It’s rare for teens to attend Centerville council work sessions, and even rarer to hear them ask for permission to organize an event.

However, that’s what Krista Smith, a Centerville Senior High School senior, did July 25.

Smith requested the use of Maplewood Park’s stage at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, to offer a prayer and worship night open to all area residents, who are encouraged to bring seating.

Smith, a cheerleader and wrestler, encourages students from Wayne County schools and beyond to come together to start the school year on a positive note.

She hopes they’ll look beyond sports rivalries.

“We need to keep our focus on who we’re playing for,” she said. 

Prayers will be offered for teachers and staff, students, sports and the community as a whole.

Layla Cate, a Centerville junior, will provide live music that includes some of her own compositions.

Smith said her idea came about spontaneously. She wants to bring together a broader group than the See You at the Pole prayer events have generated outside individual school buildings.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes is presenting the event. 

Council approved Smith’s request 4-0 as she and her parents, Brenda and Steve Smith, observed. Councilor Joshua Tudor was absent.

“I hope you have a large crowd,” said council President Dan Wandersee.

In other business

  •  Firefighters can’t compete for station renovation funds during a current state grant cycle because a daily newspaper didn’t publish the required public hearing advertisement as expected, despite Centerville meeting all other requirements. The next cycle is in September. Council plans to schedule the next hearing far enough in advance to be published in Western Wayne News.
  • Residents who have an after-hours, nonemergency utility call are to call 866-962-9219 instead of the number previously used.
  • Council conducted a first reading on an ordinance to transfer money to its Rainy Day Fund as recommended by a BakerTilly municipal adviser at council’s July 11 meeting.
  • Main Street Centerville plans for anticipated large crowds to view the April 8, 2024, solar eclipse and seeks additional parking options soon. Cope Environmental Center plans to offer parking. The organization is electing a representative for Wayne County’s eclipse task force.
  • Main Street also approved support for a learning path near Maplewood Park’s caboose, will have a new website, and is celebrating Civil War governor and former Centerville resident Oliver P. Morton’s 200th birthday with a Sept. 9 event.
  • When school resumes Aug. 7, drivers are urged to “Watch out for school buses — we will be,” said Police Chief Ed Buchholz. Bus drivers and police have noted many violations thanks to stop-arm cameras. 
  • Wayne County Railroaders have added 45 plants and several buildings around the caboose for its outdoor garden railroad. A dedication is planned for the new features at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, during the Aug. 25-26 Archway Days festival.
  • Trash pickup normally on Labor Day will be the next day.

Council next meets at 7 p.m. Aug. 8 in town hall, 204 E. Main St. The public may attend.

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A version of this article appeared in the August 2 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.