Greenfield recognizes Pipes of Christmas committee; Council meeting time to change in 2023

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Members of the committee behind the recent Pipes of Christmas event -- (l-r) John Mitchell, Mindy Hunter, Susan Long, and Tom Schluep -- are pictured at the Dec. 19 council meeting with council members (l-r) Phil Clyburn, Mary Ellen McMurry, Cory Taylor, Brenda Losey, and Jessalyn Hunter, as well as city manager Todd Wilkin. (Courtesy photo)

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Winners in the business storefront Christmas decorating contest are pictured (l-r) Robert Arthurs of Small Town Fitness (2nd place), Mike Seely of Seely Portraits (1st place), and Keith Hart of Robbins Village Florist (3rd place) with their trophies at the Dec. 19 council meeting. Also pictured are council members (l-r) Phil Clyburn, Mary Ellen McMurry, Cory Taylor, Brenda Losey, and Jessalyn Hunter. City manager Todd Wilkin is pictured behind Losey. (Courtesy photo)

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The Christmas home decorating contest winners are the Spanglers of Hillcrest Drive. Eric Spangler, daughter Chloe Spangler, and Melanie Spangler are all pictured at the Dec. 19 council meeting with (l-r) council members Phil Clyburn, Cory Taylor, Mary Ellen McMurry, Brenda Losey, and Jessalyn Hunter, as well as city manager Todd Wilkin. (Courtesy photo)

By Angela Shepherd
Village of Greenfield

The Pipes of Christmas event was held Sunday, Dec. 18, and its planning committee was recognized the following day by the village of Greenfield as the December citizens of the month.

It’s something city manager Todd Wilkin recognized took a lot of hard work to pull off, and it's a unique event that he said he’d like to see be a recurring draw to Greenfield, perhaps even be displayed on the welcome signs coming into town, something like “Home of the Pipes of Christmas.”

The event combined not only the three intact pipe organs in town, but the history-filled places where the pipes reside – the Presbyterian Church, The First United Methodist Church, and McClain High School.

Committee member Susan Long said it’s estimated that attendance on Sunday Dec. 18 “broke 500” and that each of the three locations was full with people. 

Three of the four organists for the event are McClain graduates, she said, who got their start at the school, and all the organists are “highly-qualified musicians.” Along with the organists, there was a community choir with the McClain Show Choir, and a bell and chime choir, too.

The event not only featured Greenfield’s three working pipe organs, but the historic places where the organs are. The event began at the churches, with the grand finale occurring in the McClain High School auditorium. Long noted that at the Methodist Church the organ was installed by Mrs. McClain with a $1,000 donation from industrialist Andrew Carnegie. 

The event allowed not only “some neat history” to be showcased, she said, but it also brought together the community, its beauty, and talent.

Long said recordings were done at each venue and that an audio compilation will be forthcoming, likely on YouTube, and maybe even DVD.

Committee members John Mitchell, Mindy Hunter, Susan Long, and Tom Schluep were present to receive the award at Monday’s council meeting. Other committee members include Mike Anderson, Sue Ann Baird, Brad Barber, James Knisley, Stuart McNeil, David Pettit, Lee Ann Ross, Laura Wagner, and David Weaks.

Other awards given during the meeting included the Christmas home decorating contest, which was awarded to the Hillcrest Drive home of Melanie and Eric Spangler. Their daughter, Chloe, joined them Monday at the council meeting.

The winners of the Christmas decorating contest for business storefronts are: first place - Seely Portraits; second place - Small Town Fitness; and third place - Robbins Village Florist.

December’s employee of the month is Mark Hamilton with the Greenfield Police Department. Hamilton was recognized for his continued growth and dedication each year as a patrolman. He was also recently recognized by the county for his part in combating drugs.

Wilkin said he sometimes hears from people wondering why they don’t see the police “working drugs,” but the city manager said there is a “significant” amount of work that goes into the “endless battle” of fighting drugs, work that is not seen. He wants people to understand that the hard work is most assuredly happening, and officers like Hamilton are the ones getting it done.

In other business, legislation passed by council included an ordinance for an opt-out gas aggregation program, but since it is an opt-out, the measure must be approved by voters. The council’s passage of the legislation will allow the matter to be put on May’s ballot.

Wilkin said there are no opt-in programs available anymore. For years, the village has worked with the same energy broker. Wilkin said if anyone has issues with their electric bill, to contact the village offices, and you can be provided the energy broker’s contact information. He has helped many residents in the past and remains available to help.

The city manager reminded everyone to check out the community calendar, which is accessible by QR code, which can be found on the website, Facebook, and at various places throughout town. While it is being widely used already, he encouraged even more residents and organizations to become involved as it’s a great tool for bringing awareness of Greenfield happenings.

In his report, Wilkin said the last couple months have seen a lot of work with Tim Dettwiller, who is director of the county’s workforce development initiative ACCESS (Alignment of Community Connections for Employer Student Success). 

The endeavor was born from an industry roundtable meeting more than a year ago regarding how other entities in the state are successfully bridging the gaps between education and industry. Since that meeting, business, community, and educational entities have come together to build the strategy that will grow a vibrant workforce right here in Highland County.

Also, there has been a meeting with Michael Linton, a business owner and member of the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board, Wilkin said. Linton has invited the local group to be a part of a regional discussion on workforce development. It’s something Wilkin said will be a good opportunity to not only share the local successes, but to learn from others, as well.

Also in his report, Wilkin said he would say that while 2021 was a year of planning, 2022 has been a year of accomplishing the plans. While everything will be highlighted in the annual report in the coming months, at the meeting Wilkin noted several major accomplishments like the Facade Improvement Program, businesses moving into empty and under-used storefronts, First Friday and other events that have brought so many people to the downtown. Also, a DORA was formed, and the downtown continues to attract new growth.

Finance Director Gary Lewis reported the ending finances for November. Those are: month-to-date revenue - $337,907; month-to-date expense - $403,934; year-to-date revenue - $4.53 million; year-to-date expense - $2.77 million; and a general fund balance as of Nov. 30, 2022 of $657,060.

Another piece of legislation passed by council was for the meeting time of the regular council sessions to be at 4:45 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m. An organizational meeting will be held after the first of the year. 

For information and updates, go to or the Village of Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page. The village offices may be reached by calling 937-981-3500.

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Seely Portraits, the 1st-place winner in the business storefront Christmas decorating contest, is pictured. (Courtesy photo)

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Small Town Fitness, the 2nd-place winner in the business storefront Christmas decorating contest, is pictured. (Courtesy photo)

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Robbins Village Florist, the 3rd-place winner in the business storefront Christmas decorating contest, is pictured. (Courtesy photo)

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The home of Eric and Melanie Spangler is pictured. The home on Hillcrest Drive was chosen as the winner of the Christmas home decorating contest. (Courtesy photo)