South Side News & Notes
PLCC hosting Candidates and Issues Night event
NEW FRANKLIN — For more than 20 years, the Portage Lakes Community Council (PLCC) has hosted a Candidates and Issues Night each fall to give voters in southern Summit County the chance to hear candidates running for positions in Summit County speak first-hand.
This year the event will take place Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at New Franklin City Hall, 5611 Manchester Road.
According to PLCC officials, as of one week before the event, 26 candidates had confirmed their intent to participate, including candidates for county executive, county prosecutor, county clerk of courts, county fiscal officer, county engineer and County Council.
Also in attendance will be candidates for state representative, Common Pleas Court and Probate Court judge, as well as Scott Rupert, an Independent candidate for U.S. senator.
All speakers at the event will be given up to four minutes to speak, and the speeches will be posted on YouTube and Facebook to allow those unable to attend the event to see the candidates, according to PLCC officials. Links to the videos will be posted after the event on the PLCC website at www.PortageLakesCouncil.com.
The Candidates and Issues Night event is open to all. For details, call 330-510-1449.
Summit County Teacher of the Year to be named
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County’s 2012 All-County Teaching Team will be honored Oct. 15 during the Summit County Education Celebration held at The University of Akron’s Quaker Station at 135 S. Broadway St. During the banquet, one member of the team will be announced as the 2012 Teacher of the Year, along with a Rookie of the Year and two Lifetime Educator Award recipients.
The 20-member All-County Teaching Team members were nominated by the community and chosen to represent their school systems by a selection committee comprised of superintendents of each Summit County school district.
In the South Side News Leader coverage area, the team includes: Kathleen Parker for Coventry Local Schools; Patty Berardi for Green Local Schools; Michael Ankrom for Manchester Local Schools; James McBride for Norton City Schools; Kirk Raymond for Portage Lakes Career Center; Dena Scrimo for Springfield Local Schools; Jennifer Smee for parochial schools (Our Lady of the Elms Elementary School); and Erik Korvne for private schools (Old Trail School).
The event is sponsored by Akron Children’s Hospital, The University of Akron, Clear Channel Radio, Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio.com, the Summit County Educational Service Center and Summit Education Initiative. Scholarships in the honorees’ names are being provided by the Summit County Superintendents’ Association.
The featured speaker at the banquet will be Jolene Reinhart from the Summit County Educational Service Center. The event will begin with a social hour at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 and the awards ceremony. Seating is limited, and tickets to attend the banquet are $25. For more details or to purchase tickets, call Shannon English Marketing at 330-433-2888.
Akron taking part in Green Energy Ohio Tour
AKRON/BATH — The Akron Zoo, METRO Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and Crown Point Ecology Center will showcase their green efforts during the 10th annual Green Energy Ohio Tour Oct. 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Participation is free, but space is limited and registration is required.
Participants will meet at the Akron Zoo at 500 Edgewood Ave. in West Akron at 9:30 a.m. to sign in. For the first 60 guests registered, a free trolley ride will be provided to each location, compliments of the city of Akron. Other participants may caravan in their own vehicles.
During the tour, METRO RTA will showcase the green aspects of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold Transit Center in Downtown Akron. Then participants will stop at Crown Point Ecology Center in Bath for a walking tour that will highlight practical applications of sustainable agriculture and sustainable design. Finally, the tour will conclude at the Akron Zoo focusing on its LEED-certified building, Komodo Kingdom, as well as the renovated Farmland and solar-powered train.
To register, call 330-375-2550, ext. 7310.
The Green Energy Ohio Tour, managed by Green Energy Ohio, is part of the National Solar Tour in partnership with the American Solar Energy Society.
Report finds area’s traffic congestion declining; project funding, too
DOWNTOWN AKRON — A sluggish economy, rising gas prices and hundreds of millions of dollars spent on transportation projects during the past decade might explain why traffic congestion in the Greater Akron area has improved in the last several years, according to the 2012 Congestion Management Process Report.
Released by the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS), the report also finds that — while area traffic levels will likely increase between now and 2035 as economic growth returns — new congestion problems shouldn’t.
However, the report also predicts it’s unlikely there will be a lot of project funding available to deal with new problems, at least in the near future.
The report identifies existing and future congestion in the Greater Akron area and presents recommendations to reduce or eliminate problems. The agency attributes recent declines in congestion to a combination of people driving less and local, state and federal government investments in the area’s freeways, arterials and intersections.
Transit Planner Nate Brugler notes that the completion of improvements on state Route 8 and Interstate 77 have resulted in improved traffic flow throughout the region. The completion of these projects frees AMATS to target the area’s project funds to other congested locations.
“Previous reports had more than 100 recommendations. Our latest report presents 25 recommendations targeting only the most congested areas in our region. This is consistent with our agency’s ‘fix-it-first’ approach, which stresses the importance of maintaining roads before expanding them,” Brugler explained.
Under this approach, costly roadway expansion projects are seldom embarked upon, typically only when congestion and safety problems are severe. The report recognizes that high-cost, large-scale projects are increasingly unlikely due to fiscal realities, and that the area’s congestion problems will need to be addressed at a smaller and attainable scale.
Of the 25 recommendations presented in the report, Akron’s Central Interchange produces the greatest amount of congestion and, with an estimated $300 million price tag, is the most costly. However, if the total project were to be broken into a number of smaller projects, improvement of this top congestion priority becomes more attainable, according to Brugler.
“For example, the Ohio Department of Transportation is in the planning phase of closing one of our area’s most problematic ramps at Wolf Ledges Parkway and [Interstate] 76/77,” he said. “This project is on our report’s list of freeway recommendations and should address a portion of the larger congestion issue in that area. We’re encouraging projects like this, which should provide incremental improvement in freeway congestion at a manageable cost.”
The report will be a key element of the agency’s upcoming Transportation Outlook 2035, the area’s long-range regional transportation plan, according to AMATS officials. The report’s 25 recommendations are available for viewing at www.amatsplanning.org.
Akron SCORE to counsel student entrepreneurs at UA’s Taylor Institute
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron SCORE, which counsels small businesses in Medina, Summit, Portage and Wayne counties, will initiate a program of counseling students at The Taylor Institute at The University of Akron (UA).
“The Taylor Institute is furnishing us with an office that will enable us to give advice and counsel to the many students who want to start a business,” said Tom Duke, Akron SCORE chair. “The program, which we have named the Student Entrepreneur Mentoring (SEM) program, expands our service to students for the first time because of the great interest expressed by them.”
All of SCORE’s workshops are being held at The Taylor Institute.
In practice, the students will sign up for counseling, and SCORE counselors will be available at the new office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. SCORE counselor Michael Bonsiewicz will coordinate this new program.
Kathleen Folkerth, Ariel Hakim, Stephanie Kist and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.
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