John Woodside elected District 13D Governor

John_Woodside_District_GovenorJackson TWP, Ohio —John Woodside was elected to the position of district governor.  District 13D is comprised of 53 clubs located in the Northeastern Ohio counties of Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull at the Lions Clubs International District 13D Convention at the McKinley Grande Hotel in Canton, Jackson Township Lions Club.

Woodside has been involved in Lions Clubs for over 47 years.  He was a member five years in Shadyside, Ohio and 18 years in Toronto, Ohio.

He was transferred by First Energy to the Canton community in 1989 where he then joined the Jackson Township Lions Club.  He retired from First Energy in 1995.

Woodside and his wife Midge reside in Jackson Township. They have been married more than 52 years and have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Woodside was Toronto, Ohio Lions Club president in 1987-1988. He was Jackson Township Lions Club secretary for six years and Jackson Township Lions Club president in 2004-2005.

He has received the following major awards: 1988 Lion of the Year- Toronto club; 1988 International President Certificate of Appreciation; 1993 International President Award; 1999 Jackson Township Lion of Year; Melvin E. Jones Fellowship Award 2000 and progressive award 2008 and 2001 Knight of the Blind Award.

John Woodside was district cabinet secretary/ treasurer in 2005-2006.

He currently is District 13D, first vice district governor.  He has been the Jackson Township Club representative to the district’s Melvin Jones Eye Care Foundation since 1999.

He is currently Treasurer of this Foundation.  He has led the Jackson Township Lions in sight projects. He has helped the Jackson Township Lions Club be a leader in ‘Kid Sight’ eye screening of preschoolers and kindergarten students.

Jackson Lions host district meeting

LionsClubThe Jackson Township Lions Club hosted the District 13-D Cabinet Meeting at John Knox Presbyterian Church on Nov. 13.  The district is comprised of five counties: Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull.  Within this District are 57 clubs, which include the Stark County clubs of Canton, East Canton, Jackson Township, Magnolia, North Canton and Sandy Valley Leos Club.  Delegates of this executive body meet quarterly to review activities of the Ohio Lions and the International Association of Lions Clubs that are passed on to the individual Clubs.

District Governor David Gauch, a member of the Crestwood Lions Club in Mantua, Ohio, was the presiding officer of this meeting.  Others accepting reports at this meeting were First Vice District Governor John Woodside of the Jackson Township Lions Club, Second Vice District Governor Tom Zickefoose of the Girard Lions Club and Cabinet Secretary Treasurer Paul Metrovich of the East Liverpool Lions Club.  Reports from the zone chairmen, state committees, district committees, governor’s advisory committee and governor’s honorary committee were entered with information to be passed on to Clubs at visits in the coming months.

Accepted at this meeting was a letter from the Jackson Township Lions Club to place John Woodside’s name in nomination for the office of district governor for the 2012 – 2013 fiscal year.  First Vice District Governor John Woodside has been a Lion for 48 years.  He served as president of the Jackson Township club in 2004-2005, club secretary for six years and served on the district cabinet in various capacities since 1999. He currently is treasurer of the Melvin Jones District 13-D Lions Eye Care Foundation.

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.

Two admit guilt, agree to testify against Erick Howard

Seth R. Obermiller, 20, of  Lake TownshipTwo men pleaded guilty Thursday for their roles in the robbery of a North Canton couple and agreed to testify against their alleged accomplice, former Hoover High School star running back Erick M. Howard.

Seth R. Obermiller, 20, of 2321 Comet Circle NW in Lake Township, pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and accompanying gun specifications.

County prosecutors are recommending a seven-year prison term when he is sentenced Nov. 21 by Stark County Common Pleas Judge Taryn Heath.

Michael A. Taylor, 20, of 837 W. Maple St. in North Canton, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted burglary. He faces up to three years in prison, but the judge said she would consider placing him in the Stark Regional Community Correction Center, which offers counseling and treatment options.

With the plea, both men gave up the right to have a grand jury review the evidence against them.

They also agreed to testify in court proceedings against Howard, whose case is pending before a county grand jury.

The charges involved an early morning incident on Aug. 20 at an apartment on Sunford Avenue SE in North Canton.

A young couple — a 23-year-old man and his 20-year-old girlfriend — told police that they awoke to two men in ski masks pointing handguns at their heads.

North Canton police charged Obermiller and Howard with binding the couple with duct tape and robbing them. The woman also was sexually assaulted, police said.

Taylor was accused of acting as a lookout for Obermiller and Howard.

Police also said they found marijuana and drug paraphernalia inside the apartment.

Attorneys for Taylor and Obermiller declined to comment after the hearing, citing the pending sentencing of their clients.

Assistant Stark County Prosecutor Chryssa Hartnett said she couldn’t discuss the alleged roles of the three defendants, but said Obermiller and Taylor pleaded guilty to charges that reflected their involvement.

Howard, 20, whose address is listed as 5155 Portage St. NW in Jackson Township, surrendered to authorities in early October accompanied by his attorney and others, including a brother who said Howard wants to clear his name.

Howard is a two-time winner of Ohio’s Mr. Football award, and the first Stark County player to receive the honor.

History of oil, gas drilling in Lake Township runs deep

By Edd Pritchard
In a farm field on the east side of Maplegrove Avenue NE sits DS Yoder 4, an oil well that has been producing for more than 100 years.

It’s not Stark County’s oldest well. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources gives that honor to the “Frank Hartzell 1” well, which reached its total depth on Aug. 12, 1900. It was plugged and abandoned in August 1929.

Records show that DS Yoder 4 dates to Jan. 1, 1908, as do several other wells with the name “Yoder” in southeast Nimishillen Township. State officials have designated DS Yoder 4 as being the oldest productive well in the county. It pulls from the Berea sandstone formation, although state records don’t report the well’s depth.


Stark is among the 76 Ohio counties where oil or natural gas have been found. Ohio’s oldest commercial oil well dates to 1860 in Washington County, while natural gas wells have been producing since 1884.

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association notes that Ohio lays claim to the first discovery of oil, from a drilled well in 1814, when a saltwater well found oil 475 feet underground in Noble County.

With that history, it’s not surprising that oil companies once again are scouring the state in search of oil and natural gas. This time, they hope to tap the Utica and Marcellus shale formations.

The uptick has raised environmental concerns about a process used — hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking — to release oil and gas from the rock formations. But oil producers say fracking has been successful for decades.

Nearly 6,500 wells have been drilled through the years in Stark County and about 3,000 of those wells continue to produce oil and natural gas, said Rhonda Reda, executive director of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program. Most of the wells are in the Clinton sandstone formation, which lies about 4,600 feet deep, between the Marcellus and Utica shale formations.

About 90 percent of the wells drilled into Clinton sandstone are commercially successful. The wells are known for producing both oil and gas, sometimes in combination, said William G. Williams, a lawyer with Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty who has specialized in the oil and gas business.

The East Canton Oil Field, which stretches from Lake Township in a relatively straight line south toward Uhrichsville, was discovered in 1947 and taps the Clinton sandstone. Although wells in the area remain productive, state officials believe the field can generate more oil and gas through a secondary recovery technique that injects carbon dioxide into the rock formation.

Local companies — Belden & Blake, MB Operating and Lomak — drilled many of the Clinton wells. Through the years, the properties and companies have changed hands. Now, many of the wells are owned by EnerVest, a Houston-based company with a regional office north of Hartville in Portage County.


EnerVest and Chesapeake Energy are two of the companies making the initial push to drill the Utica shale formation in eastern Ohio.

The nature of the rock formations prevented companies from drilling many shale wells in the past. Shale formations are thin bands of rock. While geologists have known the formations contain oil and gas, the narrow bands usually weren’t productive enough for commercial use, said Doug Gonzalez, president of GonzOil, a gas exploration company based in Jackson Township.

“We always knew there was a lot of potential in shale,” said Gonzalez, a geologist who found himself working in the oil industry after graduating from Kent State University in the early 1980s.

During the past 15-20 years, developments in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have allowed access to shale rock formations. That has spurred the renewed interest in drilling Stark County’s oil and natural gas fields.

Drillers can reach a large section of shale rock by bending and drilling sideways. Hydraulic fracturing — a process where a slurry of water, chemicals and sand is injected into a well under high pressure — is used to break the shale and release the oil and gas.


But even horizontal drilling is “old news” in some Stark County oil and gas circles. The 1989 annual report for the former Belden & Blake describes horizontal drilling and notes the potential to penetrate a larger section of a producing zone.

Belden & Blake also is credited with doing some of the first hydraulic fracturing of wells in Ohio.

A September 1954 article in the Hartville News featured photographs of Belden & Blake workers who were hydraulic fracturing a well on farm southeast of Hartville. The article states that hydraulic fracturing was first used in West Texas oil fields in 1948, and credits Belden & Blake for fracking the first Appalachian-area well near East Sparta in July 1952.

The articles describes a different process for hydraulic fracturing. A mixture of oil and sand was being pumped into the well, which was 4,658 feet deep, to crack the Clinton sandstone formation and release more oil and gas.


While hydraulic fracturing has caused concern for some environmentalists, industry officials contend it’s an improvement over earlier methods.

Reda, of the Ohio energy education program, said dynamite and nitroglycerin were used to stimulate wells in early years. Explosives were dropped down the well to break the rock, which led to the phrase “shoot the well,” she said.

Past drilling helped Stark County’s economy through the years, Williams said.

Landowners were paid to lease mineral rights and collected royalties. Entrepreneurs launched businesses drilling wells or serving the drilling companies. The industry created jobs.

It’s happened in cycles with each oil discovery, and it’s beginning again.

Last summer, when companies began asking to lease mineral rights, most offered about $800 per acre and royalties of 8 percent. The lease prices and royalties have been climbing, and more large companies are entering the market, Williams said. Lease rights are nearing $5,000 per acre in some Ohio counties.

Williams estimates that mineral rights of some sort have been leased on 95 percent of the land in Stark County. Much of that is because of the land leased years ago during earlier oil booms. Also there is large section of Jackson Township — drilled during the 1930s — that now serves as a natural gas storage area of Dominion East Ohio Gas.

Lions Club conducts vision screening at OakPark Pre-schools

Jackson TWP, Ohio —

The Jackson Township Lions Club, in cooperation with OakPark Pre-schools in Jackson Township, Massillon and Waynesburg, offered a free eye screening of the children at these facilities.  Eye exams of children under the age of 6 years old are often not done.

The KidSight Project used in conjunction with the Ohio Lions Melvin Jones 13D Eye Care Foundation provides a simple non-invasive photographic system that over comes the verbal abilities of that age child.

KidSight screening provides instant photographs of the child’s eye pupils to determine eye disorders when later read by a trained individual. This screening is rated a 85-to-90 percent effective in detecting problems that can cause decreases in vision. This screening may detect the presence of such eye disorders as far and nearsightedness, amblyopic (lazy eye), media opacities (i.e. cataracts), etc. A full eye exam with an eye doctor will be recommended if these vision problems are found in this screening.

Complete details of this service Club are available at

Lake surpasses Perry as Stark’s third-largest township

By Kelli Young 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.

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.

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.