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West Side News & Notes

2/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Police captains file suit, want ouster of assistant chief

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Six Akron Police Department (APD) captains filed action Feb. 13 in the Supreme Court of Ohio against newly appointed Assistant Chief Charles Brown.

Capts. Paul Calvaruso, Elizabeth Daughtery, Michael Prebonick, Martha Sullivan, Sylvia Trundle and Daniel Zampelli are asking the court to oust Brown from the position of acting police chief and police deputy chief and to issue an order “declaring that [they] are entitled to be considered for the position of Acting Police Chief … [and] to fulfill the duties of Deputy Police Chief,” according to court papers.

The captains claim that Brown unlawfully holds the position of acting police chief, unlawfully acts as police deputy chief and unlawfully serves within the APD’s chain of command pursuant to the city charter. The lawsuit contends Brown is serving as an unclassified civilian above the captains in the chain of command and that “has caused enormous disruption within the Division of Police.”

In January, Brown, a 27-year member of the APD, resigned as lieutenant with the APD to accept appointment to the position of assistant to the mayor, assistant chief of police, which is an unclassified position in the city. City officials said at the time the position is “intended to increase the police department’s effectiveness, efficiency and customer service.” Brown reports to Police Chief James Nice and earns an annual salary of just less than $104,354.

Mayor Don Plusquellic responded to the lawsuit in a statement Feb. 14.

“These captains wrongfully assert that Assistant Chief Charles Brown is a civilian, and that they are not required to take direction or orders from him,” Plusquellic stated. “Their argument is preposterous and contrary to every system of government at every level in the United States. The fact is, Assistant Police Chief Charles Brown is a sworn, certified peace officer in the state of Ohio.

“Even if Assistant Police Chief Brown is a civilian (which he is not), everyone knows that at every level of government in the United States, the safety forces report to a civilian ...,” Plusquellic continued. “There is no question as to Assistant Chief Brown’s authority here. It is by my direction and the chief’s that he serves.”

Construction behind schedule at King CLC

Construction of the King Community Learning Center is slightly behind schedule, with a new projected completion date of late September or early October.
Photo: Kathleen Folkerth
WEST AKRON — The Akron Public School (APS) District’s new King Community Learning Center (CLC) is being built on the site of the former King Elementary School at 805 Memorial Parkway.

Construction on the new building is slightly behind schedule, according to Paul Flesher, APS executive director of facility services and capital improvements. The new building is supposed to open this fall, but there is a problem with the vapor barrier, Flesher said. This is a coating on the walls in the cavity between the brick and the cinder block. Some areas will need to be redone, he said.

The building is under roof now and interior painting has begun, Flesher said.

The building is now expected to be completed by late September or early October, he said, and should be ready for the staff to move in over Christmas break, if not before, followed by the students.

The school is part of the district’s massive school rebuilding program, which is receiving 59 percent of its funding from the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC). The rest is being funded by a voter-approved 0.25-percent increase in the city income tax.

According to APS officials, the design of the new school will feature a deep red color for the brick and large arched windows. The school itself is being built about 20 feet closer to the street to create more room for parking and the dropoff/pickup area, according to APS officials.

For more information on the plans for the school, visit the APS website at www.akronschools.com.

Akron Toastmasters hosting speech contests

NORTH AKRON — Akron Toastmasters Club 151 will host both the club’s Spring Speech Contest and the Area 11 Toastmasters Spring Speech Contest.

Both events will be at St. Thomas Hospital, located at 444 N. Main St., and will involve area residents who hope to advance to district and Toastmasters International contests later in 2013.

The Akron Toastmasters Club 151 Spring Speech Contest will take place Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. in Meeting Room A, and the Area 11 Toastmasters Spring Speech Contest (Akron, Bridgestone Firestone, Central Advanced, Downtown and Goodyear clubs) will take place Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium.

Both contests will consist of international speeches, in which contestants present original speeches, and evaluations, in which participants listen to a prepared speech and give the presenter feedback according to Toastmasters guidelines.

Annual Harvest for Hunger campaign has $1 million, 110,000-pound goal

Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, motivates the audience to make this the most successful Harvest for Hunger campaign in history at the campaign kick-off event Feb. 13.
Photo courtesy of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Community members gathered Feb. 13 to kick off the 22nd Harvest for Hunger campaign at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, with agency officials encouraging community participation to help reach a local goal of $1 million for the 2013 campaign.

At the kick-off event, volunteers formed a clapping line and clapped for the more than 100 community members walking in to the warehouse to celebrate the beginning of Harvest for Hunger.

“Let’s declare our hope and faith in the goodness that we can create,” said Flowers. “Let’s create more light and drive back more darkness because that’s the kind of community we want to live in — a community where our love for humanity compels us to act with unrelenting goodness. That’s what this campaign is. That’s what you represent.”

According to Foodbank officials, 100 percent of all Harvest for Hunger donations will go directly toward feeding hungry men, women and children in the eight-county service area. The campaign is a collaborative effort of four food banks serving 21 counties in Northeast Ohio, also including the Cleveland Foodbank, Second Harvest Food Bank of Mahoning Valley and the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio.

The local 2013 Harvest for Hunger campaign is being led by William Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital, and Edward Roth III, president and CEO of Aultman Health Foundation. Roth also spoke at the campaign kick-off event.

There are two major components to the Harvest for Hunger campaign: food and funds drives and the Check out Hunger program. Nearly 300 businesses, schools, community organizations and families are holding food and funds drives throughout March and April. Food and funds drive coordinators can register and download a coordinator’s kit from www.akroncantonfood bank.org.

Local supermarket chains are participating in Check out Hunger, which allows shoppers to scan coupons and make donations of $1, $5 or $10 at the checkout register. Check out Hunger is available at Buehler’s Fresh Foods, Dave’s Supermarkets, Fishers Foods, Giant Eagle and Heinen’s Fine Foods. This program will run through March 30 at all stores operated by the five supermarkets within the 21-county campaign region.

Every $1 donation provides four meals for people in need, according to Foodbank officials. Donations also are accepted at the Foodbank by phone, mail or online at www.akroncantonfoodbank.org.

Child Guidance & Family Solutions offers free seminar on school safety

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Child Guidance & Family Solutions (CG&FS) is offering a seminar for educators titled “Including Mental Health in Your School Safety Plan.”

The program will be presented by Sally Dean, MSSA, LISW-S, a school-based therapist at CG&FS, March 5 from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at Akron Family Restaurant, 250 W. Market St. The seminar includes breakfast and is suggested for building principals, superintendents and directors of special education.

Dean will discuss how mental health services can and should play a role in the prevention, intervention and postvention (an intervention conducted after a suicide) of all types of violence in schools.

To register for the free program, required by March 1, contact Stacy Greenamyer, CG&FS school services manager, at SchoolServices@CGFS.org or 330-762-2557.

“Studies show that providing mental health support to children who are suffering improves their academic success and their ability to make long lasting social connections,” said Greenamyer.

The CG&FS School Based Services program focuses on partnerships with many area schools, where CG&FS clinicians offer onsite mental and emotional health care to those in need.

Enrollment open for Ohio Business Week 2013

OHIO — Ohio Business Week (OBW), an entrepreneurship experience for high school students, is accepting applications for its 2013 summer program.

A weeklong residential program managed by the Ohio Business Week Foundation, OBW will be held on the campuses of Ohio Dominican University June 23-29 and Youngstown State University July 28 through Aug. 3. 

During OBW, participants are assigned to a student company with 10-12 other students in order to complete business, financial and marketing plans for a simulated start-up business venture.

“Students emerge from OBW with the skills and experience they need to excel in higher education and in the entrepreneurial world,” said John Davis, executive director of the Ohio Business Week Foundation.

Space is limited to 250 students.

The full cost of attendance is $850; however, each student accepted to OBW receives a $500 scholarship from a business, civic organization, foundation or individual to attend the program. Corporate support enables the foundation to offer OBW at a reduced cost. There is a $350 commitment fee to attend. Financial aid is available for families who cannot afford the entire commitment fee. A $50 early-bird discount will be given to students who apply before Feb. 28.

For an application, call 888-377-7414 or visit ohiobusiness week.org. Applications should include a school reference and a short essay. All applications must be postmarked no later than April 30.

Stephanie Kist and Becky Tompkins contributed to these reports.

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