Aurora Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin’s commitment to engaging residents in government includes those that are school-aged and too young to vote. At several recent events she has had the opportunity to interact with Aurora students.
Womer Benjamin spent two hours with third-graders at Leighton School talking about the role of mayor and the many responsibilities of city government.
“I came up with an acronym —TRIPS — to help the kids remember what we do (which by the way is not taking trips),” she said. “This stands for trash, recreation, infrastructure, parks and safety, which describes most of our functions.” When the students could not finish their questions in the time allotted, the mayor later responded by letter to written questions.
After receiving 16 persuasive letters covering a variety of topics from students in Rhonda Chartier’s class at Leighton, Womer Benjamin met with fourth-graders to talk about their suggestions and ideas. And recently, she spoke to the entire eighth-grade class at Harmon, along with state Rep. Sarah LaTourette as part of the annual Mock Congress.
“Students need to learn about democratic processes and how government works to be good citizens in our democracy when they grow up,” she said. “I really enjoy visiting our schools and am encouraged by students’ great questions and eagerness to learn about what elected officials do.”
Drug talk slated
The Aurora Chamber of Commerce is hosting a community drug awareness event April 22 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Aurora Inn.
Attendees will learn about the drug overdose crisis, addicition process and resources in Portage County. Residents of Portage also will reeive a free naloxone overdose response kit through Project DAWN. Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opiod drug.
Speakers include representatives from the Aurora Police DEpartment, Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County, Townhall II and the Portage County Health District. The event is free and open to the public.
Movie at library
Aurora Memorial Library will host a free movie April 15 at 1 p.m. featuring the adventures of Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards. The story takes place 70 years before Harry Potter read his book in school. Light refreshments will be provided and no registration is required to attend.
Variance is OK’d
for new building
At its March meeting, the city’s board of zoning appeals granted a rear yard variance to Gatta Holdings Inc. on Gentry Drive so it can construct a 10,000-square-foot addition to its existing building.
Bob Ready of Curtis Layer Design/ Build said the original building was constructed in 1998, and the new building’s height of 28 feet, 4 inches is necessary to accommodate tall cranes used on the production, plus the addition is needed to house large equipment used in manufacturing robotic machines.
When the existing building was erected, the city code required a minimum of 10 feet for the rear yard setback, but that has been revised to 15 feet or a distance equal to the height of the building.
Because the proposed addition would be 28-4 in height and would be located 11 feet from the rear property line, the total variance amounts to 18 feet.
Ready told the board there is about 30 acres of vacant land behind the site. It was noted letters were sent to all property owners within 750 feet of the site, and no comments about the variance wer received.
The board also re-elected Terese Fennell as chairman and Bernie McCarrell as vice chairman.
City Council items
At its April 10 committee of the whole meeting, City Council discussed buying a dump body, snow-ice removal package and hydraulic for an 8-ton truck from Gledhill Road Machinery Co. for $57,720.
Other contracts / purchases discussed included a 2017 concrete repair contract with Perrin Asphalt Co., a contract with Landsong Engineering for professional engineering services for 2017, which may exceed $10,000, and a contract with Signal Service for traffic signal maintenance and 24-hour emergency service.
Council members also discussed paying $700 each to police Lts. Rob Hagquist and Andrew Lumpkins for additional duties incurred during their time as acting police chiefs while Chief Brian Byard was attending the FBI Academy.
Egg hunt in village
Reminderville's Easter egg scramble is planned April 15, and will start with 1-mile and 5K runs at the Reminderville Athletic Club. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. with the races beginning at 8:30.
Prospective participants can sign up now at the RAC or at www.hmapromotions.net. For additional information, call the RAC at 234-212-9773.
Then Reminderville families can participate in the annual Easter egg hunt. Those 6 years and under will start at 1 p.m. and those ages 7 to 12 will begin at 2 p.m. The hunt is beside the police station. Contact the RAC for additional information on that, too.
Bake sale planned
An area group called Dicks Little Darlings, which raises funds for Alzheimers research will have a bake sale April 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of Mazzola's Market at Aurora Commons. There will be a large selection of cookies, candy, brownies and other baked goods for enjoyment over the Easter weekend.
There are more than 3 million Alzheimers cases developing each year in the United States. There is no cure, but there is medicine to manage and slow down the progession. Memory loss and confusion are the main symptoms.
The brain slowly7 grows smaller in Alzheimers patients, and they can no longer handle normal activities. One in three senior citizens die as a result of Alzheimers or dementia, and some people get the disease in their 40s.
Closed for Easter
Aurorans are reminded that Town Hall will be closed April 14 in observance of Good Friday. The Aurora schools also are closed Good Friday and April 17 for the Easter holiday.
City government meetings coming up next week are: April 18 -- tree commission at 6 p.m.; April 19 -- planning commission at 6:30 p.m.; and April 20 -- landmark commission at 6:30 p.m.