MEDINA — The Recovery Center of Medina County is making a pitch for county funds, but commissioners said they are not ready to further financially support the organization without better data to show results.
The recovery center, in conjunction with Serenite Restaurant and Culinary Institute, signed a two-year lease at the former Medina Steakhouse in May 2017 for $66,000 annually.
“Our commitment ends this summer,” County Administrator Scott Miller said. “(Chief Probation Officer Veronica Perry) wanted to know if there was a possibility of assisting in some manner in 2019.”
Commissioner Bill Hutson said he believes the culinary institute is a “good program.” But he said he wants to see some numbers.
“I have not seen any documentation on the activities they are doing and the folks they are actually helping,” he said.
He said the county has two programs dealing with drug problems — the Medina County Drug Abuse Commission and the Medina County Alcohol Drug Abuse and Mental Health Board.
“If we fund anything, we should fund them, and they can do their job and see if it’s appropriate,” Hutson said.
“I’d like to see more info (to) make sure the investment we’re making is producing the results not only what we expect, but what they expect. I’ve heard anecdotally they are doing good things.”
The recovery center received a $300,000 state grant to help fund operations in 2017.
The Medina County Adult Probation Department has asked Medina County commissioners for some additional funding for the recovery center, located at 538 W. Liberty St.
Any funding would come through the Medina County Drug Abuse Commission, which contributed $12,500 last year to hire a part-time case manager at the recovery center.
The Medina County Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Board had expressed in 2017 interest in donating as much as $50,000 to the recovery center, but only if it received some additional funding. That never happened, and neither did the contribution to the recovery center.
Commissioner Adam Friedrick said he’s accepted a position on the recovery center’s board. He said he’s on board with helping the recovery center, perhaps a gesture like paying its rent for the year.
“It meets a need in the community, especially if you look at the need for assistance before you get arrested or get in trouble,” he said. “That’s the big niche, if you will, when you look at that recovery center.
“I also think, it’s received a lot of visibility from Brandon Chrostowski and his connection with Edwin’s (Leadership & Restaurant Institute in Cleveland). I believe we should figure out a way to do something, whether that’s paying the rent or doing something.”
Jess Hazeltine, administrative assistant for the recovery center, said no specific amount has been requested yet.
“We are not in danger of running out of money, but like all nonprofits, we could benefit from additional support as it would allow us to expand our programming,” she said.
Friedrick said the recovery center’s goal is to raise about $250,000 in donations.
The culinary institute received some bad publicity last year when it announced it would be serving alcohol in the restaurant.
“It took a couple steps back with the alcohol thing, but they’ve worked through that,” Friedrick said.
Hazeltine said the culinary institute graduated five students in its inaugural class, and currently has a class of 10 students.
“Weekly, the recovery center services between 35 and 50 individuals, in addition to our students,” she said. “We’ve found that by offering a variety of activities we’ve been able to serve a much more diverse population.”
Perry didn’t return a phone call for comment on this story.
In other news
- Commissioners approved a contract for dental services at the Medina County Jail for inmates. The contract is for Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019.
The Medina County Health Department will provide dentists and dental assistants to the Medina County Sheriff’s Office at a rate of $109.68 per hour or $1,645.20 per month for 15 hours of service. The service should not exceed $19,742.40 over the 12-month period.
- Commissioners commended Cheryl Mason for her 28 years of service at Medina County Job and Family Services. She is retiring Jan. 4. Commissioners wanted to recognize and honor Mason for her commitment and diligent work.
She was most recently an eligibility administrator.
Mason also served on Leadership Medina County trustees, Operation Homes, Medina County Salvation Army Advisory Board, Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund, Medina County Health Center Co-Applicant Board, Medina County Housing Network and Medina County Home Advisory Council.
- The commissioners recognized Don Simmons for his devotion to serving Medina County. They said he’s made a significant impact on the community. He was a commissioner from 1973-76 and led an effort to save the historic Medina High School. The building was renovated to become the new Medina County Administration Building.
Simmons served 11 years as a Sharon Township trustee, served on the board of elections for 13 years, and has served on boards with the Medina County Economic Development Corp., YMCA, 4-H, Boy Scouts, MCPAF, Highland Schools Foundation, Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Medina County.
In 1988, he joined other community leaders to market Medina County as a business location by leasing a booth at the I-X Center during an international trade show. This led to the creation of the Medina County Economic Development Corp., in 1989.
- There are 44 people at the County Home, with one more joining today, Director Joyce Giles told commissioners. They residents are between 50 and 95 years old, she said.
She said the new beauty shop is almost done.
Giles said there are just 23 county homes remaining in the state. Most others have either closed down or been converted to Medicare/Medicaid facilities.
She said the county home’s Christmas party with the Rotary is 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
- MCDAC Director Brian Nowak said recent studies by researchers have shown that alcohol is the most dangerous drug in the world.
In the week between Christmas and New Year’s, Nowak said about 300 people will be killed from drunken driving in the nation.
- The Medina County Office for Older Adults received its annual contribution from the city of Medina for $20,000 for 2019.
“We’re very appreciative,” Director Laura Toth said.