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West Side News & Notes

11/1/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Akron area spared from major storm damage

GREATER AKRON — Schools were closed Oct. 30 in anticipation of the remnants of Hurricane Sandy as she headed to the area, but local authorities reported little damage from the high winds and rain that resulted.

In Bath, the Summit County Engineer’s Office reported that downed trees fell onto power lines on Yellow Creek Road, which closed the road from North Cleveland-Massillon Road to Top of the Hill Road.

“We were very fortunate,” said Bath Trustee Jim Nelson. “As a total, it doesn’t appear there was heavy damage throughout the district.”

Copley Fire Chief Michael Benson said there were no significant reports of damage there, but he said storm water could provide problems later this week.

“It’s going to keep raining, so it will flood,” he said Oct. 30.

Akron officials said the city saw some disruptions due to around 80 downed large trees, closed roads and downed electrical wires. Five parks maintenance crews spent the day cleaning up the roadway obstructions, while highway maintenance and sewer maintenance crews were out clearing sewer inlets that had become clogged with leaves and debris, causing flooded roadways.

Heidi Swindell, of the Summit County Engineer’s Office, said the area did not have the widespread power outages and reports of damage that even neighboring Cuyahoga County had.

“We didn’t have anything huge,” she said. “We did have fallen trees and debris on the roadway, so our crews were out clearing that, mostly in northern and western Summit County. We had no reports from southern Summit County with any major issues.”

Due to predictions of high winds and heavy rains, area schools began canceling school for Tuesday on Monday evening. The Akron, Copley-Fairlawn, Revere, Norton, Woodridge and Highland districts all canceled classes.

On the afternoon of Oct. 30, the National Park Service (NPS) reported that it had closed the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail from the Lock 39 Trailhead in Valley View to Botzum Trailhead in West Akron to assess damage from the storm’s heavy rain and high winds.

The NPS asked visitors to respect all closures and stay away from flooded areas. For updates on park closures, call the Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Public Closure Cancellation Hotline at 440-546-5960.

FirstEnergy on Oct. 30 reported power outages affected more than 1,400 in Akron, more than 800 in Bath, more than 300 in Richfield, 64 in Fairlawn, 17 in Copley, 100 in Granger, 50 in Sharon, 41 in Peninsula, 65 in Boston and 29 in Norton.


Judge candidate halts usage of improper campaign wording

DOWNTOWN AKRON — A local judicial candidate has retracted and destroyed campaign literature with improperly used language regarding her recommendation from the Akron Bar Association (ABA) after an ABA committee considered a complaint about the matter.

In an Oct. 26 press release, the ABA announced its Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee considered the complaint about the way Akron Municipal Court Judge Kathryn Michael used the ABA’s rating in her campaign for a Summit County Common Pleas Court judge seat.

The ABA’s Commission on Judicial Candidates evaluates candidates for local judgeships and rates them based on established criteria, ABA officials said. The commission gave Michael the rating of “Recommended” and rated her opponent in the Nov. 6 General Election, Common Pleas Court Judge Tammy O’Brien, “Highly Recommended.”

ABA officials said that candidates are made aware of the proper use of stating their ABA recommendation. They are only allowed to indicate that they “received a rating of (applicable rating) by the Akron Bar Association” or that the candidate was “rated (applicable rating) by the Akron Bar Association.”

The committee took issue with an official campaign flier for Michael that stated, “The Akron Bar Association ‘Recommends’ Judge Michael for Summit County Common Pleas Court.” ABA officials said the statement implied that the ABA endorsed Michael, when, in fact, the ABA does not endorse any candidates for political or judicial office.

In a phone interview, Michael said she ran out of campaign notepads last week and printed up postcards with the statement in question to hand out. She said her use of the wording was not done with the intention to mislead.

“It was a mistake and I fixed it,” she said, noting she destroyed any remaining pieces with the phrase in question. “I realized after they pointed it out to me that it could be misread.”


Bath Trustees seek grant for vault repair

BATH — During a special meeting Oct. 29, the Bath Township Board of Trustees moved forward on submitting a grant application to repair a historic vault in the Bath Center Cemetery.

Trustee Jim Nelson said the vault is from the early 1900s and was used during the winter to store caskets until they could be buried in the ground.

The building, about the size of a one-car garage, is not used today, Nelson said. It was constructed of rounded rocks.

The structure has developed cracks and it also appears the footers are not adequate to support it, Nelson said.

Township officials planned to submit paperwork this week to apply for a grant through the Ohio Historical Society to fund 60 percent of the $28,000 project, Nelson said.

“It would be used to put in new footers and reinforce the building in such a way that it would not disintegrate,” Nelson said.


Local volunteers helping with storm effort

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Four volunteers with the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties were deployed to areas of need this week to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Local Red Cross officials said two of the volunteers drove the chapter’s Emergency Response Vehicle to the East Coast, where it was to be used to reach remote or cut-off areas with emergency food and water.

Almost 100 Red Cross emergency vehicles were mobilized to distribute meals and relief supplies after the storm passed. Thousands of ready-to-eat meals and relief supplies, such as cots and blankets, also were sent into the region.

“This storm is dangerous, and it’s critical to follow the advice of local emergency officials,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross, on the day before the storm was expected to strike the area. “The Red Cross has shelters open and will be opening more throughout the day. Hundreds of disaster workers are ready with relief supplies and emergency vehicles in place to help.”

He added that local residents can help with the effort.

“This will be a large, costly relief response, and we need help now,” Shimanski said. “People can help by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief online, by text or by phone.”

Donations help the Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy, according to local Red Cross officials. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions also may be sent to the local Red Cross chapter at 501 W. Market St., Akron, OH 44303 or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Red Cross officials added that the storm had caused the cancellation of Red Cross blood drives in the affected region, which has resulted in the loss of several hundred units of blood and platelets. The Red Cross shipped blood products to hospitals in the affected area in advance of the storm, as patients will still need blood and platelets.

The organization urges eligible blood donors in places not affected by the storm to schedule a blood donation. To do that or for more information about giving blood, visit redcrossblood.org or call 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767). Blood donors must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of identification with them.  


County, state help available for those impacted by storm

OHIO — In light of the heavy storms the area sustained this week, Medina County Auditor Michael Kovack issued a reminder to property owners and owners of manufactured homes that they may claim a reduction in the taxable value of structural property that is destroyed or damaged.

Ohio law enables property owners and owners of manufactured homes to claim the reduction regardless of the cause of the damage, according to Kovack’s office. The amount of reduction is prorated based on the calendar quarter in which the damage occurred. Generally, property owners must file an application with the Auditor’s Office for a reduction no later than Dec. 31 in the year the damage occurred. However, for property damage that occurs during the last quarter of the calendar year, applications must be filed no later than Jan. 31. Refunds or credits may be available.

Kovack noted, “With the severity of these storms, residents of Medina County who suffered structural damage deserve the assistance that this law provides. That assistance is quick and effective property tax relief to those homeowners with damaged property.”

For additional information, call the Medina County Auditor’s Office at 330-725-9139.

Forms also may be downloaded, to be printed, completed and mailed to the Auditor’s Office, from Kovack’s website at www.medinacountyauditor.org/frm_dstr.htm.

Also, residents across Ohio impacted by damaging winds and severe weather caused by Hurricane Sandy could be eligible for emergency assistance in the form of reduced interest rates on loans under the Renew Ohio and Rebuild Ohio programs, according to Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s office. Small businesses and homeowners who apply for bank loans for construction, restoration or cash flow for damage and hardship resulting from severe weather may be eligible to receive interest rate reductions through the Treasurer’s Office.

“In the wake of the devastation that Hurricane Sandy has caused the East and New Jersey Coasts, Ohioans are on watch for flooding, high winds and severe weather,” said Mandel. “Any Ohio homeowners and small businesses affected by the storm may be eligible for various state and federal programs, including the Renew Ohio and Rebuild Ohio linked deposit programs which can help lower interest rates on loans,” said Mandel. “These programs can be used by businesses, farmers or homeowners who are victims of flooding, wind damage, power outages or other forms of severe weather.”

According to Mandel, $25 million is available to assist affected Ohioans.

Renew Ohio will assist small-business owners and farmers who have suffered severe damage or loss as a result of severe weather. Businesses and farmers can apply to obtain up to a 3 percent interest rate reduction on new loans for construction or to improve cash flow. The interest rate reduction may be applied on up to $400,000 of the loan for up to four years.

Rebuild Ohio will assist homeowners with an interest rate reduction on loans to finance the restoration of their homes. Homeowners who have suffered severe damage or loss as a result of severe weather will be eligible for a 3 percent interest rate reduction on up to $400,000 of the loan for a five- or seven-year period.

For more information on how to apply for the Renew Ohio or Rebuild Ohio programs, contact the Ohio Treasury’s Department of Economic Development by calling 800-228-1102 and choosing option 3; or visiting the Renew Ohio and Rebuild Ohio web page at www.OhioTreasurer.gov/RenewRebuild.


Hospice of VNS hosting veterans celebration

COPLEY — In honor of all veterans, Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) will host a veterans’ celebration Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. on the grounds of the Hospice of VNS Care Center, 3358 Ridgewood Road.

Scheduled activities will include:

• Comments by Dr. Michael Oddi, medical director, care management, Akron General Medical Center, and a retired colonel from the U.S. Army;

• Honor guard ceremony by American Legion Post No. 473 in Copley and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 7971 in Copley;

• Color guard by Garfield High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps; and

• Refreshments and tours of the Hospice of VNS Care Center.

Reservations are due by Nov. 4 by calling 330-848-6206. The ceremony will take place outdoors in the Veterans’ Remembrance Garden, so attendees are encouraged to dress appropriately.


Hospice offers wreaths for veterans’ cemetery

RITTMAN — HMC Hospice of Medina County will continue its tradition of honoring veterans buried at Western Reserve National Cemetery during the holidays with the laying of wreaths.

As part of the Wreaths for Western Reserve and We Honor Veterans programs, HMC Hospice will participate in the event on the morning of Dec. 15 at the cemetery, 10175 Rawiga Road. At noon, the cemetery will take part in a Nationwide Remembrance Ceremony with more than 250 cemeteries across the country, officials said.

“Our purpose is to provide comfort and support at the end of life,” said HMC Marketing Director Christine Gorey. “By participating in programs such as We Honor Veterans and Wreaths for Western Reserve, we are given the opportunity to better understand the challenges that veterans face, and subsequently, better meet their end-of-life needs and honor the sacrifice they’ve made for our country.”

For the past six years, Wreaths for Western Reserve has offered evergreen wreaths as a way to honor and remember veterans who served the country. Last year, nearly 1,500 wreaths were placed in the 60-acre cemetery, officials there said.

“Our goal is to raise even more awareness for this project so we will be able to cover more gravesites with each passing year,” said Lorrie Hlavin, Wreaths for Western Reserve director.

To purchase a wreath for the 2012 season, stop by HMC Hospice of Medina County at 5075 Windfall Road in Granger for an order form or visit www.Hospice ofmedina.org or www.wrc wreaths.org for more details. Wreaths may be purchased through Nov. 19 for $15 each. For every two wreaths purchased, Wreaths for Western Reserve will place a third to ensure as many soldiers are honored as possible. For additional information, call 330-722-4771.


Kathleen Folkerth, Ariel Hakim and Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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