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Police chief sends word from Kosovo



Published: Tue, January 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Trustee Lisa Oles was left out as her two colleagues switched positions.

AUSTINTOWN -- There was no fire, no finger-pointing, no name-calling.

There was only absolute quiet from trustees, department heads and audience members when the highlight came at Monday's trustees meeting.

There was no sound except interim Police Chief Lt. Mark Durkin reading a Christmas note Police Chief Gordon Ellis sent from Kosovo.

Ellis, serving in the Army Reserve, thanked community members for the cards and packages they sent, "particularly the school supplies."

"I look forward to reuniting with all of you," wrote Ellis, who took leave from his five-year tenure as chief when his unit deployed last spring.

Election dissent

The only moment of dissent came during the three-member board's organizational session at its first 2005 meeting.

Former board vice chairman David C. Ditzler was elected board chairman unanimously, succeeding Bo Pritchard.

But when the roll was called on the nomination of Pritchard to be vice president, Trustee Lisa Oles voted no, without comment. The motion carried on the strength of Ditzler and Pritchard's votes.

Profitable year

Trustees asked few questions in receiving the annual report from the zoning department, which noted that the township's decade-long run after replacing Boardman Township as Mahoning County leader in new housing starts will probably end this year as residential development moves to areas with expanses of open land.

The township finished 2004 with new commercial and residential projects valued $31.6 million, second only to the $32.7 million of 1998 in the past 10 years.

The department collected about $205,000 in fees, meaning it funded its own operations for the first time, officials noted.

Cold damages roads

Trustees approved $30,000 to renew road salt supplies, though township administrator Michael Dockry noted that snow-removal costs in salt and overtime are down compared with this time other winters.

Pritchard said that two crews, however, are attempting to fill road potholes as they develop during the freeze-thaw cycles that have been occurring as the temperatures drop below 32 degrees at night and top the freezing point during the day.

"People have got to call and report these, because that's the only way to know where they all are," said Pritchard, adding that new holes appear daily and need repairs to save the substructure of the road.

Meetings set

The board set its 2005 meetings to be at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays monthly, except for the second meetings in February and March. Those will be held Feb. 24 and March 25 to avoid holiday weekend conflicts.




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