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West Side News & Notes

2/23/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Ohio EPA schedules meeting to discuss update to Akron’s long-term control plan

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The city of Akron’s updated plan to reduce combined sewer overflows will be the focus of a Feb. 29 Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) public meeting.

The information session and public hearing will begin at 6 p.m. at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, 60 S. High St.

The city’s long-term control plan is part of a negotiated consent decree among the federal government, state of Ohio and city of Akron. Submission of the plan was required by and will be implemented upon the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio’s entry of the consent decree.

The update includes specific construction projects and dates for completion. All of the projects are to be completed by Oct. 31, 2027.

According to the Ohio EPA, implementing the plan will dramatically reduce sewage overflows from Akron’s sewers through the construction of storage basins, relief sewers and tunnels, high-rate treatment facilities and expansion of the existing wastewater treatment plant located at 2460 Akron-Peninsula Road.

Comments concerning the update to the plan may be presented at the Feb. 29 hearing; submitted in writing to: Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, Permits Processing Unit, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049; or emailed to chris.bowman@epa.ohio.gov. The public comment period ends March 7.

The plan, update and related information are available for review at Ohio EPA’s Northeast District Office in Twinsburg by first calling 330-963-1200.

Reservations due tomorrow for State of the City address

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The 2012 State of the City address by Mayor Don Plusquellic will be March 1 at Quaker Station at the Quaker Inn at The University of Akron, 135 S. Broadway St.

The address is co-sponsored by the Greater Akron Chamber, Kiwanis Club of Akron, the Rotary Club of Akron and the Akron Press Club and hosted by the Akron Roundtable.

In this annual address, Plusquellic is expected to detail the municipal achievements of 2011 and highlight some upcoming projects for 2012.

In 2011, Plusquellic was re-elected to a seventh term and began his 26th year as mayor of Akron in January 2012. The city’s longest-serving mayor became the 59th mayor of Akron in February 1987, after serving for 13 years on Akron City Council, including three years as president from 1984 to 1987. Citizens of Ward 9 first elected him to council as their representative in 1973, when he was 24 years old.

Registration and networking will begin at 10:30 a.m., with the program and lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m. To make a reservation, call the Greater Akron Chamber at 330-376-5550 or register at www.greaterakronchamber.org. Reservations are due by noon tomorrow, Feb. 24. The cost is $20 for individuals and $160 for a table of eight people.

Salvation Army 2011 Red Kettle Campaign surpasses $400,000 Goal

GREATER AKRON — The Salvation Army of Summit County’s 2011 Red Kettle Campaign raised $439,000 for the work of the Salvation Army throughout the coming year, nearly 10 percent higher than the $400,000 goal set in November, according to organizers.

Honorary Red Kettle Chairs were Vivian Celeste Neal and Vernon Neal. The Salvation Army also thanked in a press release the thousands of volunteer bell ringers and the residents of Summit County who supported the campaign.

“We are once again humbled by the generosity and sacrifice of our neighbors to help those in need,” said Major David Dunham, Summit County’s area coordinator.

Funds raised through the Red Kettle Campaign support the ongoing operations of The Salvation Army, including children’s programs, homelessness prevention and emergency shelter, hot meals and food pantry programs and more.

2012 Have a Heart, Do Your Part Radiothon raises $716,484 for Children’s

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The 2012 Have a Heart, Do Your Part radiothon raised $716,484 for Akron Children’s Hospital. The annual event, which is presented by 98.1 WKDD, took place Feb. 9-11.

As of Feb. 15, 486 of the 700 registered Change Bandits collected $155,137 of the total. Change Bandits who weren’t able to make it to the radiothon are still able to turn in their money. Call 330-543-8185 for more information.

Prizes were awarded to the top Change Bandits in the following categories at the Change Bandit Bash, which kicked off the radiothon weekend Feb. 8:

• Top individual: Anthony Solari, Hudson;

• Top school/organization: Sauder Elementary, Massillon;

• Small companies (fewer than 100 employees): CSE Credit Union;

• Large companies (more than 100 employees): Charles Schwab; and

• Hospital department: Rehabilitative Services.

This year’s radiothon had a special contribution from Randy Theken, of Barberton, and his fiancée, Julie Amsden. The couple matched all Friday and Saturday pledge donations for a total of $189,567.

“[Akron Children’s is] just an incredible gift to have in our community, as many may not fully appreciate the resources it takes to keep the doors open and remain as one of the top children’s hospitals in the country,” Theken said. “Our support at this year’s radiothon was really nothing more than being a conduit to hopefully inspire others to open their hearts and support this children’s hospital, especially in a year of difficult economic times.”

Since it began in 2000, the “Have a Heart, Do Your Part” radiothon has raised more than $7 million to benefit the continued efforts of medical research, education and patient care programs at Akron Children’s Hospital.

The 2012 radiothon was sponsored by FedEx Custom Critical and Klaben Auto Stores. The Change Bandits were sponsored in part by Charles Schwab and Dairy Queen.

Serbian leaders gather in Northeast Ohio

AKRON — Six Serbian leaders participating in the Open World Program are spending Feb. 17-24 in Akron examining civil society organizations and human rights. The Akron International Friendship (AIF) hosted the delegation for Open World.

Managed by the independent Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress, Open World enables emerging Eurasian political and civic leaders to work with their U.S. counterparts and experience American-style democracy at the local level. 

The visiting delegates are Mirjana Zoran Bogdanovic, executive director, Gay-Straight Alliance; Luka Zvonko Bozovic, Youth Initiative for Human Rights; Jelena Bosko Dzombic, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights; Dragon Milan Ristic, finance manager, Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights; and Jelena Boro Visnjic, program director, Feminist Culture Center BeFem. Ksenija Lazovic, from Belgrade, Serbia, accompanied them as a facilitator.

According to AIF officials, the primary mission for the visitors is to share, learn and explore sustainable solutions for civil and human rights organizations in their own country as well as how people in the United States deal with civil and human rights issues. The delegation has been attending various professional appointments that have been arranged by AIF to meet with Akron area civic leaders, university resources and government officials. They will discuss the roles that government, educational and civic organizations, as well as the role that youth can play, in promoting mutual understanding between people or groups that are marginalized or facing rights violations.

Before the delegation’s arrival in Akron, AIF Executive Director Michelle Wilson joined the delegation in Washington, D.C., to meet U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Doug Babcock, his legislative aid for international affairs.

In Akron, some of the scheduled appointments include a workshop on NGO Management with Elaine Woloshyn, NGO consultant and professor; a meeting with John Grafton, of the Gay Community Endowment Fund, to discuss its work in promoting tolerance and equality in the community; meetings with Lee Gill, of The University of Akron’s (UA) Office of Inclusion and Equity; Rosa Githora, of the Women’s Resource Center; and Martin Belsky, dean of UA’s School of Law, who is presenting on the Anti-Defamation League of Ohio/Kentucky/Allegheny Region.

The visitors also paid a visit to the Akron Mayor’s office for meetings with Akron Peace Makers to discuss youth, diversity and empowerment. Rounding out its stay in Akron, the delegation will visit Lawndale Elementary School for a discussion on cyber-bullying and Archbishop Hoban High School for a presentation on the peace and justice work that students have done there.

Homestays with local Akron residents were intended to allow the delegates to experience American family life. They also took part in several cultural and community activities, including the Festival of Nations at the Akron Civic Theatre and a night of men’s basketball at UA’s James A. Rhodes Arena.

Nominations open for Safety Citizen of the Year

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Summit County Safety Council is accepting nominations for Safety Citizen of the Year.

Nominees must be actively involved in safety based on personal dedication, concern and special contributions to the cause of safety and accident prevention. They must live, work or be an active member in Summit County and have at least five years of history in safety-related activity, including volunteer work.

To nominate someone for the Safety Citizen of the Year, visit the Summit County Safety Council website at www.thesummitcountysafetycouncil.org. Names may be submitted to the board members by March 16.

The individual will be recognized at the Summit County Safety Council Awards Banquet Luncheon April 18.

WJ Fights Cancer Week featuring Jim Donovan

CUYAHOGA FALLS — Inspired by her brother David’s fight against lymphoma, Bethie Stein, Class of 2012, started the WJ Fights Cancer Week last year, which raised more than $11,000 for the American Cancer Society. David is a 2008 Walsh Jesuit High School graduate.

Funds were raised through a series of sponsors and student activities, all while raising awareness about cancer and its impact on families.

This year, the WJ Fights Cancer Week will take place Feb. 27 to March 4. The week will conclude with a Mass March 4 at 10 a.m. in the Walsh Jesuit Chapel, followed by breakfast catered by Moe’s Restaurant and guest speaker Jim Donovan, of WKYC Channel 3. Donovan will speak about his battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The event is open to the public, and all proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society.

Attendees also will have the opportunity to make a donation to the Be the Match® National Marrow Donor Program and become a bone marrow donor during the event. The cost is $10 per person or $20 per family. Anyone interested in attending is asked to make a reservation by March 1 by visiting www.walshjesuit.org. Find Walsh Jesuit Communion Breakfast on the front page. To make reservations over the phone, or for more information, call 330-929-4205, ext. 170.

Individuals or businesses interested in making a contribution to the American Cancer Society through WJ Fights Cancer Week may send checks payable to The American Cancer Society to Walsh Jesuit High School, 4550 Wyoga Lake Road, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44224, Attn: Principal’s Office — Cancer Week.

Women’s organizations unite to tutor children

GREATER AKRON — The members of the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) of United Way of Summit County have partnered with the Knowledgeable Network of Women (KNOW) of the Greater Akron Chamber to help improve children’s reading skills.

According to United Way officials, one in three fourth-graders in the nation is scoring below basic in reading skill level assessments. In response to these poor reading skills, United Way World Wide issued a challenge to engage 1 million new volunteers as readers, tutors and mentors to help improve the academic success of young people across America. Locally, members of WLC and KNOW accepted the challenge and are taking action.

According to United Way officials, in a coordinated effort with Carla Sibley, director of community relations at Akron Public Schools (APS), the organizations have launched a tutoring program called “K-3 Read With Me” in APS schools. Since Feb. 8, tutors have been volunteering at Sam Salem Community Learning Center (CLC) Wednesdays from 1:45 to 2:20 p.m. in teams. Tutors also are scheduled at Mason CLC and Essex and Rankin elementary schools on various days. The volunteer tutors are paired in teams and alternate working with the same student. One tutor is scheduled for the first and third full week of the month, and the other on the second and fourth week of the month.

“When women band together to promote something they are passionate about, they really do make inroads in the community and can have an enormous impact on a child’s life,” said Carol L’Esperance, coordinator of the WLC of United Way.

Ensuring effective and beneficial education throughout Summit County is one of United Way’s main objectives, according to United Way officials. The team approach allows students and tutors to get to know one another while helping students gain the reading skills necessary for success in school.

“The KNOW is thrilled to collaborate with the [WLC] of United Way in helping young children gain the necessary reading skills to build their confidence and help towards making their future brighter,” said Paula Chesser, senior investment consultant at R.W. Baird and KNOW Board chair.

— By Maria Lindsay

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