Mayors earn applause and laughs during annual updates

All smiles – Sheffield Lake Mayor Dennis Bring (l) and Sheffield Village Mayor John Hunter enjoy a light moment at the annual Mayors’ Lunch held last week. (Press photo – Michele Murphy)

Take the pledge – North Coast Chamber of Commerce and other local chambers have kicked off a campaign to address the problem of texting while driving. Pictured here (l-r) are Robbie Anderson from State Farm and an Avon Lake resident, with mayors Bryan Jensen, Avon; Greg Zilka, Avon Lake; John Hunter, Sheffield Village; and Dennis Bring, Sheffield Lake, as they took turns signing the pledge. (Press photo – Michele Murphy

Sheffield Lake- Sheffield Village

by Michele Murphy

Residents of Sheffield Lake and Sheffield Village were at the heart of presentations made by their mayors during the annual Mayors’ Lunch sponsored last week by the North Coast Chamber of Commerce.

Ripping a page from the recently concluded presidential campaign, Sheffield Lake Mayor Dennis Bring teased that a wall would be built between Sheffield Lake and Sheffield Village. “And John Hunter’s gonna pay for that,” he joked. Bring then returned to the facts.

He expressed concern that the proposed state budget might result in further revenue reductions which the mayor said would be detrimental to all cities. When this happened a few years ago, Sheffield Lake asked voters for an income tax increase, which was approved. Bring explained that allowed the city to increase staff on its safety forces and purchase equipment.

He said, “The heroin epidemic is not going away; it’s getting worse,” and told the audience, “We need to stand together” to “voice our concerns.” He added he believed “It should be a top priority.”

He went on to praise the work of Services Superintendent Pat Hastings in obtaining more than $1 million in grant funds. The funds have been used to upgrade roads, repair sewers and make improvements to parks. He noted improvements at the water department including new (residential) water meters and hiring an outside firm to detect leaks in waterlines across the city. He pointed out just two leaks, now repaired, were costing the city thousands of dollars in lost water each month.

Bring said their focus is to be a family oriented community, explaining that was the reason for the installation of new playground equipment at the city’s parks.

“We want people to enjoy the parks and the city of Sheffield Lake,'” he said, then thanking residents for their patience.

Sheffield Village Mayor John Hunter, who presented last, grumbled goodnaturedly, because the others had gone over their allotted time, he only had seven minutes to present. “I can’t even say hello to everyone in that time,” he grinned at the audience. Then, like Bring, he thanked his staff one by one for what they do.

He also stressed the importance of working together because, without it, according to Hunter, “You can’t get anything done.” He noted the police department, working with other law enforcement agencies, was able to solve a homicide that occurred last fall in the village, “the first in more than 40 years,” according to the mayor. “We got that person off the street through cooperation,” he said.

The mayor also noted his annual meeting for Sheffield Village businesses is scheduled for May and recognized local businessman Mike Griffith and his wife, Barbara, who were in the audience, for the work done on that event. Griffith owns Griffith Paving and has made significant contributions to village organizations, where he also coaches.

Hunter said that since opening in the village last year, the VA outpatient clinic had increased the number of veterans being served by “25 percent.”

He also said the Brookside robotics team had a great year, with several now on their way to a world competition next month after qualifying in state and local competitions. “You talk about proud parents and a proud mayor,” he said.

During his presentation, Hunter retold a story about an irate grandmother who had come to see him at Village Hall to complain after her grandson was cited by police for drunk driving. Hunter tried to explain the boy had registered a blood alcohol level two to three times above the legal limit. Despite the mayor’s effort, the woman declared she would tell all her friends to never drive through Sheffield Village. The crowd burst into laughter as he repeated his message to her, “I want to thank you personally for keeping your drunken friends out of Sheffield Village. My residents appreciate that.”

At the conclusion of the luncheon, the mayors signed a pledge to not text and drive. The North Coast Chamber and other nearby chambers of commerce have launched a public awareness campaign urging people to not text while driving.

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