Coventry continuing in county juvenile diversion program
Coventry will continue to help some rebellious minors stay out of the juvenile court system, offering them a second chance to be law-abiding citizens.
At the Aug. 9 meeting, the Board of Trustees, with Trustee David Calderone absent, agreed to keep the township part of the Summit County Juvenile Diversion Program at a cost of $5,000 a year.
In 2001, Coventry, along with Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander, first implemented the program, township officials said.
According to information provided by the Sheriff’s Office, the program is designed to hold low-level juvenile offenders accountable for their actions but allows the first-time offenders to avoid a criminal record, if they obey established rules and regulations.
Deputy Chris Bickett, who leads the diversion program, was present at the meeting. He explained the offenders in the program and their parents or guardians sign a written contract, outlining community service hours to be worked; restitution, if applicable; curfew times; apology letters to be written; and other punishments.
Bickett explained when a juvenile who is a resident of Coventry is arrested, a background check is done. If that minor qualifies, he or she is enrolled in the program, which stops the paperwork for juvenile court, he said. After the program is completed and five years of proper conduct follows, the offender’s record is “null,” Bickett said.
About 93 percent of offenders successfully complete the program and stay out of trouble, he said. Last year, 11 Coventry juveniles were accepted into the program, Bickett said.
Coventry officials expressed an interest in identifying community service projects the local juvenile offenders could complete for the township, including work at the parks.
“I appreciate the program and giving the kid a second chance,” Trustee Gary Zoldesy said.
Also during the meeting:
• The board accepted a proposal in the amount of $6,190 by Lucas Landscape & Nursery Inc. for renovations at the Clock Tower. The improvements will include the installation of about 600 square feet of washed river stone around the Canada May trees, weed treatments, installation of shredded mulch around the daylily beds, gradation of soil from the Clock Tower to the bridge and hydroseeding in the rocky bank area. Officials said some of the measures will result in the township no longer needing to mow certain sections around the Clock Tower. Board members said the Road Department will be cutting down the cost of the project by performing a post-weed treatment to the daylily beds and rock banks, removing daylilies from the culvert pipe and installing about 70 cubic yards of screened topsoil at the top of the bank.
• The board briefly continued an ongoing discussion concerning the need for a new roof on the fire department and roof repairs at the senior center.
Last month, the board expressed an interest in hiring a project manager to collect bids and oversee the work being done. However, Board President Tom Seese explained Aug. 9 it would be too expensive to go that route. Seese and Zoldesy agreed to table the issue to identify a more cost-effective way to ensure the work would be done properly.
• The board agreed to purchase a needed tankless water heater at a cost of about $2,000 for the fire department.
• The board also agreed to have nuisance properties mowed once a month and at the discretion of Zoning Inspector George Beckham from May to October.
• The board heard from Road Superintendent Lael Stouffer concerning a cooperative purchasing program being used to save the township money on road salt this year, with the help of the Summit County Engineer’s Office.
Stouffer also reported the township received its new Gradall, and employees are getting comfortable operating the vehicle before it is put to use on the township roads.
• The board discussed the rise in West Nile Virus cases in Ohio and cautioned residents to be careful around standing water. [See related News & Notes item on Page 3.]
• Zoldesy announced a blood drive will be held Aug. 29 from 1 to 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 68 Portage Lakes Drive, to honor those who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.
• The board acknowledged the recent death of David McCormick, a Coventry High School history teacher.
Zoldesy said McCormick was “well loved” by students and the faculty, and he wanted to recognize all he has done for Coventry and the children of the district. McCormick served as the Comets’ football announcer for years, he added.
• Seese expressed disappointment that Coventry Local Schools’ 4.89-mill, 34-year bond issue for the construction of a new high school and 1.1-mill permanent improvement levy for maintenance failed by about 150 votes in the Aug. 7 Special Election.
• At the close of the meeting, Carol Eubank, of the Portage Lakes Historical Society, invited the community to an open house Sept. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the New Franklin Tudor House, 655 Latham Lane.
• An executive session also was held to discuss potential litigation.
The next regular Coventry Township Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall, 68 Portage Lakes Drive.
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