Jim Vaca, who lost election in November, recognized for 25 years on Aurora City Council

Longtime Ward 1 City Councilman Jim Vaca was recognized by his fellow councilmembers this month for his 25 years of serving the Geauga Lake area of the city.

Vaca will leave council at the end of the year after having been defeated in the November election by Brad Duguay by a 328 to 197 vote count.

Jim Vaca
Jim Vaca

Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin read a proclamation outlining Vaca’s many accomplishments and history with the city, and Council President George Horvat unveiled a plaque which will be given to Vaca, who was absent from the meeting.

Vaca served on Council from 1986 to 1989 and from 1999 to the present. An Aurora resident since 1949, an Aurora High graduate and a retired meat cutter at the Heinen’s commissary, he has served for 40 years as a part-time firefighter.

He has worked as an election poll worker for more than 25 years, is a charter member of the Aurora school bus transportation committee, served on the Aurora Youth Commission and as trustee/president of the Geauga Lake Improvement Association, and was involved in Aurora Community Theatre.

He has been married for 55 years, with four children and seven grandchildren. He is an antique automobile buff, owning a 1957 Chevrolet and several other classic vehicles.

“It’s tough to see him go,” said Councilman John Kudley. “It’s a great loss for the city. He was a great source of knowledge of city history.” Several other council members added kind words.


• An ordinance amending hunting and trapping regulations went to second reading. It clarifies parameters as they relate to public safety concerns.

Language proposed to be added includes the following:

“Individuals hunting within city limits may only access the property being hunted through the actual land itself. Accessing properties through private property or common areas not included in the land being hunted is prohibited unless permission is acquired from the landowner.

“Tree stands may not be placed where they can be in plain sight of any residential dwelling, with the exception of the dwellings located on the property being hunted.

“The police chief may deny controlled deer hunting on a property meeting the acreage criteria due to public safety concerns or proximity of denser residential area. His decision to prohibit any controlled deer hunting on a property is final.”

Kudley explained the legislation was drafted after some residents near the Preserve at Beljon Farms subdivision on East Pioneer Trail expressed concerns about deer hunting there.

Some Council reps said they favor amending the ordinance to declare a specific distance that tree stands must be placed from property lines.

• The mayor’s appointments of Ralph Ware to the landmark commission and Connie Lewandowski to the planning commission were confirmed. Ware replaces Councilman-elect Duguay, while Lewandowski replaces Duguay’s wife, Laura.

A section of the codified ordinances was amended to clarify restrictions when appointing someone to the landmark commission. It now states the person can hold no other office or employment in the city. The word “employment” replaces “appointment.”

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This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Jim Vaca recognized for 25 years on Aurora Council