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  • Updated

NORTON – While a serious accident in February was the final precipitating event in a change to an intersection coming later this month, the foundation was laid in Chippewa Township.

Chippewa Trustees Chairman Dominic Oliverio had noted the high number of accidents at the intersection of Wooster Road West/North Portage Street and Eastern Road, hearing complaints from residents, and worked on getting a traffic study.

“(Oliverio) asked me to look into it,” Brock Yoder, of the Wayne County Engineer’s Office, said. “Over two or three years that one is off the charts. There were 14 accidents handled by Norton Police and four or five handled by the (Wayne County) Sheriff’s Office.”

Yoder said this averaged out to two wrecks a month at the intersection.

“A lot of residents brought it to my attention,” Oliverio said. “I got a safety study done through (the Akron Metropolitan Area Transit Study) and I was able to bridge the communities, getting Norton and Wayne County together to do something.

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NORTON – A serious accident last month has prompted a change to an intersection coming later this month.

City council March 9 approved an agreement with Wayne County to convert the intersection where Eastern Road crosses Wooster Road West/North Portage Street into a four-way stop. The matter was scheduled to be in front of the Wayne County Commissioners March 11.

“A gentleman was seriously injured and hospitalized several days,” city administrator Robert Fowler told The Post. “The county engineer called me about it.”

Fowler said the Wayne County engineer had already been doing a traffic study when the accident occurred. The problem involves a mix of a sharp angle creating a poor line of sight exacerbated by increased traffic in the area.

“We all agreed something needed to be done,” Fowler said.

Norton City Councilman Jack Gainer had suggested a roundabout at the intersection but Fowler said that isn’t practical.

“There isn’t enough room for a roundabout,” Fowler said. “We’d have to acquire land and remove possibly two businesses. That’s just not feasible. The most cost-effective solution is a four-way stop.”

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NORTON – City council March 9 approved an agreement with Wayne County to install stop signs at a dangerous intersection on the county line.

The intersection at Eastern Road, where Wooster Road West becomes North Portage Street, will become a four-way stop.

City administrator Robert Fowler said there had been a traffic study of the intersection and the recommended solution was the signage, which will cost Norton less than $3,000.

Council passed an ordinance buying a new mowing tractor for the Service Department for $82,065. The measure rescinds one passed a couple weeks ago. The earlier ordinance reflected a trade-in and the city changed its mind on that, opting to keep the older tractor.

Council voted to hire Barberton-based Extreme Tree Service for up to $25,000 to clear trees and brush along state Route 21 between Eastern Road and Interstate 76.

Council opted to update the codified ordinances, an annual ritual. It also approved an amendment to them clarifying the flood zones. Councilman Jack Gainer said this was essential for the citizens to be able to buy flood insurance.

NORTON – A group of Norton Middle School students brought a vision for the city’s future to the March 2 city council committee work session.

School counselor Jessica Russo and teacher Megan Zita brought forward sixth-graders Chloe Womble, Emily King, Aurelia Lanter, Emma Fortner, Aubrey Tewksbury and Jaelyn Haarlamert, members of TomTod, a school group whose name means “Tomorrow’s Ideas Today.”

“Don’t be nervous, we’re all friends here,” council President Joseph Kernan said.

The kids proposed a “mental health trail” around the pond at Columbia Woods Park, a place to reduce stress and worry. Six benches with inspirational sayings on them would be placed around the path. On the peninsula jutting into the pond behind the tennis courts, they would erect a hexagonal table and flower garden.

The students said they were aware of the matter of cost, having already researched the prices not only of the furnishings but also the cement anchors. They said they were planning fundraisers and seeking donations from local businesses. A local Eagle Scout candidate has already committed to the flower garden for his project.

“I guess we have some stuff to think about,” Mayor Mike Zita said.

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NORTON – Feb. 24 was a night of goodbyes at city council as Ron Messner, retiring Feb. 28 from his seat as finance director, attended his final meeting in office.

Mayor Mike Zita read a resolution of appreciation passed by council, highlighting Messner’s accomplishments in his tenure.

“This is the best council we’ve had in my five and a half years as finance director,” Messner responded. “I think this city is poised to really take off.”

New finance director Pam Keener is committed to her current employer, the city of Rittman, until April 6. She has promised to work weekends and burn vacation days in the interim.

Council also approved an ordinance expanding the Southwest Summit County Council of Governments, which operates the joint dispatch center, to include Springfield Township. SWSCOG was originally formed with Barberton, Copley and Norton.

“The sooner we pass this the sooner we can begin the transition,” city administrator Robert Fowler said.

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NORTON – City council scrapped its regular committee work session for Feb. 18, replacing it with a special meeting.

Top on the agenda was confirming Pam Keener, currently Rittman’s finance director, as Norton’s.

Keener will replace Ron Messner, who, after five and a half years in the position, is retiring. Keener comes to Norton after seven years in Rittman with previous experience at the state auditor’s office.

“She’s highly qualified,” Councilwoman Charlotte Whipkey said. “She has a municipal background and she has experience with these very auditors we have to deal with.”

Keener’s salary will be $78,000 with another 10 percent put into the state’s Public Employees Retirement System.

“This is nothing personal,” Councilman Paul Tousley said. “I’d be saying this to whoever was in this position. This is more than I am willing to spend for this position.”

“I think we’re competitive with this salary compared with similar communities,” Councilman Dan Karant said.

“Thank you for your kind words,” Keener said. “I look forward to working with you.”

Messner leaves the job Feb. 28. Keener, however, only gave her required 60-days notice Feb. 6, committing her to Rittman until the first week of April.

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NORTON – Necromancy was the dominant theme at the Feb. 3 city council committee work session as First Ward Councilman Jack Gainer sought to breath life into the corpse of the Wolf Creek Watershed Conservancy District.