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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Two Council incumbents challenged

In the races for Bedford City Council, Mayor/Councilman-at-Large Daniel S.Pocek and Ward 3 Councilwoman Marilyn Zolata will run for re-election unopposed this coming November.
In Ward 5, 14-year incumbent Greg Pozar, a financial planner by profession is being challenged by Lawyer/Real Estate Salesperson Madelyn Lecso.
In Ward One, First Term Councilman Ron Lisy, an insurance agent and editor of Bedford Ohio Blog, will face off against plumber and former-Councilman Warner Batten.  Batten served 20 years on Council before being ousted by Lisy in 2001. 
Current terms for Councilmembers Stan Koci, Paula Mizsak and Don Saunders do not expire until 2007.

Five file petitions for Bedford Board of Education

According to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, two incumbent members of the Bedford Board of Education will not by seeking another term this fall,.

Joseph Allie of Walton Hills and Beth HousieauxSteward of Bedford did not file petitions for re-election.

Debora Kozak of Walton Hills, who was appointed to an unexpired term, has filed to be elected in her own right.

Also filing were Bedford Residents Terry Sanders, Tim Tench, and Andrew C.M.Mizsak,MAP, and Bedford Heights resident Daisy Roane.


Mizsak on the ballot, ready for true discussion

The following are excerpts for a press release posted on the campaign website of Andrew Miszak, Candidate for Bedford Board of Education.

BEDFORD (Cuyahoga County, Ohio) - - Friday, August 26, 2005 - - School Board Candidate Andrew Mizsak spoke briefly today about how he would like to see this year’s campaign for the Bedford Board of Education shake out.

Mizsak is seeking one of the three seats available on the Bedford Board of Education.

“There are issues of substance that need to be addressed, such as improving relations with the four communities, raising the District’s academic performance rating from ‘Continuous improvement’ to at least effective, watching the District’s finances very carefully, and working to attract residents and businesses to the School District,” added Mizsak.

Mizsak, the Assistant Democratic Leader for the City of Bedford and Village of Walton Hills, has been endorsed by County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, County Auditor Frank Russo, State Senator Eric D. Fingerhut, Ohio House Democratic Leader Chris Redfern, and the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council.

“I want people to know that I am not just one community’s or one organization’s candidate, but rather, I am the peoples’ candidate.  I will not play the politics of race or divisiveness:  I will not allow anti-African American; anti-White; or pro-any specific group sentiments permeate into this race, " continued Mizsak.

When discussing the current state of affairs in the Bedford Schools, Mizsak offers these thoughts:

“With regards to certain current incumbent Board Members, while I thank them for their service, I am not upset that one in particular is not running.  ..... With regards to faculty and staff, there are several in the Administrative Team who need to be evaluated a little closer, and, if I have the privilege of being elected, they will be.  However, I want everyone in the District to know one thing for sure:  although test scores are not the only way to evaluate a School District, I am not satisfied with being in Continuous Improvement, and if I am elected, I will not rest until we are in the next category,” Mizsak said.

Finally, with regards to the issue of the Village of Walton Hills wishing to leave the Bedford City Schools, Mizsak offered this commentary:

“To Mayor Anielski, Council President Knapp, Members of Council, and the people of Walton Hills, I want to work with you.  I want to address your concerns, dispel all rumors, and present to you facts and only facts about the Bedford City Schools.  This is not a perfect school district, but no school district is, and I believe that together, beginning with a true, and constructive dialogue so we can change things from the inside and work to make the Bedford Schools the best district in Ohio,” Mizsak concluded.

Andrew C.M. Mizsak is a candidate for the Bedford Board of Education.   For additional information about the candidate, please refer to his website,

Zoning Board denies variance request for St. Mary's

Church wants to lease convent as development facility for young men
by Emily Canning-Dean, Bedford Times Register


Bedford - Although St. Mary Catholic Church would like to lease its convent to a family development organization, it might not receive a zoning variance it needs to do so.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board of zoning appeals denied the church’s request to rezone the convent from residential R2 to R3, which would allow Claudia’s Family Development to operate an overnight care and development facility on the property. The facility would require R3 zoning because children would be staying at it overnight and because it would be an operation separate from the church.

The Rev. Thomas Winkle said the convent would be used by Claudia’s Family Development to host after-school programs and to provide overnight care for young men ages 12 to 17.

Building Commissioner Phil Seyboldt said St. Mary must show a hardship in order to warrant a zoning change. He said a definition of a hardship would mean that the church could not use, lease or sell the facility for permitted use under the current zoning.

“I think [Claudia’s Family Development] is a worthwhile organization,” said BZA member Lisa Kropf. “But we need to see that there is some kind of hardship for the church.”

Winkle said the convent has been vacant for a year and the church has talked to a few organizations about leasing it such as preschools and day care facilities, which would be permitted uses, but plans fell through.

BZA members said the diocese could sell the building, but Winkle said the diocese often tries to keep its property instead of selling it.

Seyboldt said the matter will go before Council at its next meeting Sept. 6, and Council can either uphold or overturn the BZA’s decision.

Norman Smith, spokesperson for Claudia’s Family Development, said he and representatives from St. Mary will probably appear before Council to request it overturns the decision.

Winkle said he wants residents to know that the church doesn’t plan to do anything that would hurt the neighborhood.

“The purpose of the facility is not to house juvenile delinquents,” Winkle said. “The respite care is provided for kids whose families are having problems and they need a break.”

Smith said boys receiving respite care at the facility would stay no longer than 14 days and would stay for two or three days on average.

Winkle said the maximum capacity for the convent is 30 people, but Smith said no more than 12 boys would stay in the convent at one time, and there would be an adult on premises for every three boys.

“The adults in our programs are either certified teachers or social workers,” Smith said.

During weekday afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m., Smith said the group hopes to host after-school programs for the boys, including tutoring, life skills and independent living.

“We also plan to do activities with some of these boys,” he said. “Some of these kids have no one to take them camping.”


Phone: 440-232-4055 ext. 4110

School bus drivers trained to be terrorism watchdogs

by Emily Canning-Dean, Bedford Times-Register


Bedford - Parents expect school bus drivers to transport their children safely to and from school by driving carefully and obeying traffic laws. But do they expect them to keep an eye out for suspicious activity in the streets or to check the bus tires for magnetic devices that could be bombs?

These are some of the new procedures Margi Marsh, who regularly transports up to 40 students to and from school and on field trips, is completing during her work day. While she is concerned this large number of students on one bus could be a potential target for terrorism, she feels ready to protect them, after receiving training from the Ohio Department of Education and the Bedford Heights Police Department.

Marsh was one of the district’s 98 transportation employees who attended an ODE training seminar in Medina Aug. 12. The group also attended a seminar locally Aug. 17 where BHPD representatives spoke.

“I think the training made us more aware of what could be going on,” Marsh said.

Ann Way, supervisor for the district’s transportation garage, said drivers and other transportation employees are taking extra precautions after attending the seminars.

“We are keeping school buses locked because they are parked outside,” she said. “Our drivers make pretrip inspections even if the bus is left unattended for only 15 minutes, checking under the wheels and looking for backpacks or anything suspicious.”

Bus aide Andrea Hrybs aid the seminars also taught transportation employees to notice children who are acting in a peculiar way because some forms of terrorism could be caused by a student.

“We learned to watch for students’ behavior,” she said. “Maybe there is a child who is normally very friendly and talkative who has become withdrawn and quiet.”

According to an ODE press release, the state is providing free terrorism prevention training to public school bus drivers in the state. The program, School Bus Watch, is meant to provide drivers with background on potential threats to school buses, give drivers a history on terrorism worldwide and give tips on preventing threatening events.

“As a result of their daily driving routine, school bus drivers are some of the best sources to notice something out of the ordinary,” said Susan Tave Zelman, superintendent of public instruction.

Bedford Heights Police Chief Tim Kalavsky said the police department wants school bus drivers to work with law enforcement to look out for anything out of the ordinary.

“In an event of terror on a school bus, drivers should be aware of what to do,” Kalavsky said. “We want drivers to notify us if they see anything suspicious.”

Way said she plans to have the transportation employees take additional training later.

“We would like to work together with the police departments in all of the communities,” she said. “I think bus drivers can be a good resource for preventing bad situations.”


Phone: 440-232-4055 ext. 4110

No cars on the lawn

Man gets a ticket for washing his car on the grass in his yard

Staff Writer

Aug. 25, 2005

BEDFORD —  A Bedford man said he doesn't want to live in the city if he is not permitted to wash his car on his front lawn.

"I've been parking my car on my grass for the last 40 or 50 years I've lived here," Wellmon Street resident Louis Sounik said.

It is in response to the city fining residents for parking vehicles on their front lawns. The fine is $5. Police cited Sounik last month.

"I came home and was going outside to wash my car on the front yard," he said.

"I went in my house to change clothes and pulled out a hose. Then I got a knock on the door and there was a policeman. He said I am not supposed to park on the grass."

When he told the officer he has been doing that for decades, he was told it is against the law.

"It was in 90-degree weather when we didn't have much water, and the policeman wrote me a ticket," he said.

Sounik said he doesn't mind the ticket but simply the idea that he can't park on the grass and wash his car.

"I don't want to live in Bedford if an individual can't wash his car on his property," he said.

City Manager Bob Reid summoned the officer and said Sounik was warned numerous times.

For the rest of the story, see your local Sun newspaper.

© 2005 Sun Newspapers
Go to Sun Newspapers home page

Monday, August 22, 2005

City sees liquor licenses as a means to attract new restaurants


Bedford has had its fill

City sees liquor licenses as a means to attract new restaurants

Staff Writer

Aug. 18, 2005

BEDFORD —  Liquor licenses can help lure a restaurant to a community, but they are not always easy to obtain.

With 14 already, Bedford has reached its quota for liquor licenses, which are based on the population of a town and are regulated by Ohio's Division of Liquor Control.

"When a restaurant wants to come to an area, one of the issues is liquor licenses," City Manager Bob Reid said. "You can't just get another one whenever you want.

"If an entrepreneur wanted to come into downtown Bedford, I'm confident that he or she would like to have a liquor license," he said.

Mayor Dan Pocek said he hoped the city could attract a restaurant to the downtown area this year, which could help stimulate more business there. He and other town leaders realize it is easier said than done.

Yet there are ways of getting an extra liquor license —  by going outside the quota.

For communities with less than a 75,000 population, Reid said additional licenses can be obtained if a restaurant seats at least 140 people or has at least 4,000 square feet of floor space, according to state law.

In other words, larger establishments have a leg up on the competition. Reid said that is how five businesses got liquor licenses when Legacy Village opened in Lyndhurst.

For the rest of the story, see your local Sun newspaper.

© 2005 Sun Newspapers
Go to Sun Newspapers home page

School district still holds ‘continuous improvement’ rank

From the Bedford Times Register
School district still holds ‘continuous improvement’ rank

by Karen Mathena and Emily Canning-Dean

Bedford Times Register, Regional Editor and Reporter

Columbus - The Ohio Department of Education reported Aug. 16 the results of the 2004-05 Local Report Cards, and

the Bedford school district is rated “continuous improvement” again this year.

This is the third year that districts and schools have been rated by Ohio’s new accountability system, which measures current achievement and improvement using 23 performance indicators, a performance index, growth calculation and Adequate Yearly Progress.

According to the ODE districts with a performance index score- the average test performance of fourth and sixth-graders based on a scale of 0-120, of 80 percent or higher will receive a rating of at least continuous improvement. Bedford received a score of 82.3.

“We are very proud of our results,” said Superintendent Marty Motsco. “I believe this is because of dedicated teachers and a strong curriculum.”

Motsco said she also believes the district benefits from data analysis by teachers and administrators.

“We look at test results from students to determine what areas they need to improve upon,” she said.

Motsco said she is especially proud of Bedford High School for receiving an effective rating as a building.

“Teachers and administrators all across the district should be commended for this,” she said. “A quality education doesn’t start in the ninth grade.”

Both Heskett Middle School and Carylwood Intermediate School received continuous improvement ratings, but Aurora Upper Intermediate School and Columbus Intermediate school received academic watch ratings.

Motsco said that Aurora and Columbus were close to having continuous improvement ratings. With a 79.1 percent performance index score, Aurora was nine-tenths of a point away from continuous improvement and Columbus was seven-tenths of a point away with a performance index score of 79.3.

Motsco said district officials and educators will continue to collaborate on new ways to improve scores.

“Our work is not done. Our goal is excellence,” Motsco said.

Board President Joe Allie agreed.

“I am pleased that the district is in continuing improvement,” Allie said. “But we need to continue until we reach excellence.”

Officials say there is improvement also on the state level.

According to Dr. Mitch Chester, associate superintendent for policy and accountability for ODE, two out of three districts received excellent or effective ratings on the Report Cards.

Eighty-five percent of districts received proficient ratings, which include excellent, effective or continuous improvement designations. The lower designations are academic watch and academic emergency.


Phone: 440-232-4055 ext. 4110

Downtown businesses to depart

From the Bedford Times Register
Downtown businesses to depart

by Emily Canning-Dean

Bedford Times Register Reporter

Bedford - As this year comes to a close, so will two fixtures in downtown Bedford. Nienal Shoes, 670 Broadway Ave., and Romito’s Smoke Shop, 703 Broadway Ave., both plan to close their doors by December.

Bernard Nienal, 92, has been in semiretirement for several years, but he and his daughter, Diane, both are ready to fully retire. They plan on closing in December.

Nienal said he and his wife, Mary, opened the store in downtown Bedford 55 years ago.

“Mary went door to door telling our neighbors about the business,” he said. “She made friends with a lot of customers. I had worked in shoe stores since I was 14, and my mother got me a job at one.”

Frank Romito said he will close shop Dec. 3 or 10. He said he started working at Romito’s Smoke Shop for his father, Constantino, when he was young.

“My father opened the shop in 1919,” Romito said.

Romito, a Walton Hills resident, said larger superstores have meant less business for his small downtown Bedford shop he said he also is ready to retire.

“I think we’re affected by all the mini-marts surrounding the area, too,” he said. “People go there now for their snacks and cigarettes.”

Nienal said he agrees that business customs have changed.

“We would always help the customer with fitting shoes,” he said. “Now at shoe stores the salespeople just hand the customer the shoes and have them try them on themselves.”

Diane Nienal said her parents had personal relationships with their customers.

“Before a lot of people had credit cards, they could set up personal accounts in the store where they could get their shoes right away and make payments on them when they could,” she said.

Romito said he also had a lot of regular customers.

“I’ll definitely miss them,” he said. “A lot of them still come in here.”

Diane said she and her father plan to sell the space their business is in, but Romito said he might hold onto his building after he closes up shop.

“I might sell it for the right price,” he said. “If not I’ll lease it to another business.”

Economic Development Director Rebecca Kwiatkowski-Corrigan said the city is looking for other businesses to move into the buildings.

“We’ve had a few people who are interested in Romito’s space, but nothing is definite yet,” she said.


Phone: 440-232-4055 ext. 4110

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Circus is coming, The Circus is coming!

The Bailey Brothers Circus is coming to Bedford August 19, 20, and 21 to the Bedford High School practice field.  Tickets on sale now for $10 adults, kids 12 and under are FREE! But don't wait, tickets will be $15 day of the event with kids tickets $7.  Contact the Bedford Chamber of Commerce office today for more details on how and where you can get tickets at 440-232-0115.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Audio Greeting from Councilman Ron Lisy

this is an audio post - click to play

Bedford Lions Festival this weekend

This weekend is the annual Bedford Lions carnival at Bedford Commons, Thursday Aug.4th thru Sunday Aug. 7th.
Be sure to stop by the Bedford Commons and take part in the fun. 
The event is the major fundraiser for the Lions club of Bedford, providing funds for many area charitible projects.
(More info to come).......

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Zoning in on New Homes

Zoning in on new homes

Leaders consider relaxing restrictions to attract downtown residential units
By MIKE LESKO Staff Writer
July 28, 2005

BEDFORD — Town leaders want to create more housing near the city's downtown area.
"Any vibrant downtown has additional housing around it," City Manager Bob Reid said.
Officials hope to have multi-family housing units on Willis Street, just west of Broadway Avenue, an area which is zoned for industrial.
Proposed zoning changes would allow business owners on Willis Street to sell their companies to businesses that aren't covered in the industrial zoning laws.
"Also, there is a one-year stipulation that, if you closed your doors as an industry, you would eventually lose that exemption as an industrial use," Reid said. "If you came back after one year and one day, you'd have to abide by the new zoning rules."
So, for example, if an industry there closed for more than one year, it could no longer be permitted in the industrial zone. Reid said that is a city-wide ordinance, not just on Willis Street.
Still, city officials are holding off on making the new zoning official.

View article online:

© 2005 Sun NewspapersGo to Sun Newspapers home

Bedford Yahoogroups List Serv

There is a Listserv for Bedford Ohio updates and info.

You can subscribe to the listserv by emailing or visiting the website....


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Bedford wrestles with rec issues

Bedford wrestles with rec issues
City's needs exceed what it
can afford to be competitive
By MIKE LESKO Staff Writer
June 30, 2005
BEDFORD — Is Ellenwood Center, a former school building, sufficient for Bedford's future recreational needs?
Councilman Ron Lisy doesn't think so.
"Ellenwood leaves quite a bit to be desired," Lisy said. "Maybe a revamping of Ellenwood is not out of the question in the next few years."
Lisy would like to see the addition of weight-lifting equipment and a more up-to-date gym — "something modest but good for the community.
He added, "It could happen as long as we stay sound financially."
Mayor Dan Pocek said while Ellenwood should serve the city well in the near future, he would like to see an expansion with a new gym.
It is all part of keeping an eye on the future, which Bedford officials are doing.
"You've got to get younger families involved in the community," Councilman Don Saunders said.

Bedford Schools: Preliminary graduation test results mixed

Preliminary graduation test results mixed: 10th-graders score high in reading, writing; fall short in math, science, social studies
by Karen Mathena and Emily Canning-DeanRegional Editor and Reporter

The Ohio Department of Education reported July 13 preliminary and unverified results of the Ohio Graduation Test, which was administered to 10th graders in March.In the Bedford School District, 91 percent of students were proficient in reading, 59.8 percent in math, 80.4 percent in writing, 46.2 percent in science and 67.2 percent in social studies.Each school district has 30 days to contest the results to the ODE before official results are released later this summer, according to the ODE.The OGT tests students in reading, math, writing, science and social studies. The test replaced the Ninth-Grade Proficiency Test last year, beginning with the class of 2007.With both preliminary reading and writing scores above a 75 percent proficiency rate, the district should receive content standards - a “point” - in both categories on the state report card, which will be released next month. “We are especially happy about our reading score,” said Bedford Superintendent Marty Motsco. “We focus on reading here because it is so vital in all areas.”Motsco said the district strives to work with students to improve scores and education. “We have interventionists at the elementary schools who can assist students all day,” she said. “We have volunteer tutors and after school tutoring programs. We also use computers to assess where our children are at and where they need improvement.”Students must achieve a proficient score on the test to meet graduation requirements. Students who do not pass the test during their sophomore years have the opportunity to retake the test during the fall and spring of their junior and senior years.Statewide, of the approximately 134,000 students who took each section of the test, 90.7 percent achieved at least a proficient score in reading, 79.6 percent in math, 82.1 percent in writing, 70.9 percent in science and 77.5 percent in social studies.Nearly 63.6 percent of the students who took all five tests achieved at least a proficient score on all five sections.All public and community schools in the state administered the test, along with some chartered schools, which were not included in the results.The OGT tests students on the state standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002.

E-mail: kmathena@recordpub.netPhone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3154