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West Side News & Notes

9/20/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Norton official remembered for talents

John Moss
Photo courtesy of the city of Norton
NORTON — Norton officials mourned the death of the city’s director of community development in the past week.

John Moss, 53, died of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in the early morning hours of Sept. 13 in the Cincinnati area. Calling hours for Moss were held Sept. 17 and 18, and his funeral was at The Chapel in Wadsworth on the evening of Sept. 18.

Moss had been the city’s finance director for six years before taking on the new position of director of community development in April, according to Norton city officials. Once Laura Starosta was named the new finance director, Moss also took on the role of deputy finance director. Moss, a Wadsworth resident, was also the auditor for the city of Wadsworth, an elected position, since 1996.

He had earned business and law degrees from The University of Akron.

Norton City Council President Don Nicolard (Ward 2) said Moss was a big asset to the city.

“He was just a brilliant man,” Nicolard said. “He had the answers before you had the questions. He was, of course, just getting his feet wet with economic development, but I believe every year he was finance director we got an excellent rating from the state auditor, and that says a lot in and of itself.”

Moss’ death led to the cancellation of Norton City Council’s work session Sept. 17.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to MENWA Apartments Inc., 531 High St., Wadsworth, OH 44281. The nonprofit housing agency features a 70-unit complex for senior citizens in Wadsworth. Moss served on its board.

Nicolard said he and Norton Mayor Mike Zita have discussed what to do about the position.

“It’s obvious we needed an economic development director when we put John in the position,” Nicolard said. “We will have to reach out and find another one. But to find someone with John’s credentials for what we pay, it’s almost impossible.”

Nicolard said Moss was attending a conference in Cincinnati last week. He said it’s believed that he returned home Sept. 12 and then rode back to Cincinnati overnight when the accident occurred.


City prepares to test for firefighters, police

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The city of Akron will administer police and fire examinations with the intent to hire approximately 40 new police officers and approximately 38 new firefighters.

The city recently received a $1.5 million COPS grant from a new federal program developed to promote the hiring of recent U.S. military veterans. This COPS grant is for the purpose of hiring 12 veterans, over and above Akron’s budgeted strength of 447, according to city officials. Veteran officers hired with COPS funds must have served at least 180 days of active military service, any part of which occurred on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

The last police entrance examination was given in 2008, with 17 new officers hired this year from that test. Four more officers will take the oath of office in the near future.

The city previously received a $6.5 million 2011 SAFER grant, which provided for the retention of the 36 firefighters (remaining of the original 38) who were laid off because of the national economic downturn in 2009 and then brought back with a 2009 SAFER award. The city also has applied for additional SAFER funding to hire 38 new firefighters. This could bring Akron’s force up to 363.

Candidates must be 21-31 years old for police or 18-31 years old for fire; have accredited high school or vocational school graduation or equivalent; meet physical and medical standards; and have a valid Ohio driver’s license.

Candidates for each also must pass a written test, physical skills test, medical and psychological tests, background investigation and a polygraph examination.

The city of Akron also awards bonus points for recruits who meet a residency requirement (up to 20 percent) and who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and were honorably discharged (up to 20 percent). Other preference points also are available for college credit and firefighter certifications, but cannot exceed the maximum 40 percent.

Men and women interested in applying to take the police or fire examination should call 330-375-2720 for more information.


City offering delinquent individuals income tax amnesty

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Mayor Don Plusquellic and Tax Commissioner Don Smith announced Sept. 12 a tax amnesty program for individuals who are delinquent in filing, have failed to file or who have failed to report all of their income on their city of Akron tax returns.

The amnesty program began Sept. 17 and will run through Oct. 12.

At the beginning of the year, the city rolled out a tax collection effort and announced its collaboration with the Central Collection Agency (CCA) in Cleveland to identify and seek out all delinquent taxpayers. The city launched its new enforcement program in February by concentrating on Akron and Joint Economic Development District businesses that withheld taxes from their employees but failed to remit those payments to the city. At that time, the city offered a tax amnesty program for those delinquent businesses, which netted more than $250,000 in unpaid taxes. Collection efforts have continued, with the city identifying an additional $800,000 in tax, penalty and interest that is being pursued.

Immediately following this second amnesty, the city will initiate its process, through the CCA, of cross-referencing city tax returns with state and federal data to identify those who might not have filed with the city at all or who might have under-reported their income.

Individuals seeking amnesty may contact the Income Tax Division at amnesty@akron ohio.gov or by calling 330-375-2290. More information is available at www.akronohio.gov.

“We want individuals who are delinquent in their taxes, for whatever reason, to know that we will identify you and we will collect from you,” Plusquellic said. “However, if you come forward voluntarily during this amnesty period, your penalties will be significantly reduced or altogether waived. This is a huge incentive to come forward, as penalties can be significant, and I hope the affected individuals take advantage of this program.”

After the amnesty period has concluded, individuals found to be noncompliant will be pursued to the fullest extent permitted by law, according to city officials.


Kasich appoints Richfield resident new UA trustee

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Olivia Demas, of Richfield, has been appointed to The University of Akron’s (UA) Board of Trustees by Gov. John Kasich for a nine-year term effective Sept. 13.

She replaces former chairperson Ann Amer Brennan, whose term expired June 30.

A two-time UA alumna, she has degrees in chemistry and law.

Demas currently serves on the UA Foundation’s College Centered Committee. She is a former member of UA’s National Alumni Board and has served as a constituent board member for the School of Law, serving as its president in 2009-11.

Her community commitment includes serving as a volunteer board member for the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board. She also serves as a board member of the Akron Community Foundation and the Executive Leadership Team for the Go Red for Women initiative of the American Heart Association.

Demas’ past board affiliations include the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, the Ohio Ballet and Old Trail School. She is a member of the Akron/Canton Barristers Association and the Ohio State and Akron bar associations.

Demas was born in Guyana, South America. She and her husband, Dr. William Demas, have three adult children.


Amnesty program collects unpaid fines and costs

BARBERTON — The License Forfeiture Amnesty Program brought in more than $70,000 in unpaid court fines and costs and resulted in the release of 243 license forfeitures, according to Diana Stevenson, clerk of the Barberton Municipal Court.

Stevenson explained the program allowed residents whose licenses had been forfeited for nonpayment to have their licenses cleared upon payment of one-half of the amount owed the court. The remaining one-half owed must be paid in $50 monthly increments until it’s paid in full. Not making these monthly payments will subject individuals to future license forfeitures, she said.


New village trail to be dedicated

Part of Richfield Village’s new trail, which will be dedicated Sept. 22, is shown at left.
Photo courtesy of Richfield Village
RICHFIELD — The dedication of the village’s newest trail will take place Sept. 22 at noon at the trailhead of the 1.2-mile walking path.

Attendees are asked to gather at the trailhead near the Richfield Library’s parking lot, 3761 Grant St. Village officials said the trail runs parallel to state Route 303, behind the Town Hall property on 78 acres of green space. 

The trail consists of stone or natural paths, officials said, and includes boardwalks and bridges. Village officials said the new trail was made possible through Clean Ohio Fund and Summit County Trail and Greenway Plan grants.

Also at the dedication, the Richfield Police Department will hand out fingerprint kits for children. In addition, the library will hold an open house and feature a variety of crafts and games throughout the day.

Richfield officials said those who attend are encouraged to stop at the Richfield Masonic Hall for the Richfield Firefighters’ Chili Cook-off, which takes place from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are $5.  

For more information on the trail event, call the Parks and Recreation Department at 330-659-5818. More information on the Chili Cookoff is available at 330-659-9400.


Sand Run Parkway, Towpath Trail closed for marathon

WEST AKRON — Sand Run Parkway between Portage Path and Sand Run Road will be closed Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. to prepare for the 10th running of the Akron Marathon.

On race day, Sept. 29, the parkway will be closed from Revere Road to Merriman Road and then reopen in the afternoon after the event.

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail between the Mustill Store Trailhead (248 Ferndale St.) and Portage Path will be closed from 6 a.m. until noon Sept. 29 for the marathon.

About 6 miles of the 26.2-mile Akron Marathon course are on land managed by Metro Parks, Serving Summit County.

For more information, call 330-867-5511.


Falls, KSU facility partner for river cleanup

CUYAHOGA FALLS — Cuyahoga Falls is partnering with Crooked River Adventures, a division of the Department of Recreational Services at Kent State University (KSU), to conduct a Cuyahoga River cleanup Sept. 29.

The annual fall cleanup will focus on the Cuyahoga River between Tannery Park in Kent and Water Works Park in Cuyahoga Falls. Shuttles, equipment and lunch will be offered to volunteers. In 2011, event participants collected more than 5 tons of trash from the river.

The cleanup event is part of the American Rivers’ National River Cleanup, a series of nationwide, community-based river and stream cleanups. The event raises public awareness about the need for healthy rivers and offers an opportunity for community involvement, according to organizers.

Volunteers are needed in kayaks, canoes and on foot to help collect trash. Those interested in helping in a kayak or canoe should contact the KSU Department of Recreational Services at 330-672-4732 by Sept. 26. A pretrip meeting will take place that day at 7 p.m. in Seminar Room A at the KSU Student Recreation and Wellness Center for cleanup volunteers in kayaks and canoes.

Volunteers interested in cleaning up litter on foot along the river or along stream banks in local public parks and in helping unload canoes and kayaks as they arrive at Water Works Park should contact the city at 330-971-8201 or email mcclearyrm@cityofcf.com by Sept. 26.


Muffins For Mammograms reaches 20-year milestone 

DOWNTOWN AKRON — For 20 consecutive years, Akron General Health System and Main Street Gourmet’s Muffins for Mammograms program have raised funds to help provide free mammograms for nearly 6,000 uninsured women throughout Northeast Ohio.

According to Akron General officials, the Muffins for Mammograms program distributes breast health information with the muffins and raises funds to pay for mammograms throughout the year for women who are uninsured.

This year’s event will feature the two most popular muffins, blueberry and French toast, which are priced at $15 per dozen. Advance orders of $150 or more will be accepted online at www.akrongeneral.org/muffins and will be delivered Oct. 17 to several locations in Summit County. Orders must be received by Sept. 28. Same-day muffin sales of smaller quantities also will be held for customers Oct. 17 from 7 to 11 a.m. at five Akron General locations: Akron General Medical Center, 400 Wabash Ave. in Downtown Akron; Akron General Health & Wellness Centers, including the West site at 4125 Medina Road in Bath, North at 4300 Allen Road in Stow and at 1940 Town Park Blvd. in Green; and Lodi Community Hospital, 225 Elyria St. in Lodi.

For information about qualifying for a free mammogram, call 330-344-5760 or 330-344-2778.


Tickets on sale for Polsky Humanitarian Award event

FAIRLAWN — Tickets are now available for the 2012 Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award Dinner honoring Dr. Terry Gordon.

The event will take place Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn. Tickets start at $150 per person and are available at www.akroncf.org/Polsky.

Gordon will be the 45th recipient of the award, which is named for the former president of Polsky’s Department Store and founding trustee of Akron Community Foundation. The community foundation presents the award each year to the individual or couple who best exemplifies Bert Polsky’s dedication to humanitarian causes in Akron.

Gordon, a Richfield resident and a retired cardiologist, was selected by a committee of past Polsky Humanitarian Award honorees. Gordon is known as a champion for placing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in every Ohio school. He has led the way to making AEDs available in every middle school and high school in Summit County, as well as every police, highway patrol and sheriff’s vehicle. He also spearheaded an effort to secure $5 million in state funding to install more than 4,500 AEDs in schools across Ohio.

Gordon also is known as the co-founder and emcee of Docs Who Rock, a fundraiser for the United Way of Summit County, where he has impersonated such musical legends as Michael Jackson and John Lennon. He also is a member of the Youth Motivational Task Force and a founding board member of Stewart’s Caring Place and serves on the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee.

The Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award Dinner will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, call Laura Fink at 330-436-5611.


White-tailed deer in Ohio impacted by EHD

OHIO — State wildlife and animal health officials have confirmed localized outbreaks of a common white-tailed deer disease in eight Ohio counties: Summit, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Geauga, Holmes, Paulding, Portage and Ross.

Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed that of the 20 samples, 13 deer had epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), which occurs annually in deer herds across North America. A similar hemorrhagic disease called blue tongue has been known to occur throughout the United States and Canada, but there are no cases of blue tongue disease confirmed in Ohio, according to the ODA.

White-tailed deer contract EHD from biting midges. White-tailed deer, along with mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope, are susceptible to the disease.

The disease is not spread from deer to deer or from deer to humans. Once infected, deer show symptoms within five to 10 days. Infected deer initially lose appetite and fear of man, grow progressively weaker, often salivate excessively and become unconscious. Many deer die within 36 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Midges also can spread EHD among cattle and sheep.

State wildlife officials stress to those planning to hunt impacted areas this fall that although this disease does not affect humans nor impact the safety of consumed deer, hunters should report deer that appear to be sick or diseased to their local wildlife officer. Deer that appear unhealthy should never be taken for human food, according to the ODA.


Kathleen Folkerth, Stephanie Kist and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.

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