The late Thomas R. Little spent most of his adult life working to make the Newcomerstown community a better place and, since his death, his family and friends are continuing that spirit in his hometown.

Recently, a grants committee met to advise the Thomas R. Little Memorial Fund on the 2018 applications, voting to approve three grants (one provisionally).

Approved was a grant of $4,395 for the Newcomerstown Public Library to expand the Library’s mobile hotspot program that provides high speed wireless Internet access to area residents who previously did not have that capability.

In their application, Library officials wrote: "Our project is ‘Bridging the Technology Gap in a Financially/Economically Distressed Rural Community.’

"With this project, it is our iintent to offer an alternative connection for those in our community that do not find the internet/web financially affordable, may not have the option to connection due to limitations by service providers or for those who fear ‘messing up’ technology.

"The project is ongoing and is going to be library sustained. We hope to grow the technology being offered as well as implement new/additional items for patron circulation."

Another project that received funding was a request for $3,848.90 from Michael A. Wise and ARTSNCT, Inc., for the purchase of 110 chairs for the ARTSNCT facility at 304 S. College St., Newcomerstown.

Wise said, "ARTSNCT is Newcomerstown's first and only arts center focusing on the performing and visual arts, such as art, music, theatre, photography, and creative writing. The center is located at 304 South College Street, Newcomerstown and is scheduled to open June 5, 2018."

Among many activities and planned events are:

• Summer Outdoor Art and Craft Marketplace - Every Saturday, June through September, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at ARTSNCT.

• Open Stage @ARTSNCT - ARTSNCT's Open Stage program provides opportunity and performance space to performing arts students and artists where they have free rein to use and hone their creative and artistic skills in front of a live audience. In cooperation with local music and theatrical groups, organizations, and schools, ARTSNCT offers an opportunity for artists to command the stage for a minimum of one night. Artists are given free rein to present a family-friendly performance of their own design. The performance may be presented to showcase skills in writing, producing, directing, composing, performing, and/or any other performing arts skill. The stage is available one day prior to the performance for setup and rehearsal. Performances must be between sixty (60) and ninety (90) minutes in length and will be presented free of charge to the general public. The ARTSNCT stage and performance area is in black box theatre-style (24'x12'). Theatre-style seating is for an audience of 90-100.

For more information about ARTSNCT, contact Wise at 740-575-5710 or michael.wise@artsnct.org. - www.artsnct.org.

Funding of $3,300 was also approved to purchase a refrigeration unit for Journey’s End Ministries but Roger Seitz of Baker’s IGA, a member of the Grants Committee, offered to see if Baker’s IGA had a suitable unit already on hand that could be donated to Journey’s End. If not, the grant was approved and the purchase could be made for Journey’s End.

In the proposal submitted by Matt A. Leonard, pastor and director of Journey’s End, it said, "Our request...would be to purchase a commercial grade air conditioning-refrigeration unit that would be used in our food warehouse area. Although we have coolers and freezers for most of our foods, we lack the ability to store fresh produce and preserve freshness. By purchasing a new unit, we would be able to store more fresh produce for our clients."

Other members of the Grants Committee are Rick Roe, Sandy Henry, Sarah Swigert, Lori Stevens and Linda Collins.

The Thomas R. Little Memorial Fund is led by Jill Little, president; Erin Peoples, vice president; Rebecca Olding, secretary; Jim Russell, treasurer; and Terry Overholser, member.