West Side News & Notes
U.S. Supreme Court upholds early voting decision
COLUMBUS — Early voting will continue in the three days leading up the Nov. 6 General Election now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld an earlier decision in Obama vs. Husted.
Following the decision Oct. 16, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced the uniform dates and times for voting to take place at Board of Elections (BOE) offices across the state.
BOEs will be open for early voting Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Nov. 4 from 1 to 5 p.m.; and Nov. 5 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to Husted’s office.
Obama for America General Counsel Bob Bauer said the campaign, which took Husted to court to expand early voting availability, was happy with the outcome.
“We are pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to overturn federal court rulings that every Ohioan be allowed to vote during the weekend and Monday before the election,” Bauer said. “This action from the highest court in the land marks the end of the road in our fight to ensure open voting this year for all Ohioans, including military, veterans and overseas voters.”
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 5 upheld an earlier decision to allow in-person voting on the three days leading up Election Day. On Oct. 9, Husted announced he would appeal the appeals court’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Husted’s office issued this statement after the Supreme Court’s ruling: “Despite the Court’s decision today to deny our request for a stay, I firmly believe Ohio and its elected legislature should set the rules with respect to elections in Ohio, and not the federal court system,” said Husted.
“However, the time has come to set aside the issue for this election.Today I have set uniform hours statewide, giving all Ohio voters the same opportunities to vote in the upcoming presidential election regardless of what county they live in.”
FOP ratifies tentative labor agreement
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Akron Lodge No. 7 announced Oct. 10 its bargaining unit members ratified the tentative agreement reached between the city of Akron and the four city union presidents.
Ninety-eight percent of FOP members voted for the agreement, according to the FOP.
The city also has reached a tentative agreement with the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local No. 330; American Federation of State, City and Municipal Employees, Local 1360; and the Civil Service Personnel Association (CSPA).
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic said city officials are bound by state law to not discuss terms of the tentative agreements. He mentioned Oct. 11 that the CSPA also has ratified the tentative agreement.
“I am happy that my FOP 7 brothers and sisters ratified this agreement, thus avoiding prolonged contract negotiations,” FOP 7 President Paul Hlynsky stated in a press release. “This agreement creates labor management peace in our city and allows all sides to work on other important issues at the state and national level. I would like to thank my fellow city union presidents and Mayor Plusquellic for all their hard work in attaining this agreement.”
Cleveland-Massillon bridge project complete
BATH — After a two-month closure for redecking of the bridge over Interstate 77, North Cleveland-Massillon Road reopened to traffic Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m., Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) officials said.
ODOT District 4 spokesman Brent Kovacs said the project entailed removing old concrete from the bridge and replacing it with new concrete. In addition, fencing was added to the sides of the bridge.
Kovacs said the project went smoothly and the road was reopened sooner than expected.
He added that work on the Harold Drive bridge in Richfield, also over I-77, is continuing and expected to be completed by the end of the month.
The projects are part of a $7.7 million project to re-deck seven bridges over I-77 from Cleveland-Massillon Road to the Richfield southern corporation limit, according to ODOT officials.
Norton church meeting in alternate space
NORTON — The pastor of The Father’s House church said his congregation is meeting at another church after fire destroyed its main church building earlier this month.
Senior Pastor Mike Guarnieri, who founded the church with his wife in 1996, said the church’s members are meeting at Living Hope United Methodist Church at 3406 S. Hametown Road for services. Sunday services are at 9:30 a.m. and Wednesday services are at 6:30 p.m.
Some church members were at an evening service at the Wadsworth Road church Oct. 3 and later returned to drop off members for their cars when they saw the early stages of the fire around 11:30 p.m., according to the Norton Fire Department. That department and 12 other local fire departments responded to the fire.
The pastor said fire officials told him the fire cause might have been electrical.
Guarnieri said the community has stepped up to help the church since the fire.
“There’s been quite an outpouring of support,” he said. “It’s been wonderful.”
Many have offered donations, and the church is currently accepting items such as office equipment, he said. The church also has received some donations of musical instruments.
“We lost everything we owned,” Guarnieri said. “You accumulate a lot of things through the years.”
One of the items with sentimental value that was lost to the fire was a drum set that was donated to the church last year by the widow of its owner, who had played the set on tour with national touring acts.
“You cannot replace that,” Guarnieri said.
To offer items for donation, contact Lester Henderson at 330-906-4675.
Western Reserve Land Conservancy opens new campus, conservation center
|Western Reserve Land Conservancy recently opened its new conservation center in Moreland Hills.
|Photo courtesy of Western Reserve Land Conservancy|
The facility, which relocates the Conservancy’s headquarters from Chesterland, officially opened last week. About two-thirds of the Conservancy’s 35-member staff will be based in Moreland Hills, with the rest working from field offices in Akron, Medina, Cleveland, Oberlin, Painesville, Orwell and Orrville.
Located at 3850 Chagrin River Road, the project that created the Conservancy’s new home was part of a six-year, multi-phase land protection project that permanently preserved about 135 acres in Moreland Hills. A restored 5,000-square-foot historic century home and newly constructed, environmentally responsible 11,000-square-foot addition will now house the Conservancy’s main office.
Rich Cochran, the Land Conservancy’s president and CEO, said the Conservancy staff had long outgrown leased and inefficient space on the second floor of a shopping strip center.
The Conservancy has maintained undeveloped land and public hiking trails as part of its campus. The Conservancy campus is also adjacent to the Cleveland Metroparks’ South Chagrin Reservation, which connects to Cuyahoga Valley National Park via the Emerald Necklace.
Western Reserve Land Conservancy has preserved more than 420 properties and more than 30,000 acres in Northern Ohio. The Land Conservancy’s service area encompasses 14 counties. In the West Side Leader’s coverage area, that work includes preserving 27 properties and 554 acres in Summit County, including the 28-acre Eastwood Preserve in Richfield and the property needed for the Haley’s Run and Adam’s Run urban greenways in Akron.
In Medina County, the Conservancy has preserved 29 properties totaling 930 acres, including the 30-acre River Woods Nature Preserve in Hinckley. The conservancy also helped the Medina County Park District acquire a 233-acre tract at the Medina-Wayne county border for a future park.
Statewide, the Thriving Communities Institute, which is based in Cleveland, has helped establish land banks in 15 counties around the state. Three more are expected to be formed by the end of 2012. In addition, Thriving Communities has been instrumental in the allocation of more than $120 million in funds for the demolition of abandoned homes, according to Conservancy officials.
Akron-area schools participate in third annual paper drive
AKRON — To help celebrate America Recycles Day Nov. 15, Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB), in conjunction with the River Valley Paper Co., will host the third annual mixed paper drive competition in 24 Akron Public Schools and nine private schools in the Akron area.
During this month-long competition running through Nov. 9, community residents and local businesses can help make one of these schools a local and national winner by taking magazines, phone books, paperboard, catalogs, junk mail, office paper, newspaper and cardboard to a recycle bin.
Currently, bins are located at the following Akron Public School locations in the West Side Leader coverage area: Helen Arnold Community Learning Center (CLC), Case Elementary School, Judith Resnick CLC, Crouse CLC, Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, Litchfield Middle School and Buchtel High School.
New to the roster for 2012 are the following private school locations: Chapel Hill Christian School, Discovery Montessori School, Archbishop Hoban High School, Imagine School, Our Lady of the Elms, St. Bernard-St. Mary School, Towpath Trail School, Akros Middle School and The Edge Academy.
The top elementary, middle and high school to recycle the most paper per pound, per student will win a prize. The winning elementary school will win a school-wide pizza party and a $250 cash prize, while the winning middle and high schools will each win a $500 cash prize and a field trip tour of the River Valley Paper Co. plant for 50 students and faculty.
In addition, all participating schools also are competing on a national level in the Recycle Bowl competition. Due to the success of KAB’s mixed recycle paper drive two years ago, Keep America Beautiful used KAB’s program as the template for their national competition, according to KAB officials. Along with the prizes listed above, all 33 schools have the chance to win an additional $1,000, $750 or $500 through the national Recycle Bowl Competition.
The receptacles are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Filling up the collection bins also raises money for the school to use for clubs, their recycling efforts or team uniforms.
For more information, call Jacqui Flaherty at KAB at 330-375-2116.
SDOP Partnership Day taking place in Akron
WEST AKRON — The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Self-Development of People (SDOP) program community partnership day will take place Oct. 20 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1250 W. Exchange St.
Groups and individuals currently involved in or interested in becoming involved in all aspects of community development are invited to attend, according to organizers.
SDOP provides community development grants aimed at empowering economically poor, oppressed and disadvantaged people. SDOP’s goal in giving the grants to grassroots groups is to “enable Presbyterians to be partners in development so that others may grow with dignity,” according to organizers.
The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at a cost of $6 and will last until 4 p.m.
Activities will include a panel of past SDOP grantees, breakout sessions and a showcase of SDOP projects. Lunch will be provided (donations are welcome, with all proceeds going to Westminster Presbyterian Church). Participants must make a reservation for lunch. To reserve a place or to reserve a spot for lunch, contact mary.Lewis@pcusa.org or call 502-569-5791 (for Spanish speakers: 502-569-5790 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
SDOP’s primary funding source is the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, which is collected by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) during the Lenten and Easter seasons.
For details on SDOP, visit www.pcusa.org/sdop.
Kathleen Folkerth and Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.
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