West Side News & Notes
Fatal CVSR train-car collision investigated
NORTH CANTON — The Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) is continuing to investigate a July 13 accident that killed the driver of a car struck by a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) train.
Wiladene VanWert, 85, of Canton, was traveling east on Portage Street and traveled through an active railroad crossing warning gate at 11:43 a.m. that day, the OSHP reported. Her 2005 Honda Accord was struck by the train, which was traveling south.
Officials with CVSR, which is based in Peninsula, said the train was on the second leg of its morning round-trip between Canton and Akron when it struck the vehicle.
VanWert was pronounced dead at the scene. According to a report from the Stark County Coroner’s Office, VanWert sustained massive injuries to her head, cervical spine and torso. The report also stated that no anatomical abnormalities or acute conditions were found that would have shown the accident was caused by a medical condition.
Sgt. Dean Christ, of the OSHP Canton Post, said officers are continuing to interview witnesses of the crash to determine what happened.
The train’s engineer, Dennis Matlosz, and his crew were not injured. Two passengers were traveling on the train at the time and they also were not injured, the OSHP reported.
CVSR operates its trains in partnership with Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) through a cooperative agreement.
“Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers our sincerest condolences to the family of the victim,” CVSR President and CEO Craig Tallman said in a press release. “We are sensitive to the needs of our volunteers and train crew and will continue to support them as we work through this traumatic experience.”
“We at the national park offer our sympathies to the families involved in this terrible tragedy,” said Jennie Vasarhelyi on behalf of CVNP.
Norton school board conducts business at brief meeting
NORTON — The Norton City Schools Board of Education held a brief meeting July 10.
Aside from two executive sessions, the board meeting lasted less than five minutes. The board unanimously approving the following:
• the hiring of Tiffany Evans as a high school work and family teacher;
• a two-year administrative contract for Grill Elementary Principal Brady Sackett;
• the hiring of bus driver Lisa Hafer;
• the elimination of the following positions: Cornerstone educational assistant II currently held by Melissa Tomasik, Primary School educational assistant I currently held by Loretta Slezak, Grill educational assistant I currently held by Norita Blue, Primary educational assistant II currently held by Georgiann Hosbach and Norton Middle School educational assistant I currently held by Stephanie Cool;
• the creation of three Primary educational assistant I positions and a Norton High School educational assistant I position.
The next school board meeting is set for Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Norton High School Library, 4128 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road.
— By John Benson
Bath trustees act on personnel matters
BATH — During a special meeting July 12, the Bath Township Board of Trustees acted on personnel matters and paid bills.
The board agreed to move Communication Specialist Tracie Tsai from probationary status to full-time status, effective July 15, and hired Luke Berry as a seasonal park department employee at a rate of $9.50 an hour, effective July 16. Berry’s employment is contingent on passing prehire testing, according to Fiscal Officer Sharon Troike.
The board also agreed to renew a contract for Workers’ Compensation services with Frank Gates for the policy year beginning Jan. 1. The contract is for $4,700.
Township Administrator William Snow was empowered to represent the board in the event of a meeting with Copley, Fairlawn and Norton regarding a joint radio tower project, Troike said.
The board’s next regular meeting is set for Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. in the trustees’ meeting room on the lower level of the Bath Administration Building, 3864 W. Bath Road.
— By Pam Lifke
Revere BOE hires director of student services
RICHFIELD/BATH — The Revere Local Schools Board of Education hired a new administrator during a special meeting July 10.
Superintendent Randy Boroff said the board approved hiring Christine Kovach to be the new director of student services for the district. Kovach, who will succeed the retiring Susan Chute, will begin Aug. 1. Chute’s last day will be July 31.
Boroff said Kovach will oversee the district’s special education, gifted education, nursing services and supplemental services. She most recently served as director of pupil services for Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools, a position she held for 10 years. Prior to that, she was the director of pupil services for Canfield Local Schools.
“We’re very pleased to have someone that is so experienced and qualified to fill in for someone that has done such a great job at Revere,” Boroff said.
In other business, the board approved raising the price for school lunches at Hillcrest Elementary to $2.45, a 10-cent increase, because the size of the lunch is being increased as a result of federal nutrition guidelines.
Also approved were bus routes for the 2012-13 school year.
— By Kathleen Folkerth
AMATS seeks feedback on outreach plan
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) officials said they are seeking comments on a draft of the agency’s Public Participation Plan.
Through Aug. 24, the draft is available for review at the website www.amatsplanning .org or at the AMATS office at 806 CitiCenter, 146 S. High St.
The draft plan details the agency’s community outreach strategies for its activities and products in the transportation planning process. It builds on the momentum of the agency’s ongoing outreach initiatives by embracing the use of social media and outlining new methods to encourage civic dialogue, officials said.
AMATS Planning Coordinator Krista Beniston said the agency is trying to be more transparent and increase opportunities for the public to become involved. These efforts by the agency include revamps of its website and the launch of a new website devoted to the cycling community — www.switching-gears.org. Additional efforts may be on the horizon, she added.
“We decided to try new outreach methods to engage a wider audience, such as when we worked on our recent 2012 Bike Plan and our various cycling initiatives,” Beniston said. “These efforts gave us some leeway to test new ideas and see which ones worked.”
During development of the 2012 Bike Plan, the agency made extensive use of social media and several community-oriented websites to promote public awareness regarding development of the plan. The agency hosted several meetings throughout the Akron area and sponsored a “Bike-N-Brainstorm” session at Hardesty Park in West Akron, which included an informal group discussion regarding how to improve West Market Street for cyclists.
“We feel that it’s time to try new approaches to spur public dialogue and feedback,” Beniston said.
The updated plan also freshens many of the agency’s traditional methods to seek public comment. For example, comment forms regarding draft reports and products are now available online for submission by email rather than only as hard copies at meeting and office locations.
For additional information, call AMATS at 330-375-2436.
Haiti school in need of instruments
CUYAHOGA FALLS — A local woman who works at a school in Haiti is asking for local residents to donate working musical instruments for the students there.
Marylee Lewis, of Cuyahoga Falls, is the director of the high school graduate placement program at Institution Univers, a school operated by the Coalition of Children in Need Association (COCINA) in Ouaniminthe, Haiti.
Lewis said the school serves more than 2,000 students ages 3-19. The instruments will help the older students form a band, she said.
Recently, a Pennsylvania school donated 100 marching band uniforms to the school. That donation has sparked an interest in the school’s students to get a band started, but they need musical instruments of all kinds, Lewis said.
“Now everyone in high school wants to play in the band,” she said.
Lewis said she would pick up any instruments that are being donated, as well as accessories like music stands. She will return to Haiti Sept. 3 but needs the instruments before then because they are shipped via container.
For more information or to donate, call Lewis at 440-343-2532. For more information on the school, go to www.haiticocina.org
— Kathleen Folkerth contributed to the nonbylined reports.
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- Art Sale - 5/25/2013
- Walk for Health - 5/25/2013
- Ballroom Dancing - 5/25/2013
- British Drawings From the Cleveland Museum of Art - 5/26/2013