South Side News & Notes
ODOT issues area traffic advisories
COVENTRY — The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has issued the follow traffic advisories:
- State Route 619 just east of Manchester Road in New Franklin is closed through early July for roadway widening. The detour is Manchester Road to State Street to state Route 619. This work is part of a $2 million project to widen the state Route 619 and Manchester Road intersection to include left-turn lanes. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by late September 2013.
- State Route 619 just west of Manchester Road in New Franklin is closed for roadway widening as of July 3 until further notice. The detour is Manchester Road to State Road to state Route 619. This closure is not scheduled to occur until state Route 619 just east of Manchester Road is re-opened to traffic.
- Until further notice, Manchester Road from just south of Proehl Avenue to just north of Cormany Road is reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction through late October for roadway widening. This work is part of a $7.9 million project to widen Manchester to five lanes from just south of Cormany Road to Proehl Avenue. The project also includes widening/improvements to Robinson Avenue at Manchester Road. The entire project is scheduled to be complete by August 2014.
- State Route 619 between Turkeyfoot Road and the Stark County line in Green has various lane restrictions for resurfacing. This work is the beginning of a $1.6 million project to resurface state Route 619 between Turkeyfoot Road and the Stark County line. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by September 2013.
- Beginning July 8 until further notice, state Route 619 between Mayfair Road and Kreighbaum Road in Green will be closed through late August for a bridge replacement. The detour will be Massillon Road to US 224 to Canton Road.
Summer Crisis Program assists with electric bills, air conditioner purchase
SUMMIT COUNTY — Now through Aug. 31, Akron Summit Community Action Inc. (ASCA) and the Ohio Development Services Agency will help income-eligible residents purchase an air conditioner or fan and/or assist in the payment of an electric bill.
ASCA has operated the Summer Crisis Program for the past 10 years. In 2012, ASCA assisted 5,574 households with assistance in the amount of $904,902.
The Summer Crisis Program provides assistance to low-income households with an elderly member (60 or older), or households that can provide physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a household member’s health. This can include lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma.
Eligible households can receive up to $175 in assistance. The gross income of eligible households must be at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. For a family of four, the annual income must be at or below $41,212.
Eligible Summit County residents can call the toll-free appointment line at 866-504-7400. Appointments will be scheduled Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. All appointments must be made through the Summer Crisis Program appointment line.
Alumni Association established for Derby
SOUTH AKRON — The FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby is has announced that an Alumni Association open to all youngsters and adults who have competed in the Derby championships at Akron’s Derby Downs during the past 75 years has been established.
The first All-American Soap Box Derby race was held in 1934 in Dayton, according to Derby officials. The following year, the race moved to Akron because of its central location and hilly terrain. The first race in Akron was run on Tallmadge Avenue. In 1936, Chevrolet and Akron civic leaders — including journalist John S. Knight — recognized the need for a permanent track site for the youth gravity-racing classic. That year, through the efforts of the Works Progress Administration, Derby Downs in the southeast section of Akron became a reality.
The Derby ran continuously from its inception until the onset of World War II, according to Derby officials. After a four-year hiatus, the All-American Soap Box Derby resumed in Akron in 1946, and has been held at Derby Downs every year since.
“Thousands and thousands of Soap Box Derby racers from around the world share a common bond,” said President and CEO Joe Mazur. “We’re thrilled to be able to provide an association where alumni can reminisce about their Soap Box Derby experiences with long-time friends and share experiences with competitors from other eras.”
To launch this effort, the Derby will host an Alumni Association kickoff event at Derby Downs July 26 — the evening prior to the 76th running of the race.
“Participating in the Soap Box Derby gave me the opportunity to make friends and have fun, as well as learn how to compete well and good sportsmanship, which helped me in school and on into my professional life,” said Matt Perez, of Hollywood, Fla. Perez, 29, won the 1996 Stock Car world championship, representing his hometown of North Canton. He is a financial analyst for Canon Solutions America in Boca Raton, Fla.
“I returned to Akron last summer for the 75th anniversary race and to see my winning car on display in the Hall of Fame. It was interesting to see what has evolved over the years since I raced, as well as many things that have remained the same,” Perez said. “The Alumni Association will help me stay involved with the Soap Box Derby and keep in touch with the many racing friends from over the years.”
Initial funding for the association came from the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association.
For more information or details on the Alumni Association, contact the International Soap Box Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ODNR reports on bobcat sightings
OHIO — The number of verified bobcat sightings in Ohio in 2012 increased to 169, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
This marks the third consecutive year that more than 100 verified bobcat sightings were recognized in the state, according to ODNR officials.
ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists verified 136 and 106 sightings in 2011 and 2010, respectively. Of the 169 verified sightings in 2012, most occurred in Noble County and the counties immediately adjacent. Overall, observers in 31 counties reported a verified bobcat sighting.
To report a bobcat sighting, call 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) or email wildInfo@dnr.state.oh.us. Sightings are verified by ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists and have increased steadily during the last decade, according to ODNR officials. The bobcat is listed as a threatened species in Ohio and is protected by state law.
According to ODNR officials, bobcats once roamed across Ohio, but they were extirpated around 1850 as more people settled within the state. A handful of unverified bobcat sightings in the 1960s announced the return of the species. Bobcat sightings have been verified in 43 counties since 1970, with unverified sightings in 84 counties.
A bobcat may be verified with photographs of the animal or its tracks; road kill recovery and sightings by ODNR Division of Wildlife personnel; and encounters through incidental trappings, which are followed by the animal’s release. The number of bobcat sightings confirmed from trail cameras has increased dramatically since 2006, and most verified sightings in 2012 were documented by these cameras.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife uses technology to clarify estimated bobcat populations because it is rare to see them in the wild, according to ODNR officials. To help them with their research, biologists use remote cameras and scent stations. GPS radio collars are used to track the location of bobcats after catching and releasing them.
Efforts to learn more about the locations of bobcats are supported by the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund, according to ODNR officials. Ohioans give donations to this fund through the state income tax check-off program and by purchasing cardinal license plates. People may also make donations at www.wildohio.com.
Emily Chesnic, Stephanie Kist and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.
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