The center of Rootstown has become more beautiful

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The center of Rootstown has become more beautiful and more historic at the same time thanks to the efforts of John Michael, newly-elected trustee of the First Congregational Church of Rootstown, United Church of Christ. With the help of his brothers, Jeff Michael and Greg Michael, the trio illuminated the historic steeple of the church. First raised in 1954, the steeple was originally lit by floodlights that were controlled by a timeclock intended to serve as a beacon and reminder to follow in the Masters way of Christian living, according to the churchs Sesquicentennial Anniversary Book. The steeple was an integral part of the major building addition to the church in 1954, according to Betty Davis who provided much of the history on the steeple through her own memories and the anniversary book. I remember the day that the steeple was raised as we were allowed to leave school and watch the whole process, said Betty. The steeple was built by Roger Brown Lumber Co. of Ravenna and raised into place on Dec. 13, 1954. It took the entire morning to prepare for the raising but 30 minutes to raise the steeple and set it into place on the eight supporting pillars where it was bolted into sockets by Wayne Baumberger, contractor. The original bell, circa 1862, was cracked but a new bell had been located 20 years earlier in Sparta at an abandoned church. The qualities of the new bell were similar to the original and was installed in time for the 125th anniversary in 1935. This found bell was the one installed in the new steeple. The steeple with bell intact had not been lighted for more than 20 years. Church member Kathleen Eldridge had been researching the options to have the steeple lighted again. As newly-elected church trustee John Michael started his term, he solved the problem of lighting the steeple and is currently looking toward illuminating the stained glass window in the front of the church to showcase the beautiful architecture of the historic building. The bell in the steeple still rings each Sunday morning. And now Rootstown residents and passers-by can enjoy the beautiful steeple in the morning sun or in the evening dusk thanks to the efforts of the Michael family. Mary Ann Peck enjoyed bragging rights as the proud grandmother of Drake Danner, a first-grade student at Country Day School in Canton. Drake, son of Dr. Jeff and LeeAnn Danner of Canton, earned second place in the Ohio Novice Division of the state chess tournament. He is the grandson of Mary Ann and Jack Peck of Rootstown and Alma and Joe Danner of Massillon. The Rootstown Athletic Department and Rootstown Sports Boosters recently sponsored the Winter Sports Banquet to honor athletes participating in basketball, wrestling and cheerleading. Keith Waesch, athletic director at Rootstown High School, introduced each of the coaches to present the awards. Students earning the awards for each sport included: Wrestling James Hamilton, varsity most valuable player; Brandon Winkler, most improved and three-year varsity letter recognition. Boys basketball Adam Dye, varsity most valuable player; Logan Vair, varsity most improved player; Jensen Lewis, junior varsity most valuable player; Mike Darrah, varsity coaches award and three-year varsity letter recognition; Aaron Eads, the varsity good hands award; and Kyle Stewart, freshman most valuable player. Girls basketball Lyndsey Shaw, varsity most valuable player; Jessica Fitzthum, varsity most improved player; Alicia Stoner, varsity best defensive player; Kylan Ward, junior varsity most valuable player; and Jen Hladio, outstanding freshman. Cheerleading Nicole Ingram, Leslie Schelat and Kyle Stelzer, four-year awards; Nicole Ingram and Cortni Barrett, captains. The Rootstown High School Varsity Bowling Team celebrated its 2002-03 season with a banquet hosted by the Rootstown Athletic Department. Awards presented included: Varsity boys Kevin Kommel, most valuable player and all-conference first team selection; Nick Edington, most improved; Mike Jenior, team spirit; and Ben Jenior, coaches award. Varsity girls Stephanie Jeffrey, most valuable player and all-conference first team; Amber Unrue, most improved; Tiphany Reuting, team spirit; and Julie White, coaches award. Junior varsity boys Paul Taylor, most valuable player; Kyle Arbogast, most improved; Anthony Colecchi, team spirit; Nathan Gibson, coaches award; and John Deak, late-bloomer award. Junior varsity girls Sherri Riddle, most valuable; Tamara Wright, most improved; Rachel Taylor, coaches award; Collette Ripple, team spirit; and Jessica Criss, late-bloomer award. The junior varsity boys also received medals for finishing second in the Portage-Summit High School Bowling Conference. E-mail: golffam2002@hotmail.com Phone: (330) 325-1257

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