West Side News & Notes
Former Boston trustee remembered
BOSTON — John Puchalsky, who served as a Boston Township trustee for 14 years, died July 14.
Puchalsky, 74, a lifelong resident of Boston, also was a captain in the Valley Fire District, retiring in 1985, and later served as the trustees’ representative to the department. He also was a member and trustee of the Peninsula United Methodist Church, where his funeral took place July 20.
Township Trustees Chair Amy Anderson said Puchalsky, who was a trustee from 1992 to 2005, was a valued member of the community.
“There was never a time that he wasn’t helping, even when he was going through his own personal troubles,” Anderson said of Puchalsky, whose wife and son preceded him in death. “He took me under his wing, and he just was there every step of the way. There was nothing I didn’t know because he did such a good job mentoring me.”
She said Puchalsky was instrumental in seeing the Valley Fire District station built at Dogwood Drive.
“It was his baby,” she said.
Trustee Randy Bergdorf also said he would remember the former trustee for his contributions to the community.
“He always helped everyone in the community doing whatever they needed done, and he always had the proper tools and equipment to do it with,” Bergdorf said.
Family requested that donations in Puchalsky’s memory be made to either the church or Valley Fire District.
Ferfolia Funeral Home in Sagamore Hills handled arrangements.
Norton OKs adding Barberton to dispatch center
NORTON — Norton City Council met for a special meeting July 30 and unanimously adopted six pieces of legislation, including an ordinance that will add Barberton to its joint dispatch center with Copley.
Council Clerk Karla Richards said Barberton City Council is currently on its summer break, so its version of the legislation has not yet come up for a vote.
Also at the meeting, Richards said Council adopted ordinances approving the issuance and sale of bonds for water and sewer projects in the city that have already been completed.
Council also adopted an ordinance authorizing the mayor to lease radio tower equipment to Summit County.
Norton City Council, which is on its summer break, will next meet for a work session Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Safety-Administration Building.
Richfield OKs paving project
RICHFIELD — Township trustees met for a special meeting July 30 and approved adding the paving of the driveway to Rising Valley Park to a job already started in the township.
Township Administrator Linda Bowmer said the meeting was called so contractor Lytle Construction, which already had a crew in the township doing a chip-and-seal project on two roads, could do the park driveway project. The company offered a $500 discount to do the job while it was in the area, Bowmer said.
The cost of the project is $8,100. Trustees Laurie Peters-Gilmore and Dave Wyatt approved the project. Trustee Janet Jankura could not attend.
Bowmer added the driveway work was to be completed July 31.
Ohio case of West Nile virus reported
COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in the state this year on July 27.
ODH officials said a case of WNV encephalitis was confirmed in an 85-year-old man who is hospitalized in Clermont County. They added there also has been a sharp increase in the number of WNV-positive mosquitoes in the state.
“This first human case is about a month earlier than what we’ve seen over the last several years,” said ODH Director Dr. Ted Wymyslo. “The number of West Nile-positive mosquito pools are up significantly across the state, and it’s important that residents of Ohio take note and are diligent in protecting themselves against mosquito bites.”
So far in 2012, 374 mosquito pools have tested positive for WNV. At this time last year, the ODH lab had only recorded 59 WNV-positive mosquito pools, officials said. The current year’s early increase in WNV activity is similar to 2002, during which there were 299 positive pools by the end of July. By the end of the 2002 season, there were 441 human WNV cases and 31 fatalities in Ohio.
The ODH reports that culex mosquitoes (the type that transmit WNV) do well in drought-like conditions, preferring to breed in organically rich water sources, such as shrinking water in ditches and catch basins. Recent heat across the region also has sped up the mosquitoes’ life cycle and virus amplification, they said.
State officials gave these tips to avoid possible infection from mosquito bites:
√ If you are outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks.
√ Wear light colors, which are least attractive to mosquitoes.
√ Use insect repellent and follow the label directions.
To eliminate mosquito breeding sites near your home, the ODH recommends:
• removing all discarded tires and other water-holding containers, such as tin cans and unused flowerpots, from your property;
• eliminating standing water from your property;
• making sure all roof gutters are clean and properly draining;
• cleaning and chlorinating pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs, keeping them empty when not in use and draining water from pool covers; and
• changing water in bird baths weekly.
WNV can have no symptoms, or can lead to West Nile fever or severe West Nile disease, ODH officials said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 20 percent of people who become infected with WNV will develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks.
The CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 150 people infected with WNV will develop a more severe form of disease, such as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis or West Nile poliomyelitis.
Ohio has recorded human cases of WNV each year since 2002. For more information, visit the ODH website at www.odh.ohio.gov or the ODH mosquito information page at 1.usa.gov/l8HkPt.
Metro Parks to gate Liberty Park caves
TWINSBURG — Officials at Metro Parks, Serving Summit County said they plan to gate off most of the caves in Liberty Park to help prevent the spread of a bat-killing fungus.
Mike Johnson, chief of natural resources for the park district, said metal gates would be installed in the front of Glacier Cave, a stop along the 1.1-mile Ledges Trail that opened last October at the park, located at 9999 Liberty Road.
“People are going in and out of these caves, and that will eventually impact this fragile ecosystem,” Johnson said, referring to the moss-, fern- and lichen-covered ledges. “Right now, we are worried about the spread of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in our bats.”
Park biologists confirmed the presence of WNS in the park in February. The fungus responsible for WNS has killed more than 6 million bats in eastern North America since it was first detected during the winter of 2006-07, park district officials said.
The number of infected bats in Liberty Park is unknown, but thousands of bats — and several species — have been recorded there.
People cannot contract WNS because it requires much cooler body temperatures, but humans can spread it from contaminated sites on their clothing, footwear and outdoor gear, potentially infecting new bat populations, officials said.
“We have done everything possible to protect the caves,” Johnson said, citing efforts such as educational signs, “cave closed” signs and increased foot patrols by Metro Parks rangers. He said the new gates, recommended by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, will not take away from the park’s natural beauty because they will be placed in areas that can’t be seen from the trail.
Although it is still unknown how bats are affected by WNS, one theory is that it irritates them — and wakes them up — during hibernation, forcing them to find food when little is available. The result of the early wake-up is starvation.
For more details, call the Metro Parks natural resources department at 330-865-8057.
AMATS study shows slight increase in crashes
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The number of traffic crashes in the Greater Akron area increased slightly in the years 2009 to 2011 but are still not near the high numbers of a decade ago, according to officials with the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS).
An analysis showed that overall crashes in Summit and Portage counties increased by less than 3 percent, from slightly more than 16,450 in 2009 to slightly more than 17,000 in 2011.
The agency identified 115 high-crash roadway sections and 259 high-crash intersections in the Greater Akron area. AMATS prepares its reports based on crash records provided by the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). As the agency responsible for transportation planning in the area, AMATS uses this information to identify needed projects throughout the area.
Although crashes ticked up slightly last year, the area still had 6,000 fewer crashes when compared to the peak year of 2002, AMATS reported. According to Dave Pulay, AMATS transportation engineer, the number of crashes on the area’s roadways and intersections is being held down because of local safety improvements such as the new state Route 8 project in northern Summit County and the addition of several new roundabouts.
Stepped up law enforcement and education campaigns, especially those aimed at younger drivers, also are helping the area’s crash totals, Pulay said.
“The number of crashes is almost the same as last year,” he said. “So are injuries and fatalities. Bicycle-related crashes are down slightly, too.”
He added that impacts of safety improvements are often offset by new challenges, such as distracted driving due to texting and using other electronic devices when full attention should be paid to driving and changing road conditions. There is also the ongoing problem of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
The analysis also showed that Akron is home to five of the 10 highest ranked high-crash roadway sections. They are Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (state Route 59) from West Market Street to North Broadway Street; West Exchange Street between Rhodes Avenue and Dart Avenue; Manchester Road between Carnegie Avenue and Waterloo Road; Canton Road between the Akron south corporation line and Triplett Boulevard; and Brittain Road between East Tallmadge Avenue and Independence Avenue.
Akron also had five of the highest ranked high-crash intersections in the area. They are: Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at North Howard and Main streets; South Arlington Street and East Waterloo Road; East Market Street at Mogadore Road; North Main Street at East Tallmadge Avenue; and Canton Road at Mogadore Road.
Also in the top 10 for crash intersections was West Portage Trail at Northampton Road in Cuyahoga Falls.
Pulay said that the agency will release its analysis of freeway locations in the Greater Akron area in the coming weeks once data is available from ODOT. The 2009-2011 Crash Report is available on the AMATS website at www.amatsplanning.org. For more information, call AMATS at 330-375-2436.
— Kathleen Folkerth contributed to these reports.
More Community News
- Akron Council addresses missing 19-year-old
- Old memories meet new era at Rotary Camp
- Falls Council OKs sale of State Road property
- Hindu temple welcomes public for opening celebrations
- Norton Council preparing opposition to Internet café bill
- Peninsula residents take Council to task for actions, behavior
- Boston still seeking sewer funding
- Richfield Village welcomes former mayor at meeting
- Granger fiscal officer retiring in July
- County Council OKs pay raises
- Seventh Neighbors Day Akron set for May 25
- Take Back Day a hit
- West Side News & Notes
- Green has new buyer for Belden Lodge
- Old memories meet new era at Rotary Camp
- Manchester Education Foundation formed
- Springfield officials hear passionate pleas about photos
- County Council OKs pay raises
- Coventry trustees move forward with demolitions
- Springfield applying for grants
- South Side News & Notes
Calendar of Events
- Spring Nature Hikes - 5/22/2013
- Summit Children’s Choir - 5/22/2013
- “Calamity Jane” - 5/23/2013
- Book Sale and Bizarre Bazaar - 5/25/2013
- Art Sale - 5/25/2013