At Monday's Austintown Township meeting, a lot of time was spent informing those in attendance of one local man who is in need. Trustee Lisa Oles said an upcoming event will raise funds to help the family of Larry Ortz.
She said Ortz is working on only 25 percent of his lung capacity. The longtime Austintown resident is a Fitch class of 1975 graduate and had put in 34 years on a job that he lost because of his medical condition, according to Oles. Ortz is presently awaiting a lung transplant and the loss of the job has been a drain on his family. He has a wife, Connie, and three children, Michael, Sam and Carly.
When Oles and several other community members found out about the story, they quickly formed a committee to help the family. They set up a Spaghetti Dinner and Auction for from noon to 4 p.m. May 5 at the Austintown Senior Center. She said advance tickets can be purchased by calling Lisa Oles 330-540-6537, Liz Kale at 330-519-0490, Fred Marcum at 330-301-0788, Jim Little at 330-881-5975, or Robbin Ortz Durda at 330-881-3080.
Oles said the committee went out to seek baskets for the auction and the response was overwhelming.
"In just four days we had donations of over 100 baskets," said Trustee Jim David. "The whole community is coming together for this."
Oles said the goal is to raise more than $10,000 for the Ortz family to help with medical expenses.
On a similar issue, Ron Borngesser from American Legion post 301 reported that the Habitat for Humanity house for a veteran is moving along. He said as of right now, he is expecting 200 people at the April 19 event at the Senior Center. He said those attending are veterans looking for a home. He said while the home is a go, the person receiving it has yet to be selected. Those attending the April 19 event will be making an application for the home.
"The home will be a ranch with a basement," Borngesser said. "If the veteran is disabled, whatever he or she needs will be added in."
He said things like special doors or ramps will be installed. He also noted that it will take a lot of volunteers to help raise the home from the ground up.
"Habitat for Humanity told me if this goes off without a hitch, they would consider doing one home per year for a veteran," Borngesser said.
Also speaking under public presentation was Ed Tesner, a resident of Mahoning Avenue. Tesner said he wanted trustees to do something about the noise from the annual St. Patrick's Day bash at the Austintown Plaza. He said one may hear music at the plaza, but at his home nearby all he hears is the bass pounding. He said he called 9-1-1 twice to get something done about the noise and has even gone over to the plaza to ask if the amps could be turned down.
Trustee Davis addressed Tesner and asked him about a rumor that he was extorting money from the business owners at the plaza. He said he heard that last year Tesner was paid $100 to get a hotel room the night of the party. He asked Tesner to reply to that.
Tesner said last year he was offered the money by the businessman putting on the event and he took it.
Davis replied that the township did work with the plaza business owners to have them end the music at 11 p.m. instead of 1 a.m. He also told Tesner that he had attended the event and he thought the compromise that was made was sufficient.
Police Chief Bob Gavalier reported that he had extra officers working, but there were no problems at all. He called it a "quiet night."
Tesner also wanted to know if trustees could be reached when a problem came up. He said he called the secretary at the police station asking for the trustees' phone numbers, but she wouldn't give out the information. Davis informed Gavalier to have them go ahead and give out his phone number.
"Anyone can call me with a problem at 330-518-7067," Davis said. "In fact all the trustees' phone numbers are on the township website."
Trustee Oles addressed Tesner about the calls he made that night. "The 9-1-1 line is for life-threatening situations. If it is not life threatening, don't call 9-1-1," she told Tesner.
In other business:
Road Department head and administrator Mike Dockry reported the police had called out the road crews at 4 a.m. Monday to start clearing roadways. He told trustees that he looked at last year and on the same date, the road crews were beginning the street sweeping program.
Fire Chief Andy Frost III reported the grant he submitted for a new fire truck had again made it to the final round before being turned down. He said the same thing happened last year.
Senior Center Director Jim Henshaw reported the center had 100 people in attendance last Thursday. He said since opened, that sets a new record for daily attendance.
Zoning inspector Darren Crivelli said he and Davis would be traveling to Columbus this week to speak in support of Penn National Gaming during a hearing with the Ohio Racing Commission. He said seating was one of the final hurdles and Penn National had agreed to 1,400 seats. He said they are ready to pour footers and get the project under way once the gaming commission gives the go ahead.