The Twinsburg Ledges, possibly the most beautiful and beloved local natural marvel are located in Liberty Park. Widely known for its sublime sandstone ledges, which ascend nearly seventy feet skyward at some points as they pass by small caves, the Ledges are like nothing else in Summit County. In 2011 Ledges Trail opened–offering visitors a scenic 1.1 mile hike, with lovely ferns, lichen and other natural ephemeral in full-view. It is also a popular destination for birding.
To find the center of American patriotism, the heart of valor, you need look no further than the faces and names engraved on the monuments and markers of Public Square. Heroic deeds and the horrors endured mingle in the mind of each individual who contemplates those who fell fighting for an ideal bigger than themselves. Time may pass, but the names remain. Each of the individuals below gave his life protecting that which they loved, and each had a family that suffered an incomprehensible loss.
John E. Carter
Walter C. Chamberlain
George W. Gaylord
Edwin R. Hanks
George W. Hanks
George E. Pease
Charles H. Springer
Charles H. Stearns
Warren I. Wait
Charles B. Weatherby
Samuel B. Vail
World War I
World War II
Prior to the mayoral era, Twinsburg was run by a city manager hired by city council. This style of government worked for a while, but in the 1970’s it came time to move forward. Anthony Perici resigned from the charter commission in April of 1972 with greater political aspirations. He had been attempting to get the commission to enact a mayoral form of government where the mayor is actually in charge, eliminating the city manager. This action would make the council weaker. He resigned from the Commission to work from the outside in order to make this happen. Perici served as the president of city council from 1974 to 1976 and as part-time mayor 1977 to 1978 before becoming the city’s first full-time mayor in 1979.
The most flamboyant of all Twinsburg mayors, and city managers for that matter, Perici ruled the city with an iron fist. Often described as a dictator (in fact his nickname was “The Little Dictator”), he believed he alone could govern Twinsburg. Once when asked why he rarely visited his second home in Florida, Perici’s response was: “Who will watch the city while I am gone.”
Perici’s use (or possibly abuse) of power Perici was showcased in 1983 when he served as judge and the city council served as jury in hearings to remove Darryl Paskoff from the council for alleged neglect of duty, misconduct, and violation of his oath of office. It is unusual for the accusers to also serve as judge and jury. Perici also refused to recognize the police union. They union) took the case all the Supreme Court of Ohio.
Perici had just as many admirers as detractors. He was an old-school, hard-nosed leader and “a student of world history”, according to Adelle Nykaza, long-time city employee who worked with a number of city managers as well as the first three full-time mayors. Katherine Procop described him thusly: “He was the kind of guy you would ask to do something and boom it would be done right now.” His methods were unorthodox, but he got things done.
The second mayor of Twinsburg, and possibly the most important, James Karabec held the office for twelve years (1987-1999). For twenty-five years prior to becoming mayor, Karabec developed land and businesses for Developers Diversified. This experience, along with his time on city council and passion for the community, made him the perfect candidate. Hand-picked by his predecessor, he was far from a puppet. Perici thought he could still govern the city and that Karabec, due to his quiet nature, would oblige, but Karabec had no intention of handing the reigns back to Perici.
“I’m a great believer in giving people services,” says Karabec–a stance that differed greatly from Perici’s. Upon taking office, Karabec was told there would not be money to pay the mortgage on the sewer plant that year, but the city did have the money, and not only paid the mortgage but also improved the plant. “He [Perici] gave the services to the people, but he didn’t want to do anything extra, like build ballparks,” says the former mayor. The Karabec administration was the polar opposite; the fitness center was constructed, a golf course was bought, and property was traded to help build a new high school.
One of his greatest contributions to the city he loved was using tax abatement to bring more business into Twinsburg, helping to diversify the industrial base. If not for his foresight an initiative in recognizing the need to attract a cornucopia of commerce to the city, Twinsburg could have been set up for a huge financial hit when Chrysler departed. At one point Chrysler accounted for 75 percent of income tax revenue in Twinsburg, but by the time of the plant closing it was closer to 12 percent. The loss was devastating but far from catastrophic.
On November 2, 1999 Twinsburg elected its first female mayor, Katherine Procop. She won with relative ease over opponents, Susan D. Ferritto and William E. Hon. She would become the longest tenured mayor of Twinsburg, holding the office for sixteen successful years.
After arriving in Twinsburg with her husband and son in 1977, she almost immediately became heavily involved in the community affairs. Her first true foray into local government came in 1986, when she was appointed to the Parks and Recreation Commission, followed in 1991 by a successful run for city council. While she was on council, Karabec first suggested she become his successor.
Her greatest accomplishment may have been the procurement of Liberty Park, including the beloved Ledges, for the city. Karabec started the push for the purchase, but it was Procop who ultimately secured the land deal.
During Procop’s tenure in office there were a couple of calamities, not of her making: the demise of the Chrysler stamping plant and the tragic death of police officer Josh Miktarian. No previous mayor or city manager had dealt with such dire circumstances.
In 2009 the council and safety forces backed Procop in her quest to raise taxes a quarter percent over a four year period to offset the loss of revenue from Chrysler’s departure. Members of both the fire and police departments went directly to the voters, pushing the benefits of passing the temporary tax increase. Taxes were raised, and the loss of revenue and safety services was averted. Twinsburg residents voted to repeal the tax increase of November 2013.
When Officer Miktarian was murdered, Mayor Procop was in Maine, but merely four hours after receiving word of the tragedy she was back in Twinsburg. His death was devastating to the entire community. Procop has often singled it out as the toughest challenge of her administration and the “worst day of her life.” As tragic as this atrocity was, it brought a close-knit community even closer, aided by the leadership and compassion of its mayor.
There were other controversies that occurred during her administration, including zoning and charter issues. Though she was quite popular, there were many detractors and critics as well.A group of concerned citizens played the part of watchdog. Their criticism came from a love of the city they grew up in and a concern for the rights of the electorate.
Ted Yates was elected the fourth mayor of Twinsburg in 2015. He was born in Alabama, but in 1984 his family moved to Solon, where he finished his last two years of high school. Four years later he moved to Twinsburg.
His first foray into local government was an appointment to the Parks and Recreation Committee, serving as chairman. An avid cyclist and triathlete, he is a long-time spin instructor at the fitness center, so a position with Parks and Rec was a natural fit. In 2009 he was appointed as the Ward 3 councilman. He applied for the vacant position and was appointed by council to serve the last two years of the term. In 2011 he won an election for the same Council position.
When it became apparent to the public Procop would not run for another term, many of her supporters petitioned Yates to make a run. The move made sense since Yates and Procop shared similar visions for the city. Where they differ was Yates analytical approach to leadership honed through years of law and accounting.
Yates is focused on the creation of an “active, walkable downtown”, a critical economic driver that Twinsburg lacks. His vision is similar to what Hudson has developed on First and Main in that quaint and cozy city. Yates also sits on the board of a private, nonprofit community improvement corporation created by Procop that allows the city to acquire properties through a no-bid process. This could prove to be a useful tool in meeting Yates goals for downtown.
Only time will tell if Mayor Yates can live up to the lofty standards set by his predecessors, but all indicators point to a successful tenure.
Tinkers Creek, named after Captain Joseph Tinker—the chief boatsman in Moses Cleveland’s survey crew, is the largest tributary of the Cuyahoga River, gathering water from 13 sub-watersheds in 4 counties. The creek flows through Summit (including the Township and City), Portage, Geauga, and Cuyahoga counties.
In June 2006, trace amounts of antibiotics, prescription and nonprescription pharmaceuticals, personal-care products and household and industrial chemicals were found all along Tinkers Creek, but luckily in the years proceeding there has been a concerted effort to remedy this environmental crime. According to Twinsburg Naturalist, Stanley Stine: “Tinkers Creek…we’re doing our best (everybody’s doing their best) to clean it up. And someday I’m hoping it’s the Creek that the ancestors of Twinsburg enjoyed, being clean. It’s showing signs of improvement. We have a river otter in it, too many beaver in it, water ducks, the eagles hunt over it when the rivers are frozen over with ice because the creek coming out of seven different waste water treatment plants along its length tends not to freeze because of the warmth of the water being in a building and being cleaned and deposited outside.”
One of the three communities’ greatest natural assets is Liberty Park. The park contains a moss-capped landscape of slump rocks, vertical crevices and sedimentary layers, rock cliffs, colossal boulders, and a cave that is more spacious than some of the homes townspeople grew up in.
Initially Liberty Park was privately owned. It was the ever progressive-minded Mayor Karabec who realized the potential of procuring the park. During Karabec’s administration he composed a letter of intent (including price) to purchase Liberty Park from its previous owner, but the procurement of the park wasn’t finalized until Mayor Procop was in office. The formal dedication took place on April 22, 2001. Prior to the purchase, Twinsburg only owned three hundred acres of open-spaced parkland; now there are over two thousand acres. The process of negotiating with the owner was arduous, as he vacillated over whether to sell to the city or a land developer, the latter being considerably more profitable.
Ultimately the city purchased the property for $11 million. It was the catalyst for Summit County to continue purchasing land in the area, creating a link between Twinsburg and Tinker Creek State Park. Twinsburg owns the land, but the Metro Parks manage Liberty Park, helping to preserve the Ledges and the wetlands.
Over the years, the park’s three thousand acres had been the site of an amusement park, a hotel, a railroad, and farms. Some of the owners had toppled trees and straightened a brook. In 2011 Summit County Metro Parks added sixty-six acres to the park using funds obtained through the Trust for Public Land amounting to $1.22 million, which went toward completing access to the park from Ravenna Road. One of the newest additions is Liberty Park Nature Center, a $3 million facility constructed by the Summit County Metro Parks. Visitors are greeted by an inanimate and presumably affable life-sized black bear upon arriving at the center.
The Ledges are part of the nine-hundred-acre land deal Mayor Katherine Procop brokered with a local landowner. There may be no more beloved natural phenomena in the three communities than the Ledges. It seems as if almost everyone who grew up in the area has a fond childhood memory connected with the natural marvel. It was a popular hangout for kids, teenagers, and families alike. More than just a source of natural beauty and a recreation destination, the Ledges have played a huge part in the history of Twinsburg, and in the determination of its geographical boundaries. For a time all of Twinsburg’s water (village and Township) was obtained from wells located in the Ledges.
“Significance of ledges around Twinsburg is that Twinsburg sits in a pocket surrounded by ledges. South to where the Cleveland Clinic is located, there are ledges running behind it. When you go west towards Macedonia there are ledges right at the 271-82 intersection. And then east are the Liberty Park Ledges,” according to Twinsburg naturalist Stanley Stine.
Possibly the most important aspect of the park is the unusual plant and wildlife that inhabits the acreage. The unique flora include immensely colorful lichen species that are a cross between fungi and algae, and one of a kind in the state of Ohio. A four-toed salamander found in 2003 was considered extremely rare, the only salamander in the state that has four toes on its hind legs instead of the usual five.
The park is home to endangered reddish brown Indiana bats, which almost assuredly will not bite the necks of unsuspecting visitors. Due to the presence of these bats in Liberty Park’s caves, construction in the nearby vacated Chrysler complex was postponed as it was believed some members of the endangered species might inhabit that area as well. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had to officially determine and declare that none of these bats were in an area before trees could be cleared and the area developed. It was discovered that a number of bats suffered from white-nose syndrome, leading to their untimely demise. (As of 2012, 5.7 million North American bats have relinquished their mortal coil due to this incurable disease.)
Other rare creatures, including a minuscule, shrimp-like crustacean, have been discovered residing in the caves of Liberty Park. There are dozens of endangered species, plus an assortment of other wildlife: beavers, otters, red-backed salamanders, wood frogs, gray rat snakes, and numerous dragonflies and butterflies.
The park also serves as one of the most popular destinations for birders in Northeast Ohio; in fact it was designated as an “Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society.
Liberty Park continues to be one of the most popular destinations in the three communities and a local treasure. Former Mayor Procop considers its purchase to be “the legacy project of our community.”
The City of Twinsburg, though relatively young, is a wellspring of history that also offers comfort and familiarity—an area that has blossomed and evolved to include new housing developments, beautiful parks, and hubs of commerce while maintaining picturesque views worthy of a postcard. These views did not spring up overnight via the whims of mayors and city planners, but evolved with the natural passage of time to shape the cityscape we know today. Though it shares nearly 140 years of history with the Township, the city’s own unique history dates back just over sixty years. Unlike other, older villages and towns that were carved from the woods and fields of an untamed wilderness, the City of Twinsburg was created in the twentieth century by an act of political secession. The need to collect taxes from the recently announced Chrysler plant sped things along, prompting the separation of township and city and bringing jobs, other businesses, and a torrent of taxpayers to the area.
Much of the history to come would radiate outward from the square: Twinsburg Institute, Locust Grove Cemetery, family owned businesses, farms, school houses, and church after church sprang up within view. The streets lining the square, always the center of festivities. Richner Hardware, Lawson’s, and Roseberry’s took root one-by-one, providing locals with some of the amenities larger cities had to offer, with the comforts of small town familiarity.
When new housing was needed, Glenwood Acres was created to provide it. Lowcost homes, numbering more than four hundred, began springing up in 1956 following the announcement of the new Chrysler plant. Homes would be needed to accommodate the countless new employees looking to minimize their commute to work and keep their families close. Production at the plant would begin in earnest the following year.
With each development and each alteration another farm, wooded area, and orchard would fall beneath the wheels of progress. The growing village reached the critical five thousand head count by the end of 1969, allowing it to acquire cityhood. City managers begat mayors, volunteer firemen begat paid firefighters, and mainstays of business gave way to corporations.
The 1970s would see two unique milestones come to pass: 1976 would mark the nation’s bicentennial as well as the start of Twins Days, a celebration paying homage to the Wilcox brothers, who laid the foundation for what Twinsburg would come to be. Though it began as a community-centered festival with a parade, food, contests, and a parachuting clown named Thunder Chicken, interest in the event would spread.
The new Twinsburg High School opened in January 1999, providing students with a new learning environment when they returned from their winter break. (The “Old School” still stands, though it’s been closed for years.) The park system also received some attention, with Mayor James Karabec securing a letter of intent for the property that would eventually become the three-thousand-acre Liberty Park. The dawning of a new century brought with it many changes: some wanted, some unavoidable. Longtime mainstays like Richner Hardware shuttered their stores in response to big-box stores like Home Depot and Walmart eating away at their customer base. Chrysler, the financial backbone of Twinsburg and employer of many, closed during the summer of 2010. Economic ripples from its closure were inevitable, though the blow to the city’s tax revenues was mitigated in no small part by the foresight of former mayor Karabec, who had set in motion a plan to diversify the city’s income stream, knowing it relied too heavily on Chrysler. Mayor Katherine Procop would continue the work begun by Karabec, helping to secure new tenants and diversify city revenues. Among the new tenants operating out of the Cornerstone Business Park (site of the old Chrysler plant) are an Amazon fulfillment center and FedEx.
To say Aurora Shores had a love-hate relationship with its Canadian geese population would be something of an understatement. From its inception, the community was touted as a nature lover’s paradise where the amenities of the city and the beauty of the countryside met. A series of advertisements from the 1980s even enlisted the lowly goose as a means of drawing potential homeowners. By the 1990s, however, things had taken a turn and the residents retaliated against the honking harbingers of aggravation.
Semiannual goose roundups were inaugurated to curb the population of geese that naturally flock to the area, and the tradition continues today. In the spring, volunteers fueled with a hatred for flying fowl chase off nesting adults and violently shake the eggs, causing their contents to scramble. In the summer, “the young birds are too young to fly . . . and the adults are molting, which renders them incapable of flight,” said John Vieland, president of Aurora Shores when he was interviewed by the Plain Dealer. Vieland went on to explain, “The goal . . . is to get rid of as many of these dang geese and their dang geese dung as possible. And it is some job . . . These things, they defecate every three to four minutes. It’s everywhere.” (Plain Dealer)
While Canadian geese are protected under state wildlife laws as well as the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, this does not prevent the use of “non-lethal scare and hazing tactics,” according to the Ohio Division of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife.
An outdoor oasis free from the hustle and bustle of city life, Aurora Shores was developed by builder Philip H. English. The press was abuzz with plans for the Shores, marketed as a playground for the middle class, with the Aurora Planning and Zoning Commission approving the construction of a boating marina, boathouse, and multistory observation tower that would provide an elevated view of the lake. Home construction in Aurora Shores began near the end of 1971; the lake’s 580 acres would be open to sunbathers, boaters, and bass fishing. After a day in the sun and sand, residents could retire to their abodes, which fell into four unique styles: the Bahamian, the Captain’s House, the Sunship, and the Commodore. Pricing in 1971 ranged from $22,500 to $52,000—which, in 2016, would be nearly $134,000 to $309,000.
Interest in Aurora Shores continued, and four years after construction began, a new subdivision was ready to welcome potential home buyers. The expansion, known as Pebble Beach Cove, included sixty-three additional units and two miles of pedestrian walkways, with plans for a second community beach. A great deal of effort and energy was expended to maintain the appearance of being a quaint community. Historically, commerce has been absent from Aurora Shores, with residents traveling a few miles to purchase even the most trivial of items.
The little community on the lake experienced some legal trouble in 1997, when confusion over ownership of the Aurora Lake came into question. In 1982, the Broadview Savings Bank of Independence, Ohio, agreed to transfer ownership of the lake to the Aurora Shores Homeowners Association at the end of December 2000. During the intervening years, the bank fell into bankruptcy, and its assets were sold off. It would take some legal wrangling to clear up the tangled web left behind.
Today, the lakeside locale straddles the borders of Aurora and Reminderville and has blossomed to include 887 homes, as well as pools, tennis courts, and a lake that, on more than one occasion, has yielded trophy-winning fishing.
One of the staples for summer fun in Northeast Ohio near the midpoint of the twentieth century was Lake Plata. Located off Chamberlin Road, not far from the Chrysler plant, the water park was the ideal and idyllic setting for a tranquil summer day’s swim or simply to sunbathe. Lake Plata was utilized for activities as diverse as a fish fry held by the Fraternal Order of Police to swimming lessons for little tykes.
Lake Plata was a source of fun and frivolity for most, but a number people met their demise while swimming in the seemingly safe waters, briefly overshadowing the festivity on innumerable occasions.
One of the most interesting and harrowing events that took place at Lake Plata was the murder of Cleveland financial promoter Mervin Gold. Mr. Gold’s bullet-riddled body was found in the trunk of a car five miles from where Twinsburg residents had heard gunfire at Lake Plata. He had been shot, strangled, and wrapped in a blanket. This was possibly a mob hit, as Gold had purportedly engaged in a heated phone conversation with notorious Cleveland mobster Shondor Birns shortly before his death.
The property was initially owned by Oscar and Helen Cisar, who in turn deeded it to the Plata family. The popular recreational destination stayed in the possession of the Plata family until 1980, when Sylvester Plata was unable to make his mortgage payments and the sixty-five-acre property fell into receivership. Summit County judge Daniel Quillin handled the sale and advertised a minimum bid of $500,000.
As early as 1972 the City of Twinsburg paid $4,000 for an appraisal of Lake Plata in hopes of purchasing the property for the Parks and Recreation Department. When the recreational resource fell into receivership in 1980 the majority of Twinsburg City Council wanted to purchase the land, but Mayor Perici was against acquisition due to numerous unanswered questions. Twinsburg bid $515,000 ($250,000 immediately and $265,000 before January 31, 1981), but Miklos Janosi of Cleveland, part owner of Lake Plata, outbid them by $5,000.
Today Lake Plata remains, but it is no longer a recreational destination. The surrounding land has been redeveloped into a residential neighborhood.
One of the shining jewels in the crown of Twinsburg’s Director of Parks and Recreations is Rock the Park. The successful concert series has been delighting attendees of all ages since 2009. Local musical luminaries, the Cleveland Orchestra, and Michael Stanley (along with many others) have graced the Perici Amphitheater stage, one of Twinsburg’s hidden gems, tucked away in the far reaches of Glen Chamberlin Park. The amphitheater, which resembles a miniature Blossom Music Center, can accommodate 1,500 attendees and often is filled to capacity for these popular performances.
As is often the case, the series started on a much smaller scale: in the summer of 2009, a concert geared exclusively toward adults was scheduled at the community outdoor pool, but with the murder of Officer Josh Miktarian it quickly morphed into a benefit for the fallen hero. The outpouring of support from the community was tremendous and the following year three concerts were planned at the amphitheater, a mere two hundred yards from its original locale. At present, the event offers not only musical acts, but a wide assortment of edibles and beverages, including some that are courtesy of food trucks. Arguably 2015 was the event’s most successful year to date as six concerts drew seven thousand attendees during the sultry summer months.
The complete and unedited interview of former Twinsburg Mayor, Katherine Procop. Katherine discusses her background, why she became involved in politics, the creation of Liberty Park, the Chrysler Plant closure, and the death of Officer Joshua Miktarian.
Audio: Katherine Procop on Liberty Park
Former Twinsburg Mayor, Katherine Procop, discusses the formation of Liberty Park, acquisition of the property, and the park’s relationship with Summit Metroparks.
Twinsburg Heights resident, Tania Johnson, discusses the importance of the Community Center and the types of activities it provided to area children.
The Community Center was the social epicenter of Twinsburg Heights. Many longtime residents, when asked to name their earliest memories of the area, spoke of its dirt roads and the Community Center. John Curry, an elder statesman of the Heights, has said: “My fondest memory is the Community Center.”
It was home to the Mothers Club, a social group of older women from the community with similar interests. According to Carlton Powers: “The Community Center evolved from the Mothers Club, as far as I can remember.” Once it became the Community Center it benefited not only the woman in the neighborhood, but all residents. The first building was just a very small brick building, constructed completely by the men in the neighborhood.
Every June through August, there was a summer youth program at the center. For almost all the children in the Heights, this was the highlight of the sweltering summer months. As they grew older, many of the former attendees of the summer program became volunteers, donating their time to the youngsters that followed in their footsteps. The center offered hot meals, sports activities, swimming, educational programs, and numerous other activities for the children.
Adults benefited greatly from the community center as well; WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) programs were offered, and a local doctor gave free examinations there. The greatest contribution it made to the community was as a gathering place. It truly provided a sense of community to so many residents. Sadly, the center closed down earlier this decade due to a lack of support and funding (many of the residents who previously frequented the institution had moved away).
For the vast majority of the three communities’ two hundred years of existence, there was a lack of local theater in the area. That all changed in December 1996, when the Twinsburg Youth Theatre debuted with a production of Babes in Toyland. First conceived in 1994 by Meredith Shreve, the youth theater started its transformation into a multigenerational community theater in 2001 after many adults approached Shreve with their desire to perform onstage. Before the 2001 production of Annie, adults only worked behind the scenes, building sets, dropping backgrounds, and so forth.
Shreve, originally from Cleveland, moved to Twinsburg in 1993; soon after her arrival she started serving on the Parks and Recreation Commission, in part due to her realization that there was no community theater. In particular, she recognized the importance of a theater program for children. According to Shreve, “Theater is a very great way for kids to have some activity and earn self-confidence and grow within themselves and express themselves.”
Thousands of adults and children have been involved in the community theater over the first twenty years of its existence. Almost all of them have participated solely for their love of the arts and sense of community, as there has never been any financial compensation. It is a nonprofit endeavor that pays for all the necessities in putting on a top-flight musical production via ticket sales, concessions, program sales, and fees paid by performers. All of these proceeds go toward funding expenditures such as royalties, rigging systems, choreographers, costumes, and other related requirements.
The productions have often been mounted on a grand scale, with as many as 120 people working on a single musical. World-renowned Hall Associates Flying FX supplied their exceptional effects for the flying sequences in Peter Pan.
One of the drawbacks to the community theater is that it is financed in part by a pay-to-perform platform, as all performers must pay a fee of fifty dollars to act in a production. This reduces the opportunity of underprivileged youths to participate in the community arts program. For those who have had the good fortune to participate in the community theater, it has brought great joy, a sense of achievement, and lifelong rewarding relationships with their fellow performers.
If there is any doubt as to the community theater’s positive effect on Twinsburg, it should be quelled by Mayor Katherine Procop’s statement that she couldn’t think of anyone who has brought more joy to the community than Meredith Shreve, through her devotion to the theater.
Twinsburg Community Theatre commemorated its twentieth anniversary in 2016 with a musical revue, a first for the theater. The production celebrates twenty years of Broadway, including fan favorites Wicked, The Little Mermaid, and Phantom of the Opera.
“Twinsburg’s most popular outdoor nature adventure” is the salamander crossing, annually occurring in Center Valley Park. (Almost) every spring since the early 2000s the salamander migration has been documented by Stanley Stine, city of Twinsburg naturalist.
Belonging to the mole salamander family, the spotted salamander lives underground for the vast majority of the year, using holes dug by mice, chipmunks, and even crayfish to get away on a hot summer afternoons or hibernate for the winter. These intriguing, innovative amphibians emerge at the start of each spring scurrying to the same vernal pools in the Twinsburg wetlands to lay their eggs. Spotted salamanders, bespeckled with orangish-yellow spots, must lay their eggs in temporary pools as opposed to permanent bodies of water as the fish that occupy larger bodies of water would devour all the eggs and possibly the adult salamanders as well. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Stine this wondrous natural phenomenon has been witnessed by many residents who otherwise would have been unaware this annual event occurs in their hometown.
The Salamander and Frog Festival, an indoor event that Stine also initiated, precedes the salamander migration. Whereas the crossing adventure is geared towards people of all ages the Salamander and Frog Festival piques the interest and educates wee little ones via games, coloring contests and various other arts and crafts.