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West Side News & Notes

3/15/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Scouting group files suit over sale of camps

CARROLL COUNTY — Members of Trefoil Integrity, a group that opposes the sale of four Girl Scout camps in the region, including Camp Crowell/Hilaka in Richfield, filed suit against the Girls Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) March 9.

The suit filed in Carroll County Common Pleas Court on behalf of six members of the organization and other members of GSNEO against the group contends that the GSNEO Board of Directors has acted contrary to its own Code of Regulations with regards to the election of current board members and in connection with the proposed sale of four camps in Summit, Carroll, Seneca and Lake counties. The suit also asks for an injunction barring the sales until the case is heard.

A press release from Trefoil Integrity said that at the recent annual meeting, a majority of the General Assembly voted against the sale of the camps, and a resolution was passed that ordered the board to cease and desist with plans until the board could achieve a two-thirds vote to approve the camp sales. The release added that the GSNEO board chose to move forward with the sale of the camps.

Trefoil Integrity members said they believe the suit is the best way to save the camps from being sold, an action they contend is against the wishes of most of the Girl Scout membership in the council.

“We are doing this for the girls, because the majority of the girls want their camps,” said Lynn Richardson, one of the plaintiffs and the organizer of Trefoil Integrity. “But what is even more important than the camps is that these girls want justice.”

GSNEO officials declined to comment.

“We have no further comments at the moment because we have not seen the lawsuit or heard from our members,” said Rebecca Shaffer, director of marketing and communications for GSNEO. “We have heard about the lawsuit only from the media.”

Fairlawn resident sues city over Rothrock closure

COPLEY/FAIRLAWN — Another lawsuit has been filed regarding the closing of Rothrock Road in Fairlawn.

Fairlawn resident Jacob Pollock filed suit against the city of Fairlawn Feb. 24. In the complaint, it states that Fairlawn “has unlawfully erected a barricade in the middle of Rothrock Road … and enacted an ordinance authorizing the unlawful closure of Rothrock Road to all traffic.” 

According to the Summit County Clerk of Courts office, summonses have been sent to defendants in the case, including Fairlawn Mayor William Roth and members of Fairlawn City Council.

The lawsuit also states that “the real reason for the barricading and threatened closure of the road is an unlawful scheme by Fairlawn to restrain competition between owners of retail property on Rothrock Road in Copley Township and owners of retail property in Fairlawn by deterring Wal-Mart from relocating its existing Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores from Fairlawn to Copley Township.”

The lawsuit is one of several that has been filed in response to the proposed development, which is for a 24-hour Super Wal-Mart and a Sam’s Club store, as well as a gas station, on a nearly 40-acre commercially zoned parcel on Rothrock Road. Copley Township approved a development agreement with Wal-Mart and LRC Development Co. in October. Currently, the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club Montrose area stores are located in Fairlawn.

The lawsuit has been assigned to Summit County Court of Common Pleas Judge Lynne Callahan.

Set for an upcoming trial is the case Copley Township vs. city of Fairlawn, which also regards Fairlawn’s ordinance closing Rothrock Road. The case is before Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty and is slated for trial starting April 30.

A pretrial status conference is set for May 22 for another case, Fairway Park Properties vs. LRC Development Co.

Husted weighs in on precinct reductions

COLUMBUS — Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted notified the Summit County Board of Elections (BOE) March 9 that he is in favor of allowing the board to trim the number of precincts in the county as a way to cut costs.

The BOE vote at its Feb. 21 meeting on the issue resulted in a tie, which resulted in Husted’s office being asked to weigh in. An analysis of Lucas and Montgomery counties, which are similar in size to Summit but have much lower costs of doing elections, showed those counties were able to reduce costs further by reducing the number of precincts in their communities.

In a letter to BOE Director Joe Masich and Deputy Director Kim Zurz, Husted wrote: “Due to budgetary constraints and the number of precincts in comparable counties, I break the tie in favor of the motion to redraw the precincts before the general elections. Should the board redraw the precinct boundaries, I am asking that the task be completed no later than June 1, 2012, so that there is sufficient time to provide voters with the mandatory notification of precinct changes as required by R.C. 3501.21.”

Currently, Summit County has 475 precincts. The BOE proposal would see precincts increase in size to no more than 1,300 active voters, according to Husted’s letter.

A call seeking comment from Masich was not returned by presstime.

County’s financial rating stable

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County officials announced last week that Moody’s Investors Service gave the county an Aa1 General Obligation rating with a Stable Outlook.

Moody’s notified the county March 5 about the rating, and stated that “the county’s financial operations will likely maintain favorable given the strong managerial oversight and satisfactory General Fund liquidity,” according to a press release.

The firm also noted the county’s cost-cutting measures in considering its ranking, according to the release.

The local economy also was cited as a reason for the positive rating. Moody’s announced the county’s tax base is helped by the stability of institutions such as local health care and higher education organizations as well as technology advances taking place locally.

Moody’s also assigned a rating of Aa2/stable for the nontax revenue bonds that will be issued this month by the Summit County Port Authority to fund the county’s $15 million commitment to the Goodyear Headquarters and Technical Center project. The county and port authority requested that rating, county officials said.

County Executive Russ Pry was pleased to hear Moody’s ratings.

“The affirmed Aa1 rating is more good news for Summit County as we continue to make decisions that reduce General Fund spending and operate as the most financially efficient of Ohio’s six largest counties,” Pry said. “Additionally, the rating further validates the importance of the investments that the county had made in recent years to create and keep polymer and health care jobs through the Goodyear Headquarters and Technical Center, Bridgestone Technical Center and Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron headquarters.”

Moody’s provides credit ratings, research and risk analysis, which tracks and analyzes debt internationally.

Barberton Municipal Court extends deadline for unpaid fines, court costs

BARBERTON — The Barberton Municipal Court has extended the deadline for issuing bench warrants on past-due unpaid fines and court costs to March 19.

Court officials said the extension is due to the dramatic increase in the payment of fines and court costs in February.

On March 19, the court will begin the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) Warrant Block Program. Under program, the court will send the BMV a report of any person for whom an arrest warrant has been issued, according to court officials. Upon the BMV’s receipt of this information, the BMV will deny the person named in the arrest warrant the right to apply for a driver’s license or vehicle registration. This is not a driving suspension. It is a block that prohibits an individual from applying for or renewing a driver’s license and/or registering a vehicle and obtaining updated license tags, according to court officials.

Defendants who are past due on their payment plans should make sure their payments are current before that date, according to court officials. Those unable to do so are asked to come to court to speak with their judge weekdays between 9 and 11 a.m. or 1 and 3 p.m.

The program is being implemented in an effort to increase the collection of more than $3.4 million in outstanding criminal fines and court costs, according to court officials. These fines and court costs are distributed monthly to the state, Summit County and the local municipalities in the court’s district, which includes Copley and Norton, after payment. Collection of these fines will directly benefit local communities, according to court officials.

Clerk of Courts Diana Stevenson stated she has been working with Judges David Fish and Christine Croce to find ways to increase collections of the outstanding fines and costs.

Payments can be made at www.cityofbarberton.com/clerkofcourts with a credit card. Other payment options include paying in person weekdays from 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The clerk’s office accepts personal checks, money orders made payable to Barberton Municipal Court, cash, Visa and Mastercard.

Payments also can be mailed to Barberton Municipal Court, 576 W. Park Ave., Barberton, OH 44203.

For questions regarding the Warrant Block Program, call the clerk’s office at 330-861-7191.

— By Maria Lindsay

Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation announces creation of advisory board

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation has announced the creation of Emerging Leaders, a new advisory board for the hospital.

The Emerging Leaders of Akron Children’s Hospital advisory board will raise awareness and funds for the hospital as informed ambassadors and advocates for health care issues in the community, according to hospital officials.

Governance for the board includes: 98.1 FM WKDD radio host Keith Kennedy, of Green, president; Alexis Rizopulous, of Akron, vice president; and Amy Abraham, of Wadsworth, secretary. Members of the executive board will serve a one-year term, and the president also will serve on the Akron Children’s Foundation Board, according to hospital officials.

Since forming five months ago, the board has had more than 50 members between the ages of 25 and 44 who have participated in a number of efforts to support the hospital, including collecting toys during the holiday season and raising money and volunteering at the 2012 “Have a Heart, Do Your Part” Radiothon.

— By Maria Lindsay

Parents can learn about possible risky behavior in teens

GREATER AKRON — The Hidden in Plain Sight exhibit will be presented by the Bath and Copley police departments in cooperation with Akron and Richfield police at the following times and locations:

• March 20, 7 p.m., Richfield Branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, 3761 S. Grant St.;

• April 10, 6:30 p.m., Summit County Juvenile Court, 650 Dan St. in Northeast Akron; and

• April 14, 9 a.m., Copley Community Center, 1278 Sunset Drive.

Adults are encouraged to explore and interact with the display designed to resemble a teenager’s bedroom. Throughout the exhibit are items that may indicate a teenager is involved in some high-risk behavior such as substance abuse, underage drinking, eating disorders, sexual activity and more. There is no charge to attend; no youth will be admitted.

For more information, call the Copley Police Department at 330-666-4218 or the Bath Police Department at 330-666-3736.

— By Stephanie Kist

Akron residents encouraged to participate in Clean up Akron Week

AKRON — Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) will host Clean up Akron Week, part of Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup™, April 21-28.

According to KAB, more than 2.3 million volunteers this year in more than 15,000 communities throughout the United States are rallying to participate in cleanup, beautification and community improvement activities. The activities range from removing litter, beautifying a park, renovating or building a playground, collecting clothes for reuse, organizing a recycling or graffiti removal program or joining a river, lake or seashore cleanup, and more.

The 2012 national theme is “Green Starts Here.”

For the week, KAB will provide cleanup supplies for free and arrange for free disposal. The first 1,000 volunteers to register will receive free admission to the Akron Zoo for the annual volunteer appreciation picnic April 28 from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Call 330-375-2116 to get a registration form or register online at the website www.keepakronbeautiful.org.

— By Stephanie Kist

Kent State, Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine explore partnership

INDEPENDENCE — Kent State University (KSU) and the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine (OCPM) plan to come together into one single, academic entity as early as this summer.

An oversight committee, comprising a group of people from both institutions, is overseeing the transition. Six transition workgroups also are working to identify key transition issues and will provide analysis and recommendations in areas from academic affairs to marketing, according to OCPM officials.

“We are putting careful thought into this transition process to make sure there are no bottlenecks when the college formally becomes a part of Kent State,” said KSU Senior Associate Provost Tim Chandler, who is co-chairman of the oversight committee. “Staff members from both institutions are working around the clock to make this successful. Our attention to detail will ensure that there are no interruptions to the academic pursuit of our new and returning podiatric medicine students when the college resumes for classes in August.”

The move to join KSU is part of the strategic plan of the OCPM to take the college to the next level in teaching and research, according to OCPM officials. By coming together with KSU, the OCPM also will offer strategic research and teaching collaborations with KSU’s health and science departments.

The partnership between both institutions will offer expanded academic options for podiatric students, including the ability to obtain a dual degree, according to OCPM officials.

Faculty and students of the podiatric college also will have the opportunity to engage in research programs with public health, biomedical sciences and sports medicine. Additionally, access to all men’s and women’s sports teams that exist at KSU and the ability to work with KSU faculty, trainers and team physicians and be exposed to a variety of varsity and intramural sports activities, could lead to a new area of specialization in the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine program, according to OCPM officials.

For information, visit the transition site at www.kent.edu/ocpm. 

— By Stephanie Kist

Ohio EPA issues water quality report

OHIO — The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a ground water quality report to provide information about fluoride in Ohio’s ground waters, available for Ground Water Awareness Week March 11-17.

The report, available on the Ohio EPA’s website at www.epa.ohio.gov/Default.aspx?alias=www.epa.ohio.gov/ddagw, is the first in a series of reports on ground water quality, according to EPA officials.

The report and an accompanying fact sheet cover information about safe fluoride drinking water levels for wells, health effects, how fluoride gets into Ohio’s ground waters and a map that shows how fluoride concentrations are distributed in ground water throughout Ohio, according to EPA officials.

Fluoride occurs in ground water when water flows through rocks and minerals, dissolves the fluoride and carries it along with ground waters, according to the EPA. Human activity can increase fluoride levels. Discharges from septic or sewage treatment facilities, which process fluoridated water, also can have an effect.

The maximum contaminant level (the safe level established by U.S. EPA) for fluoride in public drinking water is 4 milligrams per liter. Public water systems are required to reduce these levels if tests detect an exceedence, according to EPA officials. The same level has been adopted by the Ohio Department of Health as a private water system standard for homes and smaller facilities not served by public water systems.

EPA officials add that if fluoride levels in well water test above 4 milligrams per liter, treatment is recommended to reduce concentrations. If levels are between 2 and 4 milligrams per liter, concentrations don’t pose a health risk but could cause tooth mottling. The Ohio EPA recommends well water users with concerns discuss health risks with a doctor or dentist, particularly if young children reside in the home, according to EPA officials. For more information, visit the Ohio Department of Health website at www.odh.ohio.gov/odhPrograms/ohs/oral/oralprev/fluoridation.aspx.

Many public drinking water supplies are fluoridated to help prevent cavities. Exposure to fluoride levels above the MCL can harm tooth development and cause dental and skeletal fluorosis, according to EPA officials. Currently, 92 percent of Ohioans are served by fluoridated public water supplies. The target range for fluoride concentration for public water systems is 0.8 to 1.3 milligrams per liter; however, this target is expected to be lowered at the federal level, according to EPA officials.

— By Maria Lindsay

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