You are browsing the archive for 2009 May.

Chalk it up to a great day

May 31, 2009 in Uncategorized

Yesterday was one of those days when we realized how lucky we are to live in Medina.
On a perfectly sunny, not-too-hot Saturday, we headed uptown to the town square for the 3rd annual Chalk Art Festival. Now, my children are often decorating our sidewalks and driveway with chalk, so I figured this was right up their alley.
And, it was free — always a plus in my book.
We quickly registered (there was to be a judging) and they each were allowed to choose three fat pieces of sidewalk chalk for their masterpieces. Each spoke of sidewalk protruding from the gazebo was marked off in spaces for various age groups.

It didn’t take long for them to fill their spaces: my 11-year-old budding artist drew a cartoon dog; my 10-year-old some sort of impressionistic rainbow; and my … [Read more]

Creative fundrasing

May 30, 2009 in Uncategorized

Judy A. Totts | The Gazette
MEDINA — When the going gets tough, the tough get creative in fundraising efforts for The Salvation Army Medina Corps’ programs.
And as costs rise for school supplies needed for the corps’ Women’s Auxiliary Back-2-School program, so does the need for donations.
“With job losses and the economy in general, people are […]

Fire guts apartment garage

May 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

Lisa Hlavinka | The Gazette
BRUNSWICK — Apartment managers and residents at Aspen Lake Apartments are starting to rebuild after a fire destroyed a parking garage Sunday.
Assistant Fire Chief Rick Barber said the fire originated at the north end of the 12-space garage, but his department and the Community Emergency Response Team Fire Investigation Unit are […]

Division III regional softball: ‘Strange’ first inning costs Wellington against Youngstown Ursuline

May 29, 2009 in Uncategorized


Division I

WHO: Elyria vs. Brecksville
TIME: 3:30 p.m.
WHERE: Clyde H.S.

Division II

WHO: Keystone vs. Toledo Central Catholic
TIME: 5 p.m.
WHERE: Bucyrus H.S.

♦ Both games were rained out Thursday.

MASSILLON — A few occurrences not often seen during Wellington’s softball season happened on Thursday.
“There were no wild pitches all season,” Wellington coach Tom Roth said. “There might have been one passed ball.”
There were two passed balls and a wild pitch in the first inning for the Dukes, and they played a big part in Wellington’s 2-1 loss to Youngstown Ursuline in a Division III regional semifinal at Genshaft Park.
Cassie Gleisner, a University of Akron recruit, allowed two infield singles in the first inning — the only hits she gave up — to Kasey Foley and Sarah Ingalls and watched both runners advance as a high, outside pitch eluded catcher Melissa Rennie.
The same pitch, with the same result, brought Foley to home plate. The wild pitch skipped under Rennie and got Ursuline’s second run across.
“It’s frustrating,” Roth said. “Two hits that didn’t leave the infield, a check swing that would’ve been the third out and then a little riser that pops out (of the catcher’s mitt).”
A check swing that was called a ball on a 1-2 pitch to Miranda Cardiko would’ve gotten the Dukes out of the inning had the ruling been that she went too far with her bat.
“The curveball got away from me,” Gleisner said. “The screwball was in the dirt. I will take the blame. I don’t know what else to do.”
The loss ended Wellington’s season at 21-7. The defeat also meant the last game for both Gleisner and Roth. The coach announced he would retire after 23 years coaching the Dukes.
“I’m still on the field,” Roth said. “It will hit me when I walk off. I’ll miss it. It has been such a big part of who I am.”
The victory sent Ursuline (25-5) to the championship game Saturday against Northwestern. The Irish are seeking their first-ever regional title.
But it wasn’t just first-inning wildness that doomed the Dukes.
“Somebody always comes through with a hit,” Roth said.
That didn’t happen Thursday. The Dukes had only two hits, both by Megan Auble, and left seven runners stranded. Wellington had runners on second and third in the fourth inning. It had first and second with one out in the fifth.
Casey Lower, Ursuline’s junior all-state pitcher, always managed to find a way to wiggle out of trouble. Wellington’s only run was scored on a throwing error.
“It’s frustrating.” Roth said. “We know we’re good enough to be playing on Saturday.”
Also frustrating was a one-hour, 22-minute rain delay. Lower had thrown eight pitches and retired two Wellington batters when the downpour started.
“Definitely,” Gleisner said when asked if the interruption affected the Dukes. “Our team wasn’t ready to go (when play resumed). We were excited to play when we got here. We had to get excited again.”
“You can’t use it as an excuse,” Roth said. “Both teams played under the same conditions. It was just frustrating.”
Gleisner settled down after the opening inning. She yielded only three baserunners and didn’t let a runner get past first base the final five innings. She walked two and struck out 12, while Lower walked four and struck out seven.
Auble led off Wellington’s third with a single and went to second on Morgan Brasee’s bunt. But Lower struck out Brooke Lewis and got Gleisner to pop up to first base.
Callie McConnell and Jackie Bankston walked with one away in the fourth. Courtney Echstenkamper sacrificed them to second and third, but Shelby Monschein struck out on a 2-2 pitch.
Auble doubled to begin Wellington’s fifth. Lewis hit a groundball to shortstop that Anna Donko threw high to first, letting pinch runner Maddison Pickworth score.
The Dukes’ last chance came when Lewis reached on an error with two gone in the seventh. But Lower induced Gleisner to fly out to right field on a 1-1 pitch to end the game.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or

High school tennis: Westlake freshman Buffington has score to settle at state tournament

May 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

Colton Buffington has one more loss to avenge this season, and he’s hoping he’ll do it during the quarterfinals at the Division I state singles tournament this weekend.
The Westlake freshman avenged his lone regular-season loss when he defeated Kenston sophomore Nolan Marks in the second round of the district tournament at Oberlin College last weekend.
“That win qualified me to state,” Buffington said.
But Buffington lost in the semifinals to Shaker Heights sophomore Tommy Marx, and finished third at districts. It took the Demons standout just three days to avenge his second loss of the year, downing Marx in three sets during the quarterfinals of the Coach’s Cup team tournament. Shaker Heights handed Westlake its first loss of the season to advance to the state’s Final Four, but Buffington knew the match with Marx was still important.
“It was a good confidence booster,” Buffington said. “Just knowing that I could come back three days after losing to him and get the win … I’d like to think I shook his confidence a bit.”
The win was important because Marx — who finished third at state last year — is in Buffington’s half of the bracket at the state tournament this weekend. Also in their half is New Albany senior Peter Kobelt, the returning state runner-up who will play for Ohio State next year.
“I lost to Peter Kobelt in the finals of the St. Edward Invitational at River Oaks before the season,” Buffington said. “That was the first time I’ve ever seen him play. I had heard he lost to Wyatt Lippert in the state final last year, but I didn’t know he was that legit.”
Kobelt won the match 6-2, 6-2, and Buffington knows it will take a solid effort to pick up a win in the potential quarterfinal matchup.
“I was very impressed (with Kobelt),” Buffington said. “He’s like 6-(foot)-6 and served at like 135 (mph). He was lights out the whole match.”
Buffington will first have to earn a victory in his opening match against Vandalia Butler senior Andy Jackson, who finished fourth in doubles with Matt Heller in the 2007 state tournament.
“I’ve heard nothing about my first-round opponent,” Buffington said. “I’m going in (to state) hoping to play my game and see what happens after that. You have to take it one match at a time.”
Even with Marx and Kobelt on his half of the bracket, Buffington seems to be in a good spot. Lippert, a three-time state placer, and two-time state placer Robert Salcedo are on the other side, as are former state qualifiers Arren Carter, Ethan Dunbar and Marks.
Not that Buffington is even worried about the bracket makeup at this point.
“I’m just a freshman, so there should be no pressure on me at state,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll be pretty loose and ready to go.”
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or


WHAT: Boys state tennis tournament
WHEN: Today-Saturday
WHERE: The Ohio State University’s Stickney Tennis Center, Columbus
WHO: Westlake freshman Colton Buffington will participate in the Division I singles tournament
COST: $8 per person per day
COURT TIMES: Today — First two rounds of play, Division I singles begins at 9 a.m., followed by Division II singles and then doubles. Saturday — Semifinals and finals, all semifinalists begin at 9 a.m.
DIRECTIONS: Take I-71 South to exit #119B. Take
I-270 West to exit #22. Take OH-315 South to the Lane Avenue exit. Turn east to the first traffic light, turn left on Fred Taylor Drive. Turn right into the parking lot at the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.


Colton Buffington, Westlake

YEAR: Freshman
POSITION: First singles
RECORD: 17-2
THIS WEEK’S PERFORMANCE: Won his first two matches at the Division I district tournament to earn a state tournament berth, and finished third after a semifinal loss to Shaker Heights’ Tommy Marx — who finished third in the state as a freshman last season. It took Buffington three days to avenge the loss, winning a three-set match against Marx in a Coach’s Cup tournament dual match.
BIO: Enjoys playing electric guitar — “I’m all about the rock and roll,” he said — and enjoys playing X-box 360 at home. He plays tennis games and “Guitar Hero” — showing his love of those things translates to the video game world — but said currently his favorite game is NHL ’09 — which he plays online with private coach Brian Dehaven. He also likes to get away from the courts and play golf — his favorite course is Sweetbriar in Avon Lake.
PARENTS: Judy and Wayne Buffington

Big storm damages Elyria church

May 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

ELYRIA — A thunderstorm that blew through the area early Thursday afternoon ripped the roof off a church, tossed the debris around the yards of its Lowell Street-area neighbors and knocked out power to nearly 300 homes.

Stephen Sanders, pastor of Glorious Assembly Apostolic Church, pulled into the church’s parking lot just after the storm had passed and noticed a cluster of wires on a utility pole at the east end of the parking lot hanging in a jumble.

“I drove around to the back and saw where the roof had blown off,” he said. “I called a bunch of (church members) and we got the chairs and sound equipment out of the church so it wouldn’t be damaged.”

While an old subroof remained, most of the interior of the church was wet from leaks.
“Our immediate need is for Sunday services,” Sanders said, adding that the church also lost power. “Hopefully by Friday we’ll know something.”

Rachel Vaughn was touring the neighborhood damage on Thursday afternoon with her two young sons.

A large section of the Glorious Assembly Apostolic Church’s metal roof filled her backyard at 112 Seneca St., she said. It took out a section of her wooden privacy fence and pulled down utility lines. Vaughn’s house was one of the ones that lost power.

“I was at work, but my husband was home with our youngest,” she said. “He said he heard something pop, so he called 911 on his cell phone and went to the basement with our son.”
The church’s roof also damaged some of the Vaughns’ gutters.

Across the street from the Vaughns, Jason Parker, 29, returned home to 121 Seneca St. from a local convenience store with his 4-year-old son shortly before the sky went black.

“It started getting really dark,” Parker said. “I shut the windows and it was raining so hard, I couldn’t even see outside.”

The next thing Parker heard above the sound of thunder was a loud bang.

“I grabbed my son and my shoes and we went to the basement,” Parker said.

A piece of wood broke a second-story bedroom window, he said, and the upstairs hallway leading from that bedroom was filled with rainwater and broken glass. Phone lines were also downed, and a large tree limb was lying in the front yard.

Parker called his companion, Kelley Munshower, to come home from work.

“The roof is leaking now,” Munshower said. “I’m just glad no one was out walking through here when this happened. My stomach is still in knots.”

“It just hit so fast,” Parker said, shaking his head at the damage.

In all, roughly 288 Ohio Edison customers went without power for several hours because of two damaged utility poles, said Chris Eck, spokesman with Ohio Edison. Power was restored by 8 p.m., according to a FirstEnergy spokeswoman.

Some residents speculated about a small tornado but Walter Fitzgerald, a meteorologist with the Cleveland office of the National Weather Service, said there were no tornadoes Thursday. What the Elyria area experienced was straight-line winds of 60 mph or greater, he said.

“The colder wind behind the storm is stronger, and it tries to move the warmer air out of the area,” he said.

All of the residents with property damage were waiting on insurance agents and contractors to assess the damage.

Joe and Annette Takacs have lived at 139 Seneca St. for 30 years. A large limb from the ash tree on their treelawn was sheared off during the storm, and another huge branch hung precariously over the street.

They’d been asking the city for about nine months to remove it because of a bug infestation, Joe Takacs, 72, said.

“I guess Mother Nature said, ‘Well, I’ll take care of it,’ ” he said.

His wife was surprised, like everyone else on her block, how much damage was done so quickly.

“It got real black, and I told Joe I thought we were getting a bad storm. It happened just like that,” 71-year-old Annette Takacs said, snapping her fingers. “Then I looked out and saw all this down.”

Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or

Stimulus may not cover Route 57 overrun

May 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

ELYRIA — The cost overrun for the state Route 57 overhaul may not be eligible to be paid by using federal stimulus money, which would mean the city will have to pick up the tab.
The problem is that the $22 million project is near completion, and the goal of the federal stimulus funds is to create jobs in the community.

In March, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency announced the city was eligible to receive money to help it pay the more than $1.8 million that the project is over budget.
However, the award through NOACA was dependent on approval by federal officials.

“Funding is now a little suspect,” said Mayor Bill Grace, who is also president of NOACA. “As of this date and time, we are approved for $1.7 million in federal stimulus money from NOACA, but there are some questions to the project’s eligibility.”

Although originally budgeted for about $20 million, the spike in gas prices and asphalt last year caused the project’s cost to soar beyond the original estimate, Grace said.

In addition, cost overruns for two other factors — repair work on the thoroughfare’s concrete joints and road erosion near Northwood Junior High — are contributing to the increased costs.

Without federal stimulus money, the city will have to come up with the money to close out the project, and that will not be easy, said Auditor Ted Pileski.

“We will have to borrow more for a longer period of time,” he said.

Any additional money the city borrows will be on top of a 10-year, $2.7 million loan from the state infrastructure fund that the city is using to fund its portion of the project, which should be completed this year.

City Engineer Mukund Moghe said the project started out as a $19 million project, which includes roughly $2.6 million the city paid months before the project started for engineering, preliminary designs and construction inspections.

However, nine approved change orders have pushed the price above $22 million. The most recent change order totaling $239,787 was just approved by City Council’s Finance Committee on Tuesday.

It will pay for slope stabilization repairs near Northwood Junior High School.

Mukund said five more change orders likely will go before Council regarding work that needs to be completed on a ditch near Super Wal-Mart at Chestnut Commons and for additional mulch for the landscaping.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or

County to charge sex offenders to register

May 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

ELYRIA — It’s going to start costing money to be a registered sex offender in Lorain County.

The county commissioners on Thursday approved a resolution that will allow Sheriff Phil Stammitti to charge sex offenders to register with the county — something they’re required by law to do.

It will cost Tier III sex offenders — who are required to register every 90 days for life — $100 per year to register. Tier I and Tier II offenders, who must register annually for a certain number of years, will pay $25.

“It’s not a whole lot, but it’s something to help defray the costs,” Stammitti said.

It’s also a new trend throughout the state, and so far sheriffs in 18 other counties have implemented similar programs, Stammitti said. He expects other sheriffs will follow because of budget problems throughout the state.

Stammitti said he doubts the program will bring in enough money to allow him to hire back any of the 10 full-time deputies who are currently laid off. But it will help with administrative costs — if the money, which is paid into the county’s cash-strapped general fund, comes back his way.

The commissioners slashed $6 million from the county’s budget late last year and have imposed a 0.5 percent sales tax increase that is expected to generate $15 million annually. Although the tax hike went into effect in April, voters must approve it in November in order for it to become permanent.

Commissioners have warned that if that doesn’t happen there will be additional cuts.
The county currently has 699 registered sex offenders, 291 of whom are Tier III offenders.

There are 213 Tier II offenders, 90 Tier I offenders and 105 offenders who are fighting a recent change in how sex offenders must register, Stammitti said.

But all of those offenders won’t end up paying the fee to register, he said.

If an offender makes less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level — $13,537 annually for an offender who is single with no dependents or $27,562 for an offender in a family of four — they won’t be required to pay, Stammitti said.

The fees will go into effect July 1.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or

Elyria High’s softball game postponed until Friday

May 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

Elyria High’s game today against Brecksville in Clyde is postponed due to rain.

It’ll be played at 3:30 p.m. Friday in Clyde. For those who can’t travel to the game, tune in to WEOL-AM 930 for a live broadcast.

So far, the Keystone game in Bucyrus and the Wellington game at Massillon both are on.

Check back later for more details.

GM says bondholder panel supports sweetened offer

May 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors Corp. said Thursday a committee of bondholders has agreed to a sweetened deal proposed by the U.S. government to erase the automaker’s unsecured debt in exchange for company stock.

A person familiar with the deal said that it is probable GM will file for bankruptcy protection. The person asked not to be identified by name because discussions are still under way with the U.S. and Canadian governments and there is a small chance that the company could avoid a Chapter 11 filing.

The company said in a statement that it offered bondholders 10 percent of the stock in a newly formed GM, with warrants to buy up to 15 percent if the bondholders agree to support selling the company’s assets to a new company under bankruptcy court protection.

The company made the disclosure in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing says if the bondholders don’t agree to support the sale, then the amount of stock and warrants they get would be substantially reduced or eliminated.

Under the proposal, which has a deadline of 5 p.m. Saturday, GM would at some point enter bankruptcy protection and its good assets would be separated from bad ones.

The U.S. Treasury would get 72.5 percent of the new company’s shares, while a United Auto Workers’ retiree health care trust fund will get 17.5 percent and the old GM would get 10 percent.

The bondholders’ stake would presumably be additional shares that would dilute the first batch issued by the new company. The UAW trust and others would get warrants for additional shares that would further dilute the stock.

A bondholders committee and other large debtholders agreed to the deal but still called it unfair. They collectively hold about 20 percent of GM’s unsecured debt.

“While the committee continues to remain troubled by preferential treatment that the UAW VEBA is receiving compared to the bondholder class — rejecting this offer in the expectation that the bondholders will do better in a litigated outcome was a risk the committee is unwilling to take,” the committee said in a statement.

The deal would wipe out GM’s $27 billion in unsecured bond debt, converting to equity a total of $50 billion in company debt.

The person familiar with the GM plan said that if the deal goes through, the new GM would emerge with a total of $17 billion in debt — $8 billion owed to the U.S. government, $2.5 billion to the UAW trust and $6.5 billion in mainly overseas and capital lease debt.

It was unclear what would happen to the GM’s current $6 billion worth of secured debt, but the person said the U.S. government will provide financing to operate the new company and for the old GM to be liquidated.

Trading of GM shares was halted for a short time Thursday morning, but resumed to rise 3 cents to $1.19 in midday trading.

An Obama administration official said the agreement is an important step in GM’s restructuring and said the government’s auto task force “will continue efforts to help ensure that GM emerges from restructuring as a strong, viable company that can operate independent of government support.”