Avon Growth News, 6-27-01 to 10-17-01

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6-27-01 Mayor Smith decides, Safety Town, New Faces

8-17-01 Redistricting, Widening, and a New Road

9-6-01 Safety Town, cars, and Timberlake

10-18-01: Re-elect Jim Smith Avon mayor

Jim Smith, Avon mayor, recovering from surgery, stresses cancer screenings

A HEADLINE from LETTERS to the Editor of THE PLAIN DEALER, 6-10-01:

``Without careful planning, sprawl brings dire consequences ''

COLUMN from THE PLAIN DEALER, 6-10-01, By Beth Barber

Beth Barber is an associate editor of The Plain Dealer's editorial pages.

``A crime problem in the city? You bet

While residents of the suburbs slept snug in their beds in the wee hours of Tuesday, June 5, secure in the knowledge that residents of Cleveland greatly exaggerate city crime, arsonists set fire to a shed, then burned up two garages and the cars in them in Ohio City.

Ohio City is in Cleveland's Ward 14. During the week that ended Sunday, June 3, according to figures kept by James A. Butler, City Council's security officer, offenders committed 154 crimes in Ward 14.

The FBI will include 63 of them in its Uniform Crime Report of homicides, rapes, robberies, felonious assaults, some larcenies and auto theft. The incidence of those crimes has been declining, or at least leveling off.

The FBI will not include the other 91 crimes in Ward 14 that week ...

[Nor] the 1,172 similar crimes committed citywide that week, out of a total 1,975.

But these are the crimes that drive neighborhoods nuts ...

These are the crimes that, if anything, are understated.

Ohio City residents don't always call police to roust the bums, their liquor bottles and too often their hookers of choice out of public alleys, private garages and back yards. The cops get there too late.

They seldom call about

They don't call about But Ohio City has just rediscovered the danger in what former Sen. Pat Moynihan calls "deviating down," an incremental slide down a slippery slope of standards that tolerates litter, then graffiti, then theft, especially if it's drug-driven.

And that slide invites an escalation of crime, as criminologist James Q. Wilson postulates in his "broken window" theory: One broken window left unrepaired signals a neighborhood's slide into slum.

The regrettable fact that the FBI doesn't include these misdemeanors in the national crime statistics hardly makes them insignificant ...

They are, in fact, the crimes that DRIVE FROM THE CITY people who haven't been driven out by the schools, the blight, the wasted tax millions, the even more wasted lives.

These are the crimes pooh-poohed by ... suburbanites, all-wise in the ways of a world they wouldn't inhabit for free heat and an SUV.

In the 'burbs, errant baseballs break more windows than burglars' tools. Repairs involve glass, not cardboard. The green, green grass of Home Depot, not litter, lines the streets. Neighbors swap plants rather than swiping them. A drug deal is cadging Allegra from next door until you can get to Target ... ''

E-mail: bbarber@plaind.com

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE PRESS, 6-27-01, By Mike Ferrari

``Smith will be seeking another mayoral term

AVON -- He has had some time to weigh his options and think about where he fits into the future of his city and decided to extend his political career.

Avon Mayor Jim Smith, after long deliberation and frequent questioning has discussed his plans to run for the position of mayor in the November 2001 election.

Smith, who is in the eighth year of his term, has decided there are too many projects and developments facing the city that he still wants to see completed, and come to fruition, to step aside.

James A. Smith
Mayor Jim Smith, PRESS photo

"I thought about this for a very long time and in my heart I felt that I could give more to this city with another term", Smith said. "There was never a time that I disliked this position, I was simply contemplating where I fit into the mix. There are so many things that I want to see accomplished for this city, that I want to try again with another term."

"That is if the people so choose that I am worthy to serve."

... In an article that was written last year, Smith indicated that he was going to run again this November. A short time after he announced his intentions, rumors and frequent questions loomed over the impending election.

Smith felt it was time to quell the rumors and openly discuss his political future for the betterment of the city.

"It would appear that I have been thinking about this decision for over a year", Smith said about the rumors and media coverage. "Regardless of what has been said or written, I want to do what is right for this city." ...

Smith said that he has picked up petitions and will be turning them in to the Lorain County Board of Elections sometime this week.

"Turning in petitions does not mean anything", Smith said. "It does mean that I'm going to seek the office of mayor though. The people will have the final decision in whether I will be able to continue to do that."

The mayoral and council terms are all up for election this November as the term for current members ends on December 31 [2001]. Council terms run for two years and mayoral terms last four.''

Click here for more information.

NEWS ARTICLE from THE PRESS, 6-27-01, By Julie A. Short

``Local support and progress felt with permanent Safety Town

AVON -- The ongoing process to construct a permanent Safety Town for the city of Avon is moving along as final drawings are nearing the approval phase and donations have begun pouring in.

Members of Safety Town Committee will present the town at the July [2001] meeting of the city's planning commission. The location is a portion of land located behind Avon Village School.

"We can't wait to get started. It's a neat way of training kids and I think parents will be pleased with the construction," Safety Town committee member Bob Odom said.

Safety Town will consist of 20-25 foot buildings varying in size from four foot by four foot, to as large as six foot by eight foot. The miniature town will have buildings representative of local area businesses.

There will be a Target, Home Depot and possibly a McDonald's. Houses and paved streets with sidewalks will adorn the area. Stop signs, crosswalks and railroad crossings with real bells and whistles will enhance the safety features.

The main street will be called Highway 911. "My 9-year old grandson even came up with some street names," Odom said. "Everything has to do with the safety of children. Kids will be able to ride through the town on tricycles to practice stopping at stop signs. They will learn what a red light, yellow light and green light are and the proper way to react to each color."

The classes will be taught by members of the police and fire departments, as well as accredited teachers throughout the area. According to Odom, the cost for a kindergartner to join Safety Town will be approximately $25 for a weeklong class.

"I've never seen anything like what we are trying to achieve here in Avon. I moved to Ohio from Seattle, where we never had a Safety Town," Odom said. "Lots of cities in the area have various types of programs. North Ridgeville has one of the best. It's put together very well, but we are modeling ours better."

The committee will begin selling bricks to residents for the large walkway entrance at a cost of approximately $35-$40 each.

Mailings have also gone out to all the businesses in town for donations. If a business wishes to purchase a building with their name on it, they need to furnish the building or build it themselves.

"A lot is going to be donated labor. However, we have to purchase the fences and street signs," Odom said. "Once plans are approved, we hope to take care of all the drainage and ground leveling so that we may be pouring cement by the end of this year before the bad weather hits."

Council President Shaun Brady complimented the hard work of the committee members.

"It's been a long process, but we are moving ahead and I think residents will be pleased with the results," Brady said ... ''

NEWS ARTICLE from THE PRESS, 6-27-01, By Mike Ferrari

``AVON -- Newly elected Planning Commission member David Mast was in the process of preparing for only his third meeting when he was asked to step aside for whom he replaced.

Avon Mayor Jim Smith appointed David Mast to Avon Planning Commission in late February, but James Malloy, the man he temporarily replaced, will be returning to the commission for the next meeting in July.

Malloy left planning commission following a unique employment opportunity that required scheduling which directly interfered with the city's monthly meetings.

Malloy took a position with Northwest Airlines but after three months into the new position, realized it was not going to work out.

I always wanted to work around airplanes and I could not pass up the opportunity, Malloy said about his love for aviation in February.

Malloy handed Smith his resignation on Feb. 20, 2001.

Prior to announcing the position was going to be given to Mast in Malloy's absence, Smith noted that should the need occur, he would pull the nomination of Mast from planning commission ...

Smith said that Mast knew that the appointment was temporary. Mast and Malloy were filling a seat on planning commission that can either be occupied by the mayor or taken by a representative chosen by Smith ...

"Mr. Malloy has been part of planning commission for several years and we would be losing out if we didn't have him as part of the commission", Smith said. "David did a great job in a short time, but he knew that it was a temporary appointment."

Smith also said that additional changes would take place in two other departments involved with city government.

Dennis McBride, a one-year resident that could be running for council in November, is also moving to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) from the parks commission. As a result of the vacancy on the parks commission, Bill Elliot has been nominated to take his place. Council will decide whether to approve the nomination of Elliot, but McBride was appointed to the ZBA by Smith.

These moves are beneficial for the city and we need to utilize all of our residents strengths to be a better city, Smith said of the moves. I appreciate that David Mast took care of my vacancy on planning commission and I'm pleased that these two other individuals have stepped forward to be active in city government. ''

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 7-19-01, By CRAIG RIMLINGER, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon boom to prompt new wards

AVON - The population boom in Avon over the past few years may push some voters into different wards.

Figures from the May 2001 election show there are now 8,098 voters ...

City officials say they are looking at moving ward boundaries to equalize the resulting disparities of as many as 662 voters among the four districts, but Law Director Dan Stringer said he doubts new boundaries would be developed in time for the Nov. 6 [2001] election.

Stringer said the last time wards were redrawn was 1993 ...

The highest number of registered voters live in Ward 4, the smallest geographic ward.

Councilman Jack Kilroy represents the 2,282 voters in the city's southeast corner in a ward that extends eastward from Jaycox Road at Detroit Road to the Cuyahoga County border.

The ward with the least voters, Ward 1 with 1,620, is farthest west. Represented by Councilman Niels Jensen, Ward 1 stretches southward from the northern city limit at the Norfolk Southern Railroad southward along Moore Road, and then eastward along SR 611 to the Detroit Road intersection.

After meandering along Wisteria Way, Lilac Lane and Lakeland Drive from Detroit Road, it continues south along Stoney Ridge Road to the Avon-North Ridgeville border at Mills Road.

Ward 2 has 1,971 voters.

Represented by Councilman David Kaiser, Ward 2 stretches east from Moore Road to the Cuyahoga County line and southward to Detroit Road. Ward 3 has 2,216 voters.

Represented by Councilman Tim Nickum, Ward 3 stretches from Mills Road between Stoney Ridge Road and Jaycox Road to Detroit Road ... ''

crimlinger@morningjournal.com

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 7-14-01, By CRAIG RIMLINGER, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon seeks wider Detroit Road

AVON -- In an effort to reduce traffic congestion and attract businesses to the area, a third lane for turns is being proposed for the one-mile stretch of Detroit Road through Avon's French Creek District between SR 83 and SR 611.

Mayor Jim Smith has submitted the proposal to the Avon Planning Commission for its review, and City Engineer Mike Bramhall is preparing the preliminary information for the project ...

By trying to push the proposal now, approval could come by the January 2002, and the project could be completed by 2003, said Smith.

He said the new lane could be part of a paving project already scheduled by the Ohio Department of Transportation to repave the roadway.

''What I'd like to do is mesh the paving and widening and make it look top-notch,'' said Smith.

Price estimates for the project were not available yesterday. Smith said he is preparing grant applications to help pay for the project, but he said he couldn't divulge the name of the agencies being considered for funding.

Council President Shaun Brady said this project was a long time coming.

''It's a proposal the city has anxiously awaited for. It's a part of the city we really need to clean up and it's good that the mayor is taking an active approach on that,'' Brady said.

Included in the proposal is the installation of storm sewers to control flooding along roadway shoulders during heavy rains ...

Smith said he would like to see the proposed road widening attract smaller businesses ...

"Bringing a more commercial and industrial base to the city has been a strong priority of the administration to balance the residential growth boom currently underway," ... ''

crimlinger@morningjournal.com

NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 8-16-01, By Jeff Mohrman

``Subdivision proposed in Avon

AVON -- An Avon developer is looking to build a 200-plus home subdivision on the city's east side next to a Lorain County Metro Park.

Representatives from Schafer Development presented initial plans Wednesday to the city's Planning Commission featuring a mix of single-family and cluster homes on a 109-acre section of land along Jaycox Road. The land abuts the Miller Nature Preserve, which runs west toward State Route 83 ...

Jim Piazza, the planning commission chairman, said he sees this as an opportunity for the city to resolve a thoroughfare issue and give the Metro Parks another entrance into the preserve. Right now, the only entrance into the preserve is West Park, which is a privately - owned driveway from state Route 83 east into the preserve.

Piazza said city officials have been looking for years to build another road between Jaycox and 83, and eventually connecting other north-south roads further west. Right now, the only major east-west road that connects other roads is Detroit Road. But part of the new thoroughfare would have to be built through Metro Park-owned land, he said.

"We know it's going to be an issue because of the park," Piazza said. "They (Metro Parks officials) never anticipated building any streets or roads."

"... I think it's a matter of cooperating with them and working together. There's opportunity here for the Metro Parks, the city and the developer to work together."

Butts said that this was a "very preliminary idea," but Schafer Development would be willing to work with the Metro Parks on the issue.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 9-6-01, By CRAIG RIMLINGER, Morning Journal Writer

``$127,000 Safety Town in the works for Avon

AVON -- Plans for a $127,000 Safety Town to teach children about traffic safety and other precautions have generated a citywide fund-raising effort in Avon.

The permanent facility would be located behind Avon Village Elementary School. Supporters hope to have it ready for use during next summer's program, said fund-raising coordinator Lynne Brenner.

It would be a miniature town with buildings, paved roads, a railroad crossing, a water tower and landscaping, she said; and the cost was projected by a building committee.

The Avon Junior Women's League has donated $6,000, Target in Avon Commons will be donating $2,500 and the Christian Heritage Church gave $1,000, Brenner said.

She said she is optimistic that labor and materials will also be donated or discounted.

Bob Odom is one of five volunteers involved with the building portion of Safety Town. He told Avon City Council on Monday night that drainage is set to be installed next week and he is in talks with various people about free or discounted labor and materials ...

Donations can be made by writing a check to Avon Safety Town and mailing it or dropping it off at Avon City Hall, 36080 Chester Road, Avon, OH, 44011.''

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 9-26-01, By Julie A. Short

``GM could build car dealership in Avon

AVON -- Though still in its infancy stages, if things go according to plan, a major car dealership could be calling Avon home.

Avon Planning Commission conducted its first-ever public hearing on the rezoning of residential (R-3) property to commercial (C-4) at the southeast corner of Moore and Chester Roads.

Under the new zoning codes adopted by the city, planning commission will consider rezoning the property. This practice normally takes place during city council meetings and public hearings are scheduled during council sessions.

The 25-acre property is owned by the A. J. Rose Manufacturing Company on Chester Road.

"General Motors (GM) is looking to house an auto dealership on the property. It will be three dealers. At this time we do not know whom. GM is negotiating with its dealers. The site is well suited for it," attorney Matthew Nakon of Wickens, Herzer, Panza, Cook & Batista said ...

"Commercial rezoning is really the best use for the property. It matches the area. It doesn't seem appropriate to keep it R-3. We haven t heard any oppositions," Nakon said.

Councilman Tom Wearsch countered the rezoning.

"Our master plan was developed to allow for all types of development. When you eliminated R-3, you possibly could have it in other areas," Wearsch said.

Nakon assured planning commission members that the developers have looked into what other R-3 properties are available and found a total of 243 acres still left to develop in Avon ...

Mayor Jim Smith sees the possibility of adding a dealership to the industrial corridor of Avon as a positive for economic growth.

It will create a significant amount of jobs and will have a strong impact on the city financially, Smith said. A lot of things come before us and only a few of those projects actually come to be. This will be an interesting process to watch. It's still very early in the planning stages. ''

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 9-26-01, By Mike Ferrari

``AVON -- The Timberlake Apartment complex that is currently being constructed along Chester Road in Avon is partially funded through state bonds.

Because they have received portions of the money from the government they must follow state guidelines. According to different union sources, along with several city officials, the project could be in jeopardy.

Timberlake Apartments is part of Brisben Co., a Cincinnati company that specializes in housing projects for middle to low income families. According to three different union members who have visited the Avon site, the company has violated different state regulations.

The project received some of their funding through the Ohio Department of Land and Development's Tax Exempt Bond Program. As a result, the cost of construction is lowered for Brisben, who is trying to develop housing based on the median income for Lorain County.

State law stipulates that prevailing wages must apply for the project. The term refers to all workers on the project receiving comparable pay for their time regardless of skill level.

Mike Farmer, a business representative for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW Local 129-Lorain) said he visited the site and witnessed several legal infractions ...

Heightening the problems for the project, two other union reps that visited the site have voiced concerns about illegal immigrants working on site ...

Should the allegations of illegal immigrant workers and prevailing wages be validated through a state investigation, the City of Avon could also have a claim against Brisben ...

Because the wages that are being paid below state requirements, the City of Avon would have been cheated out of payroll taxes from every worker that is on site. Furthermore, the lack of skilled contractors could lend a below level quality of craftsmanship, ultimately causing problems for potential residents.

Councilman Jack Kilroy said he was made aware of the situation because Avon Law Director Dan Stringer brought it to his attention.

"It cheats the city out of payroll taxes, cheats potential owners of the apartments from having quality work and workers out of fair wages," Kilroy said. "I think if it's true, Brisben should pay heavy fines so they don't profit off of their misdeeds." ...

Mike Sherman, a representative with the Ohio Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, and Rich Banks, a member of the Ohio Vicinity Regional Counsel of Carpenters, filed other complaints that are similar to Farmer's initial action that was taken earlier this month ...

Avon approved the project on Feb. 16, 2000 and construction started in the spring of 2001.

Because formal complaints have been filed, Brisben and the entire Timberlake project is currently under investigation. Should they be found guilty of violating the prevailing wage and illegal immigrant laws in the State of Ohio, Brisben could be forced to pay large fines and possibly be barred from working in the entire state.

Farmer said the investigation could take up to two years to complete and work on the site could continue throughout the process ...

Kilroy said he spoke with the Division of Labor and Safety and noted that their investigation has found evidence against Brisben. ''

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 10-3-01, By Mike Ferrari

``City preserves French Creek District

AVON -- British Petroleum (BP) has lost its final court appeal and ... the company will not be able to build a gas station in Avon [near the south-west corner of SR-83 and SR-254 (Detroit Rd.)] ...

According to Avon Mayor Jim Smith ... "This shows that the city has the right to create our own zoning standards and have them stand up in court against a large company." ... ''

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EDITORIAL from The Morning Journal, 10-18-01

``Re-elect Jim Smith Avon mayor

For eight years, James A. Smith has been mayor of Avon, guiding the city through a period of tremendous growth, and doing it well.

Now he is seeking a fourth term as mayor, hoping to continue that guidance and to carry out his solid plan to establish a full-time fire department and paramedics as part of the city's orderly growth.

We heartily encourage voters to support Smith on Nov. 6. It's the smart thing to do for the city and for themselves.

Smith can work with people, and the people's elected representatives on City Council. He and his administration also have amply demonstrated their ability to work effectively and firmly with developers and new businesses seeking a site in Avon.

The city has aggressively sought new industry. Since Smith became mayor in 1994, a total of 34 new industries have located in Avon. Commercial and industrial growth have created about 3,000 jobs, not counting the impressive, new Avon Commons shopping center.

That growth has brought a steady rise in tax revenues to support and maintain services to the growing number of residents. The new jobs generate more than $2 million a year for the city. In short, Smith's administration has put the city in good financial shape.

The city's bond rating now is the highest for communities of its size, which attests to the city's money management and ability to manage its rapid growth under Smith's administration.

The city has added park land and attracted grants to fund park improvements, acquired a more spacious building to serve as city hall and renovated the old building as the police station. The road improvement budget has grown from $100,000 a year to more than $1 million during Smith's tenure.

Smith, 53, also has served 12 years on the school board and two years on City Council before becoming mayor. He knows his community and has served it with distinction and competence.

With Avon's growth expected to continue, Smith has proven he is the one to handle it best, and he deserves to be re-elected on Nov. 6.''

EDITORIAL from The Plain Dealer, 10-21-01

``Avon mayor

Avon is one of Greater Cleveland's fastest- growing and most attractive cities. And at least so far, it is managing to grow without taking on the characteristics of urban sprawl.

There are a number reasons for this: easy access to highways and to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, plenty of undeveloped land, good schools, an intelligent land-use master-plan and solid political leadership.

At the city's helm since 1994 has been James A. Smith, a fixture in Avon politics for the past quarter-century. During his two terms as mayor, Smith, 53, has helped recruit nearly three-dozen new businesses to the city, watched the construction of hundreds of new homes and doubled the amount of the city's park land ...

If re-elected, Smith pledges to address the challenges that come with controlled, but rapid growth. Most important, this includes continued road and sewer expansions and improvements and elevating the city's Fire Department to full-time status. The department's growth is especially critical, given the number of homes and businesses it now must serve ...

Avon voters should return Smith to office on Nov. 6.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-17-04, By KATIE GALLAGHER, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon mayor, recovering from surgery, stresses cancer screenings

Mayor Jim Smith of Avon recently had part of his colon removed following a routine a cancer screening, which he says probably saved his life.

AVON -- A routine checkup at the doctor's office just a few weeks ago saved Avon Mayor Jim Smith's life, and he wants to make sure others follow his lead and have a procedure called a colonoscopy.

''I urge everyone over the age of 50, please get a colonoscopy,'' Smith said yesterday while resting at home after undergoing colon cancer surgery on Nov. 4.

At the recommendation of family physician Dr. Paul Heyslinger, Smith, 56, had a colonoscopy approximately three or four weeks ago in which doctors took out a polyp with cancer on the end, Smith said.

''I feel very strongly that my routine checkup saved my life,'' he said.

After discovering the cancerous polyp, Smith had surgery in which part of his colon was removed.

Smith said he had no warning that anything was wrong before his checkup. He does not have a family history of colon cancer, he doesn't smoke, he doesn't drink much, his blood pressure is 110/65, his cholesterol level is at 145, he was walking three miles each night and working long days at city hall ...

Without Heyslinger's advice, Smith said he ''probably would have sat around for a couple years until it got real serious.''

''Basically, colonoscopy is now recommended every three to five years over age 50 and that's without symptoms,'' Heyslinger said, adding that those with a family history of colon cancer may want to be checked five years before the age at which that cancer was detected.

Colon cancer tends to run in families but just because there isn't a history in your family doesn't mean you're not at risk, he said.

''You don't know it. It sneaks up on you,'' Smith said. ''It's the silent killer.''

Colon cancer starts as polyps that are not cancerous, but as the tumors grow they can become cancerous, Heyslinger said.

''It's a cancer that's completely curable if it's caught early, and it's not curable if it's caught late,'' he said.

Those with colon cancer ''may not have any symptoms until it's too late and if they have symptoms before, they may be lucky,'' Heyslinger said.

In a colonoscopy, a colonoscope is inserted through the rectum and advanced to the large intestine to view the lining of the colon, according to information provided by the Cleveland Clinic. Small amounts of tissue can be removed for analysis and polyps can be identified and removed during the procedure, according to the information. A colonoscopy takes between 20 to 45 minutes.

Although the colonoscopy procedure may sound invasive to some, Heyslinger said it's not so bad.

''People don't find the procedure very hard or unpleasant,'' he said.

The preparation beforehand, which involves taking liquid laxatives or pills for 24 hours, is more unpleasant, Heyslinger said. Because a sedative is given before the colonoscopy, some people don't even remember the procedure, he said.

''I try to mention it to as many (patients) as I can and we're really trying to push for that because it's a curable cancer,'' Heyslinger said.

While Smith is resting at home he is in phone contact with everyone at city hall, and, he said a great team is keeping the city in order with Service Director Jerry Plas serving as the acting mayor. Smith plans to return to the office next week but may not put in full days just yet.

The surgery doesn't change any of Smith's plans for the city, and he he still plans to run for re-election in November [2005]. ''Everything is fine. I'll be back on the job,'' Smith said.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 11-17-04, By Nick Houser

``Mayor battles colon cancer

AVON -- Mayor Jim Smith has tackled developers and tight budgets, but none of his civic duties compared to his recent bout with colon cancer. Smith, 56, underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his colon on Nov. 4 at the Cleveland Clinic. Doctors removed the tumor and 14 inches ...

"I was scared to death because there were no signs of this in my family history," he said, "My physician, Dr. Paul Heyslinger, kept insisting that I have a colonoscopy and it saved my life."

Smith ended his 11-day hospital stay on Sunday and is getting up on his feet a little more every day, he said. He hopes to get back to City Hall for a few hours next week to resume his duties. During his absence, Service Director Gerald Plas has served as acting mayor.

Smith said he thought he couldn't develop colon cancer because there aren't any traces of the disease in his family and he has low cholesterol and blood pressure rates. Heyslinger pushed him to have a colonoscopy that found the small but cancerous tumor.

Colon Cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the United States and Canada with approximately 146,940 new cases and about 56,730 deaths every year, according to the Colon Cancer Alliance.

The experience, which has left a 20-inch scar running down his stomach, has made Smith an advocate for early detection. He urges anyone over the age of 50 to have a colonoscopy to check for cancer.

"This is a silent killer because you can get busy and put off having a check-up like I did," Smith said. "You don't feel anything and then all of a sudden you have a tumor the size of a grapefruit."''

Contact Nick Houser at nhouser@chronicletelegram.com.

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