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Boston Town Board sees off local minister

Boston Town Hall. Photo by Alicia Greco.
During its Feb. 6 assembly, the Boston Town Board bid farewell to the Rev. Bonnie Bates, the five-year minister of Faith United Church of Christ.

Later this month, Bates will head out of state to become a member of the Eastern Ohio and Western Reserve Associations, leaving behind her position as chairperson of the ethics board, which Bates helped start in Boston. Bates was presented with a proclamation from Supervisor Martin Ballowe, during the board meeting.

Part of the proclamation read, “Let it be resolved that the town of Boston, with the town board of the town of Boston, on behalf of the residents of our community, wish to express our warmest wishes and thankfulness to Rev. Bonnie Bates on making our community a better place and providing so much time, knowledge and care to all who have the opportunity and privilege to cross your path. Godspeed [to] you in your new position in Ohio.”

That proclamation included some of the reverend’s efforts, such as holding monthly worship services at Baker Manor and Fox Run, counseling students at Hilbert College and being a member of the Dunkirk Camp and Conference Center board, where she will remain on one committee. Bates also helped develop a boundary awareness training that is used in New York state.

“She did a great, great job putting [the ethics board] together with no help from the town,” Ballowe said. “We just felt it necessary that the town have an ethics board and to oversee everybody who works for the town. It’s been implemented; it’s been used. They’ve done a fantastic job. I couldn’t be ... happier.”

Ballowe also touched on Bates’ ongoing project of clothing distribution for the town. “She collects clothes over there, just as a distribution, for people in our town,” he said. “They’re able to go over and help themselves to coats, jackets, shoes – whatever is needed – for free. So we do appreciate that.

“I didn’t want her to go unnoticed,” he added. “I thought it was important to myself. I touched base with the other councilmen; we all thought it was important. She definitely helped myself out in the first four years of being here, and hopefully everybody else in this building.”

Councilman Jeff Genzel said, “Bonnie [has] been a great asset to the town. Four years ago or five years ago, we started the ethics committee, which we thank you very much for putting all your time in and making that committee so special, here in Boston.”

In the wake of her departure, Bates’ resignation from her position on the ethics board was accepted by the town board. In her place, by her recommendation, the board appointed Erin Keding as the board of ethics chairperson.

In other board news:

– Genzel gave an update on the water project on West Hill. “We sent out our income survey,” he said. “We sent out 195 of them; 51 have been returned, so far. We need 131 to make it a valid survey. Friends and family up there, please return your income surveys. I’m going to follow up with a second letter and then I’m going to follow up with phone calls to try and get this validated.”

– Councilman Larry Murtha reported on two ice jams in town, including one south of the bridge on Patchin Road and another north of the Hillcroft bridge. “Some trees are blocking the way, and ice is building up,” he said. “It’s difficult to get to it right now. We’ve got some cold weather coming, so we’ve got a little bit of time, but we’ve got some calls in to the experts, and as soon as we get a chance, we’ll try to get some estimates to see how to get those things taken care of.”

– Genzel reminded local residents about tips to help in case of emergency, including keeping nearby fire hydrants clear of snow and clearing out driveways, “just in case you need emergency services, [so that] they can get in there and do their job effectively.”

– Ballowe reported that the town is “always looking for help” for Meals on Wheels, the planning board and the zoning board.

The next town board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 at the Boston Town Hall. A public hearing regarding the special permit for a proposed bed-and-breakfast establishment on Ward Road will be held at 7:40.
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