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West Side News & Notes

Peninsula continues cemetery tax

During their joint annual meeting May 9, Peninsula Village Council and the Boston Township Board of Trustees reviewed a renewal of a 1-mill maintenance tax.
The tax, for the Union Cemetery Association, is used for the upkeep of Boston and Cedar Grove cemeteries and was first levied in 2007. The tax is inside millage and not voted on by the public.
In other business at the meeting, Peninsula Village Council approved a resolution to amend the employee pay scale.
The resolution changes the pay of the part-time Service Department employee this year and in 2024 from $15 per hour to $18 per hour. According to the resolution, the change in pay is being done as a result of the need to fill the position.
Council will next meet June 13 at 7 p.m. in the second-floor Council room of Peninsula Village Hall, located at 1582 Main St., at the corner of state Route 303 and Akron-Peninsula Road.

— By Patrick Shade


Source for jury service  selection to be expanded

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Court of Common Pleas officials announced a plan to expand the sources for which jurors are drawn for both petit and grand jury.
Currently names for jury service are drawn from the Summit County Board of Elections list of registered voters. Under the new plan, the Court will add the Bureau of Motor Vehicles list of licensed drivers and state ID holders.
“The Ohio Revised Code allows courts to draw jurors from both sources,” said Court Presiding Judge Baker Ross.
The change comes on a request from Summit County Council President Veronica Sims (D-District 5) and presented to the Court alongside Councilwoman Erin Dickinson (D-at large).
“It is critical to expand the juror pool to include a more diverse representation throughout the entire deliberation process, especially as it relates to Black and Brown communities,” said Sims.
Dickinson added: “Expanding and diversifying the jury pool is an important step to ensuring that our citizens are guaranteed their Constitutional rights to a true jury of their peers.”
Court officials stated this new source list will be ready for use in September, and plans are underway to work to educate residents about the importance of serving on a jury.


Summit ESC, Peg’s Foundation partner for student health program

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Summit Educational Service Center (Summit ESC) and Peg’s Foundation have partnered to develop a countywide system of behavioral health and wellness coordinators (BHWC) for proactive prevention and early intervention for middle school and high school students in Summit County.
Coventry Local Schools and Tallmadge City Schools will be the first districts to pilot this program, set to take place during the next two school years, with Peg’s Foundation providing the funding.
The new program will provide Coventry and Tallmadge schools a student assistance program, which includes BHWCs developing and maintaining ongoing district-wide student assistance programs with referral processes providing services to at-risk youth and their families.
By equipping local school districts with the awareness, staffing and training, the program intends to bridge the gap in mental health service delivery and ensure students receive the support they need, according to officials. Officials hope to replicate the program across Summit County after the pilot phase.
Officials added the program will be framed around a model developed by the School-Based Center of Excellence at Miami University, backed by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Ohio Department of Education.
“This program promises to bring forth transformative change, ultimately fostering a more supportive and thriving environment for our students to learn and grow through the proactive prevention of crises,” said Jeff Ferguson, Summit ESC director of Administrative Services.
“Our ultimate goal is early proactive prevention and intervention by addressing the behavioral and mental health needs that our students are experiencing,” added Rick Kellar, president and CEO of Peg’s Foundation.
For more information, contact Ferguson at JeffF@summitesc.org or Victoria Romanda, chief of staff at Peg’s Foundation at vromanda@pegsfoundation.org.