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South Side News & Notes

11/22/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Toastmasters in Green move, expand schedule

GREEN — Toastmasters in Green has relocated its meetings to Akron General Health & Wellness Center — Green, 1940 Town Park Blvd, and expanded its schedule to meet every Thursday from noon to 1 p.m.

According to Toastmasters officials, Toastmasters in Green is part of Toastmasters International, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching communication and leadership skills. The organization helps participants improve communication and leadership skills through a proven self-paced educational program, according to group officials. Guests are welcome.

For details on the club, visit the website 780834.toastmas tersclubs.org or contact Greg Reichwein, club president, at 330-697-3582. For more information about local Toastmasters clubs, visit www.toast masters.org.


Nov. 24 is Small Business Saturday

GREATER AKRON — Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is spreading awareness and advising consumers to support the small businesses in their area Nov. 24. For the third year in a row, American Express OPEN has declared the Saturday after Thanksgiving to be Small Business Saturday.

Businesses can take advantage of free tools offered online at www.facebook.com/Small BusinessSaturday, including free signage, free ads on Twitter and ideas to help grow their businesses.

Last year, more than 100 million people came together to “shop small” in their communities on Small Business Saturday, according to BBB officials.

For more information on Small Business Saturday, visit www.smallbusinesssaturday.com.


County unveils new website design

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County’s new website was unveiled Nov. 16.

The redesigned website retains all information from the previous version, but it’s presented in a new, more efficient design, county officials said. The address is still www.co.summit.oh.us.

County officials said the county has had a website since the late 1990s. The original site was redesigned in 2000 and again in 2002. The newest design marks the first time the site is entirely hosted on a county server, officials added. The new site was designed by the county’s Department of Communications, which also helped the county save money, officials said.

The new design features an intuitive search engine, access to social media, one-click functionality to reduce font size and screen size, and ease in printing and emailing pages and documents, officials said.

The site includes a new look for some of the county’s offices with information on the site, while some kept their previous design. Officeholders are responsible for the information and content in their area.

Officials added that the site features about 1,200 pages of information and generates about 218,000 hits per day.


IRS seeks volunteers for free tax prep programs in Ohio

COLUMBUS — Recruitment is under way throughout Ohio for volunteers and partner organizations for the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) free tax preparation programs.

Volunteers must receive training and achieve certification during the next two months to be ready for the start of the 2013 tax filing season.

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free tax help to seniors, as well as to low-to-moderate income and disabled individuals. Partner organizations set up free tax preparation sites in local communities, where volunteers meet with and assist qualifying taxpayers. Some VITA or TCE sites might offer a “self-prepare” option for people to do their own taxes for free using web-based tax preparation software. Volunteers will be needed in all these sites during the upcoming filing season.

While volunteers are needed for tax preparation, help also is needed for a variety of other roles. These include greeter/screener, interpreter, site administrator/coordinator and computer specialist or troubleshooter. Tax preparers, quality reviewers and tax coaches need to complete specialized tax law training and certification in order to assist others with their tax returns. Training is free, and the hours are flexible, according to IRS officials.

Details are available on the IRS website, www.IRS.gov, at key words “Tax Volunteer.” To volunteer with or host a community VITA/TCE site, email TaxVolunteer@IRS.gov.


Patrol reminds motorists of importance of safety belts

COLUMBUS — The Ohio State Highway Patrol encourages all motorists to buckle up.

In 2011, nearly 65 percent of the people killed on Ohio’s roadways were not wearing a safety belt. During the first three months of 2012, safety belt citations by Ohio troopers were up 19 percent over 2011, and during this time, unbelted traffic fatalities decreased by 16 percent, according to the patrol.

“It’s simple — safety belts save lives and reduce injury in crashes,” said Col. John Born, patrol superintendent. “It is the easiest thing you can do to protect yourself, your family and your friends.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, safety belts save more than 13,000 lives every year and remain the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash, the Patrol noted.

According to Ohio’s 2010 Observational Seatbelt Survey, 83.8 percent of motorists were found to be in compliance with Ohio’s safety belt law. This is an increase from the 72.9 percent observed in 2002.

Ohio’s safety belt law remains a secondary violation; however, troopers continue zero-tolerance enforcement when motorists are stopped for other violations and are found not wearing their belt, according to the patrol.

A complete statistical analysis can be viewed at www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/doc/Safety_Belt_Bulletin_2012.pdf.


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

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