Girl Scouting turns 100

By Lori Monsewicz | CantonRep.com staff writer
JACKSON TWP. —

grl_scouts100Girl Scouts from all over the area, many of whom have been Scouts for more than a half-century, gathered Sunday to celebrate their organization with a tea.

The event entitled “Silver and Gold — Celebrating the Memories, Living the Promise,” took place at the St. Stephen the Martyr Lutheran Church, 4600 Fulton Drive NW,, where Girl Scouts young and old celebrated 100 years of Girl Scouting and 25 years of the Order of the Silver Trefoil, an organization of Scouts who have been registered members for 15 years or more.

Scouting paraphernalia at displays, crafts and, of course, cookies were on hand and so was Juliette Gordon Low — or rather, Priscilla Nemetz of Uniontown, portraying the renowned founder of Girl Scouts. Other former Scouts and Scout leaders also donned Girl Scout uniforms from 1919.

“Her day camps — they were the best day camps ever,” said Beverly Snyder, a Scout leader for two troops whose members attended day camps for Scout Leader Helen Wetzel of Massillon.

Wetzel, who came to the tea with dozens of Scouting patches sewn onto her jacket, has been a member for 57 years. She began as Troop 274’s leader for her daughter, Paula “Kookie” Gurney, when Gurney was a Scout. Gurney, whose jacket also sported dozens of patches she, too, earned, has been a member of Scouting for 58 years.

A Girl Scout member since 1954, Gurney was in Scouting only a year before her troop was left without a leader. Her mother took over, she said.

“Troop 274 (their troop) was the first one to get the 100-mile (hiking) patch from the Boy Scouts,” Helen Wetzel proudly recalled.

Former Scout leader Irene Miller said she and her daughter, Linda Carozza, will get their 45-year pins next month. Miller joined Scouting when her daughter was a Brownie, which now is the second rank for a Girl Scout.

Girls joining at younger ages are called Daisies, and one was on hand at the tea to talk about what she thinks of scouting.

Hayley Child, 6, of Strongsville, said she enjoys Scouting because it means “having fun.”

Sidney Schloenbach, 14, and her sister Victoria Schloenbach, 16, both of North Canton, arrived with their mother, Jane Schloenbach, who served as Troop 521’s leader until it disbanded a few years ago. But the memories of the time they spent together and with their fellow Scouts are precious.

“Girl Scouting is being friendly to others and helping those who need a friend and serving God,” Sidney said.

Her sister said they enjoyed their time in Scouting because, “we are always out doing something. You are never bored. We did a lot of camping, games and hikes … ”

The girls started in Scouts as Daisies, their mother said. She eventually took over as a troop leader.

“What I loved is watching the girls grow and mature. They loved doing the community service and our girls loved going outside,” Jane Schloenbach said. Her troop took frequent camping trips to the Great Trail Girl Scout camp.

She is also a second-generation Girl Scout.

Her mother, Jane Young of Perry Township, who also was at the tea, became a Brownie in 1957, and eventually, a Scout leader.

“I’ll be getting my 55th-year pin this year,” Young said.

Jan Hart of Hartville has been director of the Scouts’ summer day camp in Hartville for more than 30 years. Hart, who is a member of the nationally-chartered Order of the Silver Trefoil, pointed out that it is the last day camp in the area.

This year’s camp will run from Aug. 6 to 10 in Hartville.

For more information about Girl Scouts and the camp, log onto www.gsneo.org, the website for Girl Scouts of North East Ohio.

Stark County reviews Lake Twp. levy error

By Nancy Molnar

Uniontown Police LevyCANTON: A state official alerted the Stark County Board of Elections in July about flawed ballot language in a Lake Township police levy that was approved in November but successfully challenged in court.

Gretchen Quinn, elections counsel for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, pinpointed the error in the statement about the cost of the levy that caused Common Pleas Judge John G. Haas to void the election results Wednesday.

“(B)allot language states tax will be levied ‘at a rate not exceeding four and one-half (4.50) mills per dollar of taxable valuation, which amounts to forty-five cents per one thousand dollars in taxable valuation.

“A 4.5 mill levy yields $0.45 per $100, but $4.50 per $1,000,’’ she continued in a handwritten note. “BOE may want to confirm millage with taxing authority.”

The July 27 communication to an election board employee included approved ballot language reflecting the correct cost.

What happened after that is in dispute.

Jeffrey Matthews, deputy director of the county board of elections, said an elections worker said she told township attorney Charles D. Hall III about the problem over the phone.

“That did not happen,” Hall said Monday.

He said township officials first learned of the matter when Uniontown police Chief Harold Britt went to the board of elections to get a list of township voters. The information then was relayed to township Fiscal Officer Ben Sommers on Oct. 13. Sommers then told Hall.

But by then absentee ballots already had been mailed and others had been prepared.

Hall said local elections officials missed the chance to attach the memo from the Secretary of State’s Office on Aug. 25, when Stark elections Director Jeannette Mullane sent the township a notice saying the police levy would be Issue 6 on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The letter, received at the township office Aug. 26, says in part, “You will receive a copy of the ballot language once it is approved by the Ohio Secretary of State.”

“If that attachment had been delivered to the Board of Lake Township Trustees on Aug. 25, the Lake Township Board of Trustees would still have had the opportunity to correct the ballot language,” Hall said.

Matthews acknowledged the mistake in the ballot wording should have been communicated to the township in writing.

“It’s clear there were errors made in procedure, but ultimately what was submitted to the voters matched the resolution that was passed by the township trustees,” Matthews said.

A similar mistake recently occurred in ballot language Hall submitted to the Board of Elections for Perry Township, where he serves as law director.

The resolution to put the issue in the March primary election said the 0.5-mill police renewal levy would cost 50 cents for each $100 of property valuation.

Matthews and Mullane sent a letter to Hall on Dec. 21, telling him, “One-half mill should be five cents for each one hundred dollars of valuation.”

Hall said he fixed the error promptly, as he would have done if notified in a timely manner of the problem in Lake.

Lake Township trustees are appealing to the Ohio Supreme Court the ruling that negated the results of the November police levy vote. The county Board of Elections decided Monday not to join the appeal.

The ballot issue expanded the territory and taxing authority of the former Uniontown Police Department to all parts of Lake Township not served by the Hartville Police Department.

Judge Haas’ order has been stayed by Stark County Common Pleas Judge Frank Forchione, and Lake Township police cruisers are still patrolling the newly created district.

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.