–by Mike Jones

Safety Township
Safety Township, a program managed by the Sylvania Township Police Department for youngsters preparing to enter kindergarten in Sylvania Schools, is set to begin
June 12 at
Central Trail Elementary School on
Mitchaw Road.

Those enrolled learn during fun presentations about safety in important lessons taught both in a classroom setting and outdoors. Topics discussed include traffic and school bus safety, fire and electricity safety, and how to deal with strangers.

Presentations will be made by both the Sylvania Township police and fire departments, Operation Lifesaver, the Lucas County Dog Warden, Lucas County EMS, ProMedica Flower Hospital emergency room, Sylvania Schools transportation department and Toledo Edison.

Classes this year will be June 12 through June 16 from 9-11:30 a.m. There is a $30 fee.

Registration forms for Safety Township may be picked up at the police department or from the police department section of the township website,

Brush Pickup
The Sylvania Township annual brush pickup concluded May 10 this year, one month after it began. Although numbers aren’t yet available, Rob Nash, road superintendent, said crews this year were on track to collect at least twice as much in the way of tree limbs, sticks, twigs, etc. as in a typical year. As a result, collection from start to finish, was nearly double the time the project usually takes.

Mr. Nash said the difficulty this year was primarily due to a wind storm on March 8, which damaged several trees in the area and brought down large limbs at several homes. There had been some thought to making a special pickup after the storm, but because it was close to the already-scheduled collection, it was decided against doing so.

He also noted that, as it took longer for crews to get to some neighborhoods, people in those neighborhoods have longer to add to the pile of brush in front of their homes.

Because the collection took longer than usual, Mr. Nash said there were some calls to his office from residents, but most were understanding when the situation was explained.

He added that his crews and those contracted by the township all worked hard in making as much progress as possible each day of the collection cycle.

At the end of this month, Susan Wood, assistant administrator and human resources director for Sylvania Township, will retire. According to John Zeitler, administrator, she has been “tremendous.”

“She helped train me,” he said of the time in November 2010, when he moved from being budget director of Lucas County to take the township position. He seemed to run out of words as he specified attributes such as “knowledgeable,” “steady,” “immensely helpful,” etc., which he said he and the township have benefited from.

The energetic Ms. Wood has helped run the day-to-day workings of the township since February 2003. When asked what the future might hold, she said she had recently told someone they might someday see her selling popcorn at a movie theater.

That thought may not come to pass, but it’s time for a change. “I’ve been doing this for 42 years,” she said with a gesture to her desktop covered with papers and government forms.

It falls to Ms. Wood to deal with insurance companies, labor unions, and others who have dealings with the township administration. Discussing the complexities of some relationships with other entities, she also mentioned how cool it might be to work in the floral section at Kroger’s “and be surrounded by beautiful flowers.”

Unquestionably adept and able, Ms. Wood is clearly beginning to think about a world full of opportunities away from a paper-filled desktop.

She is a graduate of Northwest State Community College and began in private industry as a human resources manager for an automotive company. She became clerk of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners in 1997 and served in that capacity until coming to work for Sylvania Township.

She and her husband have a daughter and two grandchildren in Findlay and another daughter and a son in Arizona. There are also two grandchildren there.

Although any future jobs may be products of her imagination now, trips to see the children and grandchildren will happen, “and if I feel like staying for a month, I can,” she said.

Trustees Hire New HR Director
Janet Ontko has been hired by the Sylvania Township trustees to replace Susan Wood as township human relations director.

John Zeitler, township administrator, said Ms. Wood’s title of assistant administrator will not be filled immediately. He said he wants to wait a few months to determine how best to deal with those duties.

Ms. Wood said her successor began working as a paralegal in 1991 after training at the University of Toledo. She said Ms. Ontko later received a bachelor of arts degree from UT.

After working as a paralegal at a number of law firms, she worked in the HR department at E.F. Wagner Co., and most recently has been employed in the Toledo office of the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.