly missing a vacant house on Charolais Street NW in a residential neighborhood.
Dead is Michael L. Connell, 45, of Akron, according to Lt. Tony Bradshaw of the Ohio Highway Patrol. No one was injured.

“The plane was just torn apart,” said Harry Campbell, chief investigator with the Stark County coroner’s office. He estimated debris from the aircraft was scattered over about 100 yards.

Connell, the pilot of the Piper Saratoga, was en route to runway 23 at the Akron-Canton Airport three miles away, according to Kristie Van Auken, an airport official.

The patrol said he was forced to land the plane in the residential area.

Van Auken said the pilot was the only person aboard the seven-passenger plane. Greentown Fire Department Capt. Lorin Geiser said rescue officials believe that Connell was trying to avoid hitting a house at 2017 Charolais St. NW. The plane crashed at about 6 p.m. in the front yard, plowing through the grass before it “tumbled” and came to rest near the driveway, pine trees and a basketball hoop, Geiser said.

The aircraft apparently had flown out of Pennsylvania, said Campbell. Stark County Coroner P.S. Murthy was on the scene and is scheduled to perform an autopsy on Connell today.

Campbell found receipts in Connell’s wallet showing he had breakfast Friday in Washington, D.C. Connell was dressed in a business suit, he said. Two suitcases and other personal items had been on the plane, Campbell said.

CRASH SCENE

The airplane crashed into a playground set and ripped a flagpole out of the ground on impact. The tail of the plane rested next to small pine trees.

Debris from the plane and possibly fuel ignited a fire on the corner of the house, Geiser said. Vinyl siding was damaged and peeled back to the insulation in spots.

Greentown firefighters arrived at the scene about four minutes after the crash, and within five minutes had doused the burning wreckage and flames on the house, Geiser said.

Assisting Greentown were North Canton, Uniontown, Plain Township and Hartville firefighters. The Stark County Sheriff’s Department also was on the scene as was an investigator with the Federal Aviation Administration, Campbell said. A representative of the National Transportation Safety Board was expected to arrive on the scene Friday night.

The empty house, which is between two occupied homes, was in foreclosure, said Sgt. Leo Shirkey of the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Stark County post, which received the call at 6:04 p.m. The Greentown Fire Department received a call at 5:55 p.m. for a plane down and possible structure fire, Geiser said.

‘CLOSER AND CLOSER’

Neighbors heard the crash and called 911. Nancy Beisler, who lives across the street, said she was inside when she heard the plane “buzzing” over her home.

“I thought something exploded and (my husband) thought something happened to me,” she said.

“I said, ‘I’m OK’ and he said, ‘Call 911, it’s something across the street,’ ” Beisler said. “… And unfortunately it was all flames.”

“You could tell it was very close and it kept getting closer and closer,” neighbor Christina Pastore-Bucher said. “It buzzed right over the house, and you heard a crash — it was an impact.”

“It had instantly burst into flames.” Noting that fuel may have spilled, Pastore-Bucher said, “the fire was kind of going to both sides.”

Pastore-Bucher is used to hearing planes fly over, but “this one, you knew it was so fast, it was so low.”

Julie Fano said the house at 2017 Charolais St. had been vacant since the spring. She and her husband, Joe, were eating dinner when they heard the plane’s engine cutting in and out.

“I threw my clothes on and ran out, but there wasn’t anything we could do,” Joe Fano said. “You don’t want to get too close because you don’t know if anything else (will) explode.”

Uniontown Company to Open $100M bleach plant in Pittsburg

A $100 million bleach manufacturing plant will be built and operated by K2 Pure Solutions at Dow Chemical Co.’s Pittsburg site.

K2 will build and operate the plant on 15 acres leased from Dow on its 513-acre east Contra Costa County site. Dow will supply raw materials.

The new plant will sell bleach mainly to municipal water treatment plants in Northern California. It should be operational by the end of 2010.

Seperately, K2 will lease to Dow an additional separate facility K2 will operate to make chlorine and caustic soda for Dow’s agricultural markets.

Howard Brodie, K2’s chief executive officer, said the 20-year agreement should provide about 200 direct and indirect construction jobs and approximately 40 direct and indirect permanent operations jobs.

Dow, the $53.5 billion chemical giant based in Midland, Mich., said Dec. 8 as part of a global reduction it would close its Pittsburg latex operation, costing 20 jobs. The latex plant had been idle since August. Dow has 500 employees and contactors in Pittsburg.

Dow has nine production units left after the latex plant shut down, said Randy Fischback, Dow’s California public and government affairs leader.

The K2 plant “will be a new unit on site; its footprint every bit as robust as our larger plants.”

Dow operated a global-scale chlorine production plant in Pittsburg for 50 years, before closing it in 1992.

The new plant will have to get city and regulatory agency approvals, Fischback said.

Tod Sutton, Dow’s Pittsburg site leader, said Dow will get “a stable, onsite, low-cost raw material supply by working with K2,” and that “sharing capital costs is consistent with Dow’s asset-light strategy and provides Dow better raw material integration at the Pittsburg site.”

While chlorine and bleach may be the same thing, chlorine is a deadly gas, mostly made in the Gulf, and shipped by rail.

K2’s technology “eliminates the public safety risk,” said David Cynamon, K2 executive chairman.

Cynamon and partner Brodie founded KIK Custom Products in 1997, a Concord, Ontario, company that grew to $1.5 billion in sales and is North America’s largest contract manufacturer of private label household bleach, personal care and household cleaning products. The duo sold KIK with its 25 plants in May 2007 to CI Capital Partners LLC of New York.

“We knew chlorine,” Cynamon said, “We were the largest store brand bleach manufacturer in North America.” Along with Centre Partners, their original partners at KIK, Cynamon and Brodie founded K2 and put to use their knowledge of bleach-making.

K2 is based in Toronto, Ontario, with U.S. headquarters in Uniontown, Ohio. It has 15 employees and, besides Pittsburg, plans to open bleach plants in Vernon in Southern California and later Chicago.

K2 makes bleach using only salt, water and electricity as the inputs.

K2’s plan is to reduce the need to transport chlorine for water treatment by setting up a network of regional plants using its safer method of bleach production.

While early-stage technologies are often expensive — windfarms and solar power, for example — K2 is able “to create products at no extra cost to taxpayers,” Cynamon said.

Shipping chlorine by rail isn’t allowed in Europe and Asia, he said, something that may happen in the United States.

Uniontown, Ohio Lions Club Distrubutes Annual Christmas Baskets

Lake Local Middle SchoolEach year the Lions distribute Christmas baskets to people in Lake township who are in need during the holidays.

This year we were able to purchase $1200 dollars in Giant Eagle gift cards in $50 increments.

For the past two years the Lions club has worked with Wendy Stephens at Lake Middle School who coordinates the distribution on the last day of school before Christmas break.

Ms. Stephens said that there are seventy-five families this year that will receive help and she is always thankful for help that the Uniontown Lions club is able to provide this time of the year.

Lake surpasses Perry as Stark’s third-largest township

By Kelli Young CantonRep.com staff writer

An influx of baby boomers has catapulted Lake Township to Stark County’s third most populous township, new census figures show.

The U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday will release figures that gives midsize cities and towns their first statistical portrait since 2000. The numbers are based on three years worth of data — from 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Today’s release shows the population shifts for Alliance, Canton, Jackson Township, Lake Township, Massillon, Perry Township and Plain Township. Figures for smaller Stark County towns likely will be released in 2010, according to census officials.

LIVING IN LAKE
Among Stark County’s most populated townships, Lake Township saw the largest percent increase in population.

Between 2000 and 2007, the rural township that borders Summit County has added more than 1,200 people — a 13.4 percent increase.

The influx propelled Lake’s population to 29,361 and past Perry Township’s declining population of 27,922. The census figures include incorporated municipalities within the townships, such as Hartville. (Information has been corrected to fix an error. See correction at end of story. 12:01 p.m., 12/9/08)

With North Canton included in the tally, Lake still trails Plain Township’s 52,546 residents (which includes North Canton) and Jackson Township’s 37,744 residents, which includes Hills and Dales. Both townships also saw smaller gains in population during the same seven-year span.

Most of the Lake’s newcomers are aged 60 or older and likely were attracted to the township’s multiplying senior-housing communities, says Lake Township Trustee Ellis Erb.

“The seniors have stayed in the community instead of moving out because of the condos that have been put up here,” said Erb, who rattled off the names of a dozen senior-housing allotments built recently in the township.

And more units are being built on Mount Pleasant Street NW, Erb said.

He believes Lake Local Schools’ distinguished reputation and Stark County’s low cost of living also have attracted new residents.

BUCKING THE TREND
At least one Stark County city has defied the dying city label.

Massillon’s population increased from 31,325 to 32,289 between 2000 and 2007, figures show.

Massillon Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli credits the city’s emphasis on increasing the number of annual housing starts and its aggressive annexation philosophy.

“We try to get about a hundred housing units per year,” Cicchinelli said. “That includes single family, condominiums, duplex units and apartments. And that’s what we had averaged for the last 10 years.”

He said many newer housing developments exist in the Perry Local and Tuslaw school districts. Other new units have been scattered throughout the city, including in established neighborhoods.

“We try to have a housing stock that represents all income levels,” the mayor said. “We like our diversity.”

Annexations of undeveloped land also have helped with continual growth of housing developments, Cicchinelli said.

“We found that in most cases (that) if it’s a vacant lot, that as soon as water and sewer (services) are available, it gets filled in pretty easily,” Cicchinelli said.

CORRECTION: The census figures include incorporated municipalities within the townships. This information was not included in the orginal story, which was published at 9:57 p.m. Dec. 8.

Please Join Lake Local Schools For a Holiday Concert

The event is being sponsored by Project Connect, Lake High School Blue Streak Jazz Orchestra and the Reflections Show Choir.

Jopin us Friday December 19th, 2008 at the Lake Local High School Perfroming Arts Hall (Lake Community Center Complex Door 5).  Light refreshments will begin at 12:00 with the concert starting at 12:30.

Please RSVP to Gloria Molenaur (330) 877-9383 and as always there is no charge for this event.

Happy Holidays!

Lake Township Historical Society Silent Auction Dec. 5 at the Hartville Kitchen

HARTVILLE — The Lake Township Historical Society (LTHS) will host its 14th Annual Dinner and eighth annual Silent Auction Dec. 5 at the Hartville Kitchen.

The event will include entertainment provided by Lake High School strings players, with a special number by Carlo Giolla and Bob Downerd, who are known locally for their singing and entertaining at Carlo’s Trattoria.

The Silent Auction will feature golf packages, gift certificates, The Ohio State University and Cleveland Browns merchandise, tickets to professional sporting events, baked goods, antiques, floral items, gift certificates and more.

Also at the event, a bake sale will offer homemade specialty items.

The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for bidding, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and a short business meeting after dinner.

To make a reservation to attend the event, call (330) 877-9063 or mail a check for $18 per person by Nov. 28 and payable to LTHS to P.O. Box 482, Uniontown, OH 44685. Guests are asked to indicate a choice of chicken supreme or roast beef for dinner.

To make a donation for the Silent Auction or for more details, contact Ruth Sturgill at (330) 877-2625. LTHS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and donations are tax-deductible.

The Silent Auction serves as the LTHS’ largest fund-raiser of the year. Funds generated are used to maintain and promote the one-room schoolhouse and the museum, continue programs such as the Fireside Chats and education programs for local school children and the community, and help with the preservation of Lake Township artifacts.

Streetlights on the way for Lake Township allotment

BY MARY ANN KANNAM

Township trustees Monday began the process of installing six streetlights in Phase 3 of The Enclave allotment.

The board accepted a $6,133 bid from Bontrager Excavating of Uniontown for work including trenching, placing conduit and feeding, which is necessary for Ohio Edison to complete the installation of the lights.

Trustees authorized spending $6,004 to buy a pressure washer and an additive to be used in the equipment from 3R Sales & Service, of Barberton. The machine will be used by the Road Department.

Rick Dye was reappointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals for a five-year term, beginning Monday. He has been a board member for two years.

Trustees also:

• Accepted the resignation of Dan Yeager as a reserve officer with the Uniontown Police Department.

• Hired Eric Egli and Daniel Kamerer as Road Department auxiliary employees

Project Connect – Free Performance of To Kill A Mockingbird

Project Connect will offer a free performance of To kill a Mockingbird on Friday November 21st in the Lake High Scool performaning arts theatre at 12:30 pm. The performance is open to the entire community and everyone is encouraged to attend. Light refreshments will be served at noon with the play starting at 12:30. Call Gloria Molenaur at (330) 877-9383 to make a reservation for the light refreshments.