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West Side News & Notes

11/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Norton Council approves new law director after Kostoff resigns

NORTON — Peter Kostoff, who served as Norton’s law director since 2008, has resigned, citing family and personal reasons.

Norton City Council passed a resolution of appreciation for Kostoff’s service to the city during the Nov. 25 meeting and also approved an ordinance to appoint Justin Markey as the city’s new solicitor 6-0, with Councilman Bill Mowery (Ward 3) absent.

Kostoff said he began talking with Mayor Mike Zita about the possibility of leaving his post in October.

“I just thought it was time for maybe a fresh voice in the law director position,” said Kostoff, a former mayor and Councilman for the city of Fairlawn who is employed by the law firm of Roetzel and Andress.

He added that family obligations have also led to his decision.

“I’ve had the pleasure to work for two mayors and many of the Council members who were on Council when I started,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed working with them, as well as addressing and meeting the challenges of the city. I wish the administration and Council members good luck and good fortune in terms of addressing the big issues that lay ahead for the city.”

Kostoff said he felt he worked to fairly deal with legal challenges facing the city during his tenure. He said he is proud of his work that followed the 2008 election in which residents voted to eliminate two at-large seats on City Council. Kostoff challenged the legality of the provision that would have removed the two representatives before the end of their terms. It was later ruled unconstitutional by the 9th District Court of Appeals, leaving the three at-large Council members to serve out the length of their terms.

Markey is also an attorney with Roetzel and Andress. According to his biography on the firm’s website, he earned his law degree from The University of Akron in 2006.


Copley Police Department seeking donations for its Share a Christmas program

COPLEY — The Copley Police Department will accept donations for its annual Share A Christmas Program to provide toys and gifts for children in need in the Copley area at Christmas time.

Last year, more than 200 children who may not have received anything at all under their Christmas trees awoke to find an assortment of gifts through the program, according to Police Department officials.

Donations of cash and new unwrapped toys will be accepted at the Copley Police Department, located at 1280 Sunset Drive, through Dec. 18. Checks or money orders made payable to Copley Police Department Share A Christmas also may be mailed to the department.

Application forms for families in need are available online at www.copley.oh.us and in the lobby of the Police Department. Applications are due Dec. 9. These programs are for families residing in Copley and/or the Copley-Fairlawn City School District only, according to department officials. Proof of residency is required.

According to department officials, the Copley Police Department works closely with the Copley-Fairlawn Kiwanis Club and the Copley Outreach Center on this project. In addition to toys and gift items, eligible families receive food baskets, hats, gloves and coats, and 100 percent of the dollars raised benefit those in need.

For more information, call officer Scott at 330-666-4218 or email sbittner@copley.oh.us.


Hospice of VNS to present 28th Annual Light up a Life Campaign

COPLEY — Akron General Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) will host its 28th Annual “Light up a Life” fundraising campaign Dec. 3-19.

“Light up a Life” offers a way to pay tribute in the memory of loved ones. According to VNS officials, hanging a gold star on a Hospice Memory Tree can illuminate the memory of someone special, as well as provide “light” and hope for terminally ill patients and their families during the coming year.

Hospice Memory Trees will be located Dec. 3-19 at: Akron General Health and Wellness Centers—West (Bath), North (Stow) and Green; Belgrade Gardens in Barberton; Hartville Kitchen; and Summit Mall in Fairlawn. Donations may be made at the Light up a Life booth at Summit Mall (across from Starbucks) Dec. 3-19, Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., online anytime at www.vnsa.com or by calling the Akron General Foundation at 330-344-6888.

All proceeds will be used to help provide comfort care for those at the end of life and bereavement support for their loved ones, according to Hospice of VNS officials.


HSNA seeks board members

HIGHLAND SQUARE — The Highland Square Neighborhood Association (HSNA) seeks applicants for recently created positions on its Board of Trustees, for a term commencing Feb. 1.

HSNA is a nonprofit organization serving the Highland Square neighborhood in West Akron and is the creator and host of the recent PorchRokr art and music festival. Current board members are Nancy Holland, Diane Orender, the Rev. Robert Dreese, Elisa Gargarella, William Flemm, Anita Marron and Mark Smith.

Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest and a résumé to Anita Marron, HSNA, 641 W. Market St., Akron, OH 44303, or email amarron@highlandsquare.org by Dec. 20. Call Marron at 330-283-4516 for more information.

HSNA’s mission is to foster public support for educational programs and initiatives that promote Highland Square as a vibrant, attractive and welcoming center for the cultural arts, education, history and residential use, according to HSNA officials.


Tie One on for Safety campaign launched

COLUMBUS — Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS), the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), key sponsor Nationwide Insurance, law enforcement from around the state and other safety advocates have partnered to launch the annual “Tie One on for Safety” campaign with a message to drive safe, sober and buckled up.

According to ODPS officials, this is the 27th year for the holiday ribbon campaign, which encourages motorists to tie the MADD ribbon to their vehicles as a pledge to be safe on the roadways. The campaign also reminds drivers to buckle up, because a seatbelt is the best defense against a drunk driver, according to ODPS officials.

“The safest choice is to always designate a nondrinking driver before you leave home,” said Doug Scoles, MADD Ohio executive director. “The red ribbons we are distributing during this campaign are a pledge to drive safe and sober, and a reminder to others who see the ribbons to do the same.”

According to ODPS officials, OSHP crash statistics report in Ohio last year 470 people were killed in 431 alcohol-related crashes, with 22 of those crashes and 26 of the deaths occurring between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

“The holidays are a joyous time of year, filled with celebrations, time with loved ones and good cheer, but one bad decision can change everything and everyone,” said ODPS Director John Born. “I urge all motorists to display a red ribbon and make good, sound decisions when it comes to safe and sober driving this holiday season.”

ODPS divisions are working to remind people to drive safe and sober, and the OSHP and local law enforcement agencies plan to step up enforcement and educational efforts to prevent injuries and deaths during the campaign, according to ODPS officials.

In addition, local deputy registrars for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles are passing out red ribbons throughout the campaign, and the Ohio Investigative Unit will continue its focus on over-serving and underage consumption, according to ODPS officials.

“We are urging motorists to make smart decisions — plan ahead and designate a sober driver or call a taxi to ensure that everyone makes it home safe,” said Colonel Paul Pride, OSHP superintendent. “If everyone does their part, we can save many families from the heartache of losing a loved one.”


Scalise announces Negotiated Tax Certificate Lien Sale, sub sale collect $8.8 million

SUMMIT COUNTY — Summit County Fiscal Officer Kristen Scalise has announced that her office collected approximately $8.8 million in delinquent tax dollars, resulting from a Negotiated Tax Certificate Lien Sale and sub sale.

The Negotiated Tax Certificate Lien Sale was conducted Nov. 8. Woods Cove III LLC was one of two successful bidders, with a bid of approximately $5.6 million for 1,264 parcels. The other successful bidder was Summit Tax Partners LLC, with a bid of approximately $1 million for 232 parcels. Parcels that sold consisted of residential, commercial and industrial properties. The Fiscal Office was able to collect $6.6 million in delinquent tax dollars as a result of the sales.

The Fiscal Office had previously collected $2.2 million in October from a tax lien sale. Fiscal Officer Scalise will now distribute more than $8.8 million in certified delinquent tax dollars currently owed to the taxing districts.

“The major benefactor of a tax lien sale is our local school districts,” Scalise said. “More than half of the monies collected will be redistributed to the schools, approximately $5.6 million. The rest will be dispersed to our public libraries, political subdivisions and valuable county services, including County of Summit Developmental Disabilities Board and County of Summit [Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services] Board.”

Tax lien sales ensure that taxing districts entitled to revenues from property tax collections will receive those tax dollars needed for their operations, Scalise said. During a sale, delinquent real estate tax debt is sold to private investors. The property itself does not go to sale. Property becomes subject to a tax lien sale when it has been certified delinquent for at least one year under current law. Owners are notified and given the opportunity to establish payment plans to avoid going to sale.

“I am committed to providing assistance to property owners who have fallen delinquent,” Scalise said. “If you are behind on paying your real estate taxes, I encourage you to call my office immediately. We have options that can help.”

The Fiscal Office offers many programs to assist property owners with the payment of real estate taxes, including the Delinquent Tax Payment Program. For additional information regarding tax assistance programs, contact the office at 330-643-2600 or summittreas@summitoh.net.


Medina Auditor Kovack continues Homestead push

MEDINA COUNTY — Medina County Auditor Michael Kovack said changes in state law make it imperative to sign up for the Homestead Exemption this year if eligible. 

Those 65 or older who own and reside in their own homes are eligible for up to $500 a year in property tax breaks if they register with Kovack’s office. Changes to the law next year make only those households earning $30,500 or less eligible for the program.

To help ensure all qualifying Medina County residents are signed up under the more lenient requirements, Kovack and his staff will continue their mobile signups through December, including the following sessions:

  • Dec. 2, 9 to 11 a.m., Brunswick Drug Mart, 5270 Center Road;
  • Dec. 3, 9 to 11 a.m., Medina Eat’n Park, 1007 E. North St.;
  • Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to noon, Brunswick Library, 3649 Center Road;
  • Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to noon, Medina Library, 93 Public Square; and
  • Dec. 6, 9 to 11 a.m., Wadsworth Wal-Mart, 222 Smokerise Drive.

Residents need no special documentation to sign up for the program. Anyone with questions about the program or registration may contact Kovack at 330-725-9754, go to www.medinacountyauditor.org or email auditor@medinacountyauditor.org.


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

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