Richfield Council says goodbye to former finance director
Eleanor Lukovics remembered for 19 years of service
At the Sept. 4 Council meeting, Richfield Village Council and Mayor Bobbie Beshara noted the passing of Eleanor Lukovics.
Lukovics, who served for 19 years as Richfield’s finance director under mayors Ralph Waszak, Don Larsen and Mike Lyons, died Aug. 26 at the age of 76.
“It’s sad. She was a great employee, a good person and a good friend,” Beshara said.
Waszak, now a Council member, remembered hiring Lukovics to handle the village finances.
“She had an outgoing personality and a warm smile,” he said. “She excelled at taking complex issues and putting into terms that a layman can understand. She served Richfield with integrity and she will be missed.”
Council President Mike Wheeler called her “a great supporter of the Richfield Fire Department,” and half of Council’s donation on her behalf went to the Richfield Fire Department Association.
Also at the meeting, Council marked the retirement of Vuki, Richfield’s drug-detection dog. Vuki started serving in 2004 and found 36 grams of cocaine during a traffic stop on his very first day at the office, according to village officials.
Vuki also found 34 pounds of cocaine at FedEx in 2007 and found fleeing suspects in the woods off Wheatley Road later that year, according to village officials.
Police Chief Keith Morgan also thanked Sgt. Chris Fyffe and his family for their care of the dog.
Council and the mayor congratulated Vuki and gave him a standing ovation.
Morgan said the village was not going to hire another dog at this time but would be open to the idea in the future.
In other business, Beshara talked about the upcoming dedication of the Carter Pedigo trails Sept. 22 from noon to 4 p.m.
“It’s a beautiful 1.25 miles,” she said. “It’s a pretty easy walk. We have photos on our Facebook page. [Former mayor] Mike Lyons had great vision with this project.”
The trail dedication event also will include a Chili Cook-Off and an open house at the Richfield Library. Events at the library will start at 11 a.m.
Beshara noted that dogs are welcome on the trail, but horses are not.
In addition, the mayor said she talked with an Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) official about the upcoming roadwork on Brecksville Road near the Pilot station.
“The road is wavy due to truck traffic,” she said.
ODOT will work on the road this fall before conducting a more extensive repair project in the future.
Beshara also said she attended the Aug. 12 service at the Sikh temple, where she was “honored” to be part of the memorial services for those killed in the recent temple shooting in Wisconsin.
Beshara and Council Vice President Rick Hudak also discussed the idea of moving the Community Days parade from Friday to Saturday.
“We’ve been doing it the same way for 21 years,” Hudak said, “but the parade is tying up a major intersection during rush hour.”
Hudak said the parade could be moved to Saturday afternoon. Recreation Director Ruth Jocek added that another option would be to keep the parade on Friday night but to start later in the evening.
In other Community Days news, Morgan said the turnout for the safety forces open house and rabies clinic was low, but the bad weather was probably to blame.
“We’ll try again next year,” he said.
In other news:
• Morgan said the two new police cruisers were in service and Council members got an up-close look at one of them before the meeting, as one was parked at Town Hall.
Also, parents can get a “Protect Your Child” kit from the police department, which allows them to store their child’s fingerprints and photo in a safe place in case of an emergency, he said.
• Acting Fire Chief Phil McLean said his department demonstrated an extrication at Community Days by cutting open the roof and door of a car.
McLean also talked about a recent fire in Bath that his department responded to via mutual aid.
“We never upgraded our radios, so we weren’t on the same frequency as the Bath firefighters,” he said.
McLean noted the city of Cleveland had not fixed any of the fire hydrants in Richfield Village or township.
“We’re at the point in time where we need to get these fixed,” he said.
• Recreation Director Ruth Jocek said her department is looking to relocate 20 red maple trees in the lower community garden that have “really taken off.”
Jocek noted the Haunted Rec Center will take place Oct. 25-27, with trick or treating, as always, taking place Oct. 31, which falls on a Wednesday.
• Finance Director Sandy Turk reported income tax receipts were down 10.8 percent in August compared to the same month last year. For the year, income tax is coming in 3.9 percent higher than in 2011.
• Waszak reported he attended a Forest Forum Aug. 30, and Richfield scored the highest among the communities in the Cuyahoga Valley at having legislation in place to protect the watershed.
• The Buildings and Grounds Committee will meet Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Eastwood house, 4712 W. Streetsboro Road.
• The Finance Committee will meet Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.
Council member Barbara Lanford reported the Revere Recreation Center Committee applied for a grant that would fund a survey about the project.
• Council approved a contract with ODOT to repair the Interstate 77 bridge over state Route 303.
• Council members passed a settlement agreement of its challenge to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District [NEORSD] storm water management program, as other Summit County communities joined the challenge and the eventual settlement.
Some members of Council were not too happy about voting for the resolution.
“I hate this. I feel like we have a gun to our head,” said Hudak. “This is as close to taxation without representation as you can get.”
“I think we should all hold our noses while we do this,” said Councilman Hank Novak.
“My problem is that NEORSD has no plan, only the ability to collect money,” said Council President Mike Wheeler.
• Council also passed an ordinance to join the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council to work on an electricity aggregation program, as well as a resolution to authorize Service Director Melanie Baker to advertise for bids for trash hauling.
• Council approved the expenditure of $27,008 in a change order for work on the Carter Pedigo trails.
The next Richfield Village Council meeting is scheduled for Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. at Town Hall, 4410 W. Streetsboro Road.
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