West Side News & Notes
City, county collaborate on internal audit services
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The city of Akron will utilize internal audit services from Summit County’s Internal Audit Department, city officials announced May 31.
The move is meant to save money, improve operations and provide efficient services, as well as provide the city with independent and objective reviews of city departments’ operations and procedures, according to city officials.
The internal audits will be available to all city departments upon the city’s request and approval by the Summit County Audit Committee.
Internal audit procedures are used to review special projects, systems and processes. They will serve as a source of information for city management and managers to use as a resource to obtain advice on financial, operational, performance, controls and procedures.
“This is just another example of how the city and county are working together to help each other improve services and become more efficient,” said Mayor Don Plusquellic in a press release. “Two years ago, we consolidated our health departments, saving over $1 million annually. Previously, we combined our Weights and Measures, Building Inspections divisions and Copy/Mail Center services. And, we continue to have ongoing collaborations and discussions about how to leverage the investments made by both the county and city in local law enforcement.”
Highland Square tree comes down
HIGHLAND SQUARE — After a group of residents spent a week trying to prevent the removal of a large ash tree, crews moved in to cut it down June 4.
Lt. Rick Edwards said officers were called early that morning to the site on the north side of West Market Street next to the Highland Square Branch Library by a tree company hired by the Nemer family, owners of the property. Protester Sharon Pritt, 31, would not leave the tree, and Edwards said she ignored requests to leave it. Eventually, Pritt lowered herself from the tree with a harness, and police arrested her and charged her with obstruction. The Nemer family filed trespassing charges as well, Edwards said, adding that Pritt was due in Akron Municipal Court today, June 6.
Edwards said work to cut the tree down began around 8:20 a.m., and the job was done around noon. Police were called to the site again at that point because the tree company reported its trucks were not able to exit the area due to being blocked in.
The action came a few days after neighborhood residents attended a meeting with city officials May 31 on a proposed plan for a retail/apartment complex at the site, 795 W. Market St. Akron City Council heard from residents during a public hearing at their May 20 meeting regarding the proposal. Council held off voting on the project that day and has not moved forward on it yet.
Julie Farris, a Highland Square resident who was against the tree’s removal, said the group, which has posted updates on Facebook at Save Our Big Ash Tree, is disappointed.
“This site plan has not been approved, so there is still room for discussion,” she said. “There’s all these issues that aren’t being addressed with this project. The tree is part of it, but it was a part that allowed a lot of people to come together.”
The protest at the tree began May 28, when organizers said the tree was to be cut. Since that time, Farris said there had been at least one person in the tree around the clock. [For more on that, see “Highland Square residents rally around tree” in the May 30, 2013, West Side Leader, or visit the archives at www.akron.com.]
Once the tree was cut, the tree company, at the Nemer family’s request, left wood from the tree at the site so local residents could create art.
HHWRC open today
STOW — The Household Hazardous Waste Recycling Center (HHWRC) owned and operated by ReWorks will open its doors on a new day and new time: today, June 6, from 2 to 8 p.m.
“The Stow center will operate from June 6 through September, every Thursday, and will continue to offer a responsible way to safely dispose of and recycle unwanted household hazardous waste,” said Yolanda Walker, ReWorks executive director.
Solvents, automotive products, lawn care products, batteries, fluorescent tubes and tires are examples of acceptable items that can be dropped off and recycled this season. All recycling of household hazardous waste is free except for tires. The fee for tires is $1 (cash only) per tire. The center accepts light truck and passenger tires only, with a limit of 10 tires per visit.
Visit saswma.org/items.htm for a complete list of all acceptable items.
Oil-based paint is acceptable at the HHWRC, but not latex paint. If you have dried latex paint cans, they are an acceptable item for curbside trash. Latex paint can be dried out by adding an absorbent material and allowing the mixture to dry, or by removing the lid and letting the paint dry out, according to ReWorks officials.
For details, call ReWorks at 330-374-0383 or visit www.summitreworks.com.
E-filing commences in Summit court clerk’s office
SUMMIT COUNTY — Summit County Clerk of Courts Daniel Horrigan’s office now accepts electronic filing of court documents for cases in the Summit County Common Pleas Court Civil Division.
The E-Filing system will allow attorneys and pro se litigants to file the vast majority of pleadings and other documents from anywhere.
“We have plans to add the other divisions on to the E-filing system and significant upgrades to our website, so it’s a very exciting year for our office,” said Horrigan.
For more information, call 330-643-2212 or email email@example.com.
U.S. marshals NOVFTF celebrates 10th anniversary
CLEVELAND — The U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force (NOVFTF) is celebrating its 10th anniversary of pursing the most-wanted violent criminals in Northern Ohio.
The NOVFTF was first established in June 2003 by U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott as he teamed up with various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Northern Ohio’s major cities to bring resources together to track down the area’s most violent offenders.
The NOVFTF first began operations in Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown and Toledo. During the last 10 years, the NOVFTF has expanded with teams now also established in Elyria, Mansfield and Painesville, with the latest forming in Canton. The NOVFTF now consists of more than 110 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies with more than 300 law enforcement officers assigned.
Since its inception, the NOVFTF has been responsible for the arrests of nearly 32,000 fugitives and has cleared more than 45,000 warrants, according to Elliott. Arrests include more than 745 fugitives wanted for homicide, more than 2,275 fugitives wanted for sex offenses, more than 3,900 fugitives wanted for assault, more than 2,200 fugitives wanted for robbery, more than 1,800 fugitives wanted for weapons offenses and more than 9,000 fugitives wanted for narcotics offenses. The NOVFTF also has seized more than 1,180 firearms, more than 24,000 rounds of ammunition, more than 570 kilos of illegal narcotics and more than $2.2 million in currency.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of a known fugitive is encouraged to contact the NOVFTF at 866-4-WANTED or text keyword WANTED and the tip to TIP411 (847411). Tipsters may remain anonymous, and a cash reward might be available. The Task Force’s “Dangerous Dozen” fugitives can be viewed at www.usmarshals.gov/district/oh-n/fugitives/pdf/dangerous_dozen.pdf, which is updated monthly.
Planting an extra row makes a difference for Foodbank
AKRON — This spring, community members can help the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank increase distribution of fresh produce to food-insecure individuals by participating in Plant a Row for the Hungry.
The Plant a Row for the Hungry program encourages gardeners to plant an extra row in their gardens and pledge to donate the food to the Foodbank. Last year, Plant a Row for the Hungry provided enough pounds of produce for 11,555 meals.
“Our goal is to ensure no one in our community goes hungry, but, ultimately, we want them to have access to the most nutritious food possible,” said Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
The Foodbank is receiving produce donations at the following participating sites through Sept. 30:
- Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, 350 Opportunity Parkway in Downtown Akron, Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; call 330-535-6900 to schedule a drop-off appointment;
- Canton Road Garden Center, 1881 Canton Road in Springfield, Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
- Crown Point Ecology Center, 3220 Ira Road in Bath, Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon;
- Stow Administrative Offices, 3760 Darrow Road, anytime; and
- Stow Community Garden, 5070 Stow Road, Mondays through Sundays, 7 to 9 p.m.
After picking up the donated produce, the Foodbank will distribute the fresh food to the more than 500 agencies and programs it serves in eight Northeast Ohio counties.
According to Foodbank officials, the best choices for rows are vegetables that have a long shelf life and don’t bruise easily, such as cucumbers, broccoli, cabbage, onions, potatoes, eggplant, carrots, green beans and peppers.
For more information on the Foodbank or Plant a Row for the Hungry, visit www.akroncantonfoodbank.org.
Volunteers needed for upcoming CVNP projects
CVNP — Volunteers are needed in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) June 13 from 1 to 4 p.m. and June 22 from 10 a.m. to noon to help return significant watershed areas to native habitats, according to CVNP officials.
Sponsored by the National Park Service and the Conservancy for CVNP, invasive plant removal projects are scheduled bi-monthly through October. According to CVNP officials, removal of invasive plants is a critical phase in habitat restoration and allows native plant and animal species to prosper. Opportunities to collect seeds from native plants will be scheduled in the fall.
Advance registration is recommended, and required for a group of five or more. Volunteers can be 10 and older with parent or guardian supervision and 16 and older with a parent or guardian-signed Volunteer Agreement Form. Instruction and safety guidelines will be provided on-site. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/cuva and click “volunteer” under the “Get Involved” drop-down menu or contact the volunteer office at 330-657-2299 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers who donate four hours of service can sign up to receive a ticket voucher for two Upper Box or two Mezzanine tickets to a 2013 Cleveland Indians game, courtesy of Business Volunteers Unlimited and the Cleveland Indians.
Kathleen Folkerth, Stephanie Kist and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.
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