South Side News & Notes
By Maria Lindsay
Legislation to count late
mailed ballots introduced
SUMMIT COUNTY — State Rep. Stephen Dyer (D-District 43) introduced legislation Oct. 1 to ensure all absentee ballots postmarked before election day will be counted in the future.
Dyer’s legislation proposes absentee ballots postmarked before Election Day should be counted if delivered by mail up to 10 days after polls close. Dyer, of Green, also is working with Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to develop a more clearly marked return envelope for absentee ballots.
The freshman statesman is working
on gathering support for the proposal and is hoping
the General Assembly will
adopt the bill in time for the March 2008 Primary for
the presidential election.
The proposed legislation was
presented in a press conference at the Summit County
Board of Elections Oct. 2.
“I look forward to working
with the secretary of state, the governor and the General
Assembly to come up with a bipartisan solution to make
sure every vote gets counted and votes are not compromised
by foul-ups at the post office,” Dyer said in
a telephone interview afterward.
Summit County Elections Board
Chairman Wayne Jones said he supported the bill but
raised a concern regarding a federal law that requires
uniformity on election laws across the country. He suggested
all ballots to be counted should be postmarked by 7:30
p.m. on election night to qualify for the official count.
He said the amendment is needed to preclude ballots
that are dropped off after the election.
The proposed election changes
were developed in response to controversy in Summit
County, where more than 200 absentee ballots went uncounted
because they arrived after polls closed due to an error
at the U.S. Post Office.
Pry launches Waiver
SUMMIT COUNTY — On Sept.
24, Summit County Executive Russell Pry’s Department
of Community and Economic Development launched the County
of Summit Waiver Demolition Program, an initiative designed
to eliminate blight and decay throughout Summit County.
The program is geared toward
the clearance of vacant and deteriorated structures,
such as barns, garages, homes and sheds. Through this
program, the county will contribute up to $7,500 toward
demolition costs, including asbestos assessment and
abatement activities associated with residential sites
with multiple structures.
“In most cases, the $7,500
allowance will result in no cost to the property owner,”
Pry said. “However, if the price should rise above
the $7,500 allowance, the property owner will be responsible
for the remainder of the demolition costs.”
Upon a request for demolition,
the county will provide property owners with waiver
forms to be signed permitting the destruction. Once
the waiver is signed, the Department of Community and
Economic Development will
work with utility companies and contractors to coordinate
the demolition process, as well as provide on-site inspection
of all demolition activity. Once the demolition is completed,
the land continues to be owned and maintained by the
The waiver demolition program
is being administered through the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development Community Development
Funds and is only available to county residents living
outside the cities of Akron, Barberton and Cuyahoga
Property owners interested in
taking advantage of the program should call (330) 643-8760
or visit www.co.summit .oh.us/executive/dev.htm.
— By Stephanie Kist
Firefighters square off in
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The city
of Akron will host the Akron Firefighter Combat Challenge
Oct. 5-6 on South Main Street in front of Lock 3 Park.
Part of the Scott Firefighter
Combat Challenge, this competition attracts hundreds
of municipal fire departments each year at more than
25 sites. From the Akron regional event, the top three
firefighters in each division will
advance to the national competition in Atlanta the following
week. The world Firefighter Combat Challenge will then
be held in Las Vegas in November.
In full gear, firefighters will
perform real-life firefighting tasks: climbing a five-story
tower, hoisting, chopping and dragging hoses and rescuing
a life-sized, 175-pound “victim.”
Mayor Don Plusquellic picked
up the idea of the challenge while visiting his former
college roommate, who was competing in the Firefighters’
Combat Challenge in Deerfield Beach, Fla., in May 2006.
“This was exciting, competitive
and a terrific hands-on way for people to see just what
these men and women go through to protect us each and
every day,” Plusquellic said. “Otherwise,
most of us could only imagine how challenging these
The Akron Fire Department will
field anywhere from 30 to 40 firefighters for the competition.
On Oct. 5, the firefighters’
competition will take place from 6:30 to 10 p.m. following
opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. The national anthem will
be sung by Paul Callahan, chief of police for The University
of Akron and a former major in the Akron Police Department.
The Akron Fire Department Color Guard will present the
Prior to that, at 5 p.m., will
be the Kid’s Firefighter Challenge. This event
is designed for children ages 4-12 and costs $1 for
children to take part; all proceeds will go to the Burn
Unit at Akron Children’s Hospital.
For the kids’ challenge,
each child is outfitted with a helmet and turn-out gear
and will perform tasks similar to the adult firefighters.
On Oct. 6, the opening ceremonies
will begin at 11 a.m., and tandem and relay competitions
will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. From noon to 11 p.m.,
Akron firefighters will host Barley Fest, a fund-raising
event at Lock 3 Park. Five beer tastings will be available
South Main Street will close
the morning of Oct. 4 for setup and not reopen until
Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. —
By Stephanie Kist
Public forum addresses gun
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Gun activist
Toby Hoover will speak on gun violence as part of a
speech and panel presentation titled “Reducing
Gun Violence” to be presented in the auditorium
at the Akron-Summit County Main Branch Library, 60 S.
High St., Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Hoover, executive director of
the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, has worked
more than 30 years at a state and national level to
reduce gun violence.
Her talk will be followed by
a panel discussion with Summit County Juvenile Court
Judge Linda Teodosio; Officer Don Schismenos, head of
the Akron Police Department Gang Unit; Greenleaf Family
Center President Judy Joice;
Summit County Councilman Pete Crossland (D-at large);
and University of Akron School of Communication Professor
For more information, call (330)
329-5132 or visit www .uuakron.org.
— By Stephanie Kist
Springfield Fire Department
marks Fire Prevention Week
SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield
Township Fire Department will host two Fire Prevention
Week events Oct. 13.
From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Springfield
Firefighter Union Local 3040 will serve up a free pancake
breakfast and offer tours of the facility, located at
Kubler and Waterloo roads.
From noon to 4 p.m. the fire
department will present a free car cruise-in at the
same location. The event also will include hot dogs
and popcorn, a 50/50 drawing, free dash plaques to the
first 75 cars and oldies music.
SBA loan deadline is Oct.
SUMMIT/MEDINA COUNTIES —
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) reminds
homeowners, renters, nonprofit organizations and businesses
that Oct. 15 is the deadline to submit disaster loan
applications for damage caused by the severe storms
and flooding Aug. 7.
Those in Cuyahoga County and
contiguous counties — including Summit —
are eligible to apply.
SBA offers loans up to $200,000
to repair primary residences. Homeowners and renters
are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to replace personal
property. Loans to businesses of all sizes and nonprofit
organizations are available up to $1.5 million to repair
damage to real estate,
machinery, inventory and equipment. Economic Injury
Disaster Loans (EIDLs) also are available to small businesses
unable to pay bills or meet operating expenses because
of the storms. The deadline for EIDL applications is
May 14, 2008.
Interest rates are as low as
3.125 percent for homeowners and renters and 4 percent
for businesses, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts
and terms are set up by the SBA and are based on each
applicant’s financial condition.
To obtain an application, call
— By Stephanie Kist