Jody Miller
Ohio.com correspondent


The changing of the proverbial guard, sins of omission, safety of students in schools, a state championship, bogs and streams were some of the dominant stories in the Bath community during this year.



Here is a list of the top stories in 2013 as selected by Ohio.com correspondent Jody Miller.



Changing of the guard



The changes enacted by the state regarding public employee pensions in 2012 were still having an influence on the local communities in 2013, leading to a changing of the guard impacting both Bath Township and Revere Schools. 



Among the retirements, directly attributable to state changes, Bath said “goodbye” to long-time Township Administrator Bill Snow in March and welcomed Vito Sinopoli, formerly a 27-year veteran of the Bath Police force in the position. About that same time, Bath said “hello” to Caine Collins, previously employed by the City of Green and with the Summit County Engineer’s office, as he stepped into the Bath Service Director’s shoes last filled by Bob Wilson. 



Then there were the retirements of Assistant Fire Chief Tim Gemind, who bid farewell in June to the Bath Fire Department after a distinguished 26-year career, and the celebration at Revere Schools to honor the 31-year-long education career and dedication of Kathy Bearer, who had been a teacher, an assistant principal (at two schools), a principal, interim superintendent and assistant superintendent during her tenure with the district.



All changes signaled new faces and new directions for 2014 and beyond.



Unintended sins of omission



While the subsequent impact would appear to be minimal, the only two Revere Board of Education members up for re-election in the November election found themselves to be candidates without a ballot. 



Claudia Hower and George Seifert were disqualified from the ballot when one of each of their respective petitions was ruled invalid, meaning that neither had attained the requisite number of signatures to be on the ballot.  Hower had printed, not signed, her name on one of her petitions. Seifert failed to sign the candidate declaration part of one petition.



This meant that the only two candidates who had filed to run for the two seats open on the Revere Board of Education in November's election were disqualified from that election.  When Revere District voters went to the polls to vote for board of education members, their ballots read “No candidates filed.” 



Both candidates learned that Ohio law permits them to retain their seats on the five- member board through a “hold-over” provision. At year’s end, the only question was just how long they could be “held-over” without having to run for election. If the answer is two years, that means that in 2015, all five members of the current board would be up for reelection, should they all choose to run.



Seeking student safety



When 2012 ended, the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy was on the collective mind of the nation, and the Bath and Revere Schools’ communities were no exception.  Lengthy discussions among the school district and the Bath and Richfield communities in early 2013 led to a collaborative agreement for the sharing of a School Resource Officer. 



In August, all involved stakeholders approved the hiring of Bath Police Officer Eric Shaffer as the school district’s first, full-time SRO.  The three entities of Bath Township, Richfield Village and Revere Schools agreed to pay the cost for the officer, who has since been a visible presence in all four of the district’s schools.  The goal of the SRO is to improve safety and the educational climate at the schools and to focus on interactions with staff, students and parents, not police work or discipline, according to school officials.



Revere Soccer brings home state championship



The Revere High School Men’s Soccer Team brought home the Division II State Championship in November by defeating Columbus Bishop Watterson High School, 2-0. The game was also the 400th victory for the team. 



The team compiled a 2013 record of 21-0-2 under coach Sandor Jakab, securing Revere’s first Ohio High School Athletic Association championship trophy. During the season, Revere scored 101 goals and allowed only 11, ranking No. 1 in the state and No. 18 in the country.



Senior Brandon Taylor was named Ohio Division II Player of the Year, a National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American and represented the team and state in the NSCAA game, playing with other nationally selected players. Coach Jakab was named Coach of the Year in the Suburban League and received the Ethics, Integrity and Character Award from the Greater Akron Coaches Association. 



In addition to being championship athletes, these students compiled a team 3.3 grade-point average.



A bog by any other name is still a bog



Tucked into the southeast corner of the Bath Nature Preserve is the Tamarack Bog, the marshy remains left by a retreating glacier more than 15,000 years ago and one of the few remaining relics of Ohio's Ice Age heritage.



In November, 15 years after potential restoration was first discussed, Bath secured $292,000 to restore and preserve the biodiversity in this significant, if rapidly disappearing, habitat.  With acceptance of a Wetlands and Stream Mitigation Agreement with Crowland Ltd., of Independence, funds are now available for restoration of the Tamarack Bog. That restoration includes work to remove exotic species and non-bog species on the site; clearing plot areas and introducing native peatland plant species; monitoring and research on the site for 10 years in cooperation with The University of Akron; and constructing a boardwalk through the bog to provide safe access for residents while protecting the environmental integrity of the site. 



Honorable mention:  Name that stream



After years of assiduous research, it was in early June that members of the Friends of Yellow Creek’s Stream Naming Committee presented the compilation of their work to Bath trustees and the township. That work delineates and names 19 streams in Bath.  Calling the streams “real and serious infrastructure,” the committee emphasized that attaching “official” names to the streams could help to make people more aware of them.



Names for the 19 streams, which flow through two counties and nine political subdivisions, including Bath, Copley, Fairlawn and Richfield, were compiled through a combination of oral history and historic and current maps, with many of the names reflecting the history of Bath.