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West Side News & Notes

4/4/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

AMATS seeks input on transportation improvements

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) is asking the public for input on the development of the Transportation Outlook 2035 and the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for fiscal years 2014 through 2017.

Officials with the agency said the Transportation Outlook 2035 is the area’s draft long-range transportation plan of identified needs and recommendations. The plan includes highway, transit, bike and pedestrian project recommendations slated for completion by 2035.

Transportation Outlook 2035 recommends more than $4.3 billion in highway infrastructure investments through 2035, including more than $2.5 billion for preservation of the existing system. The draft plan includes investment of more than $1.7 billion in the region’s public transportation system and recommends $30 million in bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

AMATS Planning Coordinator Krista Beniston said the draft plan represents the agency’s focus on better using the Greater Akron area’s funding resources. 

“These recommendations reflect a ‘fix-it-first’ approach to pursue needed investments in the area’s existing transportation system rather than costly expansions,” Beniston said.

The TIP is the area’s four-year program of highway, public transit and bike and pedestrian projects scheduled to receive federal funding. The program includes more than $662 million in highway and public transportation projects for fiscal years 2014 through 2017, including nearly $9 million for bike and pedestrian projects. 

TIP Coordinator Victor Botosan said the program also emphasizes maintenance of the area’s existing system.

“The draft TIP recognizes that the pot of government funding for transportation is not likely to grow in the coming years, but we believe that we have crafted an effective program of investments and significant improvements with the resources that we have available,” Botosan said.

The agency is hosting two public engagement meetings so residents may comment on the plans. Meetings are scheduled for April 9 at 6 p.m. at the Akron-Summit County Main Library, 60 S. High St., and April 18 at 6 p.m. at the Kent Free Library, 312 W. Main St. in Kent.

In addition, drafts of the documents are available for review and comment at amatsplan ning.org; the AMATS office at 146 S. High St., 806 Citi Center; the PARTA office at 2000 Summit Road in Kent; the Ohio Department of Transportation District 4 office, 2088 S. Arlington Road in Akron; on Twitter at @amatsplanning; and on Facebook at facebook.com/amatsplanning.

 

United Way/Red Cross campaign sets record

AKRON — United Way of Summit County officials announced the 2012 United Way/Red Cross Campaign raised $11,803,340, the highest total in United Way’s 94-year history of fundraising in Summit County.

This total exceeds the $11,610,000 goal set by the organization’s campaign volunteers and Board of Directors  and is 4 percent more than the $11.3 million raised in 2011, according to United Way officials.

“Donors giving at all levels helped achieve this record-breaking year,” said Katie Rennard, senior vice president of resource development for the United Way of Summit County.

Membership in Summit County’s Tocqueville Society, donors of $10,000 or more annually, has grown steadily from 67 members in 2003 to 213 members (including 39 new members) this year, according to United Way officials. Summit County has the highest number of Tocqueville donors among similarly sized communities in Ohio, United Way officials added.

“Setting a new record for United Way of Summit County fundraising is exciting, but the real impact of this achievement is the help it will provide through a variety of programs and collaborations throughout our community,” said Rennard.

According to United Way officials, businesses that made this year’s results possible include: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.; GOJO Industries Inc.; Time Warner Cable; FirstEnergy Corp.; ComDoc Inc.; and Myers Industries Inc. Increases at these six workplace campaigns totaled nearly $250,000. United Way officials added that 244 companies of all sizes posted increased corporate or employee giving.

2012 campaign chair Nick Browning, president of FirstMerit Bank, Akron region, credited his hardworking volunteer “campaign cabinet” members with this year’s record success.

For more information on how to make a donation on programs and services, or to volunteer, call 330-762-7601 or visit the website at www.uwsummit.org or the offices at 90 N. Prospect St.

 

Financial Literacy Month events planned

GREATER AKRON — The Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs (SCOCA) is teaming up once again with its partners and sponsors to recognize April as Financial Literacy Month.

During the month, consumers can attend one or more of the 32 free events being offered by local agencies. A range of financial topics will be covered, including understanding consumer debt, family budgeting, home buying, ways to improve credit report/score, dealing with debt and collection, children learning how to handle money, protecting your identity, avoiding financial frauds and schemes, shredding personal documents, assisting seniors and veterans with employment opportunities and more. Presentations are scheduled for all ages, from teenagers to senior citizens.

To register or learn more about a class, workshop or event, call the telephone number provided by that agency or the SCOCA at 330-643-2879 for a flier to be mailed to you or visit www.co.summit.oh.us/consumeraffairs.

The following classes will be offered:

  • Financial Management, April 6, 13, 20 and 27, 9 to 11 a.m., at Mustard Seed Development Center, 1357 Home Ave. in East Akron. Registration required; call 330-631-0350.
  • Akron Consumer Debt Class, April 6 and 19, 9 a.m., with Community Legal Aid Services (CLAS), at Akron Municipal Court, 217 S. High St. in Downtown Akron, in the Jury Room; 330-983-2621.
  • How Money Works, April 8, 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Primerica, 169 E. Turkeyfoot Lake Road in Green; 330-644-9910.
  • East Akron Counsel and Advice Clinic, April 9, 5 p.m., with CLAS, East Akron YMCA, 110 Goodyear Blvd.; 877-401-0088
  • Job Boot Camp, for veterans only, April 10-12, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Veterans Service Commission, 1060 E. Waterloo Road in South Akron. Registration required; call 330-564-1492.
  • Mature Workers’ Job & Career Fair, April 11, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with Mature Services Inc., at Hilton Akron/Fairlawn, 3180 W. Market St. in Fairlawn; 330-762-8666, ext. 174 or 178. Four workshops will include “Financial Tips for the Unemployed.”
  • Money Management and Financial Planning, April 11, 4 to 6 p.m., with SCOCA officials, at VSC. Registration required; call 330-643-2879.
  • Financial Fitness, April 11, 18 and 25, 6 to 8 p.m., at East Akron Neighborhood Development Corp., 1046 S. Arlington St. in South Akron. Registration required; call 330-724-0244.
  • Barberton Consumer Debt Class, April 15, 5:30 p.m., with CLAS, at Barberton Library, 602 W. Park Ave.; 330-983-2621.
  • Marriage and Money, April 15, 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Primerica; 330-644-9910.

 

Free income tax filing services offered

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is partnering with the Ohio Benefit Bank to offer free income tax filing services to households with an adjusted gross income of less than $60,000 per year.

The free tax service will be offered by appointment only April 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Akron-Summit County Main Public Library, 60 S. High St.

Eligible participants must bring: photo identification; Social Security numbers for the client and all dependents; income forms, such as W2s, 1099s and 1098s; information about other income; deduction and credit information; and a copy of last year’s tax return.

Income tax filings will be prepared by Ohio Benefit Bank counselors. To schedule an appointment, contact Laura Vanzo at 330-572-3101.

Other dates for tax filing services are available by contacting Ohio Benefit Bank at 800-648-1176 or using the site locator at www.ohiobenefits.org.

Eligible individuals also may use the website to prepare their taxes for free. The website is designed not only to help individuals and families prepare and electronically file their taxes, but also to enable Ohioans to claim all credits for which they are eligible at no cost, as well as review potential eligibility for other community support.

 

Norton City Council asking Barberton to delay waterline replacement

NORTON — Norton City Council members united in an effort to buffer businesses on South Cleveland-Massillon Road from some of the potential negative impact expected from a waterline replacement project set to begin this month by all signing a letter asking for the project to be rescheduled. The letter, dated March 27, was addressed to Barberton City Council members and Mayor William Judge.

Norton City Council approved entering into the joint project with Barberton last December to replace the waterline along 31st Street Northwest and South Cleveland-Massillon Road.

According to Council’s letter, “The City of Norton has several long established businesses located in the area that will be adversely impacted by the timing of the said project due to their limited access.”

The letter cited Dayton’s Flower & Garden Center, as well as Milich’s Village Inn and the Budget Muffler Shop, as potentially suffering income losses if the project is to go forward as scheduled.

Business owner Susan Dayton approached Council March 25 to ask that the project be delayed until at least August. She said she only found out the work would be happening when she saw a sign go up recently.

“We can’t afford to take another hit,” she told Council at that meeting.

Dayton’s is a seasonal business, expecting a significant portion of their yearly income during the project’s scheduled time, according to Council’s letter.

Council stated its belief that people will look for another route rather than navigate around the construction “and therefore bypass the businesses with their dollars.”

Norton’s share of the project is approximately $1,055,000, according to an amended agreement for the cost of the project approved by Council March 4. 

According to Council, they have little control over how the project moves forward.

 

Fudge opens new Akron office

WEST AKRON — U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge (R-District 11) announced she has opened a district office in Akron to better serve constituents in Summit County.

The public is invited to attend an open house for the office, located at 1225 Lawton St., April 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. Fudge will be available to welcome and meet constituents at the new office. In addition to the Akron location, Fudge will continue to maintain a district office in Warrensville Heights and an office in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Due to redistricting, District 11 now includes Bath, Fairlawn, Richfield Township, Richfield Village and a portion of the city of Akron, according to Fudge.

 

April is ‘Child & Family Awareness Month’

GREATER AKRON — “A Family Is Timeless” is the theme of this year’s “Child & Family Awareness Month©,” a month-long celebration of children and families coordinated by Summit County Children Services (SCCS), along with more than 150 local agencies, organizations, places of worship, businesses and individuals who work together to plan a series of family-fun activities and educational events. 

According to SCCS officials, Child & Family Awareness Month is dedicated to building a solid foundation of community support for children and families and helps raise the awareness of child abuse prevention.

This year’s array of events will include:

  • April 10: Wear Blue to Work Day — Businesses and organizations are invited to participate in this statewide program to help raise awareness of child abuse prevention.
  • April 11: Child Abuse and Neglect Training for Churches, 6 to 9 p.m., Celebration Church, 688 Dan St. — Lisa Hamilton-Green, a licensed social worker and community educator with SCCS, will give a three-hour training specially designed to help church leaders and lay members have a better understanding of child abuse and neglect reporting laws. Participants also will receive a Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Kit. Register online at www.summitkids.org.
  • April 16: Parent Training Event, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Children’s Library at the Akron-Summit County Main Library, 60 S. High St. — Presented by the library system and Child Care Connection, the training, “Sing Your Way to Reading Success,” will be presented by library staff members Laura McFalls and Trish Saylor. This training will look at research and the connection between music and brain development. Space is limited to 20 parents and 20 children, and children attending must be 3 and older. To make a reservation, call SCCS.

In addition, throughout April, hundreds of colorful “Pinwheels for Prevention” will spin on the grounds of SCCS, the Summit County Juvenile Court and Akron Children’s Hospital to celebrate the lives of children and to encourage prompt reporting of child abuse and neglect, according to SCCS officials.

Also during April, to pay tribute to the 26-year history of Child & Family Awareness Month, a display of large signs bearing the logos and prize-winning slogans from each yearly celebration is on display on the agency’s front lawn at 264 S. Arlington St.

For additional information about any program listed or to register with the SCCS, call SCCS at 330-379-1994 or visit www.summitkids.org.

 

UAE officials to address Akron Council of World Affairs

Alsaghira Al Ahbabi
Saud Al Nowais
FAIRLAWN — Addressing the Akron Council on World Affairs (ACWA) April 25 will be Alsaghira Al Ahbabi, second secretary, Political Department, and Saud Al Nowais, commercial counselor for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the United States, UAE Trade Office at the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, D.C.

“Understanding Business and Culture in the Middle East: Focus on the United Arab Emirates” will be the topic of the presentation, which will take place at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn.

Those attending the evening session may bring comments and questions to address to Al Nowais and Al Ahbabi at the end of their formal presentation.

According to ACWA officials, in just more than four decades, the UAE has transformed from a tribal culture reliant on agriculture and fishing to an entrepreneurial success story with world-class infrastructure. The UAE’s leadership has improved education, advanced health care and embraced change as the UAE modernizes, consistent with its history and cultural values.

The UAE and the United States have formed a strong relationship with shared security interests and a common resolve to preserve security and stability in the Gulf region, according to ACWA officials.

Attendees may choose dinner and the program beginning at 6 p.m. for $45 per person, or the program only at 7:15 p.m. for $15, payable to ACWA. Checks and attendees’ information are due no later than April 19 to ACWA, P.O. Box 5300, Akron, OH 44334, or go to www.akronworldaffairs.org to access event information and a registration form.

 

NEOSCC announces schedule for regional scenario planning public workshops

NORTHEAST OHIO — The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC) has announced the schedule and details for the first round of public workshops that will gather resident input about the values and priorities of this region.

These workshops are the first phase of a year-long VibrantNEO 2040 process, an effort by NEOSCC to create a more vibrant, sustainable and resilient future for this region, according to NEOSCC officials. This initial phase of the VibrantNEO 2040 process will focus on helping residents identify what choices can be made now that give the region the greatest chance for success in the future. To do this, NEOSCC is using a tool called Scenario Planning, which will look at potential futures for the region based on potential choices about land use and use of resources.

“The workshops have been scheduled to give as many people as possible a chance to participate,” said NEOSCC Executive Director Hunter Morrison. “Simply pick the location and day most convenient for you, RSVP if possible and join us.”

During workshops, participants will learn how Northeast Ohio could look in the year 2040 if present trends continue and how those trends will affect current and future generations. They also will explore alternative futures together through map-drawing and gaming.

The core questions that the sessions are designed to answer are: What are the most important issues and priorities to Northeast Ohio, and what should be considered to make Northeast Ohio more vibrant, resilient and sustainable?

Information on all workshops can be found at Vibrant NEO.org/Workshops. Prior registration is not required but is encouraged.

Locally, a meeting will take place May 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the Akron Urban League, 440 Vernon Odom Blvd. in West Akron. Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m. To register in advance, visit http://tinyurl.com/VibrantNEO-Akron-050213.

Two additional rounds of public workshops will take place later in the year in August and September. More details about those workshops will be available once they are confirmed.

 

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

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