In The Region

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Two northern Portage

bridges to be replaced

Bridges in two northern Portage County villages are in line for replacement in the next two years.

The Portage County engineer said the Liberty Street bridge over Eagle Creek in Garrettsville and the High Street bridge over the Cuyahoga River in Mantua are both slated for replacement.

Bids are due to be opened Oct. 30 for the Liberty Street replacement span. That steel-truss span, built in 1940, is restricted to a limit of 15 tons, down from a normal load rating of 40 tons, said Assistant Engineer Scott Miller.

The new bridge is expected to be open by June 2014. The engineer's estimated cost is $575,000 and it is to be paid with the assistance of Issue 2 money, Miller said.

In Mantua, preliminary work for the High Street span replacement is being one by KCI Associates. That steel beam span, also built in 1940, is restricted to only 7 tons. "It's one of the worst in the county inventory," Miller said.

-- Mike Sever, Record-Courier

Adult volunteers eyed

Big Brothers & Sisters of Portage County is looking for men and women from all walks of life to volunteer as mentors to children. The adults will spend quality time with a child and enjoy all sorts of activities together. Twelve hours a month for at least one year is the commitment. For further information, call 330-296-6655 or visit www.bbsportage.org.

Health district offices

now in new location

The Portage County Health Department staff is open for business at its new location at 705 Oakwood St. in Ravenna.

"We're doing inspections and issuing permits," said Health Commissioner DuWayne Porter. The department's telephone number will remain the same: 330-296-9919.

'I think it's really going to be good in another month when it's all put together," Porter said last week as staffers were still assembling work stations and emptying moving boxes.

The department's 29 staffers moved over the Sept. 28-29 weekend from the Portage County Administration Building to the Resources on Oakwood Campus building. The top floor location at the ROC allows the department to have all its offices on one floor, including the nursing clinic.

"It's the same amount of space, but much more usably laid out," said health educator Becky Lehman. Moving forced the closure of in-house vaccination clinics last week, but they were to be open as of today (Oct. 9).

-- Mike Sever, Record-Courier

APL offering October

deals on canines, cats

The Portage Animal Protective League wants to find loving homes for as many dogs and cats as possible. So for the entire month of October, it will run two adoption promotions.

Dog adoptions are $150 and come with new leash, collar and toy; and all black cats are only $25. All dogs and cats adopted are up to date on vaccines, spayed or neutered.

"We have to be creative and think outside the box to draw attention to the amazing animals that are waiting for loving homes," said Chalan Lowry, executive director. "And black cats are adopted less often than other cats. It's sad to see them overlooked repeatedly."

For more information, check the website at www.portageapl.org or call the PAPL at 330-296-4022. The PAPL's shelter is located at 8122 Infirmary Road, Shalersville.

Esplanade in Kent will

be named after Lefton

Kent City Manager Dave Ruller called the Esplanade the metaphorical exclamation point on collaborative projects realized between the city and Kent State University. "This is just one piece of a much bigger plan," said KSU President Lester Lefton.

More than 100 members of the community and university gathered Oct. 4 at the arch of the recently completed $3.3 million extension of the Esplanade -- the pathway that runs through KSU and connects the campus to downtown Kent -- to dedicate the physical and symbolic link bridging city with university.

As a variety of citizens and officials waited out a downpour, clouds eventually broke, shining a bright spotlight on the structure and the group gathered to honor the fruits of collaboration.

"This is a symbol of an important era of new town-gown cooperation," said Jane Timken, chairwoman of the KSU Board of Trustees.

Timken then announced trustees will vote to name the walkway the Lester A. Lefton Esplanade in December in honor of the efforts of the KSU president, who will retire in July after eight years in the post.

-- Jeremy Nobile, Record-Courier

New snowplow set

for Portage Co. use

A new snow removal machine will be cruising Interstate 76 through Portage County this winter -- a 22-foot wide plow that can clear two highway lanes at once.

The Tow Plow system is making only its second appearance in Ohio with the Ohio Department of Transportation. The system has been used in Ashtabula County for the past three winters. The Portage County tow plow is one of three currently being used by ODOT. The third tow plow will be operating in Mahoning County.

District 4, which includes Ashtabula, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Summit and Trumbull counties, is the only one in Ohio with the tow plows.

"The guys in Ashtabula just love it," said Justin Chesnic, ODOT spokesman, at the Oct. 4 winter readiness event at the ODOT garage in Ravenna. The combination allows one driver to clear two travel lanes or one lane and a shoulder, completing work that normally would take two trucks and drivers.

-- Mike Sever, Record-Courier

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