Nominees needed for community service award

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

Franklin Township leaders are asking residents to step up and nominate those who have given back to the community.

At the recent Franklin Township meeting, the board discussed the need for applicants for the annual Juanita Kaufman Award.

The award is given during National Night Out and recognizes a township resident that goes above and beyond to improve the community. It is named after Juanita Kaufman, a community activist in the township who has worked tirelessly for decades to enhance the area.

“If you know someone who loves this community and has worked to make this a great place to live, please nominate them,” said Ralph Horn, trustee. “We have extended the deadline and would love to see some nominations come in.”

The only requirement is that the person who receives the award cannot have received the award before and they must live in the township. The award will be presented to the community member during National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 7.

The board also encouraged township residents to volunteer and donate to National Night Out.

National Night Out is an annual event that builds relationships between police, first responders and the community. The event focuses on making communities safer and includes educational information, food, games and other family activities.

In other news, the board discussed adding cameras to high traffic areas in the township to reduce speeding and accidents.

The board agreed cameras are in the best interest of the community and unanimously approved going into contract with Gatso USA, a traffic monitoring camera provider.

According to Police Chief Byron Smith, revenue generated from the cameras would be put in the general fund and reviewed at a later date for departmental distribution.

“The biggest complaints we get are traffic and drugs,” Smith said. “We are trying to address both by looking at high traffic areas that have the most accidents.”

Township officials said they are not sure when the traffic monitoring would begin.

The board also discussed steps they need to take to prepare for the legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio.

“The township needs to make sure we have policies and procedures in place to protect ourselves as an employee related to this new law,” said Robyn Watkins, assistant fiscal officer. “I will draft some sample language regarding our policies and procedures related to this new law.”

From a business perspective, the township has been supportive of medical marijuana dispensaries coming to the township.

“This is legal marijuana for health issues,” said trustee John Fleshman. “This will bring other businesses to the township and will generate tax revenue.”

Horn added that medical marijuana can do a lot of good for people suffering from chronic illnesses.

“If I have an older friend and they are ill and medical marijuana can help them feel better, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it,” he said.

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