Plaques missing in Poland Forest

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Dorothy Butler of Youngstown stands next to the rock that displayed the Butler family plaque in Poland Municipal Forest. The plaque was taken sometime before the sudden death of former forest board president Robert Zedaker Jr. in early January. Poland Village Police Chief Russell Beatty Jr. said no report has been filed on the matter.



Three bronze plaques were stolen from Poland Municipal Forest, including one marking the original donation of more than 200 acres by the Butler family.

That plaque marks Butler Circle, which sits about a quarter mile into the forest from the College Street entrance with the Bremner

Shelter and the Zedaker Pavilion. The Mitchell entry plaques also were discovered missing about the same time as the Butler plaque.

Joe Mazur, village council president, said the plaques were first noticed missing over the winter, maybe four to five months ago and before the death of Robert Zedaker Jr., Poland Municipal Forest Board president, in early January. Zedaker’s wife, Elinor, later was appointed to president as she wants to finish what her husband had begun.

Dorothy Butler, a descendant of the Butler family, said she only recently discovered the plaque was gone.

She said many have presumed that all three plaques, which were brass, were stolen and sold for scrap, as they were taken at once.

“It’s such an atrocity and this has just gone on too far,” she said. “Who are these people paying cash for this?”

Poland Village Police Chief Russell Beatty Jr. said no report has been filed on the matter.

“If [someone] would report it to us, we would follow up on it,” Beatty said. He added that he is surprised no report had been filed as of Tuesday afternoon, but Zedaker said the forest board will meet with the police department about the matter soon.

“What can you report? I have no detail. I can’t tell where they are,” Mazur said.

Beatty said the police get monthly reports from area scrapyards and pawnshops about acquisitions.

Butler and Zedaker talked about alternative ways to recognize the people honored by the plaques. An etching in a rock is one of the possibilities. Zedaker said her husband “was looking into it and [had] some bids from various dealers” before his death.

The plaques are on the agenda for the next forest board meeting later this month, Zedaker said.

Butler has the photo of the original ceremony of the dedication of Butler Circle from May 1, 1970. Grace Butler, who was 90 at the time of the ceremony, was honored for the family’s donation of more than 200 acres that the Poland Municipal Forest sits upon. Land has been added on since the original donation from the Butler family and is now more than 265 acres, according to an information pamphlet from the forest board.

Anyone wanting to help with the cost of replacing the missing signs can send a donation to the Poland Forest Foundation, Atty. Robert Lenga, Poland Village Hall, 308 S. Main St., Poland, OH 44514. Zedaker said that anyone who sends in a donation should indicate on the memo line that the funds should go toward the sign-replacement effort.

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