2012 in Review: The Second Six Months July Escorted by a caravan of Patriot Guard Riders, wounded Perrysville war hero Josh Sommers moved to his new home in rural Ashland on Friday, July 1. Among those greeting him in brief ceremonies at Ashland VFW Post 1067 was Ashland Mayor Glenn Stewart. n Ownership and name of a major Loudonville business, Gribble's IGA, to Stake's IGA, reflected the retirement of Bob and Bonnie Gribble and takeover of the business by longtime store manager and information coordinator Tom and Jeanne Stake. Other than the name change, they said there will be no major changes in store operations. n Reflecting the increased bicycle traffic in Loudonville, spawned by the popularity of the bike path connecting Mohican State Park Class A Campground with downtown, Loudonville Councilman Steve Stricklen suggested placing bike racks in downtown Loudonville. n After a 10-year run of perfect weather, rain finally fell on Loudonville's summer festival, the car show, on July 4. Despite the early downpours, more than 300 cars eventually registered for the event. n Tammy Kline, author of the popular Tessie's Tidbits column in the Loudonville-Mohican Area Shopper, retired after more than 20 years in the local newspaper business at the end of June. n Andrea Schoonover, housekeeping and laundry supervisor at Jac-Lin Manor in Loudonville, was recognized as a Hero of Long Term Care by Ohio Health Care Association. n For years of service voluntarily picking up litter almost every morning on the Ohio 3 bypass, Rheva Dutka of Loudonville was presented a certificate of appreciation by Kevin Taylor, Loudonville chief of police. n More than $35,000 was raised in the 1011 Mohican Valley Relay for Life, as the event included a parade through downtown Loudonville, and special tributes to a local cancer victim, Janie Dessenberg, and a survivor, Sharon Gosche. n In their second major community project completed in the year, dedication ceremonies were conducted July 23 for Loudonville Dog Park built through the efforts of Girl Scout Troop 2354 and their families (mostly dads). n Once one of the most potholed, broken-up streets in the village, East Campbell Street between Market and Union streets was completely rehabilitated and reopened in mid-July. In addition to new pavement, curbs and cutters, the improvements also included a complete reconstruction of all sanitary and storm sewers in the area. n The Loudonville swim team won the All Summer Aquatic Championship for the 13th consecutive summer. Team members Zach Cline and Madeline Wilson set new individual records for the team, and the swim team boosters, through personal efforts by Lori Byers, set up a permanent record board at the pool complex posting all swim team record-holders. n A power outage the afternoon of Friday, July 22, coupled with a horrendous heat wave -- a record-tying 94 degrees -- made for a very uncomfortable, sticky day. The outage was caused by failure of a main power line in the Ontario area. Ron Farquhar, who has run a downtown insurance agency for close to 50 years, said he never remembered a heat-related power outage lasting as long as this one, which lasted about five hours. n Television coverage of an alleged wolf prowling around the New Philadelphia area in late July turned out to have a Loudonville connection. The alleged wolf turned out to be a husky lab mix, called Calf, that wandered off his home just west of Loudonville all the way to New Philadelphia in Tuscarawas County, more than 50 miles east-southeast. n Mohican Trails Club, a volunteer group which works on trails in Mohican State Park and Mohican-Memorial State Forest, was busy in the summer and fall building bridges across swampy ground of trails on the Hog Hollow and Lyons Falls network. The club also received a grant from American Hiking Society to help build a stairway and bridge in the Big Lyons Falls area. August Loudonville Council approved a lot split involving 1.805 acres at 810 S. Market St., a real estate transaction proceeding construction of a Dollar General Store in Loudonville. n Zach Davis of Loudonville began a new sales career with Machor Insurance Agency of Middleburg Heights, serving the Loudonville area. n WZLP Radio, 95/7 FM, celebrated its eighth anniversary of operations. The station, a project of Zion Lutheran Church, is primarily a volunteer driver operation funded through donations and grants. n Recent Loudonville High School graduate Felicia Baker received an unusual graduation present. The student, who began nurses training at Ohio State-Mansfield, in the fall, went on a mission trip to rarely-heard-of Guyana in South America, working on medical and eye clinics with a group of volunteers, including health care professionals in a program sponsored by Calvary Baptist Church in Ashland. n More than $24,000 was raised to benefit Perrysville wounded war veteran Josh Sommers in a benefit spearheaded by three women, Jean Sly, Cynthia Ramsey and Mary Ann Wigton, supported by American Legion Post 257, its auxiliary, and Sons of the American Legion chapter. Benefit included a spaghetti dinner and auction of donated good. n Friends of the Loudonville Public Library, for loyal and at times extraordinary support of the library since its formation in the 1970s, was recognized by Ohio Library Council as winner of Ohio Friends of the Library Recognition Award. Announced in August, the award was actually presented at Ohio Library Council Convention in Toledo in October. n Loudonville Village Council was presented a $20,000 gift from NISOURCE Foundation to help reconstruct a pedestrian path along East Main Street to the swimming pool. NISOURCE, the foundation wing for the organization that used to be known as Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., earlier provided a grant to purchase and install new display cases for archives at the Memorial Shrine. n Phantom Regiment, a 155-member traveling drum corps, spent the night of Aug. 8 in the LHS gym, and then practicing and conducting an impromptu concert at Redbird Stadium the following day. The regiment's stop was part of a nationwide journey of performances that would end at the Drum Corps International World Competition in Indianapolis later in the month. n Loudonville's fireworks fund generated $13,572 in donations, toward a total cost of $16,500 for the 2011 show July 3. Funds also were coming in for the 2012 show, including a $3,795.95 donation toward the show from the Liz Weithoff Foundation. Weithoff was a former member of the fireworks fund and designated that proceeds from interest on her estate foundation be earmarked for the annual show. n Matt Gwin concluded his freshman year at Princeton University in New Jersey with a one-in-a-lifetime trip to Tanzania in East Africa, teaching English to Swahili craftsman in a woodcarving shop. He came upon the opportunity after taking Swahili as a language requirement at Princeton. He spent the last days of his two-month adventure with others from his group climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa (19,340 feet). He is the son of Jon and Nancy Gwin of rural Lakeville. n In an administrative move designed ultimately to streamline operations and save money, Loudonville Village Council combined its income tax and fiscal offices. The consolidation involved the removal of Deb Campbell, fiscal officer, and appointment of Elaine Van Horn, income tax administrator, to a new joint post over both operations. Remaining in the offices working with Van Horn are Jane Hollinger, assistant fiscal officer, and Michelle Edwards, deputy clerk, each given an expanded role in the operations. n As the new school year began, two Loudonville-Perrysville Schools administrators started new roles. John Lance, formerly principal at Perrysville Junior High School, became Loudonville High principal, and Dan Eckenwiler, formerly assistant principal-dean of students at the high school, became the junior high principal. Shannon Sprang, formerly a social studies teacher at Perrysville, became assistant high school principal and athletic director. n Austin Burkepile opened some eyes in golf circles, carding a 2-over-par 38 at Round Lake in a Mid-Buckeye Conference match with Danville. n L-P Schools retained its effective rating in the Ohio School Report Card system, earning an "effective" rating. Two buildings in the district, McMullen Elementary School and Perrysville Junior High School, received "excellent ratings." School officials also were extremely pleased with the district's graduation rate of 98.1 percent, 13.8 percent above the state average. n George's Place, 130 N. Bridge St., Perrysville, was closed for failure to pay permit fees, an offense which results in automatic revocation of liquor permits. The tavern did not reopen the remainder of 2011. n Enrollment in L-P Schools was up nine students to 1,201 over the year before on the first day of school. n A new Mohican area recreation business, Horsetail Run, offered family farm fun, including hayrides, a corn maze, petting zoo, farm stand and pumpkin patch 2 miles west of Ohio 3 on Ohio 97. Horsetail, named after the stream that crosses the property, is set up on the former farm of Ralph and Ethel Doup, and run by his grandsons and families, Jon, Andy and Tom Spreng. September Staffers at Farmers and Savings Bank sported "Live United" T-shirts at work Sept. 2 as the organization qualified as a United Way Pacesetter with 100 percent of employees donating or pledging to either Mohican Area Community Fund or United Way of Ashland County. n In a unique but useful food/education program, students at R.F. McMullen Elementary School enjoyed Burrito Day, consuming burritos coated with salsa they made themselves from produce grown in the school garden, including tomatoes, onions and peppers. The effort was all part of the HealthierOhio School Challenge Nutrition grant funded through the Department of Education. n Reflecting ongoing rising costs and diminishing revenues, the L-P School Board approved a budget reflecting a deficit of $382,020 for fiscal year 2011-12. Total anticipated revenues declined about $33,000 between this and the previous fiscal year. n C.E. Budd Elementary School was awarded a $3,000 Dollar General Literacy Grant targeted to further literacy and basic education outreach for children and youth. n Kenton Ring, son of Glen and Beth Ring of Loudonville, reviewed his adventures in his year-long Rotary exchange visit to Slovakia during the 2010-11 school year, Ring took the trip after graduating in the LHS class of 2010, living in the small town of Liptowsky-Mikulus in the country that is the eastern half of what was formerly known as Czechoslovakia. As an interesting facet of his trip, he studied as a cook in the Slovakian equivalent of a Ohio vocational school. Ring is now a freshman business major at Ohio State. n After losing its first games to teams that remained undefeated, the Redbird football team upset No. 2 state rated Danville, 31-12, for its first win of the 2011 campaign. n John McMullen, who with his wife, Mona, owns and operates McMullen Assisted Care, announced plans to double the occupancy space in their assisted living facility in Loudonville. n John Keith, a resident of Loudonville Rest Home, wrote and had published a mystery story, "Twisted and Torn." n Hot weather and other area swimming pools being closed led to good news that Loudonville's swimming pool operated in the black in 2011. n Carved out of a portion of Amish Oak Furniture Co. warehouse, the new Beacon Habilitation Center opened its doors in mid-September. Beacon provided day habilitation services, formerly provided by Dale-Roy School, for residents of Jac-Lin Manor in Loudonville. n The L-P Schools treasurer's office was presented an Auditor of State Award for completing a clean state audit. n Richard Winkleman of Lakeville retired after 36 years in the military, as a sergeant major in the Army's military policeman. Mostly reserve service, he took deployments three times to Iraq, once in Desert Storm and twice in later engagements, once at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and once in Saudi Arabia, as well as extensive stateside service. n Mike Bandy of Loudonville retired after eight years of service on the board of the Ashland County Community Foundation. October Loudonville Fair, operating under new management with a new fair board president, secretary and manager, couldn't have been better, graced by perfect early fall weather all four days. Highlights: Kettering Scholarship winners included John Nelson, Lauren Teiga, Andi VanSickle, Mary Reinthal and Logan Fritz; former FFA adviser and fair booster Jack Nowels, who died earlier in the year, was remembered in special ceremonies, and the fair was dedicated to him; total sales at the Loudonville Livestock Club auction were $107,770.30; and Morgan Pack of Perrysville was elected fair queen. n Janet Horn of Loudonville was paid a visit by Isae Nuetzling of Laurel, Miss., to whom she donated a kidney eight years ago. Horn learned of Nuetzling's need for a kidney from an article in the United Auto Workers Union magazine, Solidarity. n Village Administrator Curt Young extended special thanks to village street commissioner John Burkhart, and engineering adviser Ronny Portz of Engineering Associates Inc., Wooster, for extraordinary work in filing grant applications papers for Ohio Public Works Commission projects. n A touching ceremony tore at both sides of the Loudonville vs. Utica football game at Redbird Stadium, when senior running back/defensive back Christian Leitenberger escorted his mother, Andi Leitenberger, and his dad, Walter, across the field. His mom was about to be deployed to Afghanistan through her position with Air National Guard, and would miss Parent's Night ceremonies at the end of October. The Redbirds won the game, 68-7. n Perrysville Junior High Drama Club received a special presentation to lend meaning to their performance of the World War II drama, "Number the Stars," when Josienne Stone of Ashland, a survivor as a teenager of the Nazi occupation of Belgium during the war, shared her experiences there. n Sierra Wright was elected homecoming queen at Loudonville High School. n Redbird Travis Price earned all-Mid-Buckeye Conference honors after placing fourth in the league cross country meet with a time of 17:54. For the girls team, Sage Weber earned league honorable mention with a time of 23:16, 15th. n About 100 people attended flagpole dedication ceremonies on the Loudonville High campus when a new pole and flags, provided through efforts of the Loudonville High School class of 2004 and American Legion Post 257, were recognized. The dedication was in honor of class of 2004 member Damon Winkleman, who was killed in action in a vehicle rollover while deployed in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, on Sept. 20, 2009. n Tom Roepke, New Hope Community Church youth pastor, reviewed his 803-mile, 12-day Hope Bicycle Tour made with other pastors to raise attention to the plight of tornado victims from Joplin, Miss., east to Tuscaloosa, Ala. n The boys soccer team finished with a 11-5-3 record, including the school's first sectional championship. n After a 1-12-3 regular season, the girls soccer team surprised many by winning its first two tournament games and a sectional title, finishing with a 3-13-3 record. n Winning its final four regular season games, the Redbird volleyball team ended with a 13-11 record under Redbird coach Julie Kline, who returned to the Redbird helm after a decade away from coaching. n The football team ended the year at 5-5 with a thrilling 20-14 overtime victory over Fredericktown. The Redbirds' five losses came to team with a combined record of 45-5, including two, Crestview and Johnstown, that were undefeated. Prospects are bright for the future Redbirds, as the freshman continued a three-year unbeaten streak with an 8-0 record, and the eighth grade went 7-1. n A study released by Center for Rural Strategies indicated 9 percent of the population in Ashland County survives on Social Security payments. November Noel Shaffer, 104, Loudonville teacher, leader, historian, writer and museum curator, died. n Officials at Colombian-owned Mansfield Plumbing Products in Perrysville indicated the new Colombian Free Trade Agreement, at least initially, will have no impact on plants in Ohio. n Area women Susie Stake and Melisa Carr were recognized as Ashland County Women of Achievement. n Ashlanders Cheryl and Todd Brown took over as owners of Black Fork Inn, Loudonville's landmark bed and breakfast, acquiring the facility from Sue Gorisek. n Frozen custard entrepreneur Sandy James Kaplan, a Loudonville native, made a presentation on her Pataskala Whit's custard enterprise at a meeting of Loudonville-Mohican Chamber of Commerce. Her presentation was highlighted by distribution of free samples. n Assuming paperwork is filed expeditiously, First Energy officials said Loudonville customers will receive savings on their bills as soon as February with voter passage of the Electric Aggregation issue Nov. 8. n Winners in one of the most interesting local elections in years included John Carroll and Kathy Adams for school board; Bill Welsh and Steve Stricklen, Loudonville Council; Stewart Zody and Ken Daubert, respective mayors of Loudonville and Perrysville; Jonas Bush and Dale Lepp Jr., Perrysville Council; and in contested township races, trustee Robert Esselburn in Lake Township; and Fred H. Wolf, trustee, Washington Township; and Nancy Flinner, Washington Township fiscal officer. Statewide, controversial State Issue 2, which would have broken down many public employee collective bargaining rights, was rejected by Ohio voters, 61 percent to 39 percent. n Leslie Kamenik, L-P school district technology coordinator, announced that a 1:1 computer education initiative, with each student possessing his own laptop computer loaded with all his educational materials, would commence at Perrysville Junior High with the second semester Jan. 18, 2012. The initiative was an extension of the district's participation in the federal Race to the Top program. n Loudonville-Perrysville Ministerial Association formed a new Community Help Mission to provide services and counseling for needy families in the area. n Horrible weather, cold and rain, put a major damper on the first day of deer-gun season. Ohio's deer take at the end of the year was way down from the previous two seasons. n Bob Buzzard, the longest active serving member of Loudonville Fire Department, announced his retirement and back-up into the department reserve, after 36 years. December Clear Fork Resort, after being closed for five years, will reopen for the 2011-12 ski season. Unfortunately, warm, rainy weather hampered the resort getting a good start with the ski season. n Roger Stitzlein, general manager of Loudonville Farmers Equity, called this area a "garden spot" for area farmers, who were able to get in excellent harvests despite an extremely wet season. n Loudonville High School's jobs skills class started a recycling drive for which community members were invited to participate. n Mohican Convention and Visitors developed a new marketing image, including a new logo officially proclaiming the area Camp and Canoe Capital of Ohio. n Decision to close Perrysville Junior High and merge those students into the high school was tabled by the school board at its January meeting, scheduling it for reconsideration Jan. 9. n A train show and a special presentation at the library by David Fitzsimmons, children's book author and accomplished nature photographer, were scheduled as part of the 2012 Mohican Winterfest celebration Jan. 13 through Jan. 15. n Ken Gosche was appointed as new president of Farmers and Savings Bank, replacing Jim Lingenfelter, who was on long-term medical leave. n Very much in the air at the close of 2011 was the status of the conference situation for high school sports. Mid-Buckeye Conference, which the Redbirds have played in since 2004, was disbanding at the end of the 2012-13 school year, and at this point, the school has not found a new conference home. n Better late than never, a trophy for the regional finalist 1955 Redbird boys basketball team was discovered, hidden, behind a safe at Lingenfelter Jewelers in Loudonville. The trophy was engraved and put in its rightful place in the LHS trophy case. n Embattled LHS football coach Don Wilson, who compiled a 18-22 record in four seasons at the school, resigned from his position. n One-hundred-twenty-five area families received food, clothing, toys, blankets, etc., at the annual Loudonville Day of Sharing distribution Dec. 13 at Nazarene Church. n After some dialogue of not doing so, fire and emergency contracts between Loudonville Fire Department and either townships or fire districts in adjacent townships were approved by village council. n New car wash equipment was installed as part of improvements at the Loudonville Drive Through and Gas business at 505 Wooster Road by new owner Dan Wyand. n Loudonville High School's boys basketball team stood atop the MBC standings at year's end with a 4-0 league record, 4-2 overall. The girls were having a much tougher time, 2-7 overall and 1-4 in the league. Redbird wrestlers were off to a great start, with several dual meet victories and second place among smaller schools at the prestigious West Jefferson Tournament.