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Cuyahoga Falls Boy Scout offers invocation at Council meeting

3/13/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

Boy Scout Nathan Ford, a Cuyahoga Falls resident working on a merit badge for citizenship in the community, led Cuyahoga Falls City Council and meeting attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance and offered an invocation at the March 10 meeting.

The guest invocation is a departure from Council’s usual practice of having Councilman Terry Mader (R-Ward 8) offer a prayer prior to the start of each meeting. Council has come under fire for its prayer, which Mader typically ends with “in Jesus’ name.” Council in late January received a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation protesting the invocation as a violation of the separation of church and state. Council provided a forum at its March 3 committee meetings for citizens to comment on the issue.

Council President Mary Ellen Pyke (R-Ward 2) said Ford’s mother had contacted her to ask if Ford could lead the pledge and offer the invocation as part of the requirements for earning his badge. Ford’s invocation did not reference any particular religion.

Also during the meeting, Council passed legislation designed to help police recover stolen property sold to secondhand stores. The legislation said investigation by police agencies showed secondhand businesses acquire and sell stolen property and, therefore, should be subject to controls aimed at decreasing potential traffic in such items.

Secondhand businesses will be required to obtain licenses, keep records identifying the merchandise and the person selling it and be subject to inspections and tests of weight and measurement equipment. The legislation also requires a minimum holding period of at least 14 days following acquisition of an item. Dealers also are prohibited from buying items from people younger than 18 years old. Penalties include a $250 fine for each day a secondhand dealer is in violation of the law.

Also during the meeting:

  • Council approved an ordinance creating a Design and Historic Review Board and establishing Historic Overlay Districts to “establish preservation controls and procedures without significantly interfering with development rights of the property owner,” according to the legislation.
    Former Councilwoman Diana Colavecchio, Mark Gilles and Janna Amole were appointed to three-year terms, and Joel Testa and former Council member Kathy Hummel were appointed to two-year terms on the new Design and Historic Review Board.
    Council excused Carrie Hummel Snyder (D-at large) and Paul Colavecchio (D-Ward 5) from voting on the appointments as each had a family member among the appointees.
  • Council approved Mayor Don Walters’ appointments to various boards and commissions. Among the mayor’s appointees approved by Council were Paul Baker and Mary Nichols-Rhodes for five-year terms to the Board of Zoning Appeals, Steven Amos for a six-year term on the Civil Service Committee, Debbie Ziccardi for a three-year term on the Cuyahoga Falls Library Board, Michael Brillhart for a three-year term on the Planning Commission and Kristine Gill, who was reappointed for a four-year term on the Summit County Board of Health.
    Resident John Schmidt, a Summit County Council member (D-District 2), was appointed by the mayor to the Parks and Recreation Board. Appointments to the Parks and Recreation Board do not require approval by Council, said Law Director Russell Balthis.

Council will hold Council committee meetings March 17 and a regular meeting March 24, both at 6:30 p.m. at the Natatorium, 2345 Fourth St.

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