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West Side News & Notes

12/27/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Akron Art Museum announces major gift, interim director

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron Art Museum’s plans for an outdoor sculpture garden are closer to reality thanks to a pledge from museum supporters Rick and Alita Rogers.

Retiring Museum Director Mitchell Kahan announced the seven-figure pledge during a press conference Dec. 21, at which museum officials also announced that Chief Curator Janice Driesbach will serve as interim director.

The completed outdoor gallery and multi-use space will bear the name of Bruce and Susanne Rogers, Rick Rogers’ parents, museum officials said. The exact dollar amount of the pledge was not disclosed, but museum officials said trustees would raise additional funds to operate and endow programs for the space.

“We are all so indebted to Rick and Alita for making it possible to undertake this next step in the museum’s growth,” Kahan said. “The new space will be an enormous contribution to Akron’s urban landscape and is something that our visitors have sorely missed since we closed the old Myers Sculpture Garden in 2004.”

The new space will be a place for art, concerts and a variety of community activities, he added.

Alita Rogers currently serves on the museum’s Board of Trustees and is chair of its Governance Committee. Rick Rogers was president of the board when the museum broke ground in 2004 for the John S. and James L. Knight Building. The Rogers’ credited their family business, The B.W. Rogers Co., located in Downtown Akron, for making the gift possible. It was started in 1928 by Rick Rogers’s grandfather to mainly serve the rubber industry.

“We are happy that this pledge will return money made in Akron to the community that helped make our success possible,” said Rick Rogers. “This is also an opportunity to say thanks to Mitchell before he retires, for the impact his creative vision and courage has had on the museum’s stellar reputation.” 

Planning for the project will begin in 2013 after a new museum director is appointed, officials said.

The announcement came about two weeks before Kahan is to step down after 26 years as director of the museum. Driesbach, a Lakewood native who joined the museum staff earlier this year, will begin her duties Jan. 3.

“As we move forward in our executive search for the museum’s next director, Jan’s experience in museum management will be an immense asset,” said Dianne Newman, president of the Board of Trustees. “Her appointment will provide strong continuity for both the board and staff in maintaining our high standards in planning and programming.”

Officials added that the board has hired Management Consultants for the Arts, a search firm in New York that works exclusively with cultural organizations and is well known in the art museum field.

“The consultants and trustees feel that the museum’s reputation for excellence, its remarkable collection and the John S. and James L. Knight Building itself will attract a high level of candidates,” said former Board president Fred Bidwell, who is leading the search process.


Swearing-in ceremony scheduled for top county officials

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Top Summit County elected officials will take their oath of office Jan. 2 at 4:30 p.m. The public ceremony will take place in the rotunda of the John S. Knight Center, 77 Mill St.

County officeholders being sworn in include Executive Russ Pry, Fiscal Officer Kristen Scalise and Clerk of Courts Daniel Horrigan. Judges Carol Dezso, of the Summit County Domestic Relations Court, and Tom Teodosio, of the Summit County Common Pleas Court, will administer their oaths, and city of Akron Chief Prosecutor Gertrude Wilms will serve as master of ceremonies.

The event will open with an invocation performed by the Rev. Luther Cooper, of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and culminate in a benediction performed by the Rev. James Ragnoni, of St. Anthony of Padua Church.

Pry, Scalise and Horrigan — all of whom were re-elected to their positions this past November — will take their oaths and offer short remarks. There is no cost to attend the ceremony. Doors will open at 4 p.m., and light refreshments will be served.

For details, contact Sarah Hegnauer at 330-643-8472 or shegnauer@sum mitoh.net.


Food swaps starting in Akron area

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Food swaps have become part of the local foods movement and take place around the country. Now local foodies can participate in an Akron food swap organized by the Countryside Conservancy.

Program Assistant Erin Molnar said a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation grant is allowing the conservancy to begin monthly swaps. The first free event is scheduled to take place Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. at Uncorked Wine Bar, 22 N. High St.

Molnar said she expects participants to bring items such as self-produced jams, jellies and other preserved foods, as well as baked goods.

“I hope people think outside the box and bring more unique items,” she said. “Really, you can do anything, such as infused vinegars and tea blends. There’s almost no end to the options.”

Molnar said food swap events provide an opportunity to trade items, as well as connect with people to make new friends or contacts and share tips, recipes and stories.

The format of the swaps is similar to a silent auction. Participants arrive and display their items, and the following hour is time to browse and sample and suggest a trade on the form alongside the displays. Then the negotiations and trading begins. People can choose to accept or pass on any offer with no pressure.

Swappers can expect to leave with a variety of goods to either indulge in or use to build their pantries. Molnar said she encourages participants to bring six to 10 items to swap, as well as a quantity for sampling.

For the first swap, Molnar has set a limit of 30 participants. To register, go to www.cvcoun tryside.org/food/special-event.php. For additional information, call 330-657-2542.


Hospital to receive $1.6 million to address psychological trauma

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron Children’s Hospital has been awarded a $1.6 million federal grant to provide services and support to children and families who have experienced psychological trauma, officials announced Dec. 21.

The hospital joins a national network of more than 130 child trauma centers that address a wide range of traumatic experiences, including physical and sexual abuse; domestic, school and community violence; natural disasters and terrorism; and life-threatening injury and illness.

“Tragic shootings in Copley, Chardon and now Connecticut reinforce the importance of trauma training for teachers, doctors, nurses and others who work with children,” said Dr. Norm Christopher, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Akron Children’s and the author of numerous studies on childhood trauma. “And it’s not just these headline-generating tragedies that can have lasting effect on families and communities. This grant will also enable us to deliver age-appropriate and research-based responses to the death of a high school student, the chronic illness of a sibling or domestic violence, as they can be equally devastating for loved ones.”

Receipt of the four-year grant means that the hospital becomes a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), whose mission is to improve the quality, effectiveness and availability of services for children and families who experience traumatic events. Community surveys suggest that by their 16th birthday, 67 percent of American children are exposed to at least one significant traumatic event.

The new funding will allow Akron Children’s to develop the Center for the Treatment and Study of Adverse Childhood Events with the goal of providing leadership, training and consultative services in the area of childhood traumatic stress for Northeast Ohio, officials said. The center will create a trauma-focused network of care, which will improve access to treatment, help identify children who have been exposed to adverse events and create a trauma-informed system of care throughout the continuum of care offered by the hospital.

Melissa Peace, a social worker who spent 10 years leading the Summit County Children Who Witness Violence Program, will serve as project director.

Peace said her team would begin by creating a community trauma advisory council and rolling out trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy (TF-CBT) for the hospital’s clinical staff and community mental health providers and then to area school personnel. TF-CBT is an evidence-based approach to helping children create and share “trauma narratives” to cope with their emotions stemming from a traumatic event, officials said.

The grant also has a research component, led by pediatric psychologist Sarah Ostrowski, who is the research program director in Akron Children’s NeuroDevelopmental Science Center.

The grants are awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The U.S. Congress authorized the NCTSN in 2000 in response to the growing needs of children exposed to trauma in the United States.


Training for nonprofits begins in 2013

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Nonprofit organizations can learn how to diversify their revenue streams and strengthen their fundraising plans in the new year at a series of training seminars offered at no charge.

The six-month series is a partnership among the Akron Community Foundation, Akron-Summit County Public Library, BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence and the Foundation Center.

“Attendees will learn effective measurement tools for what works — and what doesn’t — in donor development,” said Laura Fink, director of development at the Akron Community Foundation. “Part of the community foundation’s mission is to help nonprofits do good forever through their endowment fund. This series will give all nonprofits the tools they need to become financially secure and continue their missions in perpetuity.”

Monthly seminars will begin in January at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, 60 S. High St., where field experts will speak on subjects ranging from online grant resources to the basics of budgeting.

Seminars will be held the third Wednesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m., with a continental breakfast at 8:30. Participation in all six sessions is not required, but nonprofits must register for each session they plan to attend a www.BVUvolunteers.org or by mailing a completed registration form to BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence at 703 S. Main St., Suite 200, Akron, OH 44311.

To learn more about the topics that will be covered in each seminar, visit www.BVUvolunteers.org/calendar. For questions, contact Kimberly Simpson-Kee, associate director, services to nonprofits, at 330-762-9670, ext. 2, or ksimpson-kee@bvuvolunteers.org.


Heart Champion Award honorees announced

Dr. Phillip Smith
Dr. Robert Schweikert
Robert DeJournett
Photos courtesy of the American Heart Association
GREATER AKRON — The American Heart Association (AHA) has announced the recipients of this year’s Heart Champion Award.

Dr. Philip Smith, of The Heart Center at Akron Children’s Hospital; Dr. Robert Schweikert, of Akron General Health System; and Robert DeJournett, of Summa Health System, are this year’s recipients. AHA officials said all three honorees have contributed to the advancement of cardiovascular health in the Greater Akron community through their service and partnership with the AHA.

The honorees will be honored at the annual Heart Ball Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. at The University of Akron’s Quaker Station.

The 2013 Heart Ball will raise funds to support research and education that help fight the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 leading causes of death, heart disease and stroke, respectively, according to AHA officials. Guests can enjoy dinner, live and silent auctions and entertainment and learn about what improvements the AHA and American Stroke Association (ASA) have brought to the community during the last several decades. Since 1949, the AHA and ASA have funded more than $3.4 billion in research.

The black-tie event also will include a special appeal called Open Your Heart, which raises funds for pediatric heart research, according to organizers.

The 2013 co-chairs for the Heart Ball are Dr. Kevin Silver and Sharon Silver. Sterling Jewelers Inc. is the Presenting Sponsor and the founding member of the Akron Heart Society. Summa Health System is the Premier Sponsor, and Akron General is the Platinum Sponsor for this year’s event.

For ticket information and details about sponsorship opportunities, call the AHA at 330-664-1903 or go to www.heart.org/akronohheartball.


Kathleen Folkerth and Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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