Boys tennis enjoys a winning week

On Tuesday, April 11, the varsity boys tennis team beat Tiffin Calvert High School 3-2. Jared Schuetz and Luke Hoerig each defeated their Tiffin opponents. Likewise, in doubles, Alex Lutz and Jack Rini beat their opponents 7-5 and 6-3; Brandon Weitzel and Kyle Billings also beat their opponents 6-2 and 6-2.

The boys team faced off with Perkins High School on Thursday, April 13, walking away with a 3-2 win. Matt Walker was the man of the match for Vermilion in his best match of the year. Walker beat Perkins player, Jay Reiman 6-4 and 6-2. Luke Malin defeated his Perkins opponent 6 to 1. In doubles, both the Alex Lutz/Luke Hoerig and Brandon Weitzel/Kyle Billings teams walked away with victories.

With little rest, the team beat North Ridgeville on Friday, April 14, with a score of 5-0. Vermilion swept the Rangers as Stasio Gibbons, Jared Schuetz, Luke Hoerig, Alex Lutz/Matt Walker, and Brandon Weitzel/Kyle Billings all walked away victorious.

Vermilion Varsity Coed Track continues to grow and achieve as a team

On Tuesday, April 4, the Sailor Boy’s took to the track again and continue to improve their marks as 10 of the athletes ran, threw or jumped their best mark ever on the track placing third in the meet. Leading the way for the boys were Doug O’Donnell as he took 1st in the 300 Low Hurdles with a time of 43.80 and 4th in the High Hurdles with a time of 19.09 seconds. Justin See took 1st in the 800 meter run in a personal best time of 2:14.3. Josh Baxter took 4th in the 400 meter run with a personal best time of 55.72 seconds.

We had some freshman newcomers to the team making their debut runs with Isaac Lindo in the 3200 meter run with a time of 11:04 to take 3rd place. Also freshman newcomer Bradley Truitt finished 3rd in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 50.49 seconds. Congratulations to these young men and the effort put forth by the entire Sailors Team!!

On Tuesday, April 11, the track team showed their speed as they finished second. The girls continue their amazing season as they had an all-around great night and missed out on first place by 1.5 points.  It was a total team effort. Taking first place spots were Cece Dillon in the 100m dash, 200m dash, and high jump; Emily Wagner in the 1600m run; Caitlyn Schnur in the long jump; Theresa Albrethsen in the shot put; and Bri Gasdick, Caitlyn Schnur, Carrington Partin, and cece Dillon in the 4 x 100 meter relay.

The boys also did an outstanding job. They have been running shorthanded most the season, and again last night many of the younger athletes stepped up. Coming in first place were Dour O’Donnell in the 300m hurdles and Luke Pena in the long jump.

The team competed again on Saturday, April 15, finishing sixth in the Edison Invitational, which included a total of 11 teams. The ladies scored in 12 out of the 17 events. Leading the way was a strong performance by the 4x200m relay team of Bri Gadick, Caitlyn Schnur, Carrington Partin, & CeCe Dillon. The ladies were able to drop almost 3 seconds from their best time this season to finish first in the event.

The Boys team is very young this year but has a lot of heart and continues to improve with every meet. The young freshman and sophomores are getting a lot of work during the week and on the weekends as they continue to improve their times, jumps and throws every day. This week they finished 9th out of 11 teams but had 12 career personal best performances on the day.

LIFE takes strides in making Vermilion a dementia-friendly community

By: Melanie Williamson

Vermilion is home to a new organization that is working to help people with dementia and those who care for them. LIFE: A Dementia Friendly Foundation is taking a holistic approach that includes programs for the individuals with dementia, help for their caregivers, as well as community training and awareness programs, so first responders and others are more aware of the issue and how they can help.

LIFE is an acronym for Linking Individuals and Families through Education and Engagement, and their mission is “to partner with anyone touched by dementia and offer resources, education, and engaging activities which promote and improve quality of LIFE.” LIFE is a newer start-up non-profit that is operating out of Lakeview Baptist Church located at 591 Ferndale Avenue in Vermilion. Carole Klinger, the chief executive officer for LIFE, shared how generous Lakeview Baptist has been in providing them all the space they need to offer a broad range of programs two to four days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The program runs six weeks at a time, so the number of days may vary every six weeks. However, when one six-week program ends, the next one begins, so there is not a break in the program. There is a broad range of organizations that work with LIFE to offer programs, classes, food, and more. The Alzheimer’s Association, Kingston, Elmcroft, JVS, and Small Town Sweets are just a small sampling of the businesses and organizations they are working with.  Klinger shared that they have received an outpouring of support so far as many recognize the need for such a program.

Activities and programs being offered include Stand Up for Balance, art therapy, aromatherapy, Lil Lambs Babies by Rachel, singing/music, walking, and live animal interaction. According to Care Turner, the chief operating officer, Stand Up for Balance is a proven program that helps individuals with dementia maintains physical mobility. Klinger added that loss of balance is one of the first symptoms of dementia, and the Stand Up for Balance program helps strengthen muscle memory.

Lil Lambs Babies is another proven program that has been found beneficial in helping to calm individuals with dementia. Lil Lambs are handmade baby dolls that look and feel like real babies. These dolls have been used in movies and TV shows due to their amazingly life-like appearance. They have also been found to have a very calming effect on individuals with dementia, who enjoy holding and rocking the babies.

Art therapy, which is offered by Kingston, is a significant activity as Klingler explained that they can tell what stage of dementia the individual is in based on their drawings in art therapy. Art therapy is also successfully used to help individuals with dementia communicate where they are feeling pain.

In addition to these activities which benefit the individuals with dementia, they also offer activities specifically for the caregivers including guest speakers, educational information, support groups, care coaching, aromatherapy, and more. As LIFE grows, Klinger expressed their intended goal of providing even more activities for caregivers.

Klinger explained that one of the things that make their program so successful is that they do not follow a set activity schedule. If those in attendance want to walk around, volunteers will walk with them. If they want to sing or listen to music, volunteers will turn on music or play music for them. When the volunteers start an activity such as cupcake decorating, they will ask everyone if they want to participate, but no one is forced to participate. They are allowed to participate as much or as little as they want with the organized activities.

On Tuesday, April 11, they not only had the Lil Lamb babies, but they also had a few live farm animals; baby goats, lambs, and an alpaca. This was not part of a structured program, the animals were just outside the doors of the church, and participants and their caregivers were welcome to go out, pet and hold the animals for as long as they wanted. This was a clearly enjoyable activity for participants and volunteers alike.

Klinger and Turner shared the significance of the role JVS has played in their program. Students from JVS are on hand to help with activities and programs throughout the day. They also spend time with the caregivers and individuals with dementia offering them company and someone to talk to. The JVS students also raised money to create a quiet space for caregivers that simply need a break.

While caregivers are not able to drop off their loved one and leave, they can retreat to the quiet room to read or relax. Caring for someone with dementia is a 24-hour a day task and can be both mentally and emotional draining. Being able to relax and not worry for even 20 minutes can provide a much-needed respite. It is only in recent years that the need for caregiver support has been established, and LIFE is offering a level of support not previously offered in this area.

Klingler explained that the vision of the program is to go beyond simply what they are offering at the church and to make Vermilion a dementia friendly community. This will include offering community training programs that can be attended by first responders as well as business owners and individuals to learn ways they can help in making Vermilion dementia friendly. Klingler explained that it can be as simple as offering to help a caregiver get groceries out to their car when they are shopping with their loved one, or offering patience and understanding if a caregiver is struggling with a loved one becoming agitated.

When asked about program attendance, she stated that there are no requirements placed on the couples that attend. They are encouraged to come as often as they can over the six weeks. She shared that they have one couple that comes almost every day, and several other couples that come on a regular basis. She wants to spread the word to welcome others that may be caring for a loved with dementia to stop in and check out what they have to offer. She is also very open and welcoming to community members that are interested in volunteering. For more information on how you or your business or organization can help, you can visit their website at

Mayoral candidates answer key questions, and look to May 2 Primary

The Vermilion Photojournal invited all four candidates running for mayor of Vermilion to answer a few key questions. They were given a two-week notice and a limit of 600 words for their answers. All candidates were asked the very same questions.

According to the city charter if more than two people run for mayor, there must be a runoff at the May Primary which is Tuesday, May 2 this year. The two candidates with the most votes will face each other at the November general election. The winner in November will start his or her four-year term on January 1, 2018.

In 2016, Vermilion City Council raised the salary for mayor to $65,000 plus benefits up from $50,000. Hopefully, this question and answer session will shed some light on the four candidates who wish to be mayor of Vermilion.
The Vermilion Photojournal has also been running letters in the “Letters To The Editor” section from writers who would like to express their opinions on the candidates. This April 20 newspaper will be the last opportunity for letters about any of the candidates. No political letters will be run in the April 27 edition of the Photojournal because it is the week before the primary.

It is important for all voters in the city of Vermilion to come out to the polls on Tuesday, May 2, from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. to cast their vote for one of these four candidates who would like to lead Vermilion for the next four years. Voters can also do in-person absentee voting at the Lorain and Erie County Boards of Election until Monday, May 1, at 2 p.m.


James Forthofer

Mayoral candidate — Jim Forthofer

Eventually, a decision has to be made about our water treatment plant – keep it and upgrade, close it and purchase water from an outside source, or build a new plant. Where are you leaning?

Handle with CARE! No other system has greater potential to cause harm to residents than water. There are two parts to our water issue;
Manufacturing: Keep the water plant. It manufactures 1.2 million gallons of EPA certified clean water daily. If we close the water plant, we lose whatever negotiating power we have with outside water providers.
Distribution: This is our big problem. Thirty to forty percent of the water produced by our water treatment plant never reaches a meter. We need to identify the technologies to reduce this costly loss.
KEEP THE WATER PLANT and let’s do a better job of delivering water efficiently to our residents.


Concerning the city budget, are there places you would cut to save money or funds you would like to increase.
We have small city revenue and big city needs.
We are facing involuntary cuts to our funding through federal, state and county grant cutbacks. At the same time, our infrastructure will increasingly demand our resources. Professional prioritization of budget expenditures has never been more important. Individual department heads need to be responsible for zero based creation of department budgets and first hand accountability for budget management throughout the fiscal cycle.
Above all, we cannot allow our finances to slide back into insolvency.

If the business community grows, so grows the city. How will you retain and bring business and industry?
The city’s position should be to GET OUT OF THE WAY of clean, law abiding, taxpaying businesses when they try to grow in Vermilion.
First, let’s do something about Liberty Avenue East. Vermilion was a different place when Liberty Avenue East was planned decades ago.
As mayor I will commission a Liberty Avenue Advisory Committee.
The commission will recommend changes in zoning and planning that will make Liberty Avenue attractive to taxpaying businesses on the move. As mayor I will help present these recommendations to Council and drive changes to make a new vibrant Liberty Avenue East.
Then MOVE ON to the east end of Liberty.


Most of our infrastructure (roads and waterlines) is old and in poor condition. Repairs are costly. How will you proceed with improvements?
As chairman of council’s Streets Committee, I can attest that Vermilion has about the same streets funding as other cities our size. The problem is that our roads are so badly eroded. This scenario is repeated in all of our infrastructure systems.
We need to establish multi-year repair plans for the most critical systems and communicate those plans and costs with residents. “Need of the moment” spending on our infrastructure gets us nowhere.


Not including the above topics, name one or two other priorities or problems you’d like to address.
Professional planning and prioritization doesn’t cost a thing. It’s, “Business 101.” With limited funds, following a PLAN for infrastructure improvements is critical. We cannot afford a reactive approach to the needs of the city.
Residents bear 89% of our city taxes. We need to diversify our tax base to lighten the burden on our citizens. We need to create a friendly atmosphere for tax-paying, people-employing businesses in Vermilion.


Why should voters choose you over your opponents?
Vermilion is electing a mayor, not a councilman.
Council approves budgets and contracts. It keeps an eye on the city’s housekeeping. We have good people on council. But, that is not a qualification to be mayor.
Mayor is a much different job.
The mayor,
• Creates a vision
• manages people and operations
• is the ambassador of the city
• forms alliances with important outside organizations


I have 35 years of business experience in managing sixty employees, budget creation, alliance building, and project management. No other candidate can claim that level of experience. My career as a successful magazine publishing executive prepares me to be an effective mayor of Vermilion on the first day. No on the job training necessary.
I have broader city service experience than any other candidate. It’s important to have a more complete view of the town than you get on council. My service includes Vermilion City Council, the Parks & Recreation Board, Historic Design & Review Board, Museum Acquisition Committee, Streets Levy Committee, and the Mansion Restoration Committee.
I can give our beautiful city the experience and clear vision needed to become a better Vermilion.


Fred Ostrander

Mayoral Candidate – Fred Ostrander

Eventually, a decision has to be made about our water treatment plant – keep it and upgrade, close it and purchase water from an outside source, or build a new plant. Where are you leaning?

My preference is to keep making water here in Vermilion, in our own facility, under our control. Buying from an outside source puts us at a disadvantage that we will not overcome. As to upgrade or build new, I support upgrading.   Once all of the engineering and financial data becomes available, we will be able to make the proper informed decision that’s right for Vermilion residents.  What if the average water bill goes up $100 per month to save the plant?  It would be irresponsible to make a decision on this without all of the facts presented.


Concerning the city budget, are there places you would cut to save money or funds you would like to increase?

The current Vermilion administration is well qualified and takes their positions seriously.  It is my intention to work with them closely to ensure a smooth transition.  In addition, I would like to propose adding one key position the city has been lacking, that of a utilities director/engineer director with the education, qualifications and required licenses to ensure our water and wastewater facilities are maintained and operated as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.  EPA compliance issues along with the major upgrades needed, this position would in the long run pay for itself, save future dollars, and would prove to be a prudent investment.


If the business community grows, so grows the city. How will you retain and bring business and industry?

I will work with city council to make sure that our business and zoning requirements are working for us, and not against us.  I want to see our current businesses grow, while supporting budding entrepreneurs.

As mayor I will be adding a direct line and link on the city website titled “Economic Development.”  I personally will be handling inquiries and working with all contacts.  With my marketing and business background, I have the background needed to understand the needs to successfully work with new and existing businesses, and business developers of all sizes. I have already established key working relationships within the city and county.


Most of our infrastructure (roads and waterlines) is old and in poor condition. Repairs are costly. How will you proceed with improvements?

The longer we wait the more our infrastructure deteriorates and becomes more costly to repair.  We have a new approved road levy, we have stormwater funds, and we have a recent water rate increase.  I will leverage these funds to identify and complete the larger projects, while still nibbling away at the little ones. These infrastructure updates need to be completed sooner rather than later.  I want to see and enjoy smooth roads as much as anyone.


Not including the above topics, name one or two other priorities or problems you’d like to address.

As mayor and as the director of public safety, I will give all those suffering from the opiate epidemic my top priority, and will work diligently to keep our neighborhoods safe

The “Bridge-to-Bridge” plan initiated by Mainstreet Vermilion would be a welcome update, and I would support even enhancing this plan to attract and sustain business.  However there are serious drainage issues in this area which must be addressed as the foundation to this project – let’s not put the cart before the horse.


Why should voters choose you over your opponents?

As a 45-year resident with 33 years of progressive local work experience and 15 years of city council experience, which includes 6 years as city council president I am certainly no stranger to Vermilion and the operation of government in Vermilion.  With a background in facility management, engineering and marketing, I understand the mechanics of the city and how to work well with people, on all levels on a daily basis.

My wife Nancy and I have been married for 38 years all of which has been as Vermilion homeowners first in Vermilion on the Lake, then Valley View, and now in Harbour town.  I know every nook and cranny of this great city.

In conclusion, as Vermilion’s mayor I will keep Vermilion a great place to live, work and play.  Together we can make that happen.

I’m counting on you and you can count on me. On May 2, vote Fred Ostrander for mayor.


Shawn Perry

Mayoral candidate – Shawn Perry

Eventually, a decision has to be made about our water treatment plant – keep it and upgrade, close it and purchase water from an outside source, or build a new plant. Where are you leaning?

I have paperwork on my desk from the 1980’s where the same question was put forth to the city council by citizens who felt that the council was not doing their job concerning the water plant, so they formed the Vermilion Improvement Corporation. This debate has been a perpetual quagmire for the last thirty-plus years. I am open to keeping our plant open and/or building a new one, provided that it doesn’t cost significantly more than importing water from another municipality. That being said, our city is losing 30-40 percent (according to one expert I talked to, as much as 50 percent) of the water that is being pumped through our pipes. These pipes run parallel to and/or underneath most of our streets and are a major contributing factor to the ongoing disrepair of our roads. The decision to keep our plant or shut it down can’t be made until we fix all the leaky pipes, because if we start importing water with our current delivery system, it will cost the city and the end user a fortune.


Concerning the city budget, are there places you would cut to save money or funds you would like to increase?

I am not sure that there is much room to cut anything from the budget; instead, Vermilion needs to expand its tax base (both figuratively and – possibly – literally). The city needs more road crew workers, a few full-time employees to help address the opioid epidemic, and to expand recreational and sports programs.


If the business community grows, so grows the city. How will you retain and bring business and industry?

Bringing in new businesses will require creating an enticing environment for retail, manufacturing or other entities looking to open locations in Vermilion.  Plentiful commercial real estate already exists in the East Liberty district; however, much of it is in disrepair and owned by absentee landlords who are asking unreasonable prices to lease the units. Citizens and the council alike must exert social and/or legislative pressure on these landlords to rehabilitate their properties and offer lease rates that reflect our current economic environment.


Most of our infrastructure (roads and waterlines) is old and in poor condition. Repairs are costly. How will you proceed with improvements?

All of the previous infrastructure repairs in the city have been compartmentalized and short-sighted. At this point, most of our infrastructure problems are linked. The leaking water pipes get contaminated by the leaking sewer pipes, which are exacerbated by the inefficient storm water removal system, all of which run directly beneath or parallel to our roads. From this point forward, the less costly option (regardless of actual cost) is to complete these repairs from the ground up, correctly, with all new pipes and an all new road on top of them.


Not including the above topics, name one or two other priorities or problems you’d like to address.

Two of my lifelong passion projects are fighting addiction (specifically heroin) and building a civic center like the ones in communities such as Rocky River and/or Westlake. These may sound like separate issues, but they are in fact intertwined. Providing Vermilion citizens – both young and old – with a clean, modern facility for recreation, learning, enrichment, and support is key to fighting this epidemic now and keeping kids off of drugs in the future.


Why should voters choose you over your opponents?

First of all: I can’t be bullied, and I’m not afraid to tackle the city’s current or future controversial issues. I will never avoid the difficult or uncomfortable conversations that we face as a city. Second: I have demonstrated throughout my life a willingness to listen to and prioritize the needs of others, regardless of their social, economic, religious, or other status. That is how I intend to conduct myself as mayor. For more information about my experience and platform, please visit:


Monica Stark

Mayoral candidate – Monica Stark

Eventually, a decision has to be made about our water treatment plant – keep it and upgrade, close it and purchase water from an outside source, or build a new plant. Where are you leaning?

At the February council committee meeting, I was the first council member to publicly state that I want to see us keep our water treatment plant.  We need to maintain control of this operation as long as possible.   If we give up the plant we will be at the mercy of another entity, it will be nearly impossible to ever get our own plant again.  In addition to upgrading the plant our distribution lines need repaired or replaced.  The recent rate increase by the current administration should allow us to begin to upgrade our distribution lines.  This is a huge move in the right direction to begin upgrading our infrastructure.

Concerning the city budget, are there places you would cut to save money or funds you would like to increase?

The city budget is a working budget that can be adjusted throughout the year. Once I am on the other side of the budget as the mayor, I will work to keep this budget under control while being sure that the city has what it needs to operate effectively.

If the business community grows, so grows the city. How will you retain and bring business and industry?

As mayor of Vermilion, I will work closely with our current business and industry, as well as work to bring new business and industry to our community.  I will listen to their needs and work with them to make their businesses prosper, as their businesses prosper, so does Vermilion.

 Most of our infrastructure (roads and waterlines) is old and in poor condition. Repairs are costly. How will you proceed with improvements?

Since the road levy was passed in 2013 the City of Vermilion has seen 16 roads replaced or resurfaced valued at over 4.2 million dollars.  Vermilion is moving in the right direction.  We will continue working on our roads as well as begin replacing the water distribution lines as mentioned previously.  Growing our business district will improve the ability of the city of upgrade our infrastructure.
Not including the above topics, name one or two other priorities or problems you’d like to address.

I have enjoyed talking to so many of you as I have been campaigning.  I particularly have enjoyed everyone’s perspective on our great city as I have visited the different neighborhoods.  It is such a blessing to see the love and dedication you all have for Vermilion.  I’m glad so many of you have shared your views on the water treatment plant and the museum property.   I share your concern and look forward to working with you to keep Vermilion’s established water system and historical site intact.
Why should voters choose you over your opponents?

I will be a mayor that you can be proud of, working to keep Vermilion a safe and affordable community for all. I am young and energetic, I have a can-do attitude. My husband Mike and I have 6 children that we are proud to raise here in Vermilion.  Mike has been elected to serve as a school board member and I am now serving my second term on city council as council-at-large.   As mayor I will make myself available to you.  I will not be leading from behind a desk, I will be working right beside you, we will work together to make Vermilion a great place to drop anchor.


Sharing old memories of old friends and a simpler time

yesterBy: Rich Tarrant

Tommy Dale Boone was my first best friend when I was about eight. He lived across the street from us (i.e. the Tarrant family) on Perry Street back in the 1950s and 60s. When the accompanying snapshot was taken we were outside the newsstand (currently the Olive Scene) on Liberty. I can almost feel the day it was taken. It was a warm summer day and we had the rest of our lives before us.

Back in those days my sis (Ginny Wilkes) worked at the newsstand. Among the many cool things about the newsstand – aside from the comic books – was the big root beer barrel aside a little soda counter toward the back of the store. On a hot summer day there was nothing like an icy mug of root beer and a penny pretzel.

Anyway, after we left the store with our little planes we walked back up the street tentatively heading for home. The destination was always tentative because you never knew what you might see or whom you might run into along the way that would lead you in another direction. And, of course, our family dog, Mister Chips, was usually with us somewhere. He usually led the way. He’d often stop and look back to make sure we were following him. In fact, because of his habit to always be the head of our proverbial parade we developed a little game we called “Ditch-em”.

Ditch-em was a game where we’d start walking with Chips ahead of us. We’d let him get about a half a block ahead, and after he turned to see if we were following we’d start walking backwards. When he stopped to look back we’d start walking forward. And when he got about a block ahead we’d take off running in another direction and look for a place to hide from him. He was an amazing pooch because he’d always find us. We could never really ditch him. As a consequence it often took us a good deal of time to get home.

When we got home we usually went to our fort in the railroad lot next to Tom’s house. Back then the grass and weeds in the railroad lots were allowed to grow pretty high before they were cut. The great thing was that after the weeds were cut and dried there was a good deal of straw left behind. And in the middle of this particular lot there was a little indentation. One of our friends had gone to the “Pickle Works” (i.e. South Shore Packing on the corner of South Street and West River Road) and got a big empty pickle barrel that we placed in this indentation. We covered it with piles of dead grass, and therein was our fort – albeit a vinegar-tainted stronghold – established.

One fine summer day somebody; I don’t remember who exactly, was playing with matches and set some of the dried straw on fire. Of course we were alarmed. And as Tom lived right there, close to the barrel fort, I told him to hurry and get some water to extinguish the fire. I thought he’d come back with a bucket of water. He came back with a glass. I could not believe my eyes. But just before the entire field exploded Tom’s dad pulled in the driveway, saw the fire and got the hose. And that was the end of our fort.

There were also the hours and days we spent along the lake skipping stones and exploring the lakeshore. During those years, believe it or not, when it was actually possible to walk from (Wakefield’s) Main Street Beach to what we now know as Sherod Park and beyond. The only problems one might encounter in doing that would be fording Edson or Darby Creeks – especially if you weren’t dressed for swimming. And there was also another problem. Mister Chips who, of course, was always with us had a habit of rolling in dead fish. It was a habit that not only Tom and I cared little for, but also one my mother, and everyone in his immediate proximity, never seemed to appreciate. It didn’t bother him in the least. In fact, he seemed quite proud.

There were times we would loll in the grass along the river by the waterworks watching boats: the fish tugs, luxurious cabin cruisers, and the smaller speed and fishing boats. For whatever reason there were very few canoes and rowboats in that part of the river during those years. Every once in a while some rich person would sail a gigantic boat into the harbor and park it near the Vermilion Yacht Club. I seem to recall that a very successful car dealer owned one of the boats. He and his crew had sailed to Vermilion from Florida. It was something for small town boys to wonder about and dream on.

Eventually we’d wander back home: two kids and a dog. Night would fall. The crickets would chirp; the lightening bugs would light; and we’d sit on the front porch of our home; watch the passenger trains speed by through the night; talk about everything – anything; laugh, sing and pause to watch the heat lightening flicker in the evening sky. Later it would rain and the world would be washed down – renewed – readying the world for another nice day. And we were happy.

Vermilion resident Rich Tarrant has agreed to share many of the photos and stories he has acquired from the former Vermilion News and other local sources with the readers of the Photojournal. Rich is the youngest son and a grandson of the late proprietors of The Vermilion News (1897-1964). Readers may email him at:

Students eager to find 3D solutions

This steak is an example of a solution students created to a problem using the 3D printer.

By: Melanie Williamson

At the Monday, April 10, school board meeting, Jennifer Bengele, the Technology Coach for Vermilion Schools presented a new website they recently launched. Bengele explained to the board that with the help of a grant, she was able to get a 3D printer to add to their computer science program. However, she wanted to find a meaningful for the students to use the printer and understand the impact it can have on problem solving.

Bengele shared that she got the idea of the 3D Design Project Bank from another district that did something similar. The idea is to allow students to find creative solutions to real problems. Members of the community can go to the 3D design project bank website at and fill out the form on the front page describing the problem. The students will then develop, test, refine, and print out a product to provide a solution.

To test out the process, Bengele submitted a problem through the website for her students to address. In this sample project, Bengele explained that the stakes that hold down her Christmas candy cane yard decorations broke, so she could no longer use them. Based on the information provided, the students designed a new stake that would fit the candy cane décor and then made one using the 3D printer.

Bengele told the board that the sample project went very well, and she was able to show them the new stake the students had made for her. She asserted that the students are very eager to get started and encouraged the school board and the community to go to the website and submit a problem.

An apartment fire was contained

nantucket apartment2By Karen Cornelius

Vermilion Fire Chief Chris Stempowski reported details of an apartment fire to the Health and Safety Committee of city council on Monday, April 10. He said the fire started in an apartment at 325 Nantucket on Friday, March 31, around 5:30 p.m. Fortunately, everyone involved was safe and the fire was knocked down within 15 minutes.

According to the chief, it was a working fire on the third floor that was contained to the one apartment. The firefighhters and police rescued two people. One was taken off a balcony by ladder and another was rescued through the smoke and out the front door. He said there were working smoking detectors for an early warning and apartment maintenance personnel there to make “Get Out” notifications. Ten of twelve units in the fire area were occupied, and tenants were displaced because utilities had to be shut off. All were back by Sunday when the electric was restored.

Chief Stempowski said it was a great job done by everyone including the Vermilion police, North Central EMS, and mutual aid from Vermilion Township, Florence Township, and Amherst fire departments. In total, 30 firefighters were on the scene with the last truck leaving at 9:30 p.m. So, it was a four-hour incident. The Red Cross also came to the scene to offer help. “It was a phenomenal knockdown, and everyone was safe,” summed up the chief.

The chief said this fire is under investigation, there is a lot to look at, and he is still reviewing all the statements.

Police Beat

April 3, 2017

13:16 – 4300 block of Liberty Ave: Trespassing complaint filed over a subject riding a bike on the complainant’s property. The suspect was identified and advised of the complaint.
16:46 – 5900 block of Fisher Street: Motor vehicle accident with no injuries.
18:07 – 900 block of Riverside Drive: Dumping complaint.
21:43 – 1400 block of Vermilion Road: Caller advised he was threatened with a firearm by his landlord. Units responded and the suspect was later arrested for Aggravated Menacing and Using Weapons while under a Disability.

April 4, 2017
10:21 – 4200 block of Liberty Ave: Assault complaint filed.
10:53 – 1400 block of Rolling Meadows: Parking complaints.
16:00 – Lorain County Jail: Inmate served with an outstanding arrest warrant.
20:50 – 600 block of Woodside Drive: Disturbance complaint. Suspect located and spoken with.

April 5, 2017
23:49 – Mercy Hospital: Lorain PD called regarding a deceased subject from an overdose. After a brief investigation, it was determined no part of the incident occurred in the city and the investigation was referred back to LPD.

April 6, 2017
07:31 – 1200 block of Sanford Street: Assault complaint filed.
21:07 – Roxboro Road: Female picked up for an outstanding arrest warrant. It was later determined she had another warrant from Amherst PD and was turned over to them.

April 7, 2017
07:48 – 500 block of Hazelwood Drive: Domestic violence complaint filed. A male suspect was arrested for Domestic Violence (M1) and Disrupting Public Service (F4).
11:12 – 300 block of Salem Drive: Caller reported a package was stolen from her front step.
14:27 – 1200 block of Sanford Street: Juvenile complaint.
17:36 – 300 block of Nantucket Place: Report of a structure fire at the apartment building. Units responded to assist the fire department.
19:15 – 4600 block of Liberty Ave: Harassment complaint filed.

April 8, 2017
07:32 – 4100 block of Firestone Lane: Assist squad with a transport to Mercy.

April 9, 2017
04:51 – 1600 block of Cooper Foster: Domestic violence complaint filed and a male suspect was arrested and transported to the station.
13:19 – 1300 block of Beechview Drive: Warrant served on a male for Failure to Appear.
16:04 – 1000 block of State Street: Complainant advised they were bit by a dog.
16:14 – 400 block of Fairfax Road: Telecommunications Harassment complaint filed.

Streets Committee looks at creating a plan for future road repairs

By Karen Cornelius

The Streets, Buildings, and Grounds Committee met on Monday, April 10, to discuss a proposed 2018 street rubric which would help decide the fate of future road repairs rather than the present year-by-year struggle to choose streets which fit into the limited budget.

Streets chairman Jim Forthofer said they reached an agreement in March after some debate on the streets they could repair in 2017. They are Birchview, Woodside, and Sailorway sections. When they were making this decision, a representative from Edison Estates Homeowners Association, Neal Norris, came forward to propose a disciplined analysis rubric of the city’s streets. Forthofer said that finance director Brian Keller took the initiative to begin preliminary work on the concept of a rubric.

Finance director Keller then explained forming this plan was in the idea phase, but it is something council could adopt as a way to decide on which streets to repair next. He said each council member could nominate three streets in their ward and enter them into this rubric along with different conditions such as the amount of traffic on the street, the number of residents on the street, the last repair on this street, community image, etc. Then they could score all these factors and see which streets rank the highest. Then they would compare these streets with the funds available for the next five years. “It’s a plan for residents to know where their streets stand rather than pleading every year to fix a street,” said Keller.

Chairman Forthofer said he liked this idea and it would give council a record to use to consider street repairs along with input from the city engineer and service director. He asked council members for a consensus to develop this further and see if they could adopt this system and use it for next year’s street selection. “I ask that we go forward.” He said this document would be the basis for a disciplined year long data gathering of streets’ issues rather than a once-a-year process. It would be a living document. Once established it will be the basis for council’s street discussion next year and a rough five-year street plan thereafter.

Council president Steve Herron said it was a very good idea and would have to line up with the finances so they can ask the right questions, such as what streets they can afford. Councilman Brian Holmes thought it would show council a plan to the future, and they could physically see if the finances were there. Councilwoman Barb Brady said it was important for Keller to include a block for costs.

Council-at-large Monica Stark said this makes her a little nervous. She said they already have lists and know the need. While it’s a great idea, people could see their street listed for 2020 and then it might not happen. “We can’t guarantee it. We have to exercise caution,” said Stark. Forthofer replied they can de-bug it as they go along.

Councilman Frank Loucka thought it was a great first step. He suggested they could do a base-line analysis of all the streets in the city and keep a record of when those streets were paved and what each street needs. “I would help work on it. We would have a ledger of where we are now. We have so many forgotten streets,” said Loucka, who suggested doing this by June. Councilwoman Brady said she had a list of streets from 2003 and the city has other lists to use to update.

Chairman Forthofer said he sensed that they could move forward and he, Keller, and Loucka could get together and bring something back for council to review.

Question of the Week???

  1. One resident asked what was happening with the dog park they had heard was going to be in Vermilion.
  2. There were a group of residents interested in opening a dog park on the land next to the community swimming pool. The estimated cost for the fencing alone was going to be $25,000 – $30,000. They applied for a grant to cover the cost of the fencing, but did not receive it. The Vermilion Parks and Recreation Board had several concerns including upkeep, security, and rules that also needed to be addressed. With the high expense and unexpected concerns, the project did not move forward.

The Photojournal invites readers to send their questions on any topic concerning the Greater Vermilion Area. The staff will attempt to find the correct information and share the answers. Questions can be e-mailed to or submitted through the Photojournal Facebook page Calls are welcome at the office 967-5268. Question of the Week names will not be published.