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New officer sworn in at township meeting

August 14, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Elmer R. Martinez Gonzales took the oath of office as he steps into the role of Austintown Police Officer at the Aug. 12 township meeting. Gonzales brings a lot of talent to the force including one area that Trustee Jim Davis had been wanting for some time.

"I have always asked Chief Robert Gavalier to find a Spanish-speaking officer," Davis said. "In this day and age it is an asset."

Davis said in his service with the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office, there were times when a Spanish-speaking person would have made the job much easier.

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Austintown Township Fiscal Officer Laura Wolfe welcomes Elmer R. Martinez Gonzales as the newest Austintown police officer after administering the oath of office during the Aug. 12 township meeting.

Gonzales is a 2006 Woodrow Wilson graduate who attended police academy at Youngstown State University and graduated in 2017. He was working with the Youngstown Police Department and decided to apply to the Austintown department when he made the move to the township.

"I just moved to Austintown and I figured what better way to serve the community that I am going to live in," he said.

Gavalier said Gonzales is also certified to deal with the mentally ill, which is another major asset for the department.

Following his oath of office, trustees welcomed Gonzales to the township.

On a different matter, several residents showed up to voice their disappointment with the Ohio Department Of Transportation's (ODOT) recent project on Ohio 11. The state is clearing out a drainage ditch and in the process is removing trees and bushes that once served as a buffer.

Trustee Ken Carano told residents, "We were stunned by what the state did."

He said he had to contact the state representatives to get them involved. When ODOT was contacted, Carano said they wanted to know why they didn't attend any of the meetings set up for the project.

"We keep records of every contact and notice we receive," Carano said. "We were never contacted about any meeting."

Carano told the residents he was around when Ohio 11 was constructed in 1967. He said ODOT put up a fence and planted trees and shrubs to serve as a buffer back then to the homes going up along the new state route. Those very trees and shrubs are what ODOT is now uprooting and not replacing.

"By the time we started dealing with the problem, the damage had been done," Carano said. "I told the District 4 head person that we need a correction."

He said ODOT was to come up with a plan and present it as to how the situation would be dealt with. In three weeks District 4 is supposed to have a team look at the situation to form a plan to resolve it. In the meantime, Carano got all the residents' contact information so they can be kept aware of what is happening.

Another person who was not happy when it came to construction vehicles was Steve Balogh, who reported on work being done on a creek that runs between Kirk Road and Sheffield Drive.

"There was a 15-ton back hoe on my property that I had no advance notice was going to be working in the creek," he told trustees. "They just started digging."

He reported rude behavior from the operator when he confronted him about driving heavy equipment over the lawn. He said the back hoe was used to widen and deepen the creek.

Carano said no resident should not be notified when something like that is going to happen.

"We will find out why you were not called," Carano said.

In other business:

Trustees approved 31 nuisance properties for high grass and weeds and/or debris. Also approved was the declaration of nuisance vehicles for a black vehicle with and expired plate at 2560 Hamman Drive, and a white inoperable and unlicensed van and a red pickup with expired plates, flat tires and full of junk and debris at 267 Rosemont Ave.

Approval was given for the solid waste districts management plan, which will remain the same for the near future, but will someday see the removal of recycling drop off centers in exchange for larger recycling bins for curbside recycling.

Also approved was the transfer of a Class B liquor license as an economic development transfer permit to VIR Cleveland Corp., 5160 Mahoning Ave. from VIR Cleveland Corp d.b.a. Ohio Gas Mart, 2637 Glenwood Ave., Youngstown. Carano explained that Austintown has no liquor permits left, but companies can transfer a permit from a nearby community.



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