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BREAKING NEWS: ODE releases McCormack consent agreement

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JEFFERSON – Former Jefferson Area High School coach Don McCormack signed a consent agreement with the Ohio Department of Education.
The document suspends McCormack’s four-year educational aide permit issued in 2013 and three-year pupil activity permit issued in 2012. McCormack waived his right to participate in any further proceedings and to have a formal hearing with counsel. McCormack agreed not to use his credentials and return them to the ODE. He agreed to not reapply for any license, permit or certificate with the Ohio Department of Education. If McCormack is not convicted or found to be immoral, incompetent, negligent or guilty of other conduct unbecoming of his position, disciplinary action will not be held against him. McCormack agreed to release the State Board and ODE, its members, employees, agents, officers and representative from any liability or proceed with any action to recover attorney fees. McCormack acknowledged he had a chance to ask questions and all of his questions were answered. He has to notify the ODE within 30 days of any move. If convicted of a crime, McCormack must notify the ODE within two weeks. Any new information will be considered and the ODE can reopen the Consent Agreement for future consideration.
McCormack signed the agreement on Aug. 17. Ohio Superintendent Dr. Richard A. Ross signed the agreement on Aug. 28, allowing it to be released to the media.
Ohio Department of Education Associate Director for Media Relations John Charlton was not allowed to confirm or deny an investigation while it was ongoing. When Ross signed the agreement, the Consent Agreement was made available to the media.

Commissioners increase funding for Summer Youth Employment Program

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JEFFERSON - The Ashtabula County Board of Commissioners voted to increase funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program through the Ashtabula County Department of Job and Family Services during its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 26.

Weather Warning feature added to CodeRED system

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JEFFERSON - The Ashtabula County Board of Commissioners celebrated the launch of a Weather Warning Upgrade to the CodeRED system during its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 26.

Two programs coming back to JALS

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JEFFERSON - Thanks to interest and efforts of the community, two programs will be returning to Jefferson Area Local Schools this school year.

Two openings on HMPL Board of Trustees

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JEFFERSON - The Henderson Memorial Public Library Association announced recently the availability of two positions on the Board of Trustees.

Bucket LIst #15: Conneaut D-Day

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This week Martha from Ashtabula invited Zach to D-Day Conneaut.

To be honest I had mixed feelings about this Bucket List event. This year the City of Conneaut was honoring the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy.
I know a lot of people really enjoy D-Day Conneaut and it is very important to many in the local community. However, I wasn’t sure if it would be my cup of tea. I imagined grown men and women playing dress-up.  Sure enough, within the first minute I saw a large man in full regalia of the enemy…but enough about Pittsburgh Steeler fans.
Seriously, I find it strange that people dress up as SS officers and flinched every time I saw a swastika. While walking along a path, I stumbled into a reenactment where a small German tank took out some French villagers hiding behind some trees. A large crowd was fascinated by the reenactment, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about men pretending to be shot and laying dead on the ground when across the world men and women are being shot and killed in real wars.
It was on the beach, however, that I found the true meaning of D-Day Conneaut and I was able to understand its importance to so many people.

Journey Community Church to start weekly services soon

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JEFFERSON – Since April, Journey Community Church has been hosting monthly preview services at the Central Park Community Center, aka the former elementary school where the current Jefferson Police Department is located.
Journey Community Church was founded in Fairview Park, a west-side suburb adjacent to Cleveland.
“We are one church in multiple locations,” Senior Pastor Jim Wilkes said. “We have the original Fairview Park campus, one in Pepper Pike and now in Jefferson.”
The next service will be 10:30 a.m. on August 31. Starting on Sept. 28, Journey Community Church will begin having weekly services every Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
“The location is right in the middle of town and close to shops and restaurants,” Wilkes said. “It is the hub of the city. It felt like a good place to communicate our message.”

Questions about gym sign brought up at school board

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SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP – Ashtabula Area City Schools Board of Education members James Hudson and Kimberly George stated at the Aug. 20th board meeting that they have received calls questioning the appropriateness of a sign in the Lakeside High School gymnasium.
On Jan. 21, Lakeside High School wrestling coach Jerry Brady was present while a member of his wrestling team fought another Lakeside student. Investigators said that Brady did nothing to stop the attack. The wrestler was charged with assault. On Feb. 10, the board fired Brady. In March, Brady pled not guilty to two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The case has not yet been resolved.
Hudson said he has been approached and received calls about the appropriateness of the former coach’s business having a sign in the gym. Hudson said he approached the superintendent and assistant superintendent and he was encouraged to present it to the board. So Hudson wanted the board’s thoughts on the matter. The sign, like several others, is placed in the gym for five years for a donation of $500.

Thunder on the Strip rides into eighth year

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GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE – For years, the summer season in Geneva-on-the-Lake ended on Labor Day. Now the biggest weekend of the year happens the week after Labor Day as the eighth annual Thunder on the Strip Fall Bike Rally will take place Sept. 4-7.
In 2007, Goblin Custom Cycles owner Duane Bennett and Sportsterz owner Jake Hummel founded the rally.

Pearson announces January retirement

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GENEVA – City Manager James Pearson announced his retirement after 40 years of service to the City of Geneva at the Aug. 25th council meeting.
“I am planning on retiring in mid-January,” Pearson said.
A 22-year-old Pearson was hired by the city’s first-ever City Manager Robert C. Salisbury as a police officer in 1974. Pearson was promoted to police chief in 1985. He retired as chief in December 2000. In August 2001, he was appointed city manager.
Pearson said he has been working with Council President Jeff Piotrowski and Vice President Timothy Miller since the spring about his impending retirement. He wanted to give council as much time as possible to prepare for the transition.
“I have watched every city manger transition in the city’s history,” Pearson said. “I know how much time and effort council will need to put in to make that selection.”

Summer camp brings out the best in teens

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ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP – Explorations & Transitions was an extended school year summer camp program for teens with disabilities ages 14-22.
The camp meet three days a week for six weeks over the summer. The program was sponsored by the Ashtabula County Educational Service Center. Students from any district in the county were eligible.
The camp had 14 students participate in a variety of lessons, activities and field trips under the direction of teachers Kristi Perry and Joelle Ziegler.
“The students got to interact with each and other work on new skills and life skills. They were able to make new friends,” Perry said.
The small group setting was very beneficial for the students.
“In this smaller setting, they really get to come out of their shells and show their talents,” Ziegler said. “They are able to form relationships that they may not have been able to do in the regular education setting. We also got to work on some skills you can’t during the regular school year, like life and social skills. We can really focus on that area.”