Football, yellow buses about to take over

If memory serves, it was just last week that we were congratulating our new high school graduates and planning our summer vacation, right?

Wrong!

It won’t be long until the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting more brisk and it’s time to take down my hanging summer flower baskets and replace them with autumn mums and cornstalks.

We are about ready for the Canfield and Geauga County fairs, and by the end of this week, we’ll be settling in for some high school football.

While it may be hard for you and me to believe, it’s not so surprising for Tribune Chronicle Sports Editor Doug Chapin and his sports staff who have been preparing for weeks.

They’ve been busy writing stories, compiling team rosters and taking pictures since the end of July, all in preparation for this year’s annual 88-page High School Football Preview, published with today’s newspaper.

This year’s book contains in-depth stories, statistics, rosters, records, schedules, predictions and photos of returning lettermen for 16 schools in Trumbull County, six in Mahoning, and two each from Portage and Ashtabula counties.

We believe this is the most comprehensive look at what can be expected from your high school football teams that is published in the surrounding area.

Then throughout the high school football season, get your most complete game coverage here each week. Read our advance game coverage and predictions on Thursdays and Fridays, and don’t miss our complete game coverage each Saturday. The newspaper will be packed full of coverage of multiple games with words, stats and photos.

We dedicate our efforts to projects like this because we know how important high school football is to our readers and to the local area.

Coming up next Sunday, readers also will receive in their Tribune Chronicle the annual “Keepsake” edition — a football yearbook of sorts — that will include team photos of the local high school football teams. If your son, grandson or neighbor is a player on a high school football team, you’ll want to be sure get Sunday’s edition next week.

If you think this summer went fast, just wait for the next 10 weeks to fly by!

While I’m on the topic of back-to-school, let me also take a moment to remind readers that it’s time to prepare for yellow school buses.

Students in Bloomfield-Mespo, Bristol, Maplewood, Mathews, McDonald and TCTC head back Monday morning, with many more following on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Still others head back next week.

What that all means is that traffic will be heavier around town, and especially in the school zones.

Please allow yourself some extra time beginning this week, and be patient when caught behind the blinking lights of school buses or when stopped by crossing guards to allow the kids to cross safely.

Here are a few basics that we all know, but it never hurts to get a refresher:

• Pay attention to school zone flashing beacons and obey school zone speed limits;

• Obey school bus laws. Stop behind and do not pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. (Remember, in Ohio, police may execute an arrest or traffic citation based on the statement of a school bus driver, even if an officer doesn’t witness the infraction.)

• Watch for students gathering near bus stops and for kids arriving late. They may dart into the street. Children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.

According to the National Safety Council, most children who lose their lives in school bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, walking as they are hit by the bus or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus.

Remember, traffic violations — namely speeding — in school zones are more severely punished than usual. Those caught violating the law are subject to doubled fines.

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