One incumbent is looking to retain her trustee seat, while six newcomers (all write-in candidates) are looking for a spot on the board in Sharon Township. The race does not include 36-year trustee veteran Raymond Lurtz, who is retiring. His term expires Dec. 31.
“I’ve given 41 years to Sharon,” Lurtz said, noting he’s served as a fireman, zoning inspector and trustee during his tenure. “My wife and I are very fortunate to be able to travel around the world and we’re going to continue to travel.”
Running for two trustee seats are incumbent Kimberly Bolas Miller and newcomers Jim Berry, Joe Canestraro, Donald Hammond, James Sherman, F. Jeffrey Stroup and John Winland.
- Age: 58
- Education: graduate of Highland High School and Ohio State University
- Family: spouse, Lois; daughter, Christina
- Occupation: grain farmer, Berry Farm II
- Age: 51
- Education: bachelor’s, The Ohio State University
- Family: spouse, Linda; daughter, Zoe
- Occupation: mortgage broker-banker, The Money Connection
- Age: 76
- Education: associates in criminal justice
- Family: spouse, Eleanor; children Don, Dane and Deanna
- Occupation: retired, Brooklyn Police Department
Kimberly Bolas Miller
- Age: 46
- Education: bachelor’s in business administration and finance, University of Akron
- Family: spouse, Denny; sons Benjamin and Adam
- Occupation: vice president of private banking, Westfield Bank
- Age: 61
- Education: degree in business administration
- Family: three adult children
- Occupation: material handler, Survitec Group/RFD Beaufort Inc.
F. Jeffrey Stroup
F. Jeffrey Stroup
- Age: 58
- Education: University of Akron
- Family: spouse, Missy; three adult children, two adult step-children and one grandchild
- Occupation: financial representative, contracted with Nationwide
- Age: 66
- Education: high school
- Family: spouse, LuAnn; children Ryan and Neil
- Occupation: owner, Profile Rubber Corp., Inc.
Question: What makes you the best candidate for the position?
Berry: As a lifelong resident I have witnessed the community grow, change and prosper. I would like to help the community continue growing with changing times, while maintaining the community heritage and integrity.
Canestraro: I am running for Sharon Township trustee because I believe I am the most successful and qualified candidate. With 30 years of experience as a local business owner with the knowledge of annual budgets and fiscal accountability, I am capable of handling the challenges this position may entail.
I have been voted in as the leader for several professional organizations, such as the president of The Ohio State University Alumni group, which has given me a chance to become an excellent communicator and work with various personalities.
As a 2014 graduate of Leadership Medina County, I’ve learned the history of Medina County and all of its surrounding townships. I want to play an active role in not only preserving that rich history, but building upon it in a positive way. This experience also has taught me the importance of community involvement, and has inspired me to want to take a leadership role in the township.
Hammond: My 30 year career with the Brooklyn Police Department and obtaining a criminal justice degree have given me insight and patience to work with the community and administration to support and benefit Sharon Township.
I have lived in Sharon Township for 21 years and was appointed to the township Zoning Commission six years ago. Serving on the Zoning Commission has given me insight into the relationship of the township and Medina County. Working closely with the current trustees has given me a better understanding of the community needs, wants and requirements.
Miller: I feel I am the best candidate for the position due to my experience with the position and the fact that I have lived in Sharon my entire life. I am a person who will continue to look out for the best interest of our township and its residents. I have been a trustee in Sharon Township since 2008.
My history of being involved with township government most of my life as well as having excellent relationships with the necessary county officials make me a resourceful candidate. I served as fiscal officer for Sharon Township from 2000-2008, which allowed me to obtain knowledge of the finances for our township. This gives me a better overall picture of what our township is able to spend and not spend that many trustees do not have.
I have been directly involved with and help support many activities within the township, including making our fire department a part-time paid department from a volunteer department, adding an addition to the fire station, building a new road maintenance garage, expanding our cemetery, purchasing the current post office and 1840 historic house, renovating the town hall and protecting 200 acres of property close to the center of the township by working with the Medina County Park District to purchase land to develop into more parks for our community.
Sherman: I have nearly 40 years of management experience working with the public. This has allowed me to enhance my communication skills to a level that will be very helpful as a trustee.
Stroup: I believe I am the best candidate for the position due to my strong desire to serve the community, experience and leadership abilities.
My vision for Sharon Township is to maintain the quaint rural character even with inevitable future development within the township. My experience serving on the Board of Zoning Appeals and chairman on Zoning Commission will be very valuable in attaining this goal. Along with my zoning experience, I have five years of experience in municipal finance as a municipal analyst for the Ohio Municipal Advisory Council (1986-1991).
The township has had good leadership and that must continue. A good leader must be willing to serve those they lead and to understand that the right decision is not always the popular decision. A good leader must be open to new ideas but be resolved in making their final decision. I have proven my leadership through the various boards and organizations I have served, and wish to continue as a member of the Sharon Township trustees.
Winland: I have been going to the trustees meetings for the last 15 years. I see what has happened and have an idea how things should be done. I have run a business for most of my life that I think can help in running the township. I do know that the township government runs a little different than a private business.
Question: What are the biggest challenges facing your township and how would you address them?
Berry: As our community grows, the biggest challenge is maintaining safety for all residents, young and old. I would like to continue and grow our relationship with the Medina County Sherriff Department for safety and traffic. I would also like to support our Sharon Township Fire Department and EMS
Canestraro: One of the biggest challenges facing Sharon Township is its rapid growth, which can be overwhelming for old and new community members alike. This township has developed an urgency to be reactive, as well as proactive, to the issues it faces.
One area I feel strongly about is the safety of the community’s roads. With the many distractions drivers are faced with, especially new drivers, I want to play an active role in doing whatever is in my ability to make the roads safer.
The rapid growth of this community also has begun to impede the beautiful landscape that so many community members are drawn to. I want to ensure that throughout expansion, the environment is protected and preserved for generations to come, and that all guidelines are adhered to and enforced so that Sharon’s neighborhoods can remain charming and safe.
Hammond: I have no personal agenda other than to help meet the needs of my community. My goals are to improve traffic safety, improvements to our parks and recreation areas, as well as addressing the possible annexation of township property.
I am always open to suggestions regarding new business (job creation) and maintaining the rural atmosphere our residents have come to enjoy.
Miller: The biggest challenge we face in our township in my opinion is maintaining the rural atmosphere of our township in an ever-changing and evolving community.
Over the past 17 years I have been trustee and/or fiscal officer, our community has grown and developed. We are facing issues of overdevelopment on our southern border through annexation and facing commercial development along our northern border. We have all chosen to live here in a township setting because we want to be close to the amenities of everything but yet far enough away.
We live in our own quiet community with excellent schools. There are no easy answers to protect this community feel, but I do promise that I will do all that is in my power to do so. What we have today is something special and needs to be protected for our property value and our children’s future. We have something special here and I will do my very best to protect it.
Sherman: Annexation of township properties and dangerous intersections are problems in Sharon Township. I would like to work with the county to discourage any further annexation of our properties and also to better mark and improve site at identified intersections. I would also like to work on making the new Sharon Park and Preserve a show place that all Sharon Township residents will be proud of.
Stroup: An immediate issue is to improve the safety of the intersections in the township that have been the sites of multiple serious accidents. We need to work with the state and county to address these situations. Some options can be additional signage, flashing lights or maybe rumble strips. Each intersection will have to be addressed separately.
Development in the township will be an ongoing challenge. Everybody knows that it is inevitable, but it must be done in a way that benefits the township as a whole.
I want to oversee the future development of the township along the Route 18 corridor and as properties are sold and redeveloped throughout the township. This includes Sharon Circle, which I would like to see developed as a destination spot with quaint shops while maintaining the historic qualities of the circle. As a member of the Zoning Commission, I introduced the formation of the architectural review board to help in maintaining the historic character of Sharon Circle. As a member of the township trustees, I will continue this work.
Winland: The biggest challenge is the annexation of township land in Wadsworth. I don’t know how much can be done about that, but I think it needs looked at to see if it can be stopped. As Wadsworth annexes our land and puts in developments, the children will go to Highland Schools and I believe this will tax our school system.