U & raquo;Mayor James Melfi said Monday that the state has approved the city's building inspection department effective Jan. 1. The new department will issue building permits for residences of four-plexes and larger and commercial structures. The city will collect most of the cost of permits, $35,000 to $40,000 annually. The work of the department will be contracted out rather than being done by a city employee.
U & raquo;Mike Kolic, a representative of VisionQuest, which operates facilities for troubled juveniles, offered to provide volunteers to help anywhere in the city. Six juveniles would work in the city three days a week. They would come from the organization's boot camp in Franklin, Pa. Melfi said he turned down the offer this summer because the juveniles planned to live in Liberty Park. The mayor said he will decide after discussing it with police department.
U & raquo;Melfi suggested a committee be established to look at possible changes in the contract for cable service that expires in 2004 with Time Warner Cable. The mayor noted the city daily receives complaints about the cost and service of the cable provider.
U & raquo;The city has received a $2,000 grant from the Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management to place two bins in the city to recycle Christmas trees.
U & raquo;Council postponed voting on legislation to upgrade municipal court's computer equipment. Councilman Renny Paolone, D-1st, said council doesn't have any indication how much the upgrade will cost. Against postponement were Councilwoman Kathleen O'Connell Sauline, D-2nd, and Councilman Brian Kren, D-3rd.
U & raquo;Accepted on Monday the resignation of Diane Bertuzzi, speech pathologist, effective Jan. 23. She is relocating.
U & raquo;Approved a one-year limited teaching contract with Trent Stubrich, health and physical education at Reed Middle School.
U & raquo;Approved contracting with Gordon Food Service of Lordstown for cafeteria food, $30,000, and ComDoc of Liberty Township for copying machine service, $10,000.
U & raquo;Authorized applying for a credit-card account with a $5,000 limit, to be used for gasoline, conference expenses and online supply purchases.
U & raquo;Approved 2002 membership in the Ohio School Boards Assoc., cost $2,932.
U & raquo;Named Kathy Voorhies on Monday as November's Feature Teacher. Voorhies has been a teacher 30 years, 13 of those in Howland schools.
U & raquo;Announced the 2001 Buckeye Girls and Boys State delegates: Tiffany Garcia, Marin Heller, Katie Hyler, Eric Moore, Brian Schroder, Nick Rubesich, Steven Kovach, John Sager and Yelena Muzyka.
U & raquo;Discussed new ideas for the 2002-2003 school year curriculum, including: Adding new basic math and a life science courses, adding prealgebra, more honors courses and expanding elective courses to include higher levels of artistic programs, and adding a publications program that would give students a hands-on feel for desktop publishing.
Board members and Superintendent John M. Rubesich urged parents, students and staff to comment on these issues.
Class scheduling starts in late February and early March for the following year, which is when board members decide on new curriculum.
U & raquo;Increased the minimum credit courses to pass in order to play sports from four credits to five to conform to the policy of the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
U & raquo;Announced the disability retirement of middle school secretary Janice Baxter, who has been with the district 20 years.
U & raquo;Approved on Monday a $10.3 million permanent appropriation for fiscal 2001-2002, reflecting an increase in the general fund of an estimated $300,000 in new teachers' salaries, employee raises and increased energy costs.
Treasurer Angela Lewis told the board the $10,318,032 budget also includes $2.162 million for the repayment of a $2 million bond issue and related construction costs at Seaborn Elementary School.
Lewis and Superintendent Rocco Adduci noted that utility costs have risen an estimated 10 percent.
U & raquo;Approved a five-year contract starting Aug. 1 for middle school principal William Koppel, who will receive a 3 percent increase in his salary to $58,600. The board will determine later what his 2003 salary will be.

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