Welcome to the Village of LaGrange!


301 LIBERTY STREET
LAGRANGE, OHIO 44050

LOCATION: Welcome to LaGrange, Ohio (established in 1875), a growing, rural community located in LaGrange Township in southern

 Lorain County. Just 10 miles south of Elyria, and about 35 miles southwest of Cleveland, LaGrange has seen a growth spurt because of its proximity to Cleveland and Elyria and its location six miles south of the I-480 spur (U.S. Route 20). LaGrange is approximately 20 minutes from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, and 35 minutes from downtown Cleveland. Interstate 71 is located 20 minutes south (via State Route 301) or east (via State Route 303).

EDUCATION: LaGrange is home to the Keystone Local Schools, Wildcats. The Keystone schools are located on a new campus on Opportunity Way. the High School (opened in 2006), the Middle School (opened in 2013), and the Elementary School (opened in the fall of 2015) and a new athletic facility are all contiguous. Visit their web page at www.keystonelocalschools.org. The “Friends of LaGrange Public Library” has worked diligently with the Elyria Public Library to open our library facility in the old “Vets Hall” building in Veterans Park. Local “Post Secondary” opportunities include Lorain County Community College which is 15 miles north of town, and Oberlin College, only 10 miles away. (more…)

Deal Struck with the Township Trustees: No Secession

LOCAL NEWS

LaGrange, LaGrange Township settle differences

LAGRANGE — After months of contention, LaGrange and LaGrange Township have reached an agreement that effectively puts any talks of the village seceding from the township to rest.

At a special meeting of the township trustees Thursday, the two sides reached an agreement to split the cost and maintenance of the LaGrange Cemetery and continue their partnership in operating LaGrange Community Park.

According to the agreement, the township will “assist the village and provide burial services necessary for the operation of the LaGrange Cemetery,” the “township is permitted to charge and retain burial fees” and the township will provide maintenance services for the cemetery while the village will reimburse the township for one-half the cost of the maintenance. The two sides also will continue the current arrangement of each providing a part-time employee to provide maintenance for the community park from April 1 to Nov. 1.

“They had made us an offer back in July that we split the cost of the cemetery maintenance and they would keep putting their money toward the park and a part-time person,” LaGrange Village Council President Gary Kincannon said. “We had never accepted it, but we accepted it at their meeting yesterday (Thursday). They approved it, and that’s our deal.”

The deal comes days before Tuesday’s general election in which the township has a fire and EMS 3.5-mill replacement levy that would provide funds to add additional services such as staffing an overnight shift for the fire department, pay for a new off-road response vehicle and upgrade the department’s aging ambulance.

One issue that was not addressed in the agreement was that of inside millage paid by village residents to the township. The village has claimed that its residents pay about $50,000 to $70,000 of inside millage each year to the township, but the residents don’t see any benefits from those taxes. Township leaders have disputed the figures of how much inside millage village residents pay.

LaGrange Mayor Kim Strauss said he believed the inside millage isn’t such an issue anymore.

“I’m totally fine with it,” he said. “Yes, we do pay the inside millage. I think what we get for it is worth it. I also believe the compromise we came up with is a good compromise. I think it will benefit both of us.”

Kincannon said the village had to compromise to avoid entering into a contract with the township to provide fire and EMS service to village residents.

“Village Council didn’t want to have to go to a contract or fire district, so that’s why we gave up the whole inside millage idea. (The inside millage has) been my sore point all along,” Kincannon said. “I’ve talked to some old-timers that are older than me and have been involved before me with village government. They just said, ‘Hey, it was that way before, and just mow the freakin’ grass and settle the issue,’ a lot of people felt that if it came down to negotiating who was going to cut grass (at the cemetery), then just cut the grass.”

The two sides also hope to have open communication to help avoid similar issues in the future.

“We hope that ongoing talks and compromise can put to rest any remaining differences between the village and township,” a letter from the village to the trustees said. “We, also, hope that cooperation and communication can return to levels that were seen in the past.”

Strauss said the two sides will hold meetings multiple times a year.

“We’re going to make a few changes to try to meet every two to three months to discuss things that come along the way,” he said. “Two councilmen and one of the trustees could meet together and have a meeting to discuss any issues that might be out there.”

Trustee Gary Burnett said that he believes the contention of the past year could have been avoided if the two sides had communicated more.

“We should have been doing it before, to tell you the truth, but no one really thought of it,” he said.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.

Village Offices and Police Moving to 301 Liberty Street

LOCAL NEWS

LaGrange offices, police are moving

  • 23678014

    Mike Kroupa, LaGrange maintenance staff member, shows an area of the old Keystone Middle School that will soon serve as the public entrance at the new location for the LaGrange Police Department.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

LAGRANGE — When the village offices open for business Monday morning, those offices will look quite different. Actually, they’ll be completely different as the location of the village administration offices and police station will have moved.

On Friday, the village of LaGrange closed its offices at 355 S. Center St. to move into the newly renovated offices at the old Keystone High School on Liberty Street.

Mayor Kim Strauss said the village employees have been working on the move over the past week by moving “bits and pieces” while keeping the village offices open. Friday, though, they closed things down with the goal of reopening Monday morning.

While the offices will be open, it’s likely to take a few weeks for the move to be complete.

“We’ll get the biggest things in there today, but we’re looking at a week or two before everything is settled down, organized and things are where they’re supposed to be,” Strauss said. “Right now, we’re just trying to get the biggest equipment, desks, shelving and files over there. You don’t realize how much you have until you start moving it.”

The village has been working on renovating the old high school and middle school, which are connected, for a couple years now — changing some of the flooring, layout and structure, while also keeping some of the style and design of the school.

For example, the old library from Keystone Middle School has been renovated into the new police station, which gives the department an estimated six times more office space than it had at the old location, according to village maintenance employee Mike Kroupa.

The public entrance to the police station is the lobby of the former Keystone Middle School, which remains much the same as it did when the school was in operation.

Strauss said the village looked into building a new village facility, but the project would have cost about $2 million. When the renovation of the old high school is completed, Strauss estimated it will have cost about $600,000 and will give the village exponentially more space than it would have had with new construction.

Over the next few weeks, work will continue on the newly renovated facility. The next Village Council meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 13, will take place in the new facility, in what was the cafeteria in the old high school, even though the room won’t be completely ready.

“We don’t have the podium for Council meetings done yet,” Strauss said. “They’re still working on things like putting audio into it, so we’ll set up some tables temporarily to hold our meetings until it’s fully functional.”

Once the building is completed, the village plans to hold a public open house, Strauss said.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com.

Library to Move to old Credit Union Building on Commerce Drive

We would like to note that the Library Board was offered space at the new Municipal Complex (Old Keystone High School), but rejected the offer.  The Village would like to centralize as many services in a central location as possible!
LOCAL NEWS

Location found for Keystone-LaGrange library branch

  • 23678017

    The new Keystone-LaGrange Library will be moved to 133 E. Commerce Drive in LaGrange.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

     

LAGRANGE — The Keystone-LaGrange Branch of the Elyria Public Library System has found a new location.

Elyria Public Library System Director Lyn Crouse said Friday that the LaGrange Village Board of Zoning Appeals voted unanimously this week to approve the conditional use by the library of the former Firefighters Community Credit Union building at 133 E. Commerce Drive.

The library plans to buy the property using funds from its November 2017 levy, which is expected to generate more than $950,000 per year for the next 30 years. The closing cost of the sale has yet to be worked out, Crouse said.

When completed, Crouse said, the new library will be expanded to nearly 6,000 square feet. Geotechnical and soil boring testing on the site is next, she said.

Crouse said members of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Community Library “submitted a letter of support, and many of them attended the meeting as well.”

Village Zoning Clerk Mary Kay Gates said the Village Planning Commission unanimously recommended at its Oct. 4 meeting to send the library’s request for conditional use of the property to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

The conditional use permit was granted because the property is zoned industrial, Gates said.

“It’s been vacant for a couple years,” she said, “but it met all (the library’s) needs. It has a drive-up window and a safe room. They need to expand, but they have plenty of room there and should fall within all our rules for the expansion.”

The library system serves the Elyria and Keystone school districts. Along with the new Keystone-LaGrange Branch, it has plans to build a new Central Branch in downtown Elyria by the end of 2020, will build a new South Branch on 15th Street in Elyria and renovate the West River Branch, also in the city.

Contact Dave O’Brien at 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.

Toys for Tots Will Relocate to New Village Administrative Complex

There has been some concern that Toys for Tots will disrupt the Lion’s Club’s efforts at acquiring toys for Keystone children.  Since the Mission Statements of both of these organizations are the same, we will ask them to work together, and make certain that ALL Keystone children will receive a great Christmas!

LOCAL NEWS

LaGrange gives Toys for Tots new home

  • 23651743-1

    LaGrange Mayor Kim Strauss carries a box of Toys for Tots toys passed to him by Luke Sharpnack, of Norwalk, from the Road to Hope, into the old Keystone school to the new Toys for Tots LaGrange home on Tuesday afternoon, October 16.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

LAGRANGE — Toys for Tots of Lorain County has a new home for the 2018 campaign and it’s at a location where children spent hours every year: the former Keystone elementary and middle school building on Liberty Street.

According to Lorain County Toys for Tots coordinator Christy Howard, the plan came into action about three weeks ago when she learned a former storage location was no longer an option. She sent out a mass email to anyone who had either volunteered with Toys for Tots in the past or had helped in anyway.

The email landed in the inbox of Marie Strauss — Mayor Kim Strauss’ wife.

“My wife received a mass email looking for space to use,” the mayor said. “They were desperate for space.”

Strauss took the idea of using the former school to Village Council and, after it was approved, let Howard know it was available.

“I can’t think of a better use for the building,” Strauss said Tuesday afternoon after unloading several boxes of toys.

The toys were saved in a storage unit from the 2017 Toys of Tots campaign and needed to be unloaded before the 2018 donation season begins, said Lorain County Toys for Tots event coordinator Debby Schieve.

At 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, volunteers from Road to Hope, along with a Keystone High School sophomore and Strauss, unloaded the toys from the storage unit into the former library inside the old school.

Stacking boxes, the men and the teenager had the storage unit unloaded within 30 minutes.

“You guys are fast,” Schieve said, laughing.

Strauss said this will be the last time Toys for Tots has to unload a storage unit full of toys and other supplies. From this year forward, LaGrange will be the hub for all campaigns, he said.

“We are going to give them a classroom in the back of the facility. That means they won’t have to use a pod, or spend money on the pod, and they can spend more money on toys,” Strauss said.

Toys collected from the 2018 Toys for Tots campaign also will be stored at the facility on Liberty Street. The toys will be distributed in December, Howard said.

Howard thanked Strauss and Village Council for allowing use of the facility.

“Finally, we’re blessed with a home for the 2018 campaign. A huge shout-out to the mayor and the council of the village of LaGrange. Thank you can’t express how grateful we are,” Howard said.

Howard said the 2018 Toys for Tots boxes will start appearing at locations throughout Lorain County at the end of October.

For more information, email tftlorain@gmail.com.

Contact Melissa Linebrink at (440) 329-7243 or mlinebrink@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @MLinebrinkCT.

Secession Update: Village/Township have talks

LOCAL NEWS

LaGrange, LaGrange Township put off divorce

LAGRANGE — Officials from the village of LaGrange and LaGrange Township sat down face-to-face Wednesday evening during a special public meeting to try to come to a resolution on whether the village would secede from the township.

While nothing may have been resolved, the two sides walked away hoping to salvage the partnership between the two entities.

The village has claimed that its residents pay about $50,000 to $70,000 of inside millage each year to the township, but the residents don’t see any benefits from those taxes. Township leaders have disputed the figures of how much inside millage village residents pay.

Another issue has been who will handle the responsibility of maintenance at the cemetery on West Main Street on the west end of the village. While the township has handled burials and the maintenance of the cemetery for years, both sides learned last year from the state that it’s the village that is responsible for maintaining the cemetery.

LaGrange Village Council has been considering the possibility of seceding from the township for years.

“The relationship over the past three or four has been fractured,” Councilman Rick Honer said. “All these little things start to become agitating. What happened to cooperation? Now it’s more like nickels and dimes. Instead of working together, it’s like how can I get my money back and your money to you? That’s been one of the biggest issues.”

While the village has several issues with the township, Village Council has agreed to “drop everything” and not secede if the township takes over maintenance of the cemetery again, “having things go back to the way they were,” Village Council President Gary Kincannon told the township trustees. The village said that would at least give village residents something for the inside millage they pay.

But two of the three LaGrange Township trustees said village residents already get something for that money.

“I’ve tried to look at things the village and township have done together,” Trustee Doug Gardner said. “I feel the village came out getting a really fair value for that inside millage.”

One trustee, though, dissented from his colleagues on the board of trustees.

“I disagree with my two colleagues, but it’s my own opinion,” Trustee Gary Burnett said. “I would like to take the cemetery back, personally, and go back to the way things were. I do not want to separate. Some people want to, but I don’t. If we do, we’re going to have a year of trying to figure out the ambulance and fire. What are we going to do there?”

If the village would secede from the township, the residents of the village would no longer have fire and EMS service, which is handled by the township’s fire department. The two sides have discussed either creating a fire district to serve the township and village or the village could enter into a contract to receive service from the township’s department.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the trustees repeatedly stated that the cooperation between the two sides is a benefit of the inside millage paid by village residents. LaGrange Mayor Kim Strauss said the cooperation doesn’t have to end if the village secedes.

“We don’t have to pay for cooperation,” Strauss said. “Cooperation can be done whether we are together or apart. I don’t think that has anything to do with it. I feel like it keeps coming up. Are you saying that we have to keep paying that money to have the cooperation?

“I’m not paying for cooperation. That cooperation can and should continue. We don’t have to pay for it, but we have to justify to our residents.”

The township trustees agreed to consider taking over the maintenance of the cemetery if the village continues to provide a full-time employee, while the township will provide a part-time employee, to maintain LaGrange Community Park, which is one of the partnerships the two sides have entered over the years.

Some residents spoke during the meeting saying they felt it was inevitable that the two sides will split.

Assistant County Prosecutor Gerald Innes, who was at the meeting representing the township, warned against secession.

“If you split, it’s not like you take your ball and just go home. It’s more like a divorce,” he said. “Anyone who’s been through a divorce knows you never end up better afterward. This is going to be an ugly thing. It’s going to be horrible to try and figure out what we have to do because these folks have trusted each other and done things on handshake deals, which is great. It’s going to make it really tough, though. It’s going to be a nightmare trying to figure out how we split everything up, like a divorce.”

Old Keystone High hosts Police from all over the Country!

COPS AND COURTS

Law enforcement undergoes active shooter training at old Keystone Middle School

LAGRANGE — Shots rang out in the back hallway of the old Keystone Middle School.

“Go! Go! Go!

“Entry made. All three units.

“One down, one down!”

Down the hall, a man raised his arms screaming, “I didn’t mean it! I didn’t mean it!”

Commands were yelled, instructing the man – later identified as the shooter – to get down and stay down.

Among the injuries included head wounds, a gunshot to the neck and at least one person was dead.

Those uninjured left the building surrounded by officers.

Police officers, firefighters and rescue crew personnel then surveyed the scene. Some helped carry the injured out. Others stood by, securing the room where the injured were gathered.

Nearly 20 minutes later, the same group of 24 police officers, 15 firefighter and rescue crew members and one dispatcher acted out another active-shooter scenario.

Monday through Friday, the LaGrange Police Department, the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training and the FBI are hosting an Active Attack Integrated Response course at the former Keystone elementary and middle schools, said LaGrange Police Chief Chad Duensing.

“It’s become imperative to hold these types of training sessions for law enforcement officers and rescue personnel across the United States so they are prepared for active shooters in any situation — whether inside an office building, movie theater, school or church,” Duensing said.

LaGrange Police Lt. Wayne Ramsey was instrumental in organizing the only course of its kind in Lorain County. The course brought first responders from across Ohio, as well as Georgia and Louisiana.

“This is a combined training course,” Ramsey said. “The scenarios are based on active shooter incidents. The course provides a model framework for law enforcement, fire and EMS to integrate responses during an active attack/shooter event through the rescue task force concept.”

The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University was created in 2002 by a partnership between Texas State University, San Marcos Police Department and Hays County Sheriff’s Office, to address the need for active shooter response training for first responders, said ALERRT instructor CJ Williams.

ALERRT was established after the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. In 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 people in Columbine, Colo., before turning the weapons on themselves.

In 2012, the FBI partnered with ALERRT and adopted the ALERRT curriculum as the FBI’s standard for active shooter response training. FBI special agents now instruct ALERRT across the United States, helping prepare state and local officers while establishing local partnerships with law enforcement colleagues.

To date, 130,000 first responders have been trained nationwide using dynamic active shooter, force-on-force scenario-based training, Williams said.

Using more than $30 million in state and federal grant funding, after the one-week intense course, the attendees will be certified to bring the program to their own agencies, Williams said.

“It’s important to integrate fire and police who respond to threats of an active shooter,” Williams said.

The ultimate goals, Ramsey said, are to stop the killing and evacuate the building.

The average response time is three minutes for first responders to arrive at a scene, Williams said.

After witnessing a scenario Tuesday afternoon, LaGrange Mayor Kim Strauss said the program a useful tool not only for the Keystone Schools, should an active shooting ever arise, but to prepare all first responders for what can be a traumatizing event.

“It scared me when the guns went off,” Strauss said. “But, obviously they have to hear that and be prepared for all of those situations. For myself, it makes me feel a lot better our officers are in the training. People do not want to get complacent and say, ‘Well, that was Columbine … that’s not here.’ You can never have enough training.”

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 440-329-7243 or mlinebrink@chroniclet.com. Follow her @MLinebrinkCT on Twitter.

Please Review Republic Services Recycling Policy

REPUBLIC  SERVICES

Curbside Recycling Program

Acceptable Materials:

Newspapers: The entire newspaper including inserts.

Aluminum, steel, and bimetal: Food and beverage cans only.

Glass: Food and beverage containers only.

Plastic: Food and beverage containers marked with a #1 through #7 on them.

Plastic: Detergent and soap containers marked with a #1 through #7 on them.

Cartons / Aseptic containers: Milk.juice, etc.

Misc paper: Magazines, phone books, junk mail, cardboard.

Do not recycle:

No Containers with excessive foods or liquids still in the container.

No Containers that contained hazardous materials such as oil or anti-freeze.

No Shredded paper.

No Styrofoam, aluminum foil, pie tins, etc …

No Light bulbs, Christmas lights, window glass, ceramics, china, etc …

No Plastic wrap, plastic bags, toys, flowerpots, garden hoses, etc …

No Clothing, blankets, household linens, furniture, etc …

No Plastics not marked #1 through #7.

No Scrap metal, batteries, chains, car parts, pots & pans, knifes, etc …

No needles, syringes, medical waste, or sharps.

No wood.

1-800-433-1309