Monday's Austintown Township meeting opened with the swearing in of a new fire department lieutenant. Tim Heitzer accepted the position and will be continuing to serve out of Station 2 in Wickliffe Circle.
Heitzer started with the Austintown Fire Department in 1980 as a part-time firefighter. He later went full time and will have put in 34 years of service this November. He was one of three that applied for the position.
"We had three incredible candidates," said Fire Chief Andy Frost III. "It came down to the person with the most experience in the officer's seat."
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Randy Pugh and Joe Lane, president, both of Lane Life Trans, made a donation at Monday’s township meeting of an AED to be installed at the Austintown Senior Center.
Frost said Heitzer had stepped up to fill the lieutenant's position many times when the need was there and had been his partner when he first came on the department. He added that this promotion was the final ripple effect from his father's retirement last year.
Following the swearing in ceremony, the limelight switched to a donation from Lane's Life Trans. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Randy Pugh and President Joe Lane made the donation of an automatic heart defibrillator to the Austintown Senior Center. The unit, according to Pugh, will be the first step in life-saving efforts at the Senior Center.
"In Austintown, we work on a tier system for emergency response," Pugh said.
When a medical situation like a heart attack happens, the new AED will be the first step. The donated unit talks anyone through the process for life-saving measures. When the device lid is opened, it talks a person through the steps of hooking the AED up to a patient. Using vital signs transferred to the unit through the sensors, the device decides if the patient requires an electric shock to maintain a heart beat.
Pugh said the unit is hooked up to the 9-1-1 system and when the door is opened, a signal is sent that will start emergency personnel on the way. Pugh said normally the fire department rescue personnel are first to arrive, followed by the Lane's ambulance crew. Between the three steps, the odds of survival are vastly improved.
The donation was made through the Joseph O. Lane Foundation, named for Joe Lane's father.
"My dad always believed in giving back to the community," Lane said. "We're happy that we can provide this to the Senior Center."
Trustee Lisa Oles said there is "no shortage" in what the Lane family has done for Austintown Township. Senior Center Director Jim Henshaw agreed and gladly accepted the new AED.
"It's a piece of equipment we have always hoped to have and hope we never have to use," he said.
In other business:
Township Administrator and Road Superintendent Mike Dockry reported the county had approved a $70,000 grant for the sidewalk project on Bexley, Rhode Island and Idaho roads. He said only broken sidewalk sections would be replaced.
Police Chief Bob Gavalier reported the township's new crime mapping program is up and running and can be accessed from the township's web site.
Fire Chief Andy Frost III reported a house explosion over the weekend occurred after someone stole copper pipes from an abandoned home. They cut into a gas line and the gas built up in the home to set of the explosion. He said it is important for residents to watch abandoned properties and if any suspicious activity is noticed, call police immediately.
Trustees approved 58 properties for nuisance complaints, most of which were for high grass. Zoning Inspector Darren Crivelli said residents can help keep crime to vacant homes down by doing simple things like parking a car in the driveway, picking up mail and advertisements, and even mowing grass. He said for the township to mow an abandoned property requires going through steps and waiting periods, which can make for tall grass. Once the township does mow the lawn, residents can keep it short by helping out if they are able.
Senior Center Director Henshaw reported the new dance floor has been installed and the hope is to find a volunteer dance instructor. He said membership at the Center has risen 29 percent over the same time last year.
Trustees agreed to move the second meeting of May to Tuesday, May 28 at noon at the Senior Center.