Lake township residents sue over police levy

Ballot BoxLAKE TWP., Ohio (AP) – Residents of an Ohio township are suing to block a police levy narrowly passed by voters in November.

The Repository newspaper in Canton reports ( ) that a lawsuit filed by residents of Lake Township in northeast Ohio claims incorrect ballot language misled voters.

The ballot told voters that the levy would cost residents $0.45 more in property tax for every $1,000 their home is worth. In reality, the levy would cost taxpayers an extra $4.50 for every $1,000 of value.

County officials ruled last week that the levy should move forward because the ballot language reflected the intention to raise taxes, even if it listed the wrong amount.

The levy would generate $2.59 million each year and cover the cost of expanding the Uniontown Police Department.


Information from: The Repository,

Stark County’s Uniontown first ‘fracking’ target

Story from WKYC Report

Ohio’s oil and gas energy rush is taking off and one Stark County community with a dark industrial history is listed to be one of the first fracking sites in our area.

Where the well is going and who is drilling it may surprise you.

WKYC Photojournalist Carl Bachtel brings you the story.

Uniontown is a small community nestled between Akron and Canton in Stark County.

It’s also the location of the federally monitored toxic waste site, the Industrial Excess Landfill.

Soon the property across busy Cleveland Avenue from the EPA Superfund site could have drilling.

Hydrofracture drilling is on its way and some residents who know the area’s environmental history are fearful.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources already approved the permit to allow Ohio Valley Energy System to drill right under the homes along Route 619.

Ohio Valley Energy has a history of residential drilling, most notably in Bainbridge Township in Geauga County. In December 2007, the results there were contaminated well water and exploding homes.

Industry videos posted on YouTube tout the safety and environmentally friendly aspects of gas drilling.

But one resident thinks the poor economy is clouding people’s judgement.

Lake Township trustees, Nov. 28 meeting

Lake TYownshipKEY ACTION  Authorized buying a John Deere four-wheel-drive utility vehicle and a snowplow for use with the vehicle.

DISCUSSION  The vehicle and plow will be used by the cemetery maintenance department. Sam Miller, supervisor of the department, said the items also will be available for use by the police and road departments. The Gator vehicle will cost $16,650 from Hartville Hardware. The cost for the purchase and installation of the snowplow is $2,400 from Terry’s Truck and Trailer Center of North Canton.


• Authorized the distribution of the 2012 fire and EMS funds for the Uniontown, Greentown and Hartville fire departments. The estimated totals are $1.85 million for the fire fund and $651,805 for the EMS fund.

• Rescheduled the final meeting of the year for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 27 at Township Hall.

UP NEXT  Meet at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Township Hall.

Lake man sentenced to seven years and says he’ll testify against Mr. Football, Erick Howard

Seth ObermillerA man who pleaded guilty to taking part in a home invasion and robbery of a North Canton couple in August was sentenced to seven years in prison Monday, as part of a plea agreement where he’s expected to testify against former Hoover High School football star Erick M. Howard.

Stark County Common Pleas Judge Taryn Heath accepted the prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation for Seth R. Obermiller, 20, 2321 Comet Circle NW in Lake Township. He pleaded guilty Nov. 3 to felony charges of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and kidnapping with two counts of firearm specifications.

Heath sentenced Obermiller to three four-year concurrent sentences for the burglary, robbery and kidnapping charges and two three-year concurrent sentences for the gun specifications. By law, the sentences for the original charges and gun specifications must be separate.

Obermiller’s attorney Rick Pitinii said he instructed his client not to make a statement at sentencing because he’s still involved in the pending criminal case regarding Howard.

A female family member of Obermiller broke out in tears as Obermiller was led away from the courtroom in his jail jumpsuit. She and other family members left the courtroom and declined to comment.

Pitinii said Obermiller will be held at the Stark County Jail until he testifies at Howard’s trial, before he’s transferred to a state prison.

Last week, Michael A. Taylor, 20, of 837 W. Maple St. in North Canton, whom prosecutors called a lookout during the robbery, was sentenced to three years of probation. He had pleaded guilty to one count of attempted burglary and avoided a prison term. Taylor has also agreed to testify against Howard.

On Aug. 20, a 23-year-old man and his 20-year-old girlfriend told police that they awoke that morning to find two men in ski masks pointing handguns at their heads.

Police accused Howard and Obermiller of tying up the couple with duct tape, and police accused Howard of sexually assaulting the woman.

Howard, 20, of 5155 Portage St. NW in Jackson Township, was indicted this month on charges of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, rape and kidnapping with firearm specifications. Assistant Stark County Prosecutor Chryssa Hartnett said if convicted, he faces a potential 41-year prison sentence.

Howard has pleaded not guilty. He is being held at the Stark County Jail on bond of $250,000.

Heath told Obermiller that he would be supervised for up to five years after his release from prison.

Hartnett said Obermiller could seek early release from prison after serving 3 1/2 years, but there was no indication his request would be granted.

Thanksgiving 2011 Myths and Facts

Brian Handwerk for National Geographic News

thanksgiving-dayBefore the big dinner, debunk the myths—for starters, the first “real” U.S. Thanksgiving wasn’t until the 1800s—and get to the roots of Thanksgiving 2011.

Thanksgiving Dinner: Recipe for Food Coma?

Key to any Thanksgiving Day menu are a fat turkey and cranberry sauce.

An estimated 248 million turkeys will be raised for slaughter in the U.S. during 2011, up 2 percent from 2010’s total, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Last year’s birds were worth about U.S. $4.37 billion.

About 46 million turkeys ended up on U.S. dinner tables last Thanksgiving—or about 736 million pounds (334 million kilograms) of turkey meat, according to estimates from the National Turkey Federation. (See the Green Guide’s suggestions for having a greener—and more grateful—Thanksgiving.)

Minnesota is the United States’ top turkey-producing state, followed by North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Virginia, and Indiana.

These “big six” states produce two of every three U.S.-raised birds, according to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.

U.S. farmers will also produce 750 million pounds (340 million kilograms) of cranberries in 2011, which, like turkeys, are native to the Americas. The top producers are Wisconsin and Massachusetts.

The U.S. will also grow 2.4 billion pounds (1.09 billion kilograms) of sweet potatoes—many in North Carolina, California, and Louisiana—and will produce 1.1 billion pounds (499 million kilograms) of pumpkins.

Illinois, California, New York, and Ohio grow the most U.S. pumpkins.

But if you overeat at Thanksgiving dinner, there’s a price to be paid for all this plenty: the Thanksgiving “food coma.” The post-meal fatigue may be real, but the condition is giving turkeys a bad rap.

Contrary to myth, the amount of the organic protein tryptophan in most turkeys isn’t responsible for drowsiness.

Instead, scientists blame booze, the sheer caloric size of an average feast, or just plain-old relaxing after stressful work schedules.

(Take a Thanksgiving quiz.)

What Was on the First Thanksgiving Menu?

Little is known about the first Thanksgiving dinner in the Plimoth (also spelled Plymouth) Colony in October 1621, attended by some 50 English colonists and about 90 Wampanoag American Indian men in what is now Massachusetts.

We do know that the Wampanoag killed five deer for the feast, and that the colonists shot wild fowl—which may have been geese, ducks, or turkey. Some form, or forms, of Indian corn were also served.

But Jennifer Monac, spokesperson for the living-history museum Plimoth Plantation, said the feasters likely supplemented their venison and birds with fish, lobster, clams, nuts, and wheat flour, as well as vegetables such as pumpkin, squash, carrots, and peas.

“They ate seasonally,” Monac said in 2009, “and this was the time of the year when they were really feasting. There were lots of vegetables around, because the harvest had been brought in.”

Much of what we consider traditional Thanksgiving fare was unknown at the first Thanksgiving. Potatoes and sweet potatoes hadn’t yet become staples of the English diet, for example. And cranberry sauce requires sugar—an expensive delicacy in the 1600s. Likewise, pumpkin pie went missing due to a lack of crust ingredients.

If you want to eat like a Pilgrim yourself, try some of the Plimoth Plantation’s recipes, including stewed pompion (pumpkin) or traditional Wampanoag succotash.

(See “16 Indian Innovations: From Popcorn to Parkas.”)

First Thanksgiving Not a True Thanksgiving?

American Indian peoples, Europeans, and other cultures around the world often celebrated the harvest season with feasts to offer thanks to higher powers for their sustenance and survival.

In 1541 Spaniard Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and his troops celebrated a “Thanksgiving” while searching for New World gold in what is now the Texas Panhandle.

Later such feasts were held by French Huguenot colonists in present-day Jacksonville, Florida (1564), by English colonists and Abnaki Indians at Maine’s Kennebec River (1607), and in Jamestown, Virginia (1610), when the arrival of a food-laden ship ended a brutal famine.

(Related: “Four Hundred-Year-Old Seeds, Spear Change Perceptions of Jamestown Colony.”)

It’s the 1621 Plimoth Thanksgiving that’s linked to the birth of our modern holiday. The truth is the first “real” Thanksgiving happened two centuries later.

Everything we know about the three-day Plimoth gathering comes from a description in a letter wrote by Edward Winslow, leader of the Plimoth Colony, in 1621, Monac said.

The letter had been lost for 200 years and was rediscovered in the 1800s, she added.

In 1841 Boston publisher Alexander Young printed Winslow’s brief account of the feast and added his own twist, dubbing the 1621 feast the “First Thanksgiving.”

In Winslow’s “short letter, it was clear that [the 1621 feast] was not something that was supposed to be repeated again and again. It wasn’t even a Thanksgiving, which in the 17th century was a day of fasting. It was a harvest celebration,” Monac said.

But after its mid-1800s appearance, Young’s designation caught on—to say the least.

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day a national holiday in 1863. He was probably swayed in part by magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale—the author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—who had suggested Thanksgiving become a holiday, historians say.

In 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt established the current date for observance, the fourth Thursday of November. (Learn how kids can give back this holiday season.)

Thanksgiving Turkey-in-Waiting

Each year at least two lucky turkeys avoid the dinner table, thanks to a presidential pardon—a longstanding Washington tradition of an uncertain origin.

Since 1947, during the Truman Administration, the National Turkey Federation has presented two live turkeys—and a ready-to-eat turkey—to the President, federation spokesperson Sherrie Rosenblatt, said in 2009.

“There are two birds,” Rosenblatt explained, “the presidential turkey and the vice presidential turkey, which is an alternate, in case the presidential turkey is unable to perform its duties.”

Those duties pretty much boil down to not biting the President during the photo opportunity with the press. In 2008 the vice presidential bird, “Pumpkin,” stepped in for the appearance with President Bush after the presidential bird, “Pecan,” had fallen ill the night before.

The lucky birds once shared the same happy fate as Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks—a trip to Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch in California, where they lived out their natural lives.

Since 2010, however, the birds have followed in the footsteps of the first president and taken up residence at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.

After the holiday season, however, the two turkeys won’t be on public display. These fat, farm-fed birds aren’t historically accurate, like the wild birds that still roam the Virginia estate.

Talking Turkey

Pilgrims had been familiar with turkeys before they landed in the Americas.

That’s because early European explorers of the New World had returned to Europe with turkeys in tow after encountering them at Native American settlements. Native Americans had domesticated the birds centuries before European contact.

A century later Ben Franklin famously made known his preference that the turkey, rather than the bald eagle, should be the official U.S. bird.

But Franklin might have been shocked when, by the 1930s, hunting had so decimated North American wild turkey populations that their numbers had dwindled to the tens of thousands, from a peak of at least tens of millions.

Today, thanks to reintroduction efforts and hunting regulations, wild turkeys are back.

(Related: “Birder’s Journal: Giving Thanks for Wild Turkey Sightings.”)

Some seven million wild turkeys are thriving across the U.S., and many of them have adapted easily to the suburbs—their speed presumably an asset on ever encroaching roads.

Wild turkeys can run some 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 kilometers) an hour and fly in bursts at 55 miles (89 kilometers) an hour. Domesticated turkeys can’t fly at all.

On Thanksgiving, Pass the Pigskin

For many U.S. citizens, Thanksgiving without football is as unthinkable as the Fourth of July without fireworks.

NBC Radio broadcast the first national Thanksgiving Day game in 1934, when the Detroit Lions hosted the Chicago Bears.

Except for a respite during World War II, the Lions have played-usually badly-every Thanksgiving Day since. For the 2011 game, the 72nd, they take on the Green Bay Packers.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

For a festive few, even turkey takes a backseat to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, originally called the Macy’s Christmas parade, because it kicked off the shopping season.

The tradition began in 1924, when employees recruited animals from the Central Park Zoo to march on Thanksgiving Day.

Helium-filled balloons made their debut in the parade in 1927 and, in the early years, were released above the city skyline with the promise of rewards for their finders.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, first televised nationally in 1947, now draws some 44 million viewers-not counting the 3 million people who actually line the 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) Manhattan route.

Thanksgiving weekend also boasts the retail version of the Super Bowl—Black Friday, when massive sales and early opening times attract frugal shoppers.

A National Retail Federation survey projects that up to 152 million Americans will either brave the crowds to shop on 2011’s Black Friday weekend or take advantage of online shopping sales.

Planes, Trains, and (Lots of) Automobiles

It may seem like everyone in the U.S. is on the road on Thanksgiving Day, keeping you from your turkey and stuffing.

Not everyone hits the road, but 42.5 million of about 308 million U.S. citizens will drive more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from home for the 2011 holiday, according to the American Automobile Association.

An additional 3.4 million travelers will fly to their holiday destination and 900,000 others will use buses, trains, or other modes of travel. Thanksgiving travel numbers are slowly rebounding from a steep drop precipitated by the onset of the 2008 recession.

Thanksgiving North of the Border

Cross-border travelers can celebrate Thanksgiving twice, because Canada celebrates its own Thanksgiving Day the second Monday in October.

As in the U.S., the event is sometimes linked to a historic feast with which it has no real ties—in this case explorer Martin Frobisher’s 1578 ceremony, which gave thanks for his safe arrival in what is now New Brunswick.

Canada’s Thanksgiving, established in 1879, was inspired by the U.S. holiday. Dates of observance have fluctuated, sometimes coinciding with the U.S. Thanksgiving or the Canadian veteran-appreciation holiday, Remembrance Day—and at least once it occurred as late as December.

But Canada’s colder climate eventually led to the 1957 decision that formalized the October date.

Police levy causes stir among Lake Township Residents

By Tracy Valentine | The Suburbanite
Police levy causes stir among residentsLAKE  Residents voiced their objections to the passage of Issue 6 in a Nov. 14 standing-room-only Lake Township Trustee meeting.Issue 6 is a 4.5 mill levy that expands the Uniontown Police Department to cover all of Lake Township, except Hartville.
“Why does the rest of Lake have to pay for it? We don’t need it,” resident Vito Spano said.Residents Donald Tuck and Ken Kurtz agreed. The men said they will going to have to pay for the increased taxes on fixed incomes.
The two major issues the residents also addressed regarding Issue 6 were the cost of the levy and the typographical error on the ballot.Other residents supported the levy.

“The voters decided this issue. So if you’re mad, that’s who you should be mad at,” LeeAnn Ramirez said.

Resident  Tim Davis wasn’t sure about the levy. “I don’t have the money either. But you don’t appreciate it until you need it. If the community is going to move forward it’s something we need.”

Lake Township’s attorney Charles Hall addressed the ballot typographical error. The ballot incorrectly stated the levy was at a rate of 45 cents per $1,000 per tax valuation.  The levy was actually for $4.50 per $1,000 per tax valuation. Hall explained that he and the Stark County Prosecutor’s Office, the Stark County Board of Elections and the Ohio Secretary of State all failed to catch the mistake.

Resident Dan Robinson asked Hall if the error voided the ballot. Hall said it did not. He added that he reviewed all the material residents saw prior to the election, and that information was correct.

Hall also said the Ohio Supreme Court has previously upheld votes on other ballot issues.

Two residents asked about drilling approved on land near the former Industrial Excess Landfill (IEL).  Norma Bolt and Elizabeth Dixon asked several questions regarding the rules for hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” The women wanted to know what requirement exist for fracking pipes, a possible holding pond and truck routes for the drilling companies.

Trustee President John Arnold said that the township does not have the expertise to answer her questions. He referred them to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency EPA.
Dixon asked if the Township could file an injunction to have drilling stopped next to the landfill.  Arnold arranged a meeting with Dixon and the Township attorney to discuss the possibility of a lawsuit.
Other business:
*Approved — the reappointment of Dr. Ronald Weisel III to the Board of Zoning Appeals for a five-year term.
* Accepted – The resignation of Harold Thompson, effective Dec. 31. Thompson is retiring after 32 years of service as an operator/laborer with the Road Department.

The next Lake Township Trustee meeting is scheduled for Monday Nov. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at 12360 Market Ave. N, Hartville.

Officials suggest changes to state Route 619 staff report

Ohio Route 619The Ohio Department of Transportation has some ideas for improving traffic flow on state Route 619, between Uniontown and Hartville.

The proposed work is subject to change and likely several years from beginning, officials said.

Initial designs were unveiled Thursday night at an open house at the Kaufman Center. ODOT officials and representatives of TranSystem, a company hired to study Route 619 traffic flow, talked with residents.

Rough estimates set the price for improving the four-mile stretch from Cleveland Avenue NW to Prospect Street NW in Hartville at more that $27 million. The projected costs add 12 percent for inflation and another 25 percent for design contingencies.

The designs estimate traffic volume and flow for 2030, said David E. Sicker, a planning engineer for ODOT’s District 4. Plans call for widening the road and creating roundabouts at several intersections.

ODOT officials liked the turnout and the input they received. Sicker acknowledged that everyone wasn’t positive but said ODOT had the event to hear from people who live in the area.

State officials have spent about a year on the project. They have met with local government, school officials and some business owners.

The next step — some time next year — is lining up money to pay for a detailed design. ODOT and the Stark Transportation Improvement District are seeking funds.

The project’s first phase would be widening Route 619 between Kaufman Avenue NW and Milan Avenue in Hartville.

It would be widened to five lanes west of Hartville, where the Hartville Kitchen and Flea Market are located, and a complex to house Hartville Hardware is being built. In the village, the road would remain three lanes, but be improved.

Area residents who attended the meeting saw eight aerial photographs depicting potential changes aimed at improving traffic flow.

Other potential changes:

• Widening Route 619 to four lanes from Cleveland Avenue NW to Kaufman.

• Rebuilding the intersections of Hoover, Kaufman and King Church avenues NW to create roundabouts.

• Creating a roundabout at Market Avenue NW.

• Adding turn lanes at all of the heavily traveled intersections.

• Lengthening existing turn lanes at several intersections.

Goodyear donates historic blimp gondola to Smithsonian

By Jim Mackinnon| Beacon Journal business writer

Goodyear GondolaAnother piece of Goodyear’s airship history is headed to the Smithsonian.

A six-person gondola first attached to a Goodyear blimp in 1934 and finally retired in 1986 trucked out Tuesday morning on the back of a big flatbed from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Wingfoot airship base in Portage County. Destination: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. The donated gondola will be placed near another historic Goodyear airship artifact, a lifeboat that is the sole remaining piece from the ill-fated 1911 Akron airship that the tire maker gave to the museum last year. (The museum is also home to the gondola of the Goodyear blimp Pilgrim.)

This particular gondola, also called a control car and given the designation C-49, played a role in pop culture from 1975 to 1986 when it was part of the Goodyear airship Columbia based in California. Actor Richard Chamberlain, impersonator Rich Little and actress and Laugh-In television comedy show regular Jo Anne Worley flew in the Columbia. The Columbia had a starring role in the 1977 thriller Black Sunday and also was used for — either to film aerial scenes or appeared in — Disney’s Flight of the Navigator and Condorman and Oh, God! Book II, among other movies. The blimp provided aerial coverage for four Super Bowls and two World Series, Rose Bowl games and parades and the 1984 summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

But the C-49 gondola is much more than a pop culture item, said Tom Crouch, senior curator of aeronautics at the museum.

It started out in 1934 on the Goodyear blimp Enterprise, was pressed into Naval service in 1942 for World War II and then sold back to Goodyear in 1946. Goodyear kept the gondola as a spare and rebuilt it in 1969.

“It covers a big chunk of Goodyear airship history,” Crouch said. “I think people are just plain fascinated by airships.”

And most of the American public is familiar with the iconic Goodyear blimps, he said. “They played an important role in aeronautical history,” Crouch said. Blimps have been used for sporting events and for military use, he said.

“Not a single ship was lost in convoys protected by blimps (in World War II),” Crouch said.

“The C-49 has a rich history within the Goodyear blimp fleet and with the U.S. Navy,” Nancy Jandrokovic, Goodyear’s director of global airship operations, said in a statement.

The C-49 gondola has been sitting unrestored at the Wingfoot Lake hangar since being retired. The gondola soon will be put in an area of the museum where it will be visible to the public, Crouch said. It might be at least a couple more years before the Smithsonian fully restores the gondola to how it looked at the end of its service in 1986, he said.

Goodyear recycled and upgraded its gondolas over the decades, spokesman Edward Ogden said.

“They were very easy to repair and to refurbish,” he said.

A blimp envelope — the big cigar-shaped bag that holds the helium — typically lasts 10 to 12 years. Gondolas can last much longer, Ogden said.

While the C-49 closely resembles the gondolas that are now part of Goodyear’s current three-blimp U.S. fleet, the interiors and technology are very different, Ogden said. The gondolas now in use have the latest materials and electronics, he said.

“I hope they all find a good home,” said Tim Hopkins, chief mechanic and one of the Wingfoot hangar crew overseeing the placing of the C-49 on the flatbed truck. He has worked on numerous blimps in his career at Goodyear, including being part of the crew that built Goodyear’s newest blimp, the Florida-based Spirit of Innovation that launched in early 2006.

Meanwhile, Goodyear is preparing to start building the next generation of airships at the Wingfoot Lake hangar, 246-foot-long semi-rigid Zeppelins that are faster and more modern than the current generation of U.S.-based, 192-foot-long Goodyear blimps.

The first Goodyear Zeppelin is scheduled to be built in 2013 and will replace the Spirit of Goodyear that is based at the Suffield Township site and is a familiar sight in Northeast Ohio skies. Goodyear is partnering with Germany-based ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik to build the new airships at a cost of $21 million apiece.

Parts of the first Goodyear Zeppelin are already arriving at the hangar from Germany, a spokesman said.