West Side News & Notes
Akron Aeros sale announced; lease agreement drawn up
DOWNTOWN AKRON — On Oct. 6, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic announced the Akron Aeros baseball team has been sold to Ken Babby, from Maryland, and that Babby, on behalf of his company, Akron Baseball LLC, has signed a long-term lease with the city that will keep the Aeros in Akron for at least 25 more years.
According to city officials, Plusquellic several months ago was contacted by the Eastern League president, who indicated the Akron Aeros team was for sale and that there was a serious buyer — Babby. Plusquellic met with Babby, who, according to city officials, stated that his desires were to bring stadium attendance up, renovate the stadium and enter into a long-term lease to keep the Aeros team in Akron.
The city and Babby negotiated the lease terms so Akron Baseball LLC would have a long-term lease (25 years) with a five-year extension option.
According to city officials, Babby intends to make improvements to the stadium and needed a long-term commitment from the city to justify the costs. Babby will pay for the improvements, such as a new scoreboard, left-field group seating, right-field food areas and outdoor group party areas, over the term of the lease.
The lease is expected to be approved at a special Akron City Council meeting today, Oct. 11, according to city spokeswoman Stephanie York.
In order to determine what needed to be done to modernize the stadium and make it more desirable, Council President Marco Sommerville (D-Ward 3) visited several stadiums.
“Mayor Plusquellic got me involved early on,” Sommerville said. “I visited several baseball facilities in order to compare our stadium to others, so that we would have an idea of what renovations were needed to make our stadium marketable.”
Plusquellic said the long-term lease also is beneficial for the city.
“Our citizens get a long-term lease and a guarantee that the Aeros baseball team will be housed in Akron for many decades,” the mayor stated in a city press release. “I was thrilled to work with Ken during the last couple of months trying to find ways to improve the quality of the experience for the Aeros’ fans. I look forward to working with him in the future as we have a mutual interest in producing the best results for our citizens and fans. We all want to make the stadium come alive again. Akron residents and our neighboring communities will be able to enjoy baseball in Akron for a long time to come.”
Norton church fire investigated
NORTON — A fire that started late in the evening Oct. 3 and destroyed a Norton church on Wadsworth Road is under investigation.
Norton Fire Capt. Mike Copen said members of The Father’s House, 3428 Wadsworth Road, reported the fire at 11:28 p.m.
“They had a service in there, had stopped, and then a bunch went out to eat dinner,” Copen said. “They came back to drop a couple of ladies off for their cars and they saw glowing.”
Because the Norton Fire Department station is not staffed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., the city’s firefighters had to respond from home, Copen said, which resulted in a delayed response.
“It was 12 minutes before the first engine showed up,” Copen said.
He added that 12 other local fire departments responded to the fire, which destroyed the main church building and also damaged a second building. Most crews were at the site until about 4 a.m. Oct. 4, while Norton Fire officials were on the scene throughout the day, Copen said.
Copen also said that two firefighters needed medical attention due to the fire. One was treated at a hospital and released after being struck by roof materials that caved in. The other was treated for torn abdominal muscles, Copen said. There were no civilian injuries.
The State Fire Marshal and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating the fire, Copen said. He added he is not sure when the findings will be released.
The fire department is on the ballot again in the Nov. 6 General Election with Issue No. 27, a 4.6-mill levy. Copen said last week’s incident shows the need for voters to support the department.
“We believe if we had had normal staffing, we would have been able to get in there and stop it before it burned to the ground,” Copen said.
A call to Senior Pastor Mike Guarnieri of The Father’s House was not returned by presstime. According to the church’s website, Grace Church on South Cleveland-Massillon Road hosted the church for services Oct. 7.
A statement on the website said, “The love and support we have received is overwhelming!”
Douglas to keynote human services celebration event
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Executive Russ Pry and the Social Services Advisory Board will present “We ARE Making a Difference ... A Celebration of Human Services” Oct. 26 at the John S. Knight Convention Center.
Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) President and CEO Dr. Frank Douglas will deliver the keynote speech during the breakfast event.
Douglas serves as day-to-day chief strategist for ABIA, a biomaterials institute built on a collaboration of Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron General Health System, Summa Health System, Northeast Ohio Medical University and The University of Akron. Douglas, who has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and an M.D. from Cornell University, interned and completed his residency in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution and completed a fellowship in neuroendocrinology at the National Institutes of Health.
He will highlight ABIA’s endeavors and its prospects for raising the economic and community quality of life in Summit County.
Sponsorship opportunities are available. Individual tickets are $20. Registration for the breakfast buffet will begin at 7:30 a.m., followed by the program at 8:15 a.m. For registration information, call Mary Dixon at 330-643-7020.
Revere C.A.R.E. presenting program for parents on drunken driving
BATH — Revere Community C.A.R.E. will sponsor a free parent program presented by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Oct. 30 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Room 200 at Revere High School, 3420 Everett Road.
“Power of Parents — It’s Your Influence” is a new program from MADD that is being presented across the country to help prepare parents on how to discuss alcohol use with their children.
Randall Young, MADD Ohio program coordinator, will lead the program, which will feature a multi-media presentation along with complimentary material handouts. Area law enforcement agencies also will participate.
According to C.A.R.E. officials, Young, who lost a daughter in a drunken-driving crash during her senior year in high school, has said he wished he and his wife had this type of information available to them while their daughter was alive, as it might have helped them better communicate with her about the consequences of underage drinking, according to C.A.R.E. officials.
Underage drinking and driving is the No. 1 cause of death among youth ages 12-20, according to C.A.R.E. officials.
For more information, call Karen at 330-659-4750.
Cuyahoga Falls looks to break cycle of abuse in community
CUYAHOGA FALLS — Mayor Don Robart urges all residents to recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness month.
To help alert the public more about the dangers and implications of domestic violence, the city of Cuyahoga Falls and the Battered Women’s Shelter (BWS) of Summit and Medina Counties will observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October by sponsoring the Purple Light Nights™ campaign.
The city has partnered with the BWS in observing the role BWS serves in the community.
For the month of October, purple lights will shine in the downtown clocktower to help raise awareness of the city’s campaign against domestic violence. The purpose of the campaign is to remember victims who have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence. The color purple is used because it has long been recognized as the international color symbolic of domestic violence, according to city officials.
For more details, call the Cuyahoga Falls’ Development Department at 330-971-8135 or visit www.scmcbws.org.
United Way offers volunteer opportunities for the holidays
SUMMIT COUNTY — The United Way of Summit County Volunteer Center makes available a list of holiday volunteer opportunities.
Agencies can post holiday project needs on the Volunteer Center website for free; these projects will be seen by hundreds of people looking for volunteering projects during the holidays, according to United Way officials. The Volunteer Center already is receiving requests from individuals and groups looking for holiday volunteering opportunities.
Nonprofit representatives who would like volunteers to help with holiday projects may call Andrea Metzler, director of volunteer services, at 330-643-5512. Individuals looking for a holiday volunteer opportunity can see the full list at www.uwsummit.org/Vol_Cen ter/volunteers.html.
Conservancy for CVNP, CVSR opening new retail store
PENINSULA — The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) have partnered to open Trail Mix Peninsula at 1600 W. Mill St.
The new store replaces Park Place, the Conservancy’s first retail space in Peninsula, and is more centrally located in a larger retail area, according to Conservancy officials. It is located in a building owned by the Peninsula Valley Historic and Education Foundation.
Trail Mix Peninsula will feature art and jewelry crafted by local artists, CVNP apparel and souvenirs, CVSR tickets and merchandise, a grab-and-go café with locally sourced foods and a children’s area.
A grand-opening celebration for the new store will take place Oct. 27 starting with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. and remarks from Conservancy, CVSR, CVNP and Peninsula officials.
“We look forward to serving visitors to Peninsula and Cuyahoga Valley National Park and to being a part of the Peninsula retail community,” said Conservancy CEO Deb Yandala. “We anticipate that Trail Mix Peninsula will become a popular destination, much like our seasonal Trail Mix Boston store, and will enhance people’s experience in and around the national park.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony is open to the public, and grand-opening festivities will continue through 5 p.m. with activities including the introduction of the Conservancy’s new mascot, autographs by illustrator and cartoonist Jenny Campbell, an on-site radio broadcast by WONE 97.5 FM, giveaways, refreshments and children’s activities. Store hours for Oct. 27-28 will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
According to Conservancy officials, people who sign up to become new members of the Conservancy will receive a one-time discount of 25 percent off their purchase (some exclusions apply). Existing members will receive 15 percent off all Trail Mix purchases, according to Conservancy officials.
“I am very excited about the opening of Trail Mix Peninsula,” said CVNP Superintendent Stan Austin. “The Conservancy and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad are excellent partners, and this effort to open a store in the heart of the Village of Peninsula will greatly assist park visitors.”
Special holiday activities will be offered at the store Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 24 to Dec. 23, from 1 to 3 p.m. and will include photos with Santa and children’s crafts in Santa’s Workshop.
Trail Mix store hours after the grand-opening celebration will be: open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 29 to Nov. 30 and Dec. 26-30; open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 1-23 and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 24 and 31. It also will be open Nov. 29 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. for the annual Peninsula Candlelight Walk. It will be closed Thanksgiving day, Christmas day and New Year’s day.
For more information, visit www.conservancyforcvnp.org or call 330-657-2909.
Kathleen Folkerth, Stephanie Kist and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.
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