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Update on power outage given at board meeting

March 1, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

One of the issues mentioned at the Feb. 21 Austintown Board of Education meeting involved the power outage that occurred over the weekend at Fitch.

Superintendent Vince Colaluca said the power outage happened over the weekend. On Monday there was no school due to President's Day, but some staff came to Fitch only to discover the power was completely out. The first priority was the food in the freezers at Fitch. Food Service Director Alexis Weber had a small army of people show up to help move the freezers and save the food.

"We lost about $1,000 in food," she said. "We saved a lot by moving it to AIS, AES, and AMS."

An electrical contractor was brought in and the power problem was located. An underground cable feeding the gymnasium and sports area was damaged. Colaluca said the cable was in concrete and the freeze-thaw over the past few weeks caused the concrete to give and break.

"We managed to get power to the classrooms and classes were held as normal. The sports area remained without power as new lines were ran and repairs made.

"We expected the power would be on by the weekend," Colaluca said. "It was not a big surprise as Fitch is an older building. That needs to be addressed."

As for the food service, Weber said she is thankful so many pulled together to save the freezers.

Also on a good note, Weber reported on a grant Austintown is receiving from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). She said the USDA allocated $750,000 to the state of Ohio.

"Of that $37,000 was awarded to Austintown," she said.

The funds will be used to upgrade equipment in the food service department, including a new $32,000 oven for AMS.

Time was taken at the meeting for a special set of honors. VFW Post 4237 was well represented and were prepared to honor teachers and students involved in the VFW's Voice of Democracy.

The program was established in 1947 to give students a chance to earn scholarship money. As part of the program, students write an essay on the theme of the school year. For 2017-18, the theme is American History: Our Hope for the Future. Studnts from Austintown Middle School and Fitch took art in the program and VFW officials showed up to issue certificates of appreciation for participating. Among those honored were teachers Jeff Wilson and Ron Johnson, and students Brittany Christmas, Cassidy Claypoole, Madison Sheffield, Alayna Vorhees, Samantha Joki, Madison Pirone, Farrah Hewett, and Jocelyn Selby.

On a different note, Colaluca got a room full of smiles when he reported the board has decided to extend spring break by including March 26, 27 and 28.

In other business:

Approval was given to accept the donation of $1,000 from the Falcon Swim and Dive Team Booster Club to the Austintown Fitch Athletic Department, and a pre-owned washer and dryer to AMS valued at $500.

Approval was given for the Austintown American Legion Memorial Post 301 to hold Memorial Day services at Fitch High School on Monday, May 28, 2018 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The fees have been waived.

The board accepted the resignation for retirement purposes of Frank Wagner III, bus driver, effective June 1 after 23 years of service. Colaluca said his last wish was to drive bus 22 home and pull it into his drive.

A moment of silence was held in memory of Kathy Rusback.



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