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Civic leader leaves Columbiana board

COLUMBIANA — When Mayor Bryan Blakeman read a resignation letter from planning commission member Donna Bekar due to health reasons, emotions were high from the rest of council at Tuesday’s meeting.

Bekar, who has served on the commission for many years, was not only thanked for her service during a proclamation by Blakeman, but also by each individual member of council, outlining the lasting impact Bekar has had on all of them. Blakeman proclaimed that May 19 to be Donna Bekar Day.

“I extend my personal thanks and also those of city council and city officials,” Blakeman said. “I’d like to further express our friendship, good wishes and prayers for good health. Thank you, Donna.”

As Bekar resigned, her final request to council was to be replaced by a woman of strong character to finish out her term. After putting a lot of thought into the decision, she nominated Amanda Banner, who council approved to serve the remainder of the term.

Since there is no procedure that says council needs to advertise the position, they are complying directly with the charter’s guidelines. Councilman Skip Liston said that Bekar has earned the right to select the person to replace her.

“With all that Donna has done for this community, I see no reason whatsoever to honor her choice with no questions asked,” Liston said.

In other business, street fair manager Jacob Sevek addressed council by requesting permission to plan on having the fair in September, as the Gov. Mike DeWine has put plans in place to reopen the state.

“Seeing that we’re trending in the direction of being able to have the fair without any hiccups, I think it’s time to get council’s blessing,” Sevek said. “I and the American Legion understand that there are things that we are still unaware of that the governor could say or order that could prevent that. But in order to start moving with the planning and getting contracts, I’m making the request to have it.”

The 134th street fair would be held on Sept. 10-12. Sevek said that he understands that council will be able to reverse their decision if guidelines change once again or if the 10 people limit is still in effect.

Sevek added that the majority of vendors understand the situation and just want to work. They are adaptable and know what’s going on. Sevek said he would keep a close eye on three events: the Ohio State Fair, the Columbiana County Fair and the Canfield Fair. On Thursday, the Ohio State Fair announced on its Facebook page that the Ohio Expositions Commission voted to cancel the fair. However, that fair was supposed to begin in late July.

“I think it’s very wise to plan as if you’re proceeding right now,” Blakeman said. “I think we need to get back to some semblance of normal life. I think that as long as we’re physically allowed and able, there’s no reason that people can’t make up their own mind on attending it.”

The motion was attached to the state health departments orders and will be monitored. Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 7 p.m. June 2.

slendak@mojonews.com

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