Norman Achison, Mayor, 1979-84
By JON WINER
Norm Achison was born on November 22, 1919 in East Cleveland, Ohio, where he grew up and graduated from Shaw High School. In 1938, Norm was hired by the National Steel Castings Co. (later known as Midland Ross Corp.), where he worked until his retirement in 1976, interrupted only by his enlistment and four-year tour of duty in the United States Army. From 1941-1945 Norm served in the European and African theaters, earning four Bronze Stars.
Norm was one of the first summer home residents of Roaming Rock Shores, building a house on Marina Drive in 1967. A few years later, he became a permanent resident. In 1980, when Norm took office as the first mayor of Roaming Shores, the new village had no village hall, no Clerk, no staff, no ordinances, no police department, no operating procedures and no money. The Village literally started with nothing.
One of the first items on Norm’s agenda, as the mayor of Ohio’s newest municipality, was to generate revenue. Without levying new taxes, Norm took the necessary steps to make certain the Village would get its share of local, state and federal tax monies. Slowly but surely, the fiscal capacity of the municipality began to grow.
Norm appointed the members of the first Roaming Shores Village Planning Commission. Its biggest project was drafting the first Codified Zoning Regulations for the Village. Norm’s administration also drafted the first building codes for the Village.
In the early 1980s, Mayor Atchison, along with Delores Lavelle, Don Williams and others, worked tirelessly, to negotiate an agreement, and obtain financing, for our village to buy the water and sewer facilities from Lakeside Utilities Corporation. Those efforts ultimately proved to be successful, and ensured the long-term stability and viability of our water and sewer system.
Norm was a 15-year member of the Rotary Club of Rock Creek / Grand Valley, and served as President for the 1982/83 Rotary year. He served on the Board of Directors from 1981-1990.
Norm resides today in Leesburg, Florida, where he still enjoys planning his frequent cruise ship excursions that have taken him to all corners of the globe.
Delores Lavelle, Mayor, 1984-85
By JON WINER
Delores Lavelle was born Delores Marie Menk on November 14, 1917, and grew up in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, Ohio, attending Hathaway Brown School. She matriculated at the University of Arizona, Georgetown Visitation Convent and Fenn College. Delores studied law, among other academic disciplines.
In 1942, Delores married Anthony Lavelle, and together they raised eight children. Before constructing their family home on Calabria Drive, overlooking Lake Roaming Rock, the Lavelles identified and plotted the location of every tree on the site, designing the house to allow preservation of as many trees as possible. This was second-nature to Delores, who had organized groups committed to the preservation of green spaces in Cleveland Heights.
Delores was instrumental in the Incorporation of the Village of Roaming Shores, chaired the first Planning Commission (drafting the first Zoning Code), and served on Village Council in the early years. As Mayor, Delores was a true advocate for democracy, and encouraged all citizens to participate and let their voices be heard. She awarded ceremonial Keys to the Village to community leaders, and strengthened relations between the Village and Rome-Rock Association. Mayor Lavelle continued Mayor Atchison’s work in building and collecting revenues for the Village, without levying new taxes. Delores and her family enjoyed their home on the Calabria Point from 1975 until she passed away in 2002.
Rev. Arthur Hess, Mayor, 1985-96
By BILL KINGZETT
Reverend Arthur Hess, known as Art to everyone was an ordained pastor in the Church of the Bretheren. He had his first pastoral position in Stark County in East Nimishilling, Ohio from 1948-1955. In 1955 the District office wanted to plant a church in Painesville, Ohio and Art gladly accepted the challenge. In that same year Art moved to Painesville with his wife Doris who later became an elementary school teacher at Buckeye school for 27 years. The school where Doris taught was located just one block from the church so that made her job as a pastor’s wife that much easier.
Art and Doris lived and raised their family in Painesville and in 1971 built a home in Roaming Shores on Western Star Court. Ten years later in 1981 he moved to Roaming Shores with the blessing of his District office. He continued in his pastoral duties full time until his retirement in 1987. He retired having served as the senior pastor of the Painesville church for over 32 years.
Art was always interested in serving and felt a strong desire to help the community he quickly becoming attached to. Art served on Village council before becoming the mayor of Roaming Shores. Art served the community as a stabilizing leader and mayor from 1985-1996. Art was a master of consensus building and the village benefitted with his ability to bring people together to get things done. It was during Art’s tenure that the police department was established in 1989 and the first village administrator, Rowley Ross was hired in 1991. Art was often known to preside over wedding in the clubhouse and was instrumental in holding an ecumenical service in the clubhouse on Thanksgiving. These services became very popular and well attended in the Shores. Art was also a visionary and during his final years started to pursue the potential for bringing municipal water into the community.
In 1996 Art retired from his duties as Village Mayor and in 1997 bought a home with Doris down in Punta Gorda Isles Florida where they moved a year later. When it came time to sell his home he had his long time friend Bill Moses list the house and much to his surprise it sold the very next week! Doris and Art lived in Florida until 2000 when they moved back to Indiana to be with their family as Art’s health began to decline. He passed away a few years later.
Art and Doris both loved the community and neighbors they lived with in Roaming Shores. They had a boat on the lake and enjoyed fishing and taking their children out skiing and boat rides with guests who were always welcome at their home. Art was a great communicator during his time as mayor at the Shores and always encouraged people to do the right thing. Art’s abilities and giftings as a pastor and mayor were well matched during some often difficult times in the foundation of the community. Regardless of the outcome of a discussion with Art you always knew you were treated with respect, dignity and his decision was issued with godly wisdom and fairness. He was the right man in the right the position at the right time as they say. Art would probably just say that was God’s plan all along!
Jim Bentley, 1996-97
By PAT LONG
As president of council, Jim Bentley agreed to serve as mayor when Art Hess was forced to resign due to failing health. As a seasoned business and management executive Mayor Bentley provided the village with direction, focus and a sense of urgency. He was instrumental in concluding negotiations to purchase the village’s water company. And, as a visionary leader, he led the effort to fund a major water line along Forman Road, which is directly responsible for providing “city” water to homes in Roaming Shores. Jim’s term as mayor was short, but immensely productive. His valued service to the village government as an elected official spanned more than 25 years from 1984 to 2009. After retirement from council, Jim continued to serve the community as a member of the building committee for the new village hall, utility study group, chairman of the board of zoning appeals, and also authored an exhaustive study of the waste water system.
B. Joe Strong, 1998-01
By LARRY SEYMOUR
As an entrepreneur and former law enforcement officer and firefighter, Mayor Joe Strong brought a new perspective to running village government. He worked diligently on behalf of residents and created a free and open compost site. Joe also successfully oversaw the construction of the Forman Road water line.
Carl Biats, 2002-08
By JIM BENTLEY
Engaging, charming, handsome are accolades often used to describe Mayor Carl Biats. He worked well with village council and trusted in his employees. During his relatively lengthy term a major upgrade to the waste water treatment plant was accomplished as well as putting the final touches on the Forman Road water line. Also, during the same time period, the Village of Roaming Shores became known as one of the fastest growing municipalities in northeast Ohio.
John Ball, 2009-Current
By JIM BENTLEY
As a newcomer to the community, John Ball joined village council in 2005 and then was elected mayor in 2009. He is responsible for bringing to close a ten year debate on whether or not to construct a new village hall. As a result, under Mayor Ball’s leadership, a new village hall was designed and built in 2010. He also began a multi-year plan to rehabilitate and upgrade the Knowlton Road/Morningstar Road entrance to the village with premium hot-mix asphalt pavement, proper drainage and highly reflective street signs. And, he implemented a stimulus grant from the federal government, which allowed for the construction of a sludge dewatering facility at the waste water treatment plant. Thus, eliminating the need for the Village to haul liquid sludge and creating a dramatic savings for the taxpayers. During his tenure competitive grants and 0% loan financing were also acquired to replace the village’s dangerously antiquated and sub-standard waste water collection system lift stations.
William Bobulsky, Solicitor 1979-2011
By JIM BENTLEY
Bill is responsible for legally creating the Village of Roaming Shores. As the first solicitor, he created the original articles of incorporation as well as every ordinance ever enacted in the Village for over 32 years.
As a new and thriving municipality, Bill carefully and quietly guided Roaming Shores through growing pains. He was masterful at working his craft behind the scenes while making others look good. Methodical, dependable, thorough and highly responsive where just some of the platitudes used to describe his service to the village. A few of his outstanding accomplishments included:
- Winning a landmark judgment from the State of Ohio on behalf of the village regarding the distribution of inside millage;
- Validating the village as a legal entity from its very inception until present day.
Bill provided more than legal counsel to the village; he still remains our good friend and rightfully deserves our gratitude and thanks for a job well done.