West Side News & Notes
By Stephanie Kist
Akron, county put new 9-1-1
system into operation
SUMMIT COUNTY — The city of Akron and Summit County put into operation last week a new system that gives 9-1-1 operators the technical capability to pinpoint the locations of emergency calls made from cell phones.
This city-county partnership
led to the collective purchase of a single 9-1-1 emergency
phone system to serve both.
Purchasing the single system, which was purchased from
AT&T at a cost of about $750,000, saves Akron and
Summit County nearly $150,000 from the cost if each
purchased its own.
The agreement also will ensure
maintenance expenses will be reduced by as much as 40
percent by eliminating redundancies, according to city
and county officials.
The city of Akron and Summit
County previously owned and operated independent 9-1-1
City and county call takers
in the 9-1-1 dispatch center will now be provided with
telephone numbers and locations for wireless 9-1-1 calls
as well as for land-line phones.
The new system will automatically
display a caller’s location — pinpointed
by latitude and longitude — on a map at the call
taker’s station after receiving positioning information
from the wireless phone, giving the call taker the location
of the caller.
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic
noted not all cellular providers are up to speed with
this new technology, but the new system purchased by
the city and county has the capability to accommodate
At the mayor’s weekly
press conference Aug. 22, Plusquellic and Summit County
Executive Russell Pry also announced they are reinvigorating
the city-county task force whose job it will be to identify
areas in which the two jurisdictions can share services
and resources in public safety and other areas of government.
“This 9-1-1 collaborative
effort is a good first step in terms of our relationship
to show that we are committed to trying to work with
partners here in Summit County, and Akron is going to
be one of our big partners in terms of where we go forward,”
Pry said at the press conference.
Akron to hire more
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron
Mayor Don Plusquellic told reporters Aug. 22 the city
of Akron will hire more police officers and change the
way it schedules the testing of officers.
Eleven more officers will be
hired from the current list of eligible candidates.
The same list already has produced 39 police trainees
who graduated Aug. 24 and began patrolling the streets
of Akron Aug. 27. The 11 new recruits will bring the
force to 487, which is the full budgeted strength of
Akron’s police force, when they hit the streets
Plusquellic also announced job
posting and recruiting will be done every other March,
beginning next year. For years, the city has based testing
schedules on the number of upcoming vacancies it expected
to have to fill.
“That method,” said
Plusquellic, “is unreliable for a variety of reasons.
By starting the process in even-numbered years, we will
be able to maintain a more current, running list of
eligible candidates for these jobs.”
The new job-posting schedule
is also more predictable for those interested in becoming
Akron police officers. The next three postings for the
police exam will take place in March 2008, March 2010
and March 2012.
According to Deputy Mayor for
Public Safety George Romanoski, it takes 15 months from
the time the city posts notice for the positions until
the time the officers who take that exam could begin
Testing in even-numbered years
ensures newly trained officers on the streets every
other June, in odd-numbered years.
“We recruit and test,
and then those who make it go through background checks,
psychological testing and training,” said Romanoski.
“It is a deliberate, careful process.”
Romanoski said the cost of training
is roughly $3,000 to $3,500 per trainee.
Two isn’t always better
than one, as evidenced by this misspelled highway sign
on Interstate 77 in West Akron.
Photo: Ken Crisafi
Stan Hywet highway signs to
WEST AKRON — Looks like
someone let their spelling skills slip over summer vacation.
New signs that were installed
on Interstate 77 for Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens have
an extra “T” in Hywet. The signs were placed
before the White Pond exits in the area of I-77 that
has been expanded in recent months.
Paula Putnam, Ohio Department
of Transportation (ODOT) District 4 spokesperson, said
the agency was made aware of the error last week when
the signs were being put up.
“Our engineer called us
and said, ‘There’s a problem here,’”
Putnam said the agency doesn’t
yet know how the misspelling occurred, but in most cases
an error of this kind is the fault of the sign fabricator
hired by the contractor to make the signs.
She said the signs will be replaced
with new ones, but isn’t sure when that
If the misspelling is the fault
of the fabricator, the cost to replace the sign will
be its responsibility, Putnam said.
The brown signs, called recreational
and cultural interest signs, are being replaced throughout
the county, she added. The Stan Hywet signs replace
older signs that were recently removed for the road’s
Katie Campbell, marketing director
of Stan Hywet, said the estate began hearing from people
last week about the error.
“My phone started ringing,”
She said the organization understands
the misspelling was a simple mistake.
every effort to rectify it,” Campbell said. “It
will all be well in the end.”
Putnam said organizations like
Stan Hywet must submit a request to ODOT for the signs
to be erected. ODOT looks at how many visitors
go to an attraction and its proximity
to the highway when determining whether or not there
should be highway signs for a site.
— By Kathleen Folkerth
Raccoon rabies vaccination
baiting slated for
COLUMBUS — The Ohio departments
of Health (ODH) and Natural Resources, in partnership
with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services program,
will begin their fall oral rabies vaccination operation
tomorrow, Aug. 31, in 14 Ohio counties.
Rabies is a viral disease that
affects mammals and people and is almost always fatal
if left untreated.
The northern portion of the
Appalachian Ridge Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) baiting
will cover 4,682 square miles in Ohio. Weather permitting,
aerial distribution should be complete within seven
days; ground baiting may continue through Sept. 30.
As in past years, vaccine-bait
distribution will take place in Ashtabula, Columbiana,
Jefferson, Mahoning and Trumbull counties and parts
of Belmont, Carroll, Harrison and Monroe counties. Baiting
teams also will operate in Geauga and Lake counties,
plus parts of Summit, Cuyahoga and Portage counties.
Two types of baits will be used.
Airplanes will drop a small plastic sachet, about the
size of a ketchup packet, coated in fishmeal. In urban
areas, the vaccine will be inside a hard, brown 2-inch-by-2-inch
fishmeal block, which will
be distributed by vehicles.
Residents should avoid the baits
and keep pets confined during the baiting period. Dogs,
in particular, are attracted to the baits and will occasionally
eat them. The baits are not harmful to pets.
Once your area is baited, keep
dogs and cats inside or on leashes for up to five days.
Most baits disappear within 24 hours; however, it is
important raccoons have every opportunity to eat them,
according to ODH officials.
Anyone handling baits should
wear gloves. If baits are found in areas frequented
by pets or children, toss them into deeper cover. Damaged
baits can be disposed of in the trash.
If a person is exposed to the
vaccine (red liquid), thoroughly wash any areas of the
skin that came into contact with the vaccine with soap
For more information, call (888)
This billboard was established
by the Akron Near Westsiders near the intersection of
North Valley and West Market Streets in West Akron.
Photo: Ken Crisafi
Billboard calls attention
to crime on west
WEST HILL — The Akron
Near Westsiders, a neighborhood group, has paid for
the establishment of a billboard advertising unsavory
activities going on in the neighborhood.
“The crime is terrible
in the neighborhood,” said Akron Near Westsiders
President John Sherrer.
Sherrer alleges prostitution,
drug dealing and gang activity is running rampant. The
billboard states this and directs people
to a Web site at www.
myspace.com/stopthecrime akron for
further description of the problem and what can be done.
Sherrer said they intended the
billboard to hold the city of Akron accountable for
crime on the west side.
“With our problems and
the city saying they’re doing all they can, which
they’re not, we’ve decided to bring it publicly,”
When told about the billboard,
Akron Director of Communications Mark Williamson said
Mayor Don Plusquellic recalled recently running into
Sherrer, who he said congratulated the mayor for doing
a good job making the billboard’s appearance a
bit mysterious, Williamson said.
Sherrer said the group has paid
for the billboard to be up for one month, with reservations
for it to run longer, and he is looking for a possible
second location on West Exchange Street for a second
The group raised money in the
neighborhood for the billboard and also to pay an
attorney to conduct research.
The Akron Near Westsiders and
residents from West Hill and Highland Square also held
a crime rally Aug. 23 and plan to have another one in
For more information, call (330)
Speed cameras on; fines reduced
for first two weeks
AKRON — When students
from the Akron Public Schools returned from summer break
Aug. 29, the city of Akron again had in place its video
speed-surveillance cameras in selected school zones.
The program tracks speeding vehicles in school zones
using laser and radar technology.
Again this school year, the
city will deploy four separate video systems that are
portable and able to be moved each day at the direction
of the Akron Police Department (APD) Traffic Bureau.
Sites are chosen based on areas of greatest concern
for police. Cameras will be utilized only during the
time yellow school-zone
lights are flashing signifying the 20 mph restricted
Vehicles exceeding the speed
limit trigger the cameras to take a photograph of the
offending vehicle. The owner is traced and issued the
The offense is considered a
civil infraction, not a criminal traffic citation. Therefore,
drivers who receive civil citations receive no points
on their driving record, and the infraction is not reported
to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles or their auto insurer.
Mayor Don Plusquellic said Aug.
28 fines will be set at $35 from the first day of school,
Aug. 29, through the second full week of school, Sept.
14. Fines return to the standard $100 Sept. 17 for violators.
Again this year, the APD will
employ electronic warning signs that flash a vehicle’s
speed as it approaches. This is used as a tool to help
drivers monitor their speed. Drivers should be aware
that APD radar cars or a speed camera are likely to
follow up with a visit to those sites in subsequent
days or weeks.