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Flood damage survey taking place in Norton

7/18/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

Akron Zoo Education Specialist Carrie Bassett shows off a screech owl named Lorain during the Norton City Council meeting July 15. City of Norton residents can visit the zoo for free Sept. 1-5.
Photo: Ariel Hakim
During Norton City Council’s July 15 meeting, Mayor Mike Zita thanked the police, fire and service departments and administrative personnel for their hard work and extra efforts after the July 10 storm.

Administrative Officer Rick Ryland requested that anyone who has experienced foundation issues, cracked walls or culverts coming up out of the ground as a result of the storm report it to the city.

“Although we have not been declared a disaster area, there’s rumor that may occur and we’ll need to accumulate all the facts,” said Ryland.

Ryland said the Summit County Executive’s Office would be responsible to make the recommendation to state officials in regards to declaring a disaster area, creating opportunities for low-interest loans and other assistance in repairing storm damage.

To report flood damage, call the secretary to the fire chief at 330-825-7815, ext. 201. Callers should provide their names, the address of the damage, a contact phone number and a brief description of the flood damage and leave a message if no one is available to take the call, said Zita.

Photos of damage also will be accepted, Ryland added.

Only one injury was reported as a result of the storm, and emergency teams were able to rescue all those who were stranded in water, according to Ryland.

Also, Norton residents can drop off flood-damaged items for disposal at the Summit County C & D Landfill, 1947 Wadsworth Road, next week free of charge. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Also at the meeting, representatives of the Akron Zoo, along with a one-eyed screech owl named Lorain, paid a visit to Norton officials and guests.

David Barnhart, director of marketing and guest services, announced Community Days at the zoo will take place Sept. 1-5, with free admission for residents of Norton and Barberton. Attendees must have tickets to attend, available through Aug. 30 at the zoo, located at 500 Edgewood Ave., or the Norton Safety-Administration Building, located at 4060 Columbia Woods Drive. A limit of four tickets per household are available while supplies last, and attendees will still need to pay for parking, which costs $2 per vehicle, according to zoo officials.

In other business, Council adopted on first reading a resolution declaring August 2013 Summit Kids Month in Norton.

Following a second reading, Council also adopted legislation to allow items no longer needed for municipal purposes to be sold. Councilwoman Charlotte Whipkey (at large) proposed the third reading be waived in order to give the Service Department an opportunity to begin disposing of the items and free up storage space, she said.

Unneeded equipment lists submitted by city officials include cameras, RADAR units, computers, phones, VCRs, printers, office desks, filing cabinets, 15 police bicycles and other items.

During communications from the public, Dan Karant, Norton’s representative of Summit County Public Health (SCPH), reported the Summit County Board of Health recently received a lead grant to pay for cleanup of properties that still have lead paint and children in the home. Windows and doorways present the biggest problem, he added. For information, residents should call Bob Hasenyager at 330-923-4891.

Also during communications from the public, Kim Zita, who identified herself as the mayor’s wife, addressed rumors about the mayor and commented on several citizens she said she associated with Citizens4Norton, the group responsible for petitioning to have Issue No. 1 placed on the Aug. 6 Special Election ballot.

She noted her opposition to Issue No. 1. Conducting a Special Election costs the city in excess of $10,000, she said.

Tom Kornas, who was among those referred to in Kim Zita’s comments, responded, saying he didn’t appreciate “slandering” taking place at a public meeting.

“Talk about spending $10,000 plus on a Special Election — well, that’s chicken feed compared to what you’re going to be charging, what we’re going to have to be paying for new sewers,” he said.

Also during communications from the public, resident Rick Rodgers again pleaded with Council to place the sewer issue on the ballot for voters to decide.

“The [Environmental Protection Agency] is not pushing the sewers. ... We are not mandated — we have a sewage problem, yes. We are told to correct it,” he said.

Council will take its summer recess and not meet until Aug. 19 for a work session and Aug. 26 for a regular meeting, both at 7 p.m., in Council Chambers at the Safety-Administration Building.

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