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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

New faces soon to be part of Lake County court system

When most people think of how a county’s court system works, what may first come to mind are murder trials or other high-profile cases.

In truth, the courts aren't always glamorous like they may be portrayed on an episode of “Law and Order.” But they have hardworking people, and the operations involve many important functions that have an everyday effect on people’s lives.

For example, when someone is accused of a crime and doesn’t have the resources to pay for an attorney, they are deemed indigent, and a public defender is appointed to represent them.

In Lake County, there is a county public defender who oversees a group of attorneys charged with that task.

For nearly 35 years, the county Public Defender was R. Paul LaPlante, a highly respected attorney. His recent death leaves a void, and it will be up to the Lake County Public Defender Commission to name a successor. Look for that to happen sometime after Aug. 26.

The Lake County Probate Court also is another area that may not get the headlines, but the court’s role is mightily important.

A Probate Court has jurisdiction over matters such as issuance of marriage licenses; administration of estates and guardianships; adoption proceedings; determination of sanity or mental competence; certain eminent domain proceedings; and other civil matters.

Gov. John Kasich will be responsible for naming a new Lake County Probate Judge after Judge Ted Klammer died in March.

Candidates said to be under consideration are Geauga County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Bartolotta; Lake County Probate Court Magistrate Lora Lynne Krider; Lake County Assistant Prosecutor John O’Donnell; and Jim O’Leary, a Painesville Township attorney.

In the meantime, retired Stark County Probate Court Judge R.R. Denny Clunk has been filling the seat on the bench until Kasich makes the appointment.

Look for Kasich to make a decision in the next few weeks.

Fende ready

Lake County Treasurer-elect Lorraine M. Fende will finally drop the “elect” from her title, as she will begin her four-year term on Sept. 3. Technically, the term begins Sept. 2, but the office is closed that day for the Labor Day holiday.

Fende, who was elected back in November, plans to be officially sworn-in Monday by her husband, retired Willoughby Municipal Court Judge Larry Allen.


A meet-and-greet event with Dennis Morley, candidate for Eastlake mayor, will be hosted by Ken and Denise Hoefle, Joe and Ingrid D’Ambrosio, Donna Vaughn and Laura DePledge from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 22 at 36683 Valley Ridge Drive, Eastlake.


n Fundraiser for Riverside School Board member Belinda Grassi and Jennifer Harden, a candidate for Riverside School Board, 3 to 6 p.m. Aug. 18 at Pickle Bills in Grand River. See Grassi or Harden.

n Fende hosts eighth annual Steakroast from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Wickliffe Italian American Club. See Diane Fox.

n Fundraiser for Cindy Quinn-Hopkins, candidate for Eastlake mayor, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at Trader Jacks Riverside Grille in Eastlake. See Dave Fiebig or Mark Cain.

n Chuck Hillier, candidate for Painesville Township trustee, hosts a fundraiser from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at Lake Erie Shores Beach Park Pavilion in Painesville Township. See Ken Fitzsimmons.

n Kenny Yuko, a candidate for Ohio Senate District 25, hosts a Gala Reception with guest state Rep. Connie Pillach, a candidate for Ohio Treasurer, 5 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at The Patrician in Eastlake. See Yuko or Pamela Yuko.

n Wickliffe Mayor Bill Margalis hosts the fifth annual Labor Day Picnic from 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 30 at Wickliffe Italian American Club Picnic Pavilion. See Bill or Sue Margalis.

n Fundraiser for John Popelka, candidate for Willoughby Council Ward 2, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 4 at Mullarkey’s Irish Pub in Willoughby. See Popelka, Geoff Weaver or John Bowers.

John Arthur Hutchison

Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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