LAKEMORE  Lakemore Village Council members rejected an ordinance supporting Summit County’s Tobacco 21 program which prohibits the sale of all tobacco related products to persons under the age of 21.

During the May 6 council meeting, council members Chad Lance and Anne Snyder voted for the ordinance while Rich Cole, Laura Cochran, Sam Ray and Tracy Douglas voted against the ordinance. Those voting against the ordinance would like to see it on the ballot for the community to make the decision.

Ray thanked everyone for their time, effort and input regarding the issue. They all agreed that they did not want to restrict people’s rights. Snyder said she understands the business end, but it is close to hear heart as she lost her father to lung cancer at an early age.

Before the vote, Mayor Rick Justice said they can sit and discuss all the arguments about the rites and business aspect but, “It is for the kid’s sake. The statistics clearly show that this works and keeps the vape and tobacco equipment out of the reach of the younger kids that are getting it from the age group of the 18 to 20s. It boils down to the kids not getting started on the wrong foot. Once you start at that younger age, chances of getting off of it are slim,” he said.

Shaun Jaber, a store owner from Barberton, spoke about the program and said that people are driving from one community to another to buy tobacco items.

“This is more of a state issue,” he said. "Tobacco is bad for you and if it is a state issue, I am all for it.”

Amin Abraham, owner of Pit Stop Market, said some communities are waiting for a statewide ballot and they don’t want to take away the rights of those 18 years old as they are legal adults. He said businesses in a city that passes the ordinance will be impacted by businesses in cities that don’t pass the ordinance.

“How can we hold local businesses accountable when online businesses are not held to the same standard,” he asked.

Cory Kendrick, from the Summit County Public Health District, said Tobacco 21 is catching on like crazy and Walgreens and Rite Aid just went nationwide with the program. He said the evidence is strong that it is working. It is meant to stop new smokers from starting.

“The evidence shows this cut the youth adoption in half. Those staring can be dramatically cut down,” he said. 

Other business:

- Council aprroved a resolution authorizing the mayor to accept the proposal from Hammontree and Associates for improvements to Ackers Avenue and two areas of Sanitarium Road for Ohio Public Works Commission funding.

- The hire of Baron Derita and Seth Sturtzback as part-time members of the Lakemore Fire Department was approved.

- A resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into the Pass-Through Grant agreement with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for the capital improvement community park, recreation conservation project known as the Hinton Humiston Fitness Park also was approved.

- An ordinance approving a petition for special assessments for special energy improvement projects and a plan for public improvements in cooperation with the Akron-Summit County Energy Special Improvement District was approved. Chris Burnhem, president of the Alliance Development Authority, spoke about the voluntary energy special improvement program. Once the village has the program in place any commercial entity can benefit from upgrading to be more energy efficient. Upgrades are paid through a special assessment to be paid back over time. The program will initially begin with improving the exterior lighting around the Municipal Building and Police Department.

- Justice said the village has a tremendous amount of infiltration in the sewer system and in the wet weather the cost is high. He said the sanitary sewer system has not been seriously looked at since the 1980’s and he said they have had a meeting with Summit County to try to get a grip on things. “We got some starting points and we will be getting some pricing from them and have something to bring back to council.”

Justice said the village has a real good chance to get some Community Development funds to work on Martha Avenue. There are water line issues which also cause road issues.

Announcements:

- Heather Anderson announced that Lembo’s Restaurant is holding a fundraiser every Tuesday in July to benefit the Lion’s Club which allows it to do things in the community. It's for carry-out and dine-in.

- Anderson also said that the Spartan Snack Pack program needs volunteers as they will be moving from Boyer soon. Go to the Spartan Snack Pak Facebook page for information on what will be needed. The program is sending food home on weekends with 144 Springfield School children.

- Councilman Sam Ray thanked the community for coming out for the Lakemore clean up day, including the kids from Portage Lakes Career Center. He said that a Habitat for Humanity house was dedicated in the village and that a crew from Lakemore United Methodist Church (LUMC) would soon be doing some landscaping for that home. He thanked all of those who helped and were present for the dedication of Kenny Ray Jr. Memorial Parkway, “I was blown away,” he said.

- Councilwoman Laura Cochran thanked everyone involved with the Easter Egg hunt.

- The Memorial Day Parade with be at 1 p.m. May 27 and a pancake breakfast will be held from 8:20 a.m. to noon at the fire department.

- A moment of silence was held to honor Janet Morris who recently passed away. She was the oldest resident in the village at 98 years old. She was a teacher at Lakemore Elementary School for many years.

- This is the 25th year of the free LUMC Summer Fun program for the kids. Registration forms can be obtained at the church.

- Lakemore Lions Club is collecting pop can tabs and the Rotary of Port Summit is collecting plastic grocery bags. Both can be dropped off at the Municipal Building, SUPER Learning Center or the post office.

- There are garden plots available for the Community Gardens. Sign up at the Municipal Building.

The next council meeting will be held at 7 p.m., May 20 at 1400 Main Street.