West Side News & Notes
County bond rating affirmed
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Standard & Poor’s Investor Service affirmed Summit County’s ‘AA’ bond rating and stable outlook Oct. 19 after a review of the county’s finances, according to county officials.
Brian Nelsen, director of Finance and Budget for the county, said the investor service cited the county’s large and diverse economy centered on Akron; good income and strong wealth as measured by market value per capita; maintenance of very strong reserves, coupled with strong financial management practices and low debt; and long-term financial strength and overall creditworthiness.
The firm also noted that the county’s 2011 unemployment rate of 8.5 percent was lower than both the state and national averages, and the rate fell to 7.5 percent through the first seven months of this year. The county’s unemployment rate further decreased to 6.5 percent in September.
Standard & Poor’s also considered the county’s unencumbered cash balance of $26.8 million, which represents 26.7 percent of expenditures, when determining the rating.
Nelsen also reported that Standard & Poor’s “considers Summit County’s financial management practices strong under its Financial Management Assessment, indicating [its] view that practices are strong, well embedded and likely sustainable.”
Revere High School hosts veterans’ event
RICHFIELD — Revere Local Schools will host a special event for veterans Nov. 9 at Revere High School.
Veterans and their guests can attend breakfast at the school that day starting at 9:15 a.m. Following breakfast, a school-wide assembly will take place in the auditorium with guest speaker 1st Lt. Jizal El Seikali.
El Seikali has served as an Ohio Army National Guard Officer for the 212th Support Maintenance Co. in the Medina Armory, according to Revere officials. She earned her bachelor’s degree in health management from Cleveland State University in 2009 and also was commissioned as an Army officer from John Carroll University that year. She has trained at the Army Logistic University as an ordnance officer in Fort Lee, Va.
The event also will include a presentation by the color guard, music by the Revere High School Symphonic Choir, a POW/MIA ceremony, multimedia presentations and time for recognizing those in attendance who served their country. Following the program, all who attend will be invited to the school’s Veterans Memorial for the dedication of phase two, school officials said.
Veterans who wish to attend should call Claudia Sarcyk at 330-523-3202 or Jack Cooper at 330-666-4155, ext. 633318, by Nov. 5. The high school is located at 3420 Everett Road.
Summit County CASA/GAL announces more support; seeks partners
SUMMIT COUNTY — Summit County CASA/GAL will host its annual “I Am for the Child” Fundraising Breakfast Nov. 1 at 7:30 a.m. at The University of Akron’s Martin Student Center.
CASA is still seeking additional sponsors to help achieve its goal of at least $50,000. All proceeds from this event will be used for the recruitment, training and support of CASA volunteers, according to organizers.
FedEx Custom Critical has committed to a Silver Sponsorship of $2,500. FirstEnergy and the Summit County Juvenile Court have committed to a Bronze Sponsorship of $1,000. The Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority has committed to an Individual Sponsorship of $450. Along with these sponsorships, CASA has received a total commitment of $11,350 from other sponsors.
“We are so thankful for these sponsorships and look forward to additional support leading up to the event,” said Beth Cardina, CASA program coordinator.
Sterling Jewelers Inc. also has pledged to match any gift, up to a total maximum donation of $25,000.
“We are more than appreciative for Sterling’s generous and long‐term commitment to Summit County CASA/GAL,” Cardina added.
For more information, call Cardina at 330-643‐2514 or visit www.summitcasagal.org.
Ohio Department of Agriculture urges wild animal owners to register
REYNOLDSBURG — The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has issued a reminder to dangerous wild animal owners that a new state law passed in June requires the registration of their animals by Nov. 5.
Failure to register animals by the deadline could result in a first-degree misdemeanor for the first offense and a fifth-degree felony for each subsequent offense, according to ODA officials.
Additionally, timely registration is a requirement for anyone who wishes to receive a permit to keep any dangerous wild animal past Jan. 1, 2014. Failure to register and microchip by Nov. 5 will disqualify the owner from permit eligibility, according to ODA officials.
The registration forms are available on the ODA’s website at www.agri.ohio.gov/TopNews/DangerousWild AnimalAct. The forms must be printed, signed and returned to the ODA by the Nov. 5 deadline, according to ODA officials. Also, forms that do not include microchip serial numbers will not be considered complete.
After Jan. 1, 2014, possession of all dangerous wild animals and restricted snakes will be prohibited unless the individual is exempted under the law or is granted a permit by the department, according to ODA officials. Permit applications will be made available in 2013.
Ohio Parole Board recommends Hartman be denied clemency
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced Oct. 18 that the Ohio Parole Board unanimously voted to recommend convicted murderer Brett Hartman be denied clemency.
This is the third time the board has recommended against clemency. Hartman’s clemency request and the board’s recommendation now go to Gov. John Kasich, who makes the final decision to grant or deny clemency.
A jury convicted Hartman in 1998 of two counts of aggravated murder, kidnapping and tampering with evidence in the 1997 death of Winda Snipes, a 46-year-old Akron woman. Hartman tied Snipes to her bed, stabbed her 138 times, slit her throat and cut off her hands, according to Walsh. Her hands were never found, Walsh said.
“Brett Hartman committed an especially gruesome crime when he brutally murdered and mutilated Winda Snipes. He continues to twist facts and lie to the Parole Board,” stated Walsh in a press release. “This is the third time Hartman has requested clemency, and this is the third time the Parole Board has recommended against clemency. I hope Gov. Kasich follows the recommendation of the Ohio Parole Board and denies Hartman clemency once and for all so that the family and friends of Winda Snipes can finally have some sense of closure.”
In its recommendation against clemency, the board found no new evidence existed that would have changed either the outcome of the trial or the jury’s recommendation of the death penalty. Rather, the board concluded that, had additional mitigating evidence been presented at trial that Hartman argues would have swayed the jury to reject capital punishment, “a jury would be more convinced that Hartman was capable of committing this heinous crime, and would not have changed the recommendation.”
Hartman’s execution is scheduled for Nov. 13. Summit County Adult Probation offers remote kiosk reporting
SUMMIT COUNTY — This summer, the Summit County Court of Common Pleas—General Division Adult Probation Department began a program in which some low-risk offenders could report remotely through three community kiosks during traditional and nontraditional hours.
The kiosks are located at the Akron and Barberton police departments and Stow Municipal Court, and a fourth is slated to be housed in the Urban Ounce of Prevention Services office on South Hawkins Avenue in West Akron.
This program was funded by the state of Ohio Department of Correction’s Probation Improvement Grant. The program is designed to provide an alternative reporting method for qualified low-risk offenders. Shifting these low-risk offenders to a kiosk probation reporting system allows officers to spend more time focusing on the needs of moderate and high-risk offenders, according to court officials. Offenders assigned to kiosk reporting are still under the supervision of a probation officer and the courts. Currently, 274 offenders are enrolled in the kiosk reporting program.
“We hope to have well over 300 offenders participating in this program,” said Administrative Judge Judy Hunter, of the Summit County Common Pleas Court—General Division. “Low-risk offenders will have the ability to complete their probation sentence without endangering their work schedule. ... Our goal is to give them every opportunity to prove that they can be a productive citizen within our community.”
For more information, call the Court Executive Office at 330-643-2390.
Kathleen Folkerth, Ariel Hakim and Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.
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