Our city lost two first class civic activists in the past year, both widely admired for their exceptional volunteerism. Dennis Berzinskas and his wife moved to Jefferson, Ohio and Bob Tilk and his wife moved to a retirement village in Lorain. Dennis was voted the Sun Journal CitiSun of the Year in 2004. He volunteered thousands of hours rehabilitating both the Shore Cultural Centre and the Henn Mansion. Bob was Sun Journal CitiSun of the Year 1993, Kiwanis Man of the Year 1996 and the American Legion Citizen of the Year 2008. Bob held leadership positions in countless school and civic organizations. Both Dennis and Bob frequently offered solid commentary at the council microphone during the public sessions. We’re going to miss these fine human beings.
The Council Assets Committee met and listened to an impressive one year report by Coral, the management firm at Shore Cultural Centre. The meeting was preliminary to a September vote to extend the management contract to five years. The improvements in just one year have drawn accolades in the community. Many want to give Coral an opportunity to secure long-term leases and other improvements. Giving the firm five years is a no-brainer as a risk. The contract has escape clauses in the event Coral does not deliver on its strategic vision.
A tip of the hat to Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Jo Minarik. When the Council Safety Committee recommended imposing a fine on property owners who fail to remove graffiti within 72 hours, feisty Minarik correctly objected to the fining of victims of a crime. She posted her objections on her BlogSpot and encouraged residents to speak out to council regarding the outrageous legislation, and speak they did. The sponsors sheepishly sent the legislation back to committee, hopefully never to return.
The city honored the late William J. Tomko, 89, with a tree planting on Arbor Day. Bill and his wife Helen had eight children. He served on many commissions and was a member of the school board and council clerk. He was tireless in his activities in support of patriotism, veterans and Boy Scout groups. This World War II Bronze Star combat photographer for Patton’s army has been officially recognized by many civic organizations. He has chaired the city observances of Memorial Day and the nation’s bicentennial. Bill’s gentle manner, his dedication and his patriotism has made him one to fondly remember.