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Retiring Richfield fire employees congratulated

11/29/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Jeff Gorman

Three retiring members of the Richfield Fire Department received official congratulations from the village at the Nov. 20 Richfield Village Council meeting.

Don Zito retired after serving Richfield since 1975, according to village officials. He became one of the department’s first full-time employees in 1984. Zito, who was also an original member of the Summit County Hazardous Materials Response Team, was presented with a flame-shaped plaque by Acting Fire Chief Phil McLean.

“There’s only a few of us left from the ’70s era that started here and are still here,” McLean said. “You’ve done a tremendous job and we’re sad to see you go.”

Dr. H. Thomas Lloyd also retired as the fire department medical director after 30 years of service, according to village officials. He worked with former fire chiefs Russ English and Joe Stopak, and he helped the department to become certified in basic trauma life support, according to village officials. Kathy Cern, a paramedic for 24 years before retiring in 2011, was at the meeting and was surprised that the city was honoring her, too. Her family was hiding in the mayor’s office and emerged to present her with flowers.

Several Council members, including Andy Ellis and Hank Novak, said they were happy the city was honoring the retirees.

“They will never know how much they are appreciated by the community as a whole,” said Council President Mike Wheeler.

In other news:

• Mayor Bobbie Beshara thanked the police department for sponsoring A.L.i.C.E. training at the Town Hall Nov. 14, which provided instructions on what to do when confronted with an active shooter. A.L.i.C.E. stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.

• Council also approved the expense of $12,500 for safety improvements to the Carter-Pedigo trailhead at the Richfield Library.

• Police Chief Keith Morgan announced the Shop With a Cop program will take place Dec. 15.

He also said the police department received a D.A.R.E. grant to run next year’s program for fifth-graders. Seventh-graders also may be included because the department was unable to run the program when they were fifth-graders, the chief said.

• McLean said his department assisted their Bath counterparts in fighting a structure fire Nov. 16, as well as taking care of an electrical fire in a Richfield attic over the following weekend.

• Councilwoman Barbara Lanford said the park board will attend the Council work session Dec. 4. The two groups will discuss plans for a new Richfield Community Recreation Center.

The Recreation Advantage Consulting Group conducted an operations analysis for the village about the project, which is different from the other recreation center idea that would include Bath Township, according to village officials.

According to the analysis, a Richfield Community Recreation center would be a 34,000-square-foot facility. It would include an indoor pool, multi-purpose gym, weight room, community room, teen area, walking track, hot tub and two aerobics rooms.

Another option is to add an outdoor pool, which would cover another 15,000 square feet.

• Council accepted a bid from Lampion Cos. to fix a traffic signal pole at the corner of Broadview and Streetsboro roads. An emergency vehicle responding to a house fire damaged the pole over the summer, according to village officials.

The work will cost $23,435, and Service Director Melanie Baker said it will be covered by insurance.

• Council approved a 1.5-percent salary increase for nonbargaining employees, retroactive to the first pay period of 2012. The cost of the wage increase is approximately $30,000, according to Finance Director Sandy Turk.

Council member John Ciolkevich voted against the ordinance, calling it “inappropriate” in light of flat income-tax revenues projected for next year.

• Council also passed a resolution accepting the dedication of sewer and water line improvements in Phase X of the Glencairn subdivision.

The next Richfield Village Council meeting is scheduled for Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. at Town Hall, 4410 W. Streetsboro Road.

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