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West Side News & Notes

11/14/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

AMATS seeks input on I-271 widening

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The planned widening of Interstate 271 in northern Summit County will be the subject of two public meetings hosted by the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS).

The public can weigh in on the project to widen the highway to six lanes for 2.6 miles through the city of Macedonia in meetings Nov. 19 and Dec. 12. Both meetings will start at 7 p.m. at the Akron-Summit County Main Library, 60 S. High St.

AMATS officials said the agency must modify the area’s long-range Transportation Outlook 2035 and its four-year Transportation Improvement Program for fiscal years 2014 through 2017 because of the I-271 project’s significance to the Greater Akron area.

People with disabilities needing assistance are asked to contact Billy Soule, Akron’s assistant to the mayor for Community Relations, at 166 S. High St., Room 200, Akron, OH 44308, or by calling 330-375-2189 or (TDD) 330-375-2345 at least seven days in advance.

AMATS is the regional planning agency serving the Greater Akron area of Summit County, Portage County, Chippewa Township in Wayne County and the city of Rittman in Medina and Wayne counties. For more information, call AMATS at 330-375-2436 or go to www.amatsplanning.org.


Donations needed for SCCS programs

SOUTH AKRON — Summit County Children Services (SCCS) once again is calling upon the generosity of county residents to make the holiday season brighter for the children in its care. Since tax dollars may not be used for certain expenses, community donations are needed for the following programs:

  • Holiday Toy Room — The Holiday Toy Room is a place where foster parents, kinship caregivers and client families “shop” for toys and gifts to give to their children. Everything is available at no cost to eligible agency caregivers and client families. Donations of toys and gifts for all ages of children (especially infants and teens) and/or financial contributions to purchase toys are greatly needed. Donations of gloves and mittens also are requested. Donations may be made directly to SCCS, 264 S. Arlington St. Donations are requested by Dec. 2, if possible; however, donations will be accepted through Dec. 15.
    Volunteers also are needed to work in the Toy Room stocking shelves with toys and assisting client families with shopping. For information on volunteering, call 330-379-1994.
  • Adopt-a-Family — Those who prefer to select a specific gift for an individual child may choose to help with the Adopt-a-Family program. Agency social workers recommend children for this program, and each child provides a “wish list” of a few items. Donors purchase and wrap the gifts and deliver them to the agency, then social workers deliver the gifts to the children’s homes. Donors may “adopt” one or more children. Gifts for this program must be delivered to SCCS by Dec. 6.
  • Food Gift Card Program — Gift cards in increments of $20 or $25 to local grocery stores, such as Save-A-Lot and ALDI, are provided to families in need during the holidays. Those interested may either donate the gift cards or the money to purchase them. It is requested that contributions for this program be sent or delivered to SCCS by Dec. 13.
    Donations may be mailed or dropped off at SCCS, 264 S. Arlington St., from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. For specific information on these holiday programs, contact Sandy DeLuca at 330-379-1994 or sdeluca@summitkids.org. For general information about all of these programs, or to make monetary donations online, log onto www.summitkids.org, then click on the Donor/Volunteer Opportunities tab and go to Holidays.


Catholic Commission names Justice Award recipients

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Catholic Commission of Summit County has announced Karen Leith, Ph.D., will receive the 35th Annual Bishop William Cosgrove Justice Award at its annual dinner Dec. 6.

Leith is nationally recognized for her work as the director of the Catholic Commission of Summit County, according to organization officials, who added that through her leadership, encouragement and collaboration, she has created a diocesan-wide action and advocacy network for those who are the most vulnerable and neglected. She convenes groups at Laurel Lake Retirement Community, Church of the Resurrection and in her home.

“Through her leadership, encouragement and collaboration, she has achieved action and advocacy for the poor, hungry, homeless, abused, disabled and other marginalized, locally, statewide, nationally and internationally, far beyond the scope of one person,” said Judy DiNardo, Commission chair.

The person/organization nominated for the Cosgrove award must have: demonstrated a strong and active commitment to the concept of social justice in harmony with biblical values; been a positive force for systemic change through community or church organizing and education, legislative involvement, personal example, etc.; responded in the biblical tradition to those who are victims of injustice through advocacy, self-help efforts, community development, legislative action, etc.; and lead a personal lifestyle that reflects a spirit of solidarity with the poor.

Other Summit County leaders also will be recognized at the dinner, including The St. Sebastian/St. Vincent Social Justice Ministry “… and Justice for All,” which will receive the Bishop Pilla Award. The award is for the program’s deep concern for the respect and dignity of all life and their deep responsibility to raise awareness and educate on all of today’s issues relating to the church’s social mission, according to organizers. Meeting monthly, the ministry facilitates its own study of church documents and then provides regular information for the parish bulletin on applications of Catholic social teaching. During Respect Life Month in October, the ministry sponsors a movie series, now in its eighth year, showing current films or documentaries that contain elements of Catholic social teaching. For the past three years, the ministry has sponsored a four-week Lenten Forum Series, including prayer, theological thought and group discussion.

The Catholic Commission of Summit County’s annual dinner will take place Dec. 6 at the Fr. Silva Center of St. Matthew Parish in Ellet. Reservations are $45 and can be made by calling 330-535-2787 or emailing Ann Coplan at axcoplan@clevelandcatholiccharities.org.


Akron area residents packing shoeboxes for children in need overseas

GREATER AKRON — Akron-area individuals, families, churches and groups are working to make Christmas a reality for children in need around the world by filling shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement.

Operation Christmas Child is ramping up as area residents prepare to collect 2,100 gift-filled shoeboxes during National Collection Week, Nov. 18-25.

At local collection sites in the Akron area, anyone can drop off a gift-filled shoebox to send to a child overseas. The shoebox gifts will be delivered to children worldwide, and for many children, the shoebox gift will be the first gift they have ever received, according to Operation Christmas Child officials.

The Akron collection site is New Hope Christian Fellowship, 1157 Riverside Drive in North Akron. Operating hours are Nov. 18-19 and 21-22 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Nov. 20 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. to noon, Nov. 24 from 1 to 5 p.m. and Nov. 25 from 9 to 11 a.m.

Other local collection sites include: Crossroads Community Church, 700 Gates St. in Doylestown, with operating hours Nov. 18-19 and 21 from 6 to 8 p.m., Nov. 20 and 23 from 10 a.m. to noon, Nov. 22 from 1 to 3 p.m., Nov. 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. and Nov. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Christ Community Chapel, 750 W. Streetsboro St. in Hudson, with operating hours Nov. 18-19 and 21-22 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Nov. 20 and 23-24 from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 25 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition, on Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a special collection day will take place at the Copley Chick-fil-A restaurant, 47 Flight Memorial Parkway. Anyone who drops off a filled shoebox gift will receive a coupon for a free Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich at that location. For details, call 440-235-9460.

For more information regarding these collection locations, call 800-567-8580.

Operation Christmas Child offers a way for participants to follow their boxes by using the donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org. Donors will receive an email indicating the country where their shoeboxes are delivered.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.

For details on how to participate, call 937-374-0761 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org.

Shoebox gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C. Participants can also build a box through an online tool offering a personalized and convenient way to send a gift to a child in one of the hardest-to-reach countries.


Local agencies combine efforts to honor veterans

MEDINA COUNTY — As part of its commitment to the We Honor Veterans program, HMC Hospice of Medina County will again join forces with Wreaths for Western Reserve. Together, on Dec. 14, the two organizations will lay holiday wreaths on the individual gravesites at the Western Reserve National Cemetery located at 10175 Rawiga Road in Rittman. 

A Nationwide Remembrance Ceremony will follow at noon in which more than 250 cemeteries across the country will simultaneously honor veterans past and present.

For the past seven years, Wreaths for Western Reserve has offered evergreen wreaths as a way to honor and remember U.S. veterans who served the country. Last year, nearly 3,000 wreaths were placed in the 60-acre cemetery, which was double the number from the previous year.

“Our goal is to raise even more awareness for this project so we will be able to cover more gravesites with each passing year,” said Lorrie Hlavin, director of Wreaths for Western Reserve. 

For more information on how to purchase a wreath for the 2013 season, visit www.wrcwreaths.org or stop by HMC Hospice of Medina County at 5075 Windfall Road in Granger. Wreaths may be purchased through Nov. 26 for $15 each. For every two wreaths purchased, Wreaths for Western Reserve will place a third to ensure as many soldiers are honored as possible.


Portage Lakes Polar Bear Club announces 2014 charities

NEW FRANKLIN — Since the inaugural jump 10 years ago, the Portage Lakes Polar Bear Club has raised $390,000, which has benefited seven different charities, according to club officials. Having reached the attendance of more than 750 jumpers and fundraising totals of more than $85,000 each of the last two years, the club has set its sights on exceeding the $100,000 mark at its 11th annual jump Feb. 22.

This year the club is launching a campaign of “100 Days for $100,000.” Today, Nov. 14, marks 100 days until the jump, so organizers encourage fundraising efforts and team recruitment to start now.

The club is putting out a Corporate Challenge to local businesses to increase participation and support of the jump. Last year, jumpers from FirstEnergy raised more than $10,000, which was doubled through a match by the company foundation. The Law Offices of Kisling, Nestico and Redick were represented by 20 jumpers who raised an average of $500 each. The largest team overall was from GOJO Industries, with 30 jumpers all dressed in costume as penguins.

Individual jumpers can use the next 100 days to build toward a donation reward level. Those who donate $100 receive a free T-shirt. Jumpers raising $500 become VIPBs and will receive benefits of a dedicated check-in line, commemorative travel mug with free coffee and cocoa all day, priority jumping with first access to changing tents and a concierge to hold their clothing while they jump.

The club also announced two charity partners for the 2014 Jump:

  • Camp Quality Ohio is returning for a second time, having been a co-charity in 2012. In its 17th year, Camp Quality provides support and opportunities for children with cancer and their families year-round, free of charge, by hosting 10 activities throughout the year, with the highlight event being a week-long overnight camp for children ages 4-18 on Rex Lake. Every $1,000 raised funds one child for the week-long camp, and achieving a $50,000 goal for Camp Quality will fund this experience for 50 children.
  • Ronald McDonald House of Akron is a first-time beneficiary of the Jump. The House allows parents to be close by their sick child at Akron Children’s Hospital. In 2012, the House served 14,286 individuals, and its services are provided with the request of a $10 per-night donation. Achieving the goal of $50,000 from the Jump will fully endow a single room, which would be named in recognition of the Polar Bear Jump.
    Visit www.PortageLakesPolarBearClub.com for more information. [The website had not been updated as of presstime.]


Kathleen Folkerth and Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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