Avon Growth News, 7-1-05 to 7-20-05

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7-8-05 School Board versus Avon

7-10-05 Developers sue Avon

7-12-05 Deadly Ditches

7-14-05 Emergency Room Concerns

7-16-05 Papos Closes

7-18-05 Address Awareness

LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Press, 7-13-05

Bus Garage

To the Editor:

``We have heard for the past few weeks much back and forth regarding the new school bus garage the school board wants to build at the Avon Heritage School. Please take a minute to hear from those of us who live in front of the location where the buses are currently stored. Then you, as a fellow resident who may live near the new school, might take up the cause to spare this atrocity.

When you live in front/side/behind a bus garage and you dare open your windows early on a summer morning your ears are assaulted with the raucous noise of dozens of buses idling, the dank smell of their burning fuel, and the obnoxious beeping as they are backing up.

I can only imagine how these things would be amplified as they carry across the green space surrounding the school. After you have the proper mental picture/sounds/smells in place, imagine you cannot exit or enter your own driveway (or development) due to the long line of buses blockading the street in both directions.

Imagine having to plan your day around the bus schedule so you can make certain you are able to make an appointment on time. Everyday. All week. Nine months a year. This is what will happen to all those in the developments and homes around Avon Heritage if the school board builds their bus garage in front of the school.

And then what happens as the City of Avon grows and more buses are required? Will they build another garage opposite this one so that when you pull into the school you drive through two maintenance garages? That is a pretty picture with double the noises, smells and congestion.

The bottom line is that the buses are going to be moved (and we who live in front of Avon Middle School are thankful) but be forwarned if they place this monstrosity in your front/back/side yard.

Call the school board president, Angie Marsiglia, today at 937-4680 and ask her to resume the talks they cut off with the city regarding the bus garage location. Also, call city hall today for your city council representative's phone number (937-7800) and let them know you support their desire to look at all the available options not just the Heritage location.

For those of you who said, "I don't live near the school, it has nothing to do with me" keep in mind that the a legal precedent will be set to support any developer who demands city council rezone from residential to commercial to put an ugly strip mall in your front yard. Let's just take dozens of Lorain Road strip malls in North Olmstead and drop them in at the intersection of 83 and Detroit.

Might as well mention your thoughts on that to council too, when you call. Our city council is acting wisely to look at all the options and that should be commended instead of allowing the school board to fund this eyesore with your most recent tax levy increase -- that's right -- all Avon homeowners will be paying for it!

We need to act now to support council in their quest to adequately consider all the options. Otherwise, say goodbye to quiet, peaceful mornings and hello to planning life around the school bus schedule and ugly strip malls.''

Kristy Rice, Avon

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Avon School Board Members:

Angie Marsiglia 934-6767, AJKJ@aol.com

Deborah Polovich 937-5298, DPolovich@aol.com

Ruth Keller 937-5221, rakeller@centurytel.net

Susan Harrison 937-5850, avonkennels@msn.com

Dale Smitek 934-6919, DSmitek@aol.com

NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 6-29-05, By Beth Mlady

``'Historic' label for Village Elementary disputed

AVON -- Even though they knew their efforts at having the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) overturn its decision to list Avon Village Elementary School as a historical site would likely be in vain, Superintendent Jim Reitenbach and board member Susan Harrison attended a recent meeting with the LPC and presented their case. As expected, their request was denied ...

"The commission denied the Avon Board of Education's appeal to be removed from the list as we want to protect the Village School," Carol Hartwig, LPC chairman said ... "there is a grave concern among citizens who went to the Village School ..."

Village Elementary School, built in 1924, is located at 36600 Detroit Road. The building was constructed in a neo-classical style which was popular at the time of its construction. [This school was Avon's first consolidated school, made possible by the automobile revolution. School busses made the local one-room school house obsolete. The Village School stands as a beautiful building and a history lesson.]

Reitenbach said that board members "recognize and respect LPC's wanting to preserve that building as a historic site." He indicated that it is a "good building" and, if circumstances ever warranted abandoning its use, due to low enrollment or catastrophic event (such as tornado or fire damage), the board "would retire the school and not destroy it."

The school currently houses more than 200 full- and half-day kindergarten students. With Avon's expanding population, Reitenbach said he expects even more children to need the facility in the future.

The board's main concern with the commission's designation of Village Elementary as "historic" stems from the LPC's guidelines. As currently written, Reintenbach said, the LPC criteria indicate a six-month waiting period for repairs to the structure [Not so! There is a six-month waiting period before a structure on Avon's register can be demolished. REPAIRS CAN BE MADE AT ANY TIME.] ...

The board voted to formally oppose the LPC decision at its June 21 [2005] regular meeting.''

[The only reason to remove the Village School from Avon's register is to let the Board of Education demolish it at any time. As taxpayers, we should object to this.]


NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 6-29-05, By Lori E. Switaj

``City hall takes bus garage fight with schools to courts

AVON -- The City of Avon filed a complaint for injunctive relief in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas last week against the Avon Local School District. The move could slow the construction of the garage.

The complaint for injunctive relief with motion for preliminary injunction, filed June 23, clains the school board's approval of a resolution directing the school superintendent to advertise for bids was unlawful and constitutes an "intentional and blatant violation" of zoning laws, according to court documents ...

At issue is where to construct a bus garage. The school board's preferred site is on the Heritage School campus. The city however, has specified numerous options, including Schneider Court and off of SR 611, but has never included Heritage on its potential list, stating among other reasons that the noise from the busses may disturb neighbors.

In the lawsuit, the city is asking the court to prevent the school board from moving forward on any plans to construct the garage at Heritage Elementary School and asking that any bids produced by the school board be declared null and void. Previously, the school board has said that as an entirely separate entity from the city, they are permitted construction on school owned property without the permission of the city.

Board members previously said the plan, which was approved by the city's planning commission, was forwarded to city council not as a requirement, but as a courtesy.

Daniel Stringer, acting law director for the City of Avon, will represent the city.

Board of Education president Angie Marsiglia said the board will continue to move forward with the project. The case has been assigned to Judge Christopher Rothgery. A hearing date has not been set ...''


NEWS ARTICLE from the Chronicle Telegram, 7-20-05, by Matt Keener

``AVON -- Council is demanding Avon school officials abide by city laws before it agrees to reopen talks concerning a 42-bus garage the district wants to build, but the school board president said the board will let a court decide whether construction can go forward.

Council met two hours in an emergency closed-door session Monday [7-18-05] and then reconvened in a public meeting to approve a resolution stating that no further talks with school officials will take place until "the school board agrees to be subject to the laws of the City of Avon."

Council voted in June against issuing a special use permit for the bus garage, which the district wants to build in front of Heritage School on Detroit Road. The school board proceeded with the plan despite Council's rejection and recently voted to seek construction bids for the bus garage.

The city, contending the school district was violating local zoning regulations, filed a lawsuit asking a judge to force the district to abandon the plan. [On 7-12-05] Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery issued an order allowing the district to proceed with obtaining construction bids, but said he would wait until Aug. 23 before ruling on the city's request to stop further work.

School board president Angie Marsiglia said Council has no authority over the school district ... We're not a developer; we're not subject to what the Council says," Marsiglia said. "The law states we are a separate public entity and we don't have to follow the same laws developers do." ...

Council President Larry Hoekstra said Council's resolution is not a refusal to negotiate ... "If they're willing to abide by the law, Council's ready to sit down and discuss a solution."''

[Attorney Dan Stringer, representing Avon, said that the School Board is breaking the law.]

More on the Bus Garage


NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 6-29-05, By Lori E. Switaj

``AVON -- Concerned his company is being maligned in the middle of a struggle between Avon's city council and the city's school board, Ron Guenther, president of Avon-based Chemtron, went public to tout his company's safety record ...

"We had a fire several years ago and the sprinkler system didn't activate," Guenther said. "It was the (sprinkler manufacturer's) fault the system failed. It was wrongly reported in daily newspapers that toxic fumes were emitted. There weren't."

Guenther was responding to a copy of a letter the Avon Board of Education submitted for publication to newspapers last week. (An abbreviated version of the letter is running in this edition of The PRESS.) Without specifying a name, the letter refers to the dangers of placing the garage "downwind of a fully licensed and permitted Part B hazardous waste (facility) ...

"My business having a fire is no different than if a gas station caught on fire, or Wal-Mart did," he said. "We are under very strict EPA guidelines and have always remained in compliance.

"The board of education is using anxiety and fear tactics to get council to relocate this. I see their concern to relocate this. I see their concern, but its wrong to use this as a tactic for (relocation)."

Guenther added the board's comments have raised concerns at Chemtron, which employs approximately 100 individuals. "My employees are concerned their jobs are in joepardy," he said. "We have maintained a good relationship with the community." ...''


LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Press, 6-29-05

From the Board of Education

To the Editor:

``On June 13, 2005, Avon's City Council voted 6-1 against modifying the existing special use permit of the Heritage Campus as the location for a new school transportation facility ...

One of city council's reasons for voting it down was that six members of council felt we should locate the facility to Schneider Court adjacent to the city's new service garage.

City council's suggested school transportation and bus fleet parking site is unacceptable to the Board ... because of whom our neighbor to the west would be. The school board will not place the transportation facility and associated storage of our current 36 busses on Schneider Court, east of, and downwind of a fully licensed and permitted Part B hazardous waste (facility)! ...''

The Avon Local Board of Education: Angela Marsiglia, president; Debora Polovich, vice president; Ruth Keller, Dale Smitek, and Susan Harrison.


LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Press, 6-29-05

Chemtron responds

To the Editor:

``Chemtron Corp. was dismayed and disturbed by the recent letter written by the Avon School Board to the taxpayers of Avon concerning the location of the bus garage. The board chose to drag Chemtron Corp. business and management through the mud to promote it's own agenda instead of focusing on the real issues at hand.

Previous attempts to negotiate an accord with city council must have failed. This is evident from previous articles in the Press dated May 4, and June 1, 2005.

Chemtron Corp. had operated in Avon since 1973 and has maintained a low profile while it has grown to employ 99 people. It has contributed to Avon and the surrounding communities

by supporting school levies, local youth baseball and soccer programs,

by donating money to purchase much needed fire safety equipment,

by removing wastes generated from the service and bus garages and properly disposing of them, responding to chemical releases including one at a local gas station (preventing thousands of gallons of gasoline from entering the storm sewer and Black River),

[by] working with local fire departments, decontaminating buses and a school when a student spilled mercury, and most recently, providing storage space for the Avon service department for temporary storage due to the collapse of their garage in December 2004.

These are examples of how Chemtron supports it's community ... Chemtron has not charged the communities for 99 percent of these activities.

Chemtron Corp. has an outstanding compliance history with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA). This can be verified by calling 330-425-9171 and asking for the Division of Hazardous Waste Management.

We have been and will always continue to be a highly regulated industry and with our commitment to safety we will work daily to minimize and prevent such an incident that is referred to as the "Fire". The fire was not due to poor management or negligence it was an accident that we will learn from. The release of toxic fumes was so minimal that it was not a threat to our employees, our community, and our environment. The fire has been investigated to determine the cause and has yet to be determined.

To focus on Chemtron and ignore other potential sources of a fire or hazards that can impact your kids and family is like wearing blinders. Discount superstores, gas stations, home improvement centers, and other local industries store the same chemicals found at Chemtron and could also have a fire. The content of their inventory would be just as toxic if released ...

This picture of Chemtron the board is painting may be detrimental to the jobs of the employees. Many live in Avon and the surrounding area. Negative publicity can lead to loss of business, which leads to loss of jobs and loss of a tax base for the City of Avon ...''

Ron Guenther, President, Chemtron

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 6-29-05, By Julie A. Short

``AVON -- A civil lawsuit filed June 24 in the court of Common Pleas, Lorain County, by the Village at Creekside LLC, states that Avon City Council's decision not to approve a rezoning request on property owned by the company was "arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and was absent substantial relation to public health, safety, morals or general welfare" since the requested rezoning will not affect the already existing balanced mix of commercial and residential zoning located within Avon's SR 254 (Detroit Road) corridor."

The requested rezoning of approximately 13 acres of property [called Heritage Village by the developers, Schafer and Gamellia] along Detroit Road, where the former Piazza greenhouses stand, from R-2 (single and double family) to C-3 (planned commercial development) ... was approved by the city's planning commission. On June 13 [2005], by a 6-1 vote, council rejected the proposal.

Developer and Avon resident Steve Schafer ... made numerous presentations to city officials regarding his vision to create a "pedestrian-friendly" shopping destination with a mix of restaurants and upscale retail. Schafer partnered with Bialosky and Partners architect Mark Olson, who created the design for Crocker Park in Westlake.

The complaint further states that rezoning the property does not constitute impermissible "spot zoning" since the Avon Commons property is zoned C-3 and the Avon Commons property is adjacent and contiguous to the property in question.

On June 13, [2005] Ward I Councilman Mark Julius called the zoning request "commercial suicide." "Avon is a pretty doggone nice place to live," Julius said. "It's just a matter of time before we become like everyone else to the east of us. I don't want to see commercial in my face. Avon Commons is an asset. I love it because you can't see it."

Village at Creekside is seeking a declaratory judgement. The case has been assigned to Common Pleas Judge Edward Zaleski.''

More on Heritage Village


NEWS ARTICLE from the Chronicle Telegram, 8-3-05, by Matt Keener

``Court now 3rd party to Avon zoning

AVON -- City Council and the city's Planning Commission regulate commercial growth in the city, but now a third party 'the court' has been pulled into the equation.

One developer already has filed a lawsuit in Common Pleas Court because Council refused to approve a zoning change recommended by the Planning Commission, and another developer has threatened a lawsuit for the same reason.

Council also filed its own lawsuit against the Avon Schools after the school board continued to develop plans to build a school bus garage off Detroit Road after Council rejected a zoning change for the property to allow it. The Planning Commission also had recommended that change.

Some Council members contend the problem rests with the Planning Commission. Councilman Mark Julius on Monday proposed placing an amendment to the city charter on the November ballot to strip the Commission of its regulatory power regarding zoning changes. "I think a developer who receives a recommendation from Planning Commission is essentially lulled into thinking that Planning Commission has given them an approval or an OK," Julius said. "It's ultimately Council's decision."

Council rejected a rezoning request from Schafer Development for property off Detroit Road near Avon Commons where Schafer wants to build restaurants. That prompted Steve Schafer to file a lawsuit June 23 [2005] seeking to force the zoning change.

Councilman Gerald Gentz supported Julius' proposal to strip zoning away from the Planning Commission. He said much of the sworn testimony he gave on the bus garage dispute stemmed from questions on the Commission's recommendation that the property be rezoned from residential to a special-use permit to accommodate the building.

"Zoning is an extremely important part of what we do as Council. I was deposed last week and nearly half of that revolved around Planning Commission's recommendation," Gentz said. "Our own commissions and agencies are being used against us in court."

Councilman Dennis McBride and Council President Larry Hoekstra said they would not favor stripping zoning issues away from the Planning Commission, but Council members Joanne Easterday and Timothy Nickum said they favored putting an amendment in front of voters at some point. Councilman Larry Kroeger said he wanted to hear further discussion before he made up his mind ...

Another development proposed by Greg Romes of Lake Pointe Construction Co. seeks to have property at the southeastern corner of Detroit and Center roads rezoned from residential to commercial retail. The Planning Commission voted 4-1 to recommend the change but it was met with opposition by Council on Monday.

Romes told Council on Monday [8-1-05] he intends to fight the issue in court if it is rejected. "I never intended to shove anything down your throats," Romes said. "But the argument will be extended when we hit a brick wall here. Hopefully, we don't have to go there."

Hoekstra said the change would create traffic and quality of life concerns in Avon, but Romes told the Council president he lacked knowledge about rezoning issues. "Your indictment demonstrates a novice's inability to judge the assessment," Romes said. "It's not an attack on you, but maybe you're not versed on rezoning issues."

That comment touched off an angry debate. "I thought you did a pretty terrific job of presenting this until tonight," Gentz said. "We do not respond to verbal threats." Julius echoed Gentz sentiments. "I hear your tone and it's bothersome," Julius said. "I am hardheaded and I need you to know the individual you are dealing with. I vote with my gut every day."''


NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 8-9-05, By SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon Rezoning Hearing

AVON -- Residents fear the rezoning of more than 22 acres at Center [SR83] and Detroit roads could exacerbate an already-existing traffic problem should an Avon developer get the go-ahead to build a commercial retail development on the property.

The tug-of-war between developer Greg Romes and city council showed no signs of lessening last night [8-8-05] during a contentious second hearing of Romes' request to rezone the property at Center and Detroit roads from residential to commercial.

Council could vote to rezone the parcel at the September 12 [2005] meeting. The Avon Planning Commission passed Romes' proposal in June ...

Romes' lawyer, John Slagter said a traffic study Romes promised was not yet finished, but would be ready in time for council's September 12 meeting ...

Slagter said stores such as Old Navy, Panera Bread, Best Buy and Lowe's were not as prevalent when Avon's zoning master plan was written in 1992. "The face of retail is changing," he said. 'None of (those stores) were in Ohio when the master plan was made," he said.

Professor Alan Weinstin, director of of Cleveland State University's law and public policy program and a consultant on Romes' proposal, agreed the master plan needs revising ...

Councilman Timothy Nickum, ward 3, said his constituents are overwhelmingly against the development. JoAnne Easterday, councilwoman-at-large, agreed. "My sense is the same as Mr. Nickums, and I was elected to do as my constituents want." she said.

Hoekstra asked if Romes would pay for a third party engineer, of the city's choice, to study the traffic question. He also asked for an unbiased city planner to look at Romes' proposal, at Romes' expense.

Romes suggested residences could be preserved if he is given C-2 zoning, which he said allows residences to built along with commercial development. "We would be willing to build apartments or condos," he said. [Does Avon want more Timberlakes -- Detroit Rd. commercial and multifamily from Westlake to Sheffield -- and is this the proposed revision of the master plan?]''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 7-7-05, by Matt Keener

``Avon moves to cover deadly roadside ditches

AVON -- The open ditches along state Route 83 have caused the deaths of several residents over the years, according to city officials.

But the hazard will be completely eliminated this fall when construction is finished on 770 feet of culverts over the 10-foot deep ditch along the west side of Center Road is completed. The ditch runs in front of Willoway Nurseries and ends near Bob-O-Links golf course.

The culvert project was spearheaded by Avon Service Director Jerry Plas over the last five years. For Plas, the issue was personal. "People lost their lives in that ditch and I guess you could say it was a personal vendetta on my part," Plas said.

Plas said he coached Brian Caco in CYO basketball and watched him play four years of high school sports. Caco died in an accident at the ditch several years ago, Plas said, when he was home from college. "I made a commitment to myself that some way and somehow we'll enclose it," he said.

Some work already has been completed, Plas said. "We've done 1,500 feet so far and this is the final phase. It will channel water north along 83, then east underneath the road into ditch that discharges at Bob-O-Links into the French Creek."

After reviewing five bids, Council voted 6-0 Tuesday to award a $585,952 contract to Newcomer Concrete to complete the safety upgrades. State grants will be used to pay for a majority of the cost, according to Councilman Mark Julius. "I've grown up in town and that ditch has about an 8- to 10-foot drop-off," Julius said. "I had a friend who ended up in that ditch but, luckily, he survived. It's a nasty ditch on a busy road."

Mayor Jim Smith acknowledged the need to enclose the ditch and praised Plas' efforts to address the issue. "I know of at least three people who died in that ditch, and if a car went in that ditch it couldn't even be seen as drivers went by on the road," Smith said. "He's worked very hard over a period of four to five years to get this done."''

In other business, Council members voted 6-0 to begin seeking state funding for a proposed Center Road north extension that would allow traffic headed to and from Interstate 90 to avoid the commercial areas along Center Road ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from the Chronicle Telegram, 7-13-05, by Matt Keener

``New Avon ER draws concerns

AVON -- The new emergency room at the EMH Fitness Center is scheduled to open next month, but its debut is fueling more questions than answers.

Avon Lake Mayor Rob Berner and Avon Mayor Jim Smith, and the fire chiefs in both cities, initially supported using the new Avon Emergency Care Center as the primary care facility for patients picked up by ambulances. But that support has waned in recent weeks after firefighters and paramedics from both the Avon Lake and Avon Fire departments raised concerns about whether it is the best course of action.

Emergency care is currently under the direction of a cooperative among St. John West Shore, Fairview and Lakewood hospitals providing excellent care, according Dana Szymanowski, an Avon Lake firefighter and paramedic. That means medical staff from those hospitals direct the work of emergency crews treating a patient at the scene or while en route to a hospital.

Szymanowski told Avon Lake Council members, who voted Monday to form a committee to review the options, that the current emergency care directives are second to none ...

Avon Council agreed to appoint a fact-finding committee to analyze all of the information. Mayor Smith, fire Chief Frank Root, Safety Director Bob Allen and a yet to be named paramedic will serve on the committee ...''


NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 7-30-05, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

``Gift ban in place after paramedics given meals

AVON -- Mayor Jim Smith prohibited all city staff from accepting gifts yesterday, after learning that Lakewood and Fairview hospitals offer paramedics up to three free meals a day when they take patients to their emergency rooms.

Smith said he learned of the free meals, as well as a free ''EMS Appreciation Cruise'' on the Goodtime III sponsored by St. John West Shore Hospital, about two weeks ago during a Safety Committee meeting in his city.

Jennifer Hardin, chief advisory attorney on the Ohio Ethics Commission, said the paramedics could violate Ohio law if they accept gratuities. ''No public employee can accept anything of value'' from someone who is ''doing or seeking to do business with the agency he serves,'' she said.

Hardin explained that a single meal would not be considered significant, but several meals over a period of time could add up to a violation.

Lakewood, Fairview and St. John West Shore hospitals belong to the WeSHARE organization, which has been the medical advisers for Avon and Avon Lake paramedics since 1999.

In June, the fire chiefs of both cities decided to leave WeSHARE to join The Eastern Lorain County EMS Association (TELCEA), after WeSHARE said it could not support paramedics taking patients to the Avon Emergency Care Center. The center is due to open in August at SR 83 and I-90 and is affiliated with EMH Regional Medical Center. The decisions touched off a vigorous defense of WeSHARE by paramedics of both communities ...

Avon Fire Department Lt. Mike Emling, a firefighter for more than 20 years, estimated his crews took advantage of the free meals about one trip out of three to Fairview and Lakewood hospitals.

Emling said about 10 Avon paramedics had already signed up for the Goodtime III outing, to be held Aug. 11.

Emling said the ''EMS Appreciation Cruise'' was offered to many fire departments, including Bay Village, Olmsted Falls and North Ridgeville.

''We look forward to it every year, and I feel the guys deserve it,'' said Emling, adding that he was considering paying for the Avon paramedics to attend this year.

Goodtime III staff said the cost to a couple for an ordinary dinner-dance cruise is $91.90, with alcohol extra.

Avon and Avon Lake firefighters said they have, in the past, gone on the free ''EMS Appreciation Cruise'' on the Goodtime III.

Avon Fire Chief Frank Root said he knew about the offer of free meals and has gone on the cruise. He said he has not forbidden his paramedics from accepting the free meals, even though it kept the paramedics at the hospitals.

''My main concern was that squads would be away from the ER to order the food,'' he said, explaining that they needed to get back on the road promptly after delivering patients.

Root said he did not believe the free food would influence any paramedic crews to take patients to one facility over another. He added that he did not seek legal advice on the meal offer. ''Other hospitals have been offering free sandwiches for years,'' added Root.

Avon Lake Fire Chief Larry Grizzell wrote a memo forbidding his personnel from accepting the meals a week after he received the free meals invitation from Fairview and Lakewood hospitals.

''This will not be an accepted practice, no exceptions,'' according to the Sept. 17, 2004, copy of the memo obtained by The Morning Journal.

The Avon Lake Fire Department received a letter dated Sept. 10, 2004, from Fairview and Lakewood hospitals, inviting ''your rescue squad crews to a complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner when they bring a patient into our Emergency Departments.''

The invitation limited squads to one $5 order per person, but added ''you can return to the cafeteria each time you come in with a patient,'' according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Morning Journal.

Grizzell cited the time away from work as the problem. ''I cannot approve of the medic crew going to the cafeteria to order lunch because we need to get back in service as soon as possible following a call to protect the city,'' he wrote in his memo.

Reitz said neither he nor anyone he knew on the department had accepted one of the meals. Avon Lake Firefighter Laddie Lid also said he never got a meal from Fairview or Lakewood hospitals.

Both firefighters added that all hospitals in the area offer snacks, including coffee, cookies and juice, to paramedics who bring patients to their emergency rooms.

The memo Smith circulated to Avon city employees yesterday said all city personnel are forbidden from accepting any gift, including ''dinners, golf outings, theater tickets, cruises, sporting events, food,'' and other items.

''I did a little research, talked to (Law Director) John Gazior and (city Prosecutor) Tony Manning, and we felt it wasn't right,'' Smith said.


NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 7-31-05, by Cindy Leise

``Avon puts end to freebies

AVON -- Paramedics will no longer accept free lunches when they drop off patients at Fairview and Lakewood hospitals, and they will pay for their own ticket if they want to attend an "appreciation cruise" on the Goodtime III, said Mayor James Smith.

Smith said he learned several weeks ago at a City Council safety committee meeting that paramedics were offered free tickets on the cruise, which normally cost $90 to $95 a couple. "I said, "Cruise" What cruise"" " Smith said.

The mayor said Saturday that he "reaffirmed" the order that city employees not accept free meals or items of value after hearing about the free lunches and the cruise, which is sponsored by St. John West Shore Hospital.

Firefighters in Elyria, Lorain, North Ridgeville and Avon Lake said Saturday that they do not accept free meals from hospitals.

Over time, Smith said, free lunches would constitute a thing "of value" as defined by the Ohio Ethics Commission. And under Ohio law, public employees are prohibited from accepting items of value from someone who does business with the agency the public employee serves, Smith said ...

Now, city employees can accept items that can be enjoyed by all, such as cookie or deli trays, he said. Public officials and employees will follow the law " and feel a lot better about themselves " if they just say "No" to things like sports tickets or free tickets to golf outings, Smith said. "I had one (free) fish sandwich in 12 years," he said. "Someone took me to lunch and afterwards I thought to myself, "That's not what I want to do."

The Avon Fire Department went full time just three years ago, so Smith said paramedics probably did not know about his earlier directives of no freebies. Firefighters and paramedics who want to go on the Goodtime III cruise will be asked to pay for their own tickets, he said.

Plus, paramedics who drop off patients at Fairview and Lakewood hospitals will no longer be permitted to accept coupons for $5 of free food at the lunch counter, he said. Those employees can accept a soda, juice or other drink, which are often offered as courtesies to paramedics who go from emergency call to emergency call, according to Smith.

Smith said his directive that paramedics stop taking free lunches had nothing to do with the controversy over Avon's switch of paramedic advisory organizations in June.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 7-13-05, By Julie A. Short

``Papos owners say 'goodbye' as longtime restaurant closes

AVON -- It was described by one patron as Avon's answer to the popular '80s television show and famed Boston pub "Cheers" as the place where "everybody knows your name." After serving customers for 26 years, Papos Restaurant (36931 Detroit Road) closed its doors over the weekend.

Dozens of patrons stopped by to offer well wishes to owners Bill and Lillian Pigg from Rocky River, along with son Billy, in a celebration hosted by several members of Papos Round Table Society. The Round Table is an unofficial group of patrons, mostly men (although spouses were welcome), who have been enjoying coffee and conversation every morning at 5:30 at the restaurant for more than 20 years ...

Changing times and family needs prompted the closing, according to Billy. "Back in the early '80s, we were only open a few days a week and served mostly pizza," he said ...

The Pigg family is no strangers to the restaurant business. Billy's father owned the former Headliner Café in downtown Cleveland across the street from The Plain Dealer building on Superior Avenue. Billy's grandfather opened the establishment after Prohibition.

When Papos opened in Avon in 1979, the town only had three traffic lights and the mayor (Tom Wearsch) delivered the mail. "Avon has changed a lot, in a good way," Billy said. "My dad has had some health issues along the way and we are just too busy with other things as a family to continue operating the restaurant.

We knew that if we ever closed, we would want someone to take over the space that would keep this place an independent, family-owned operation. "This place really is a home away from home," he continued. "Just about every waitress has married a customer."

According to Billy, David George, owner of the Moose Head Grill in Vermilion, said he plans to open a restaurant in the existing space in the fall. Billy will continue to maintain ownership of the building.

"My mother plans to work at the Moose Head when it opens," Billy said. "She's in her seventies, but nothing can stop her. The restaurant will be in good hands and the new owners will give it the shot in the arm it needs." ...

Former Avon Schools Superintendent and Round Table member Bob Barnhart explained that you could really feel the pulse of the community from the Round Table discussions.

"We'd sit around and they would tell me if school levies were going to pass or not," Barnhart said. "Usually they were right. I had a reputation back then of also rarely closing the schools for snow days. I would ride around town in the early morning hours checking the roads to see how bad they were during a snowstorm. I knew if I could make it to Papos for the early morning Round Table, the roads were not that bad."

According to Barnhart, the men of Round Table were behind the major push to bring Avon Commons to the city. "You wouldn't have the Commons if it wasn't for these guys," he said. "I knew the Commons would bring in lots of money to the schools and it was an important project for this city. It's a great place."

The members of the Round Table jokingly noted that they are accepting resumes from any establishment in town that would like to be considered as the group's new gathering place ...''


NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 7-13-05, By Julie A. Short

``Moose Head replaces Papos

Longtime Avon establishment, Papos Restaurant (36931 Detroit Road) closed its doors on July 10 [2005]. The space will be renovated to make way for the Moose Head Too! Barbecue Grill in October.

"We're very excited to be coming to Avon," David George said. "We currently own a location in Vermilion and believe the time was right to come to this area. When the space became available, I knew I had to go for it."

George owns the popular Moose Head Grill and Mighty Moose Sports Pub in Vermilion. He will be combining the two establishments and open as Moose Head Grill and Sports Pub, along with concentrating his efforts on opening the new Avon location.

"We'll have about 90 seats at the Avon location," George said. "The antique shop behind us (Long Long Ago) will be moving down one space within the building. We're going to put our kitchen area in that space and the entire front will be for the bar and dining."

The menu at the Moose Head Too! will feature the original establishment's claim to fame- baby back ribs. "We've won the People's Choice Award at the Cleveland Rib Burn Off," George said. "Our ribs are 'fall off the bone' tender. We're also going to have a lot of seafood menu items. It's fun not being a chain restaurant because you can cook whatever you want. Customers also rave about our pretzel-crusted walleye which we will be offering in Avon." ...

George already has one loyal employee as Lillian Pigg from the former Papos Restaurant will be working at the Moose Head Too!. "She's a hard worker," he said. "She knows this place and she knows this area. She will be a real asset."

The transition from a restaurant that served meals throughout the day to one that will only be open for lunch and dinner will be easy for Pigg. "I still plan to get up early," she said. "There's always something that needs to be done in the restaurant no matter what time of the day."''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 7-13-05, By Julie A. Short

``Address awareness program created by Seniors Inc.

AVON -- Response time in an emergency is critical. If safety forces are unable to locate someone because they cannot find an address, it could be the difference between life and death.

The Avon Seniors are offering reflective address signs to be attached to mailboxes as part of the group's Address Awareness Program. The program is in addition to the Lockbox and File of Life programs, all of which are supported and endorsed by the Avon's Safety Director, Bob Allen.

"If we can't find you, we can't help you," Allen said. "It's important to help the safety forces in case of an emergency. Address markers on a house are sometimes difficult to see if the house sits far back from the road. These address markers are reflective so they can easily be read from a distance." ...

The new reflectors are available at the Senior Center (36786 Detroit Road) and cost $10. Members of Avon Seniors Inc. are quick to point out that this is not a fund-raising effort on the part of the organization.

"The fee is to cover the cost of the sign," Avon Seniors Treasurer Bob Fedor said. "Anyone in the community can purchase a reflector. You do not need to be a senior. We are simply providing a much-needed service to help the safety forces find people in an emergency."

The reflective address signs are clearly visible at night, as well as in daylight. Each sign is pre-drilled with four holes (one in each corner) so that residents can mount the sign vertically or horizontally. Hardware varies, but the group suggests two stainless steel screws to prevent rusting. Seniors unable to hang the sign can call the center for assistance.

"Anyone wishing to order a sign can pick up an application at the center," Allen said. "We have the reflector plaques and numbers available and all they have to do is put the number on the sign and hang it. It's another effort to make the community safer."''

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