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South Side News & Notes

11/8/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Summit County Felony Drug Court awarded grant

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Summit County Felony Drug Court has been awarded two grants that will fund ongoing programming, along with enhanced treatment for individuals with trauma-related symptoms or opiate addictions.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded a one-time grant for $300,000, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded a grant in the amount of $325,000 per year for three years. The project period is October 2012 through September 2015.

The Summit County Felony Drug Court is a specialty court that has been given the responsibility to handle cases involving drug-dependent, nonviolent offenders through comprehensive court supervision, including sanctions and incentives, case management, drug testing and treatment services.

Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Teodosio presides over the court, while Oriana House Inc., a nonprofit community corrections and chemical dependency treatment agency, serves as the implementing agency.

“We are seeing an increasing number of people who have drug addictions that stem from post-traumatic stress disorder or abuse of prescription drugs,” Teodosio said. “These grant monies allow us to add more intense programming that helps these individuals learn how to address specific barriers and prevent future relapses.

“In order to address the higher needs that come with these addictions, the grant funding also allows the addition of intensive case management services, increased research components and specialized training for crisis counselors.”

Since the 2002 inception of the program, 465 people have successfully completed the Summit County Felony Drug Court Program. County government officials anticipate the grant will allow the court to better serve 340 new clients over the life of the project.

Collaborative partners of the court include: Oriana House Inc.; the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board; Summit County Common Pleas Court; Summit County Executive’s Office; Summit County Legal Defender Office; the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, the Akron Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies.


Leaders for Leggett campaign to help students

GREEN — Two members of the Leadership Akron Class 28 (2011-12) have teamed up with two Green Local School District schools to adopt students at Akron Public Schools’ District’s Leggett Community Learning Center this holiday season.

Valerie Wolford, city of Green communications coordinator and a mother of two students who attend Green Local Schools, and Joe Swiatkowski, president of Hickory Harvest Foods in Coventry and a resident of Bath, are working with students from Greenwood Early Learning Center and Green Primary School’s second-graders on the Leadership for Leggett campaign to collect school supplies and books for Leggett students.

Wolford said she first started the program last year with her son Eric’s first-grade class at Green Primary and her Leadership Akron class to benefit one first-grade class at the school. Each student got a gift bag filled with a new toy, two books, school supplies, a winter hat, gloves and snacks, and other supplies were donated to the school.

This year, Wolford and Swiatkowski have decided to adopt all 400 Leggett students in prekindergarten through fifth grade.

“I started this project last year to teach my son about giving back at the holiday time,” said Wolford. “This year we are taking it to a whole new level, and I am thrilled both of my kids’ schools and classes are involved.”

Wolford said Greenwood Early Learning Center has appointed the Leaders for Leggett project as the recipient of its annual “Stuff the Turkey” campaign, which asks students to donate new or gently used books and crayons or markers. Green Primary School’s second-grade classes will collect books, notebooks and classroom supplies, such as hand sanitizers, tissues and disinfecting wipes.

All the items will be collected through Nov. 21, and then on Dec. 14, Leadership Akron Class 28 will deliver the gift bags to the Leggett students along with a surprise visit from Santa.

Wolford and Swiatkowski also hope to collect the following: donations for lunch for the entire school Dec. 14; gift bags or backpacks; 20 $25 gift cards to give as gifts to the teachers; and 10 iPads for the school.

Anyone wishing to make a donation may contact Wolford at 330-806-0311 or Swiatkowski at 330-730-0080. Cash donations, with checks made payable to Leaders for Leggett, may be sent to: Hickory Harvest Foods, c/o Joe Swiatkowski, 90 Logan Parkway, Akron, OH 44319.


Hunger-Free Families offers opportunities to donate this holiday season

AKRON — This holiday season, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank’s Hunger-Free Families campaign seeks to inspire families to come together to take action and help provide food to families struggling with hunger.

Local companies, nonprofit organizations, governmental bodies, schools, social clubs and faith-based organizations will host food and funds drives to feed families facing hunger. According to Foodbank officials, coordinating a food and funds drive is a great way to promote community involvement and team building while helping those in need.

Locally, one in seven people face a daily risk of hunger and more than one in four children is food insecure, according to Foodbank officials.

“Many people are surprised when they discover how widespread the problem is and how many households are in need in our community,” said Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. “These families have children, just like I do, and they worry about putting food on the table. We want to ensure that every family that needs food can access it during the holiday season and all year long.”

As the holiday season approaches, the goal of the Hunger-Free Families campaign is to inspire the community to get involved, whether that is through volunteering, holding a food and funds drive or making a donation.

Many local partners are getting behind the campaign by holding events to raise money and collect food for the Foodbank, according to Flowers:

• 98.1 WKDD, My 101.7, Rock 106.9 and 640 WHLO will host the Long Haul Against Hunger Nov. 16. This drive-by-and-donate event will have live broadcasts from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and a variety of activities all day. On-air personalities of WKDD will be at the Plaza at Chapel Hill on Howe Avenue in Akron and of WHOF at Thursday’s Plaza in Belden Village.

• Double Your Dollar Day is an online promotion on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26. While making holiday purchases online, visit www.akroncantonfood bank.org and make a donation. Any dollar donated on Cyber Monday will be matched by a Canton-area family.

• The Foodbank Facebook Challenge will start Nov. 29, and each new “Like” the Foodbank receives will result in a donation of four meals.

• At participating restaurants Dec. 16-22, order a specially selected item from the menu and that restaurant will donate four meals to the Foodbank. Visit the Foodbank’s website for participating restaurants.

To learn more about the Hunger-Free Families campaign, visit www.akroncanton foodbank.org/hff.aspx or contact the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank at 330-535-6900.


Happy’s Pizza opens Akron location

SOUTH AKRON — Happy’s Pizza announced a new store opened Nov. 1 at 1400 S. Arlington St. in Arlington Plaza.

This is the 13th Happy’s Pizza store in Ohio, according to business officials. Within the next six months, Happy’s plans to also open new locations in the Lima, Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland areas.

The first Happy’s Pizza opened in 1996 on Detroit’s northeast side and has since expanded into eight other states, according to business officials.

“I’m very excited about our new store here in Akron,” said Happy Asker, founder and CEO of Happy’s Pizza. “When I opened my first store in 1996, I never thought that one store would grow into something so amazing. Opening new locations where we’ve seen the demand and growing requests for our food is amazing. We’re creating about 30 new jobs in the community for each new store we open, and the company has continued to grow more each year.”

Happy’s Pizza offers more than 220 menu items, ranging from pizza to salads, chicken, ribs and seafood. Happy’s is best known for pricing that allows a family to eat dinner for less than $15 and delivering within a 5-mile radius of the store, according to business officials. Hours for the Akron store are Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to midnight.

For more information on the business, visit www.happyspiz za.com or call the Akron store at 330-786-9999.


Silver Creek Metro Park dam lauded

NORTON — The Silver Creek Metro Park Dam has been named an Ohio Dam Safety Organization’s (ODSO) 2012 Best Maintained Dam award winner.

The award will be presented at the Water Management Association of Ohio’s annual awards luncheon Nov. 14 in Columbus, according to ODSO officials.

Silver Creek Metro Park is owned by Metro Parks, Serving Summit County. The dam was constructed in 1990 and provides a normal pool surface area of 47 acres for public recreational use. The earthen embankment is 1,900 feet long, has a maximum height of 25 feet and contains more than 110,000 cubic yards of fill, according to the OSDA.

“Ohio is indeed fortunate to have dam owners like Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, with the commitment and resources to properly maintain their dam to protect lives and property downstream of the dam,” said Daniel Hill, the awards committee chair.

The ODSO was formed in 1995 as a division of the Water Management Association of Ohio and is affiliated with the Association of State Dam Safety Officials at the national level. ODSO’s activities include a newsletter available to all dam owners in Ohio, plus the awards program to encourage proper maintenance of dams. More information is available at www.ohiodam safety.org.


Discover Downtown Akron Passports now on sale

AKRON — For the second year, Downtown Akron Partnership is offering the Discover Downtown Akron Passport program.

For $15, passport holders receive admission to 16 different events beginning with First Night® Akron Dec. 31. The remaining 15 events run from January to December 2013.

Events include exclusive tours, free admission to popular venues, sports events, theater and more. The passport has an actual value of $213, and inclusion of the First Night Akron button is a $10 value in itself.

Passports are now available for purchase from the Downtown Akron Partnership office (103 S. High St.) and online at www.downtownakron.com/passport. Starting Nov. 23, additional sales locations will include ACME Fresh Markets, Actors’ Summit Theater, Akron Art Museum, Angel Falls Coffee (Downtown Akron and Highland Square locations), Gasoline Alley (in Bath), the Library Shop on Main, Lock 3 Park, NOTO and Stage Left Boutique.

The events on the passport provide a variety of activities, including: opening day at Canal Park; a Rubber City Rollergirls bout; special tours offered by Actors’ Summit, Perkins Stone Mansion and Hower House; free ice skate rental at Lock 3 Park with a hot dog and drink; Akron Symphony Orchestra Concerts for Kids; seminars by The Illusion Factory; exploration of dance techniques with Neos Dance Theater; musical and theater performances by MadCap Puppets, Tuesday Musical, Ohio Conservatory, the Illusion Factory and Jingle Jazz at The University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall; and one-time visits to the Akron Zoo and Akron Art Museum.

Offerings are date-specific and can be found at www.downtownakron.com/pass port, along with further details.


Summa Health System reports $106.7 million in community benefit

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summa Health System President and CEO Thomas Strauss announced Oct. 31 that Summa provided $106.7 million in community benefit to area residents in 2011.

Strauss announced the results while unveiling Summa’s Community Benefit report during its 2012 Community Leadership Briefing event.

As the region’s largest safety-net provider, Summa delivered $106.7 million in community benefit — including $14.3 million in the net cost of traditional charity care and $37.8 million in unpaid costs for Medicaid patients, according to Summa officials. In addition, Summa reported $20.9 million for education, $5.1 million for research and $24.9 million in subsidized health services, such as senior health, HIV/AIDS care and dental heath.

“We believe in our mission to improve the health of the people who comprise our neighborhoods and communities,” Strauss said. “We approach our work not only as health providers and administrators, but also as members and stewards of the region.”


Summit County consumers should beware of offers to help reduce property taxes

SUMMIT COUNTY — According to the Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs (SCOCA), consumers are receiving letters from companies offering to lower their property taxes, and should beware.

These companies will charge fees to research and dispute a property’s assessment, guaranteeing that they will lower taxes, according to the SCOCA. Even though some companies might actually perform some work by filing a request for a property reassessment on your behalf, consumers may do the same thing for free.

“Scammers are extremely good at tricking consumers into paying for services that can be done for free or by not providing them with what was promised,” said Cynthia Sich, director of the SCOCA. “If you receive material in the mail, by telephone or email, call our office at 330-643-2879 to check on a company’s complaint history before you pay or agree to their service.”

The Office of Consumer Affairs reminds consumers to watch out for:

• letters that look as if they are from government agencies, but in fact are from private companies;

• requirements to pay an upfront fee to challenge an assessment;

• services that request a certified copy of your property deed, costing you more money; and

• companies that ask for your Social Security number.

The Summit County Fiscal Office’s Board of Revision reviews complaints about property values. To learn how to file complaints, contact the Board of Revision at 330-926-2559 or visit fiscaloffice.sum mitoh.net/index.php/board-of- revision-complaint.

“Any property owner who wishes to file against the valuation of real property can do so on your own,” said Summit County Fiscal Officer Kristen Scalise. “There is no cost or fee to file with Board of Revision.”

By statute, an application can be submitted to the Board of Revision after Jan. 1 but prior to the close of business at 4 p.m. March 31.


Kathleen Folkerth, Stephanie Kist and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.

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