West Side News & Notes
Copley police investigate possible murder-suicide
COPLEY — Copley Police Chief Michael Mier reported the Sept. 4 shooting deaths of an elderly couple appear to be a murder-suicide.
Police said the man, age 86, and his wife, age 89, were found dead in their Aberth Drive home around 9:30 a.m. that day. A note left at the scene and other information suggested that the incident was a murder-suicide, police said, but investigators were not ready to release information as to what happened. They did say a handgun was retrieved at the scene.
Investigators added there was some indication that at least one of the couple had health issues.
At press time, police were withholding the names of the couple pending notification of family members, but Summit County Fiscal Office records show the homeowners’ names are Dayton and Genevieve Wellspring.
The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating the incident with the Copley Police Department. Autopsies on the woman and the man were scheduled for Sept. 4 and Sept. 5, respectively.
Norton Council members can’t agree on new member, vote on ballot issues
NORTON — In a special meeting Sept. 4, Norton City Council members were unable to come to an agreement on a candidate to appoint to replace retired Ward 4 representative Ken Braman.
Clerk Karla Richards said four votes were needed to appoint a candidate. With Councilman Scott Pelot (at large) excused and no one representing Ward 4, that left five Council members to vote.
Richards said candidates Mark Spisak, Gerald Wise, John Conklin, Paul Tousley and Jim Pekarek were interviewed during the meeting. All were asked the same questions. The public was not allowed to ask the candidates questions, she added.
Following the interviews, Richards said Tousley was nominated but did not get the required four votes. Then Pekarek was nominated and did not receive enough votes. Finally, Spisak was nominated but also did not get enough votes to take the job.
“There were not enough votes on any of them,” Richards said. “We will revisit this at the next Council meeting and try to vote again Sept. 10. If we fail again to get four members [to agree] it defaults to Mayor [Mike] Zita. He can appoint someone starting the 15th.”
Also during the meeting, Council did agree to put four charter amendments on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot. They are:
• a change to how vacant Council seats are filled that would require a special election for seats in which the term extends another nine months or more. If there are less than nine months left, passage of the amendment would allow Council to appoint a new member by a majority vote;
• a change that would give Council 60 days to work to televise Council meetings, and arrange for the public to get recordings of Council meetings at little or no cost;
• an amendment that would set the maximum for expenditures at $15,000 that don’t need the approval of the Board of Control and two-thirds of Council; and
• an amendment that would allow Council to motion and vote on the removal of any city administrators.
New communications device law now in effect
OHIO — Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) officials announced that as of Aug. 31, it is illegal for drivers younger than 18 to use any mobile communication device while driving in Ohio. The new law includes texting, emailing, cell phone calls, video games, iPad/tablet or handheld GPS use while driving, even when sitting at a light or in a traffic jam.
Officials state the new rule will begin with a six-month warning period, during which time no enforcement will be taken. After that date, enforcement action will begin. Using a mobile communication device is a primary offense, which means law enforcement may stop a motorist violating the new law for this reason alone, according to BMV officials. The penalty for a first violation will result in a $150 fine and a driver’s license suspension for 60 days. A second violation will be a $300 fine and license suspension for one year.
Exceptions to the new law include preprogrammed GPS or emergency calls to police, ambulance or fire departments.
The new law also prohibits adults from writing, sending or reading a text-based message from behind the wheel of a car. It would be a secondary offense and result in a minor misdemeanor charge.
For more information, visit bmv.ohio.gov/texting_ban.stm.
Travel on North Cleveland-Massillon bridge requires detour
BATH — Officials with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) said work is continuing on the North Cleveland-Massillon Road bridge over Interstate 77.
The bridge has been closed since Aug. 13 for redecking, according to Brent Kovacs, ODOT District 4 public information officer.
He added the work is on schedule to be completed in mid-October.
Motorists are encouraged to use the detour route of Ghent Road to Smith Road to West Market Street, Kovacs said.
The district has a received a handful of calls about the closure, Kovacs said, mostly with questions about the detour.
He added that ODOT placed electronic message signs at both the north and south sides of the road to alert motorists. In addition, businesses on the road between Lowe’s and Ghent Road received fliers notifying them of the closure. Homeowners in the area also were notified, he said.
The project is one of seven redecking projects ODOT undertook this year in Summit County for a total of $7.7 million. Kovacs said workers are taking the old concrete and rebar off and replacing them with new. There also will be a concrete barrier wall installed as well as fencing on the sides of the bridge.
Kovacs said the fencing is now required by law to be installed on all bridges that are improved.
For updates or questions on the project, call 330-786-2209. In addition, Kovacs said Facebook users can “friend” ODOT D4 to receive project updates. Information is also available at www.dot.state.oh.us/district/d04.
NPS proposing changes in Boston Mills area
BRECKSVILLE — The popularity of the Boston Mills area of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) has prompted the National Park Service (NPS) to propose changes there to improve the visitor experience.
Through Sept. 30, the NPS is accepting public comment on a Conceptual Development Plan and Environmental Assessment of the area that includes a portion of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail, the Boston Store Visitors Center, Boston Mill Boarding Station, M.D. Garage and the park’s Volunteer Center.
Congestion and overcrowding during peak visitation in the area have become a concern for both visitors and residents, park officials said.
In looking at possible changes to the area, the NPS has selected one alternative that officials said would improve pedestrian movement and safety, concentrate parking outside of Boston’s center and restore natural features in the area.
The NPS would also work to acquire Zielenski Court, a property at the site, and transform it into the park’s main visitor center, adding a welcome plaza and pedestrian bridge over the Cuyahoga River.
Some current parking areas would be closed, but there would be improved walking paths, a short interpretive trail loop, the removal of Boston Mill Boarding Station, expanded camping opportunities and the restoration of meadows, forests and streams in the area, NPS officials said.
During the public input period, NPS officials said they are seeking comments on items such as specific issues or impacts the NPS may not have addressed in the plan.
A copy of the plan is available at parkplanning.nps.gov/bostonplan. Comments can be submitted via the website. Written comments also may be submitted to the park district and mailed to Superintendent, CVNP, 15610 Vaughn Road, Brecksville, OH 44141. No comments will be accepted by phone, fax or email. For additional information, call 330-657-2752.
Krejci dump site cleanup complete, restoration to start
CVNP — National Park Service (NPS) officials announced last week that the former Krejci dump site along Hines Hill Road in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) is ready for restorative action.
NPS officials state that approximately 371,000 tons of contaminated soils and debris have been excavated and removed, and post-excavation soil sampling has established that the remediation goals for the 46-acre site have been met. Final restoration and revegetation of the site is set to begin soon, including final grading, revegetation using native meadow grasses, forbs and shrubs, and restoration of 3 acres of wetland and wet meadow habitats. The site will be open to the public.
“We are very pleased to complete the soil cleanup remediation after working on this project for many years. … By next year we hope to have set the Krejci site on a path to full recovery,” said CVNP Superintendent Stan Austin.
The Krejci site was operated as a municipal and industrial dump from around 1950 to 1980. Contaminants affecting human health and safety, including PCBs, dioxin/furans, benzene and heavy metals, were identified at the site after the NPS took possession of the property in 1985.
To ensure that those parties responsible for the contamination bore the costs of their waste disposal practices, the federal government filed suit in 1997 pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act against companies that had arranged for disposal of their wastes at the site.
Filed in the Northern District of Ohio and presided over by Judge David Dowd, the litigation was successfully resolved on Earth Day 2002, resulting in cost recovery and natural resource damages of approximately $21 million, according to NPS officials. The site remedial action was valued at $30 million.
NPS officials added that under the terms of a consent decree entered by a federal court in April 2002, Ford Motor Co., with assistance from General Motors, agreed to perform the cleanup. Ford’s contractor, EQ Industrial Services Inc. (EQIS), has been implementing the action under the oversight of the NPS in consultation with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The final cleanup action began in September 2005, with the initial major excavation completed in September 2007. Additional excavations and retesting of soil continued until all remediation goals were met throughout the site.
NPS officials expect this work to be mostly completed before the end of this year.
More information on this project is available at www.nps.gov/cuva/parknews/krejci.htm.
The Love Akron Network to present first annual Awards Breakfast
DOWNTOWN AKRON —The Love Akron Network (Love Akron) will present its first annual awards breakfast Sept. 25 from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at Quaker Station.
Love Akron is a broad coalition of professional clergy and Christian leaders that for more than 15 years has been catalyzing people of faith to pray, collaborate, mobilize and take action to serve those in need in the Greater Akron community, according to Love Akron officials.
The inaugural breakfast event will recognize the extraordinary leadership, deep faith and community contributions of the late Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Brenda Burnham Unruh, of Bath, according to organizers. Named in her honor, the Burnham Unruh Servant Award will be presented to an individual who exemplifies the values and leadership traits she modeled.
The event also will acknowledge the collaborative leadership of the Rev. Ronald Fowler, pastor laureate of Arlington Church of God in Akron, and the Rev. Knute Larson, former senior pastor of The Chapel in Akron, who are cofounders of The Love Akron Network, through the presentation of the Fowler–Larson Allies Award to two individuals who embody their guidance and service to the community, as well as their “allies” friendship despite cultural or denominational differences, according to Love Akron officials.
Fowler and Larson will be keynote speakers for the event.
Event organizers state that a portion of the proceeds from the breakfast event will be donated to launch One Life at a Time Prison Ministry in Unruh’s honor.
“This event is a tribute to these three leaders, as well as the individuals who have demonstrated similar commitments and dedication,” said Love Akron Steering Committee member and Akron Area YMCA President and CEO Doug Kohl. “It’s also a call for everyone to follow their example in both word and deed.”
For event reservations or to make a donation, visit www.LoveAkron.org. Open seating is available for $50 per person, with other reserved seating options available on the website. The reservation deadline is Sept. 18. To reserve a spot by mail, send cash or check, along with the number of tickets being purchased and contact information, to: The Love Akron Network, 39 E. Market St., Suite 401 Akron, OH 44308.
For more information, call 330-384-8124.
Acts of Courage nominees sought
GREATER AKRON — The local chapter of the American Red Cross is seeking nominations of local heroes for two of its awards programs.
Each year, the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties holds the Acts of Courage Awards in Summit County and the Real Heroes Breakfast in Portage County to honor local individuals who have performed courageous acts to save a life. The chapter is currently seeking nominations for 2012 and is asking the public to identify local heroes.
To submit a nomination, go to the Red Cross website at www.summitcounty.redcross.org and click on the “Nominate Your Hero” icon. Nominations can be accepted online or through the use of a mail-in/fax-in nomination form that can be downloaded from the website or obtained from the Red Cross offices at 501 W. Market St. in Akron.
As a community leader in emergency preparedness and response, the American Red Cross annually recognizes residents of Summit and Portage counties who have acted courageously and selflessly in a time of emergency. Often at great risk and sacrifice to their own personal safety, comfort and well being, these ordinary individuals have acted in a heroic manner by reaching out to help others in times of greatest need, Red Cross officials said.
They added that the hero event may have happened anywhere, but must have occurred in 2012. Nominees must reside or be employed in Summit or Portage counties. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 31. All nominations will be reviewed by a judges panel, and heroes will be selected in January.
Red Cross officials said the selected 2012 heroes will be honored during a reception in the spring of 2013. For more information, contact the American Red Cross at 330-535-6131.
Kathleen Folkerth and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.
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- Widows and Widowers Starting Over Socially - 5/21/2013
- Cuyahoga Falls Strollers - 5/21/2013
- Murder Mystery Evening - 5/21/2013
- Stewart’s Caring Place: A Cancer Wellness Center Events - 5/21/2013