The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

May 6, 2013

Only issues make ballot

Not much excitement generated

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — An all-issues special election Tuesday isn’t generating a lot of excitement among voters, officials said.

Early voting numbers, usually a barometer of action anticipated at polling places, have been sluggish at best, said Carol Lovas, Ashtabula County Board of Elections director. As of late Friday morning, only 765 people had cast an early ballot, either by absentee or in person at the election board office, she said.

Election officials estimated between 15 and 20 percent of the county’s nearly 65,000 registered voters will participate in the special election. By comparison, in November 68 percent of eligible voters helped pick a president and a number of federal, state and county officials.

Still, the majority of the county’s voters have the chance to participate on Tuesday. Seventy of the 104 precincts are impacted to some degree by issues on the ballot.

Tuesday’s line-up features 10 issues, including three school levies. There’s nary a candidate to be found. That changes in November when the ballot will be awash with office-seekers, including township trustees and council and school board members.

Here’s a look at the issues:

• Ashtabula — There’s two measures for voters in the city to decide. One would retain the 1.8 percent municipal income tax for another three years, while the other would restructure the auditor’s office

• Geneva City — Increase the municipal income tax from 1.5 to 2 percent

• Geneva-on-the-Lake — Four-year, 1.5-mill road/bridge replacement levy

• Harpersfield Township — Five-year, 1-mill road/bridge renewal levy

• Ashtabula Area City Schools — Five-year, additional 6.2-mill emergency levy

• Geneva Union Cemeteries District — Five-year, additional 0.5-mill for cemeteries

• Grand Valley Public Library — Continuing additional 2-mill levy

• Jefferson Area Local Schools — Five-year, 4.5-mill renewal levy for current expenses

• Ledgemont Local Schools District — Additional 14.7 mills to avoid an operating deficit

Tuesday’s election will be the first since board members consolidated some precincts earlier this year. Twenty-three precincts were blended to help improve efficiency and cut costs.

Affected voters have been notified, but anticipating some confusion on Election Day, four polling places with multiple precincts will be staffed with people equipped with computers that can instantly point voters to their proper precinct. The computer tablets have been rented as an experiment, Lovas said.

Two of the tablets will be on duty at polling places in Ashtabula, one in Geneva and the fourth in Jefferson, she said.

Polls will be open between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.


Cyclist dies in crash

Mentor man loses control, hit by Dayton driver


Staff Writer

ROME TOWNSHIP — A Mentor man was killed instantly on Sunday, Ashtabula County Coroner’s Investigator Jim Baehr said, after he lost control of his motorcycle and was struck by an oncoming car.

Gerald Stark, 70, was driving south on Route 45 at 10:50 a.m. when he went left of center at Dodgeville Road to avoid rear-ending the vehicle in front of him, which was stopped and waiting for oncoming traffic in order to make a left hand turn, Ohio State Highway Patrol reports show.

“Basically Mr. Stark lost control and dumped his bike,” Baehr said. “The northbound driver that hit him did everything he could to avoid the collision, but there was just no way.”

OHP identifies the driver of the northbound vehicle as Timothy Harman, 41, of Dayton.

Stark was pronounced dead at the scene. He was wearing a helmet, but it was blown off by the force of the impact, Baehr said. He had no passengers.

The preliminary cause of death is blunt trauma to the head, trunk and extremities. No autopsy will be performed, Baehr said, though routing toxicology tests were preformed and results are expected within two to three weeks.

“There was no evidence of intoxication at the scene,” Baehr said. “This was a routine test that we performed given the circumstances of the crash.

OHP was assisted by the Rome Fire Department and South Central Ambulance at the scene, and reports that the investigation continues into the circumstances of the crash.


Patrol: 5 women die in limo fire on Calif. bridge


By JOHN S. MARSHALL — Associated Press