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New battalion chief sworn in at meeting

June 12, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The Austintown Fire Department gained a new battalion chief at Monday's Township meeting. Capt. Tom O'Hara rose to that rank before an audience of family members and fellow fire fighters.

"It's always been in my blood," said O'Hara regarding the fire service.

O'Hara, a 1989 Fitch graduate, began with the Austintown Fire Department as a part timer in 1992. Three years later he moved to full time and in 2016 took on the role of captain.

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier

Austintown firefighter Capt. Tom O’Hara takes the oath of office from Township Fiscal Officer Laura Wolfe as he moves up in rank to Battalion Chief during Monday’s township meeting.

In his new role as Battalion Chief, O'Hara will take charge of recruit training and personnel development, a task he is already well versed in as an instructor at MCCTC's fire training classes.

"He has excelled at training and has taken it to a whole new level," said Fire Chief Andy Frost.

After O'Hara was officially sworn in for the new position, his daughter Elysabethe O'Hara had the honors of pinning her father. This fire department ritual involved having a family member pin the badge for the new office on the candidate who was sworn in.

After the searing in and pinning of O'Hara, the meeting took a saddened path when Trustee Doug McGlynn mentioned the passing of Fitch football coach Phil Annarella.

"I hired Phil," McGlynn said. "He was one of my better hires and he changed the Fitch football program."

McGlynn said Annarella was always caring about the kids and he gained their respect.

"He built many great young men," said Trustee Jim Davis. "One saying I noticed a lot on social media was 'Character is what you do when no one else is looking.' A lot of Fitch football players were posting that."

Chairman Ken Carano asked for a moment of silence to remember Annarella's life and what he brought to the community.

On a different matter, Zoning Inspector Darren Crivellli got approval to declare 16 properties as nuisances for high grass and debris. Among those properties was the Mahoning Avenue bridge over Ohio State Route 11.

"The bridge has grass and weeds growing along the curbs," he told trustees. "Our veterans placed flags on the bridge and this is a disgrace to our veterans."

He said declaring it a nuisance property would allow him to go after the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to clean it up.

"ODOT owns the bridge," Crivelli said. "If we go out and fix it, we probably won't recoup the cost, but we owe it to our veterans."

In other business:

A big vote of thanks went out from trustees to Greg Greenwood from Greenwood Chevrolet, who donated a 2018 Camaro for the Austintown Police D.A.R.E. program.

Trustee Jim Davis mentioned that the Fourth of July Parade is still accepting floats and entries for this year's parade. To apply, contact Bruce Shepas at 330-506-2570, or call the township building at 330-792-8584.



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