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Council supports reauthorized Violence Against Women Act

3/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Akron City Council approved a resolution March 18 expressing support for the Violence Against Women Act, which was recently reauthorized into law by President Barack Obama, expanding protections for domestic violence victims.

According to sponsor Councilwoman Linda Omobien (D-at large), the bill signing followed the 20th anniversary of the original Violence Against Women Act. According to the resolution, the reauthorization:

  • provides resources to law enforcement and nonprofit organizations;
  • strengthens the capabilities of tribes to respond to violence against Native American  women;
  • increases access to support services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims of domestic violence;
  • assists in providing funding to ensure that rape kits are promptly tested; and
  • increases safety on college campuses by improving reporting and prevention programs.

Omobien mentioned the recent conviction of two juvenile males in the rape of a teenage girl in Steubenville, a case that has made national news, as she introduced the legislation.

“We must educate our children about violent acts against women and people in general,” she said.

She added that last year there were 777 female victims of domestic violence in the Akron area.

Councilman Mike Freeman (D-Ward 9) abstained from the vote, which was otherwise unanimous, stating he hadn’t familiarized himself with the issue.

In other business:

√ Council approved an ordinance opposing and objecting to the application of Members Only Lounge 7 LLC, doing business as Ocean Blue Nu on Copley Road, for a liquor permit. The ordinance had been tabled since last month. Russel Neal (D-Ward 4), councilman for that area, said a community meeting took place concerning the matter, and local residents voiced their concern. A hearing is set for April 9.

√ Petitioner Testa Enterprises withdrew a request for a conditional-use permit to construct a 40-unit property on Brownstone Avenue in North Akron following the afternoon Planning Committee meeting. At the committee meeting, Councilmen Jim Hurley (D-Ward 1), Ken Jones (D-Ward 5) and Bruce Kilby (D-Ward 5) all voiced their opposition to the project.

Kilby noted there are no sidewalks on Brownstone Avenue and that it is a “very narrow undeveloped road. … It’s difficult to get up there now.”

√ Public hearings were scheduled for March 25 on three requests for renewal applications to have agricultural property on St. Michaels Avenue, Nye Street and Courtland Avenue to be included in an agricultural district.

The next Council meeting will be March 25 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. Committee meetings are set to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in Council Chambers.

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