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Mike Payton elected President of Ohio Municipal League ... Dec 8, 2016

New Boston Village Councilman Mike Payton has been elected president of the board of trustees for the Ohio Municipal League after having served on that board for eight years.

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“Over the past eight years I have had the opportunity to represent New Boston with various village and municipal officials throughout the state and work with them to develop legislation best suited for our needs as a whole,” Payton said. “We meet with state legislators, state senators and the Governor as well as lobbyists.”

The Ohio Municipal league was incorporated as an Ohio non-profit corporation in 1952 by city and village officials who saw the need for a statewide association to serve the interests of Ohio municipal government. The board of trustees is the policy making body and appoints an executive director to manage the league under general direction. The trustees must include one mayor of a city or village, a city manager, a fiscal officer or finance director, a solicitor or law director, and councilpersons.

“They have always sent us up there (Columbus) for training. If you’re a new councilman, they sponsor the training that we go to once you get on Council,” Payton said. “They have ethics training and then they do the mayor’s court training as well as a lot with the solicitors and the legal end of it. That’s why I initially got involved with them. We work with the statehouse and the legislature. It’s been fun.”

Payton said any city or village, by proper action of its legislative body and payment of the annual membership fee may become a member. When a Ohio municipality becomes an active League member, all of the elected and key appointed officials are eligible to use the available services. Several of the villages in Scioto County along with Portsmouth and New Boston are members.

“We all have a lot of common issues, so it makes it good to be one voice,” Payton said. “We kind of revamped it this year. My year (which begins in January 2017) is going to be kind of the start of a different era with it. We’re going to get a little more aggressive with the legislature in trying to get some legislation done on some things that are advantageous to the cities and to the villages, especially the small ones.”

Payton said many of the cities involved in the League are large cities. That’s why he has made his agenda focusing on smaller municipalities.

“New Boston is one of the smaller villages,” Payton said. “I kind of want my year to try to represent some of them a little bit, and see if I can get some of their voices heard a little bit. That’s my goal, if I have one, for this year.”

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

New Boston Councilman Johnnie Steele dies ... Dec 8, 2016

Sources at the D.W. Swick-Nelson Funeral Home in New Boston have confirmed they are in charge of arrangements for New Boston Village Councilman Johnnie Steele. Steele, 64, died Wednesday at his home.

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Steele served in the military, and ran 9 corporations.

“Shocked,” Village Councilman Dan Fetty said. “Johnnie was a New Boston resident, born and raised right here, serving his community, serving on Council. He was very dedicated to his family. He spent some time with his aunt in Florida after his uncle passed away, helping her with her wrap-up of her finances and things like that.”

New Boston Councilman Mike Payton also remembers Steele’s dedication to his community.

“I think he would do anything for anybody,” Payton said. “We knew Johnnie for a long time. I always thought, as far as the Council part goes, I think he had the community’s best interest at heart. He didn’t hesitate to take somebody to task if they didn’t answer a question the way he wanted. He had no hesitancy to dig deeper into something.”

Steele joined Village Council in 2016 and was serving as chairman of the Flood, Sewage and Service Committee. He is a 1970 graduate of Glenwood High School where he was instrumental in organizing and serving on the first Student Council.

“The people that voted for him got their money’s worth,” Payton said. “Johnnie didn’t back off. I liked him. He and I had our rounds – there’s no question we did – but that’s not all bad. I don’t think Johnnie held grudges. If he did, I didn’t know it. He never held any with me.”

Following graduation, Steele served in the United States Army. After completing his military service, Steele attended The Ohio State University, acquiring an Associate Degree in Business/Business Law/Management. He then began a period of employment with the Village of New Boston. During the three years he worked various positions within the village from operation of the sewage plant to other service oriented positions.

Steele ventured into the business world opening his first business in New Boston with Nationwide Insurance. Since opening that first business, he has owned over 9 corporations in Florida, New Jersey, Cleveland and the local area.

Steele had one son, Ryan a graduate of Clay High School, and one grandson, Parker who graduated from Glenwood High School. He was best-known for his involvement in the auction industry.

“My brother Terry and I go to a lot of auctions,” Payton said. ‘He used to run the auction up in Wheelersburg for a while on Saturday nights, and we used to go up there all the time and he was always a lot of fun.”

Fetty summed up Steele’s role in village business.

“He was gung ho about serving his community,” Fetty said.

Funeral arrangements are pending at the D.W. Swick-Nelson Funeral Home in New Boston.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

New Boston holds Breakfast With Santa event ... Dec 4, 2016

New Boston serves breakfast to the community with Santa as their guest

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New Boston Mayor Junior Williams, part of Breakfast With Santa for 17 of its 23 years, reminisced as he stood outside his office door. Williams was a member of Village Council and the late James Warren was mayor.

“I came to his (Warren) office prepared to volunteer to serve breakfast,” Williams said. “He said, ‘that box is for you.’ I opened it and it was a Santa suit. ‘Santa called in sick,’ the mayor said.”

It’s those kinds of fond memories that people have of New Boston’s Breakfast With Santa.

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“We continue it because it’s for the people who live in New Boston,” Williams said. “Mayor Warren started it back in 1994. I think we have served over 11,000 meals and handed out over 5,000 toys for kids. We just do it to see their smiling faces and to make everybody’s day, we hope.”

One of the people who is a fixture at this event every year is New Boston Councilman Mike Payton.

“This year looks like it’s one of the bigger ones,” Payton said. “Last year the weather was a little bit colder and there wasn’t as many. But this year we’ve got a room full. There’s probably about a hundred in here. They go out the door and we get more people in.”

It was announced earlier in the week that Sugg Hickman, operator of Hickie’s Hamburgers, was to be the grand marshal in the New Boston parade Saturday evening. But Saturday morning she wasn’t cooking hamburgers, she was serving breakfast to the New Boston community.

“I have the honor of being the grand marshal, so I thought, well, I’ll just give back to the community and come and help,” Hickman said.

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Out in the hallway Santa, who looked remarkably like New Boston Councilman Jon Mills, though it was only a coincidence, had a line of children who couldn’t wait to tell old Santa what they want for Christmas. As families enjoyed breakfast of pancakes and sausage, some orange juice and coffee, Willams’ smile said it all. This is a Mayor Jim Warren tradition that will go on in the years ahead.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

New Boston opens Building Department ... Dec 2, 2016

The village of New Boston has recently established a building department to serve all commercial, industrial and four unit or more housing properties and speed up processes. New Boston Mayor Junior Williams said the New Boston Building Department has contracted Toole and Associates to perform plan reviews, inspections and issue all necessary permits to insure all village commercial properties and equipment are safe for use and occupancy in accordance with all local and state building codes.

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The New Boston Building Department is certified by the Ohio Board of Building Standards and enforces the Ohio Building Code, including the National Electrical Code, the Ohio Mechanical Code and the Ohio Plumbing Code.

“The goal of the New Boston Building Department is to deliver quality service to the business community and is committed to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public by monitoring the construction and renovation process of commercial properties,” Williams told the Daily Times.

Williams said the department was created to help facilitate and expedite the commercial building and renovation process and to encourage business growth within the Village. He said plan review wait times have been greatly reduced and requested inspections normally will occur within twenty-four hours.

“There is no longer a need for a business owner or a prospective entrepreneur to travel to Columbus to get their plans reviewed, drawings approved and inspections scheduled,” Williams said. “Everything from the application to the certificate of occupancy can now be accomplished through the building department here at the Village Mayor’s Office.”

Beginning in 2017, all contractors working on commercial properties will be required to annually register with the New Boston Building Department. A list of all registered contractors will be available from the building department. Anyone may also call to check if their working contractor is registered.

“Any business owner wishing to construct a new building or remodel an existing property can pick up an application packet at the mayor’s office,” Williams said. “The packet will include instructions, list of services and fee schedules. Contractor registration forms are also available from the building department.”

The New Boston Building Department is located at 3980 Rhodes Ave., New Boston, Ohio and is open from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. Information can be obtained by calling the Mayor’s office at 740-456-4103.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Sugg Hickman named grand marshall of the New Boston Christmas Parade ... Nov 30, 2016

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It is arguably one of the most favorite events of the year – the New Boston Christmas Parade – and the most important person in that parade each year, next to jolly old Santa himself, is the grand marshal. This year that honor will belong to Sugg Hickman, that smiling, friendly person who always greets you at Hickie’s Hamburgers.

“We confirmed it the first part of the week,” New Boston Village Councilman Mike Payton said. “We’ve been wanting to do it for the last month. We just decided to wait and announce it until it got a little bit closer. We can’t figured out why we haven’t done it before now.”

Sugg kept the restaurant open when her brother, Donald Hickman, died. Hickman said she has operated the restaurant for 23 years and the restaurant has been there for 41 years.

“He would really be amazed what we do now compared to when he was alive,” Hickman said.

“She has had to really work to keep that place going,” Payton said. “This is her baby, she really personifies the American dream.”

In a day in which mom and pop businesses have been squeezed out by big chains, there is always a full house at Hickie’s.

“I know it’s the fresh food,” Hickman said. “I think it’s the personality of the restaurant. I try to greet everyone. I hug ‘em.”

Sugg is best known for calling attention to people who have never eaten there before with her – “Hey, we’ve got a virgin here!”

“I don’t know how I ever got started with that,” Hickman said. “People love to bring someone in so I can embarrass them. Seems like we’re known all over – people are finding us on Facebook or their GPS.”

You need to know, going in, that there is always a crowd and you might have to wait a little bit.

“Last week I announced ‘the word is patience, I’ve got two grills going,’” Hickman said.

Another feature of Hickie’s is the decor.

“You see an entire history of the village there, all those pictures,” Payton said. “There’s the shovel where they broke ground on the new (Glenwood) school hanging up there and she’s got pictures back of the old school days and old ball teams.”

Payton said the parade is Saturday (Dec. 3). Line up will start at 4 p.m. on the New Boston Mall parking lot, where businesses such as Pat Catan’s, Tractor Supply and Ollie’s are located. The parade will leave the mall at 5 p.m.

It is for certain that no one could represent the village of New Boston better than Sugg Hickman.

“I’ll do anything for New Boston,” Hickman said.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Montgomery sworn in with New Boston Fire Department ... Nov 28, 2016

Mayor Williams swearing in Patrick Montgomery as a Fireman with the New Boston Fire Department at the November 15 village council meeting.

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