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Police working to identify Johnstown Drive Thru robbery suspect


Johnstown police are asking for the community’s help in identifying a man who robbed the Johnstown Drive Thru, 243 W. Coshocton St., at 8:37 p.m. Nov. 12.
The unarmed man stole $1,400 from the business.
According to police reports, a 6-foot tall, heavy-set man walked in and asked the cashier to give him all the money in the drawer.
The cashier put her hands up and allowed the man to reach into the drawer and take the cash.
Reports said the robber did not threaten her but he told her, in a deep voice, to not tell the store owner, who he mentioned by name.
The man wore a black hoodie, black face mask, black gloves, black work boots and jeans according to reports.
He entered the building from the south side on foot and proceeded to run out the south exit and “disappear into the darkness” according to the police report.
At the Johnstown Village Council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 17, Police Chief Don Corbin said the Johnstown area is now “entering the season for robberies” and police have seen this trend in previous years.
Police are continuing to gather more information from witnesses, he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Johnstown Police at 740-967-9911.
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Adopt-a-Child will continue through Dec. 12

This holiday season, Johnstown residents can once again “adopt” a child to buy presents for or sign up to see if they qualify to receive presents.
The Johnstown-Northridge Adopt-a-Child program has been underway since September and will continue to accept new families and donated presents until Dec. 12.


Interested volunteers receive information about a child’s gender and age and sometimes even a wishlist of presents the child would like.
The present, which is to cost no more than $75, is purchased and given to the organization that will distribute it to the family in need.
The program has been helping Johnstown residents for more than 10 years. More than 200 children received presents last year from the organization.
Donors and recipients of the gifts are both kept anonymous.
Stephanie Stephens is one of the members of Faith Fellowship Church who is helping organize the event.
“We still have many applications to fill and are so appreciative of people who are willing to help,” Stephens said in an email.
“Adopt-a-Child is a communitywide effort and so many people make it successful.”
Another one of the organizers, Janie Young, said people are welcome to donate cash or gift cards and someone else can go out and buy the presents for a child.
She acknowledged not everyone likes to shop, but they can still give back and make a difference for a family.
“It’s so rewarding to see people come in and receive the presents,” Young said.
“Sometimes they have tears in their eyes,” she said. “It’s so much fun and great we are able to facilitate this.”
Young said a lot of community businesses have made generous donations to the group and those shopping locally might receive a small discount if they tell the manager they are shopping for a family in need.
“I really enjoy helping organize this,” Young said. “It’s very time-consuming, but so rewarding to hear how we are impacting people.
“It makes your heart melt.”
The group does not wrap the presents for the families so parents can see the gifts ahead of time.
They do give the families wrapping paper, tape and scissors. Young said donations of wrapping paper and tape are always appreciated.
There are six locations to pick up applications for the program and drop off presents. The locations are marked with Christmas mailboxes at: the Heartland Bank of Croton, the Faith Fellowship office in downtown Johnstown, the Pizza Place in Croton and the Homer, Mary E. Babcock and Alexandria public libraries.
Those interested in getting involved can call Stephens at 740-967-0148 or send an email
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Deficit shown in proposed budget delays council vote


Johnstown Village Council delayed a vote on a proposed 2016 budget that showed a negative balance in the General Fund at the regularly scheduled council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 1.
As proposed, the budget resulted in a negative balance of $60,873 in the general fund, so it could legally not be passed, village officials said.
The vote on the budget was postponed until the next council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at 599 S. Main St.
Johnstown Mayor Sean Staneart recommended another Village Finance Committee meeting, which will be open to the public and held at 6:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 7, at 599 S. Main St.
In the proposed budget, 5-percent salary increases for village employees were factored into the budget. The amount of each potential raise would depend on an employee’s years of service and performance, as determined by department directors.
The issue of the village having outdated and low salaries has frequently been brought up at council, with both the service department and police department losing employees to other communities that pay higher wages.
When discussing appropriations for the capital improvement fund, council members debated which roads in the village most needed to be repaired next year.
Service Director Jack Liggett said he and the village engineer, Jamie Decker, ride throughout all the village streets and take into account which roads need to be prioritized for repairs.
“Part of the decision is looking at what we can afford, what can we do to prevent road failure, how much traffic there is, and a lot of hard work goes into these tough decisions,” Liggett said.
Councilman Bob Orsini viewed the road repairs as a long-term investment that could potentially encourage new residential growth in the village.
Other matters

Village Council President David Keck said this calendar year there are 28 pay periods instead of 27. This phenomenon happens every 11 years and resulted in a re-appropriation of $80,000 into this year’s budget.
He explained that because the village has had five finance directors in seven years, there was little warning about the unanticipated expense.
“It’s a weird one time thing,” Keck said. “We discovered it and are fixing it so it won’t catch us off guard again,” he said.
Council members voted to move all 2016 regular council meetings to start at 6:30 p.m. and not 7 p.m
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Local Waste Services granted contract for refuse-hauling

Monday November 23, 2015 3:36 PM

The new refuse hauler in the village of Johnstown will be Local Waste Services.
The company was awarded the contract for the service after a unanimous vote by Johnstown Village council members during a meeting Tuesday, Nov. 17.
In discussing potential trash providers, Mayor Sean Staneart said his favorite provider was Local Waste Services and his second choice was Shackleford.
He said he was concerned Shackleford, a smaller company, was only a 7-year-old company and might not have enough necessary experiences.
“If it was for my personal business, I’d like to support the local smaller business, but this is for the entire village so we need to go with a bigger company,” Staneart said.
Council members Sharon Hendren, Bob Orsini, Cheryl Robertson, and Bill Van Gundy all said they liked both Local Waste Services and Shackleford.
Robertson said she liked Local Waste Services because they already worked with other municipalities such as Hilliard. She echoed Staneart’s concerns about Shackleford.
Van Gundy also agreed within Staneart’s opinion and said Local Waste Services had excellent reviews.
The new contract will begin Jan. 1 and be valid for three years.
Village officials said they believe the rates residents pay for refuse collection will likely be less than the current rate.
Six months ago, the previous refuse-hauler, Big-O Refuse, was purchased by a larger company, Waste Management.
Since then, some village residents have complained they have seen a decrease in service quality, prompting the search for a potential new provider.
Concord Road update
Area residents can now celebrate seeing less orange barrels around the village.
Concord Road was scheduled to re-open Friday, Nov. 20, and the Raccoon Creek Pedestrian Bridge is completed.
Village Manager Jim Lenner said at Tuesday’s council meeting he wanted to remindpeople the speed limit of the road is 35 mph and police will be patrolling to enforce the speed limit.
Johnstown Service Director Jack Liggett said he was excited about the new road.
“That road should last,” Liggett said. “It was built properly this time.”
In his report to council, Liggett said in order for the water plant to stay compliant with new EPA regulations, new water treatment equipment will need to be purchased sometime within the next five to seven years.
Other matters
Resident Lindsey BeVier spoke to council about wanting to plant a 10-foot evergreen “Tree of Hope” in Bigelow Park.
She said she hoped the tree could become a symbol of home and stability for Johnstown.
The tree is being donated by Monroe Township and BeVier asked council for a $300 monetary donation for LED lights for the tree.
Staneart said he would like to personally foot the bill instead of asking council to pay for the lights.
Van Gundy said he thought the tree was “an awesome idea and fantastic for the community.”
Lewis Main, who was elected to council Nov. 3 and will begin serving in January, said during the public comment portion of the meeting he was not pleased with the recent change in the structure of the water bills where the breakdown of the bill amount is no longer being shown.
“It shouldn’t be concealed in a raw number,” Main said. “
People should know what they are paying and where it’s going,” he said.
Teresa Monroe, clerk of council, said the village isn’t hiding anything and the breakdown information is still available if people want to call the village office.
In an unsigned note addressed to council, a resident noted Johnstown streets have not been cleaned recently.
Council members stated the village’s street sweeper machinery is not operational right now because of budget constraints.
Previously, council members voted not to purchase a new street sweeper because the necessary money was not budgeted.
Robertson said she had learned of residents with questions about how their property taxes are being spent.
She said they should address those questions with the Licking County auditor.
The next regular council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at 599 S. Main St.
december, johnstown, johnstownvillage, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Suspects charged in CVS robbery


Monday December 7, 2015 11:13 AM

The Johnstown Police Department in conjunction with the Licking County Drug Task Force and the Licking County Sheriff’s Office arrested two people in connection with the robbery of the CVS pharmacy Nov. 23.

The suspects have been formally charged with robbery and are being held in the Licking County Justice Center while awaiting legal proceedings, law enforcement officials said.

After the robbery, police released information about a suspect to the media and received many anonymous tips from village citizens.

Using these tips, they started an investigation which led to a traffic stop of the suspect, according to Lt. Josh Boudinot.

“We can’t speak highly enough of those who came forward and gave us tips,” he said. “Those anonymous tips helped us a lot.”

So far, law enforcement officials said they have recovered only 1,149 of the 3,440 painkiller pills that were stolen. The pills recovered have a street value of more than $30,000, officials said.

One of the suspects previously had served a jail sentence for robbery, law enforcement officials said.

johnstown, johnstownvillage, november, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Cooperrider is recognized for helping troubled individuals

Monday November 16, 2015 8:34 PM

“I’m not any different than anyone else, other than the fact that I put on this uniform,” said Chris Cooperrider, a full-time police officer for the Johnstown Police Department.
Cooperrider came to Johnstown in April 1997, after attending high school in Heath and receiving an associate’s degree at Central Ohio Technical College.
“I’ve been here a long time and I know a lot of people in this town,” he said, and then laughed. “I became a police officer so I could help people and make a difference for others.”
Through his time in Johnstown, he’s become a specialist in helping children and individuals with mental illness.
“There was a family who noticed their son was acting strange and they were worried he’d gone down the wrong path,” Cooperrider said.
“I worked with them and advised what I would do if he was my son.
“At first the son resisted getting help, but eventually he agreed to get treatment and said ‘thank you’ to everyone,” he said.
In an e-mail that was read at the Oct. 20 Johnstown Village Council meeting, community member Rebekah Carlisle called Cooperrider a tremendous resource for her and her family.
“In a confusing, dark, difficult time, Officer Cooperrider was a lifeline,” Carlisle wrote in her email.
“He offered clarity and expertise to help guide us.”
Cooperrider said he encourages people to call him “Coop” and think of him as just like everyone else.
His step-daughter graduated from Johnstown-Monroe high school last year and his son is a senior and his daughter, a freshman.
For 20 hours he is a school resource officer and 20 hours he is on patrol in the community.
“I have kids in the schools and so I know if we can start talking to the kids now and show them the way, it will be a lot better,” Cooperrider said.
“I get to form relationships with the students and sometimes they keep in touch with me after they graduate,” he said.
“One former student is actually now my neighbor.”
Cooperrider even spoke with Lieutenant Josh Boudinot, back when Boudinot was in school.
“I try to gain the trust of students and tell them I’m here for them and I’m a great listener,” he said. “I try to kill people with kindness and treat people with respect, until I can’t.
Although he enjoys his job, Cooperrider said it can be frustrating to respond to calls and see the same people over and over.
“It’s always the same couple of families and it baffles me that they don’t seem to get it,” Cooperrider said.
“I do my best to refer them to family services, food pantries, rehab, Moundbuilders (Guidance Center), or other resources.”
Even when he is off-duty, other Johnstown police officers call Cooperrider with questions about how to handle situations with children or those with mental illness.
“My cell phone is always on and I’m happy to help how I can.”
johnstown, johnstownvillage, november, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Candidates make final pitches to voters


At a meet-the-candidate forum Tuesday Oct. 27, four of the five Johnstown Village Council candidates explained to community members why they deserve one of the three open seats.
Candidates Ben Lee, Lewis Main, incumbent Cheryl Robertson and Ryan Green attended the forum. Candidate Russell Sparks did not attend the forum held in Village Council Chambers at 599 S. Main St.
Lee talked about his unique experience of growing up in Johnstown and how it has inspired him.
“The big reason why I’m running is for my two daughters,” Lee said.
“I had a tremendous experience growing up and a good childhood and I want it to be the same for them,” he said.
Lee said he is excited about the growth in the village and its schools.
“We need to embrace that progress but preserve our small town feel. I will do what I can to ensure the small town atmosphere but encourage growth,” he said.
Lee emphasized in his position as distribution center operations manager at L Brands he has experience managing budgets, planning and making hard decisions.
Main told citizens he moved to the village in 1969, spent 15 years on the Village Council and eight years on the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“I am pro growth,” he said. “I spent a lot of time initiating the first development on what is now Commerce Boulevard.”
He noted his managerial experience and said he is an “accountant and auditor by trade.”
Robertson told voters she wants to focus on three key issues.
The first is the village’s shoestring budget which she said was partially caused because of revised state tax laws and the loss of a large business in the village.
“Second, I want to focus on economic development,” Robertson said.
“We need to retain our current businesses and look for opportunities to bring in new businesses,” she said.
Her third key point was developing a plan to work together with the school board to manage the village’s future growth.
Green said he has been asking people as he goes door-to-door how he can help them.
“As a Buckeye, I was taught to pay it forward and give back to my community,” he said. “I have some experience, but I’m willing to admit I don’t know everything.”
Green said the village will continue to see plenty of change and he would like to be part of that change and continue to help grow current businesses and bring future businesses to town.
Also at the meeting, all five Johnstown-Monroe school board candidates spoke about their qualifications and so did David Cole, candidate for Liberty Township Trustee and Troy Hendren, Monroe Township Trustee candidate.
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5 candidates are running for 3 seats on Tuesday

Monday November 2, 2015 2:10 PM

oters in the village of Johnstown will be electing members of the Village Council when they go to the polls to vote in the general election Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Five people are running for three seats on Village Council.

The candidates include incumbent Cheryl Robertson and challengers Ben Lee, Lewis Main, Ryan Green and Russell Sparks.

Incumbent councilmen David Keck and Bob Orsini are not running.

Robertson manages her family farms in Sandusky County and previously worked at Johnson & Johnson.

She has served on the Village Council since February 2014 and on the Johnstown Economic Development Commission. Robertson said the village needs to seek economic development opportunities while retaining existing businesses.

She also wants to focus on managing the village budget as the village continues to grow.

Lee is distribution center operations manager at L Brands.

He said his passion for small towns sets him apart from the other candidates.

Lee said he wants to make sure the Johnstown experience he had growing up is the same for his young daughters.

Lee also said he wants to increase communication between the council and the community.

Main is retired. He worked at Western Electric, AT&T and Lucent Technology in a variety of accounting and supervisory positions.

He served 15 years on the council and Village Planning and Zoning Commission in the 1980s and 90s.

Main said he believes the Village Council needs to stick to its budget and sell surplus water and sewer capacities to reduce costs.

He said he also wants the village to prepare to become a city in 2020.

Sparks works in the emergency department at St. Ann’s Hospital and volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America.

Sparks said he is most concerned with traffic, water rates, trash service and police protection.

He said his goal is to bring police protection back up to the level where it was 10 years ago and look into getting a new trash service provider.

Green works in sales at Scotts Miracle Grow.

He said he plans to bring more businesses to Johnstown so people have more things to do and more amenities in the village. Green wants to place a framework in place that will encourage new businesses to move in.

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Valentinos perfecting recipe(s) for food truck success

Monday October 26, 2015 12:41 PM

Clara Valentino of Johnstown quit her corporate marketing career to pursue her culinary dream by teaming up with her father to open up a food truck called Buster Mac’s.

Working together is nothing new for this father and daughter duo.

Clara worked in his catering business for more than 10 years, sometimes standing on a milk crate just to reach the counter.

“We work good together,” said her father, Rocco Valentino. “I’m the creative brain behind the food and she talks to people and does the sales and marketing.”

Rocco Valentino, has been in the culinary industry for more than 40 years. He grew up in Reynoldsburg, studied at the culinary school in Hyde Park in New York City, worked at the Granville Inn and most recently was the chef at Pastaria at North Market in Columbus.

While Clara Valentino was at home with her newly born son, Leo, and 7-year-old daughter, Ellen, she called her father with the idea of operating a food truck.

“For about 10 years, we’d always talked about opening a restaurant, but the moment was never right,” Clara Valentino said.

“Now, things are oddly falling into place. Our business plan was approved, we got the loan with no problem and everyone has been so supportive of us.”

Within a week of that initial phone call, Rocco Valentino was on board and bringing her different menu ideas. Clara Valentino left her career in marketing at Thirty One Gifts to focus on the food truck.

“It was scary at first, but it’s one of those things where you don’t know until you try,” she said. “I’m pretty confident we’ll be OK. No other food truck is doing what we’re doing right now.”

The father and daughter duo invited 50 of their closest family and friends to a tasting survey where guests tried Buster Mac’s food and filled out a six-page survey, commenting on taste, presentation and value.

“Everyone loved the food and gave us really positive feedback,” Clara Valentino said.

“We didn’t have to make a lot of modifications to the menu,” she said. “It was fun to watch my dad be creative and make his own menu.”

The truck was bought in Indiana and actually used to be a restaurant supply truck.

A friend of Clara Valentino helped her with the exterior graphic design and a builder in Galloway, Ohio installed the kitchen equipment.

The truck was ready to go Oct. 5, just in time for their first event Oct. 9 at the Food Fort in downtown Columbus.

The name “Buster Mac’s” comes from a silly song Rocco Valentino used to sing to Clara when she was little.

“We were brainstorming names for the truck, like thinking of old streets we’d lived on, when I sang that little jingle and he was like ‘Shut up, that’s so perfect,’ ” Clara Valentino said.

The Valentinos are working hard to locally source all their ingredients. They get all their meats from A’mays’ing Meats in Johnstown. The meat has no hormones, no antibiotics and Rocco Valentino hand-patties all the burgers. Their cheeses come from Troyer Cheese in Millersburg, Ohio.

The Valentinos said the food truck community has welcomed them with open arms and they have even been asked to join the Central Ohio Food Truck Association.

“I was starstruck when they asked us,” Clara Valentino said. “I’m so amazed at how much input everyone has given us and how willing people are to help.”

When people visit Buster Mac’s, to beat the lines they can order their food online in advance and pick up their orders when they arrive at the truck.

So far, the Valentinos are booked through November and hope to participate in the Columbus Food Truck Festival next year and cater weddings in the future.

You can catch the Buster Mac’s food truck from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, at Thirty One Gifts, 3425 Morse Crossing, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, at Innovate New Albany, 8000 Walton Parkway.

To see Buster Mac’s full menu and where they will be, go to; or call 614-585-3169.

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Village Council candidates offer opinions about issues

Monday October 26, 2015 12:38 PM

Five candidates — Ryan Green, Ben Lee, Lewis Main, Russell Sparks and incumbent Councilwoman Cheryl Robertson — are running for three seats on the Johnstown Village Council.

Incumbent councilmen David Keck and Bob Orsini are not running. The general election is Nov. 3 and the council terms will start Jan. 1.

Here’s a brief look at the candidates:

Green, 27, originally from Pataskala, has lived in Johnstown for just two years, but he said he has lived in Licking County the majority of his life.

He said because he doesn’t have a lot of ties to Johnstown, he could bring a fresh perspective to the village.

“I would bring a solid work ethic and youthful exuberance to council,” Green said.

He said he has done a little bit of campaigning by going door-to-door and talking to neighbors.

Green said he has been asking people what they would like to see in Johnstown and is taking note of their answers.

“I’m learning a lot and gaining perspective,” he said. “I’m letting people get to know what I can do for them. Johnstown is great because we’re so local and people know each other.”

Green said he hopes to bring more businesses to Johnstown so people have more things to do and more amenities in the village.

“We have a lot of people moving to town right now and I want us to have an era of growth,” he said. “I want to place the framework and set things in place so people can bring businesses to town.”

Green has a degree in political science from Ohio State University and works in sales at Scott’s Miracle Grow in Gahanna.

Lee, 31, said his No. 1 concern was the village’s fiscal security for the future.

“I want to understand how the money is being spent and if there’s smarter ways of using the money,” he said. “I want to make sure the Johnstown experience is the same for my daughter as it was for me.”

If elected, he said he would work with the finance director to dig through finances on a minute level and make sure the public is informed.

“We’re all in the village together so I want to do what I can to increase visibility and interact more with the community,” he said. “I enjoy hearing what I can do to help others.”

Concerning growth of the village, he used the phrase “progress with preservation” and cited examples of new businesses such as The Crafty Garden and All Things Old filling vacant spots downtown.

Lee graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in public affairs journalism and is the Distribution Center Operations Manager at L Brands.

He hopes to continue the school liaison committee and keep the dialogue open between the Johnstown-Monroe school board and Village Council.

Lee said his passion for small town sets him apart from other candidates.

“I want to see the village succeed and for us to become a destination location,” he said.

He has spent 21 years in the village with his wife and his two daughters, ages 5 and 2.

Unlike other candidates, Main, 71, has served more than 15 years on the council and Village Planning and Zoning Commission.

Main said the most important issue the village faces is handling finances.

“We aren’t underwater, but it is getting harder to breathe,” Main said in an email.

“Council set a budget and approved appropriations last year and have increased the approved spending seven times so far this year,” he said.

“We keep seeing the additional authorization to spend, but no reductions in spending.”

He suggested selling the village’s surplus water and sewer capacities to reduce costs.

Main noted the village needs to start preparing to become a city in 2020 and re-evaluating its charter in 2018.

Main was employed by Western Electric, AT&T and Lucent Technology in a variety of accounting and supervisory positions. He retired after 32 years of service.

Another one of his priorities is keeping the small town warmth and friendly atmosphere with a trained police force that provides a safe environment to live and raise a family.

If elected, Main said he hopes to increase communications from the council to the community and encourage feedback from businesses and residents.

He has worked for more than 30 years in private industry in accounting, auditing and supervision and an additional 10 years with the Ohio Department of Development.

Incumbent Cheryl Robertson, 59, has lived in Johnstown for 34 years and previously was employed with Johnson & Johnson in sales and management managing multi-million dollar budgets for 27 years.

Now, she manages her family farms in Sandusky County.

Robertson said one of the most important issues currently facing the village of Johnstown is managing the village’s budget with limited resources as the village grows.

“We need to seek economic development opportunities,” she said. “We must retain our existing business base while recruiting new businesses.

“This would bring in additional revenue to the village without undue burden to our residents.”

She explained the importance of managing the anticipated growth of the village.

“The wonderful new schools will draw new residents to Johnstown, increasing residential development,” Robertson said.

“In turn, this creates more monetary demands on the village, such as street maintenance and police protection,” she said.

Robertson has served on the Johnstown Economic Development Commission and if re-elected, she said she wants to continue to focus on economic development opportunities for the village, to help provide jobs to residents and financial stability to the village.

“I take this responsibility seriously, as local government has a direct impact on our daily lives, Robertson said. “I look forward to continuing my service on the Johnstown Village Council.”

Robertson has a bachelor’s degree in business administration in marketing from Bowling Green State University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Franklin University.


Recently, Sparks and his family have been enjoying supporting The Big Red Band, Johnnies football, Johnstown Youth Athletic Association Football, and camping with the Boy Scouts.

Sparks, his wife have lived in Johnstown for more than 22 years. They have three sons — Ryan, Reece and Rylee.

He said his most successful and meaningful campaign strategy is just talking to people when he is around town, at the grocery store, the football game or the gas station.

“I engage in conversation that allows me to hear the needs and concerns of my fellow community members in an environment that is comfortable to them,” he said in an email.

Sparks said he is most concerned with traffic, water rates, trash service and police protection.

“My goal is to bring our police protection back up to where it was 10 years ago,” he said.

“We have several police officers that have not had a raise,” he said.

“Also, I keep hearing complaints about the current trash service provider,” Sparks said.

“I know the contract is up at the end of this year and would like to be involved with the selection of a new provider.”

Sparks works in the emergency department at St. Ann’s Hospital and volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America.