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West Side News & Notes

12/5/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Recount affirms win by Luther; judge recount proceeding

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The results from one tight local General Election race stood after a recount by the Summit County Board of Elections (BOE) Dec. 3.

According to Robert Luther, who was ahead of incumbent Richfield Township Trustee Laurie Peters Gilmore by one vote, he was confirmed as the winner of the race. Luther was winning by three votes on election night, Nov. 5, but after provisional and additional absentee ballots were counted, he had just a one-vote lead. The recount confirmed that outcome, according to the Luther.

“It was pretty close,” he said. “One vote is all you need.”

At presstime, the results of a recount in the race between Akron Municipal Court Judge Katarina Cook and magistrate Jon Oldham were not complete, according to Cook. Oldham had been in the lead by 16 votes on election night, but after provisional and additional absentee ballots were counted, Cook was in the lead by 16 votes.

An emergency board meeting called that day, due to Oldham’s request to witness the ballot counting process, interrupted the recount. When board members deadlocked over the issue of whether or not the candidate should have access to the task, they requested an opinion from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office. According to Husted’s spokesperson, the office proceeded with the recount due to a directive already issued by Husted on the matter. The recount was continuing in the morning Dec. 4.

In a recount, 5 percent of the ballots are selected and hand-counted, according to BOE Director Joe Masich, and then compared to results from the electronic tabulation. Once that is complete, the rest of the ballots are run through electronically once again. Cook said that in the judge’s race, the hand-counted ballots matched the previous results, and she was just waiting for the results from scanning the remainder.

A call to the BOE was not returned by presstime. For an update, go to www.akron.com.


Croce moves to Common Pleas bench; applicants sought for Barberton judge seat

WEST AKRON — With the appointment of Christine Croce as judge in Summit County Common Pleas Court, there’s now a vacancy in Barberton Municipal Court.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced his appointment of Croce to the county bench Nov. 15. She took office Nov. 27 to replace Judge Judy Hunter, who retired in July.

According to the governor’s office, if Croce wishes to keep the seat, she must run in the 2014 November General Election for the full term commencing Feb. 10, 2015. 

Croce, a Green resident, won election to the Barberton bench in the 2011 General Election. Prior to that she was elected and served two years as the court’s clerk and was a member of Green City Council.

Summit County Republicans are currently seeking applicants for the vacant Barberton Municipal Court seat. Candidates are asked to submit a formal application and résumé to Alex Arshinkoff, chairman, Summit County Republican Central Committee, at 1755 Merriman Road, Suite 250, Akron, OH 44313 no later than 4 p.m. Dec. 17.

Arshinkoff and Executive Committee Chairman Jonathan Pavloff have selected an ad hoc screening committee, which will interview applicants Dec. 19 at noon at the party’s headquarters. The committee will submit a formal report to the party’s executive committee for its final approval, and the committee will recommend at least three names for Kasich to consider to fill the post.

Barberton Municipal Court serves the communities of Barberton, Clinton, Copley, Coventry, Green, New Franklin and Norton.

For additional information, call 330-434-9151.


BOE Deputy Director Zurz retires

Kim Zurz
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Kim Zurz, who has served as deputy director of the Summit County Board of Elections since May 2011, retired Nov. 30.

Zurz, a former Green resident who now lives in Coventry, said changes to the health care portion of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System led to her decision to retire. She had a total of 30 years of public service, she said.

“I wasn’t really ready to retire,” said Zurz, who will turn 55 next month. “It wasn’t what I had planned.”

Zurz said she worked in the Summit County Treasurer’s Office and at the Domestic Relations Court before election to Summit County Council and the Ohio Senate’s 28th District. She later headed up the state Department of Commerce under Gov. Ted Strickland.

BOE Director Joe Masich said the position has been advertised. Zurz was the Democratic Party appointment to the position, so the local Democratic Party will choose her replacement. Masich said he hopes someone is in place later this month.


Summit County Collaborative Against Human Trafficking formalizes

SUMMIT COUNTY — Following the Close Up Program, sponsored by Summit County Children Services, Leanne Graham, executive director of the Victim Assistance Program, and Terri Heckman, CEO of the Rape Crisis Center and Battered Women’s Shelter, announced they would take on the responsibility of forming a human trafficking taskforce for Summit County.

Akron City Prosecutor Gertrude Wilms connected Graham with retired teacher Betty Spencer, who formed the Summit County Collaborative Against Human Trafficking in 2009. Spencer was trained as a presenter by the Cuyahoga County Collaborative Against Human Trafficking and has since provided 44 presentations to groups in Summit County.

A decision was made to expand the current group’s interest to include both outreach education and the direct service needs of victims in Summit County.

This group will not become a nonprofit, nor will it provide direct services to victims, but it will now move from a grassroots entity to one of a formalized nature, according to organizers.

Since the collaborative’s expansion in August, 88 individuals have requested to become members of the group. These members include representatives of the FBI, Summit County Sherriff’s Office, Barberton Police Department, Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron City Prosecutor’s Office, Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, Summit County Juvenile Court, Summit County Executive Russ Pry’s Office, Summit County Council, Summit County Children Services, Victim Assistance Program, Battered Women’s Shelter, Rape Crisis Center, Greenleaf Family Center, Rahab Ministries, Kent State University, Salvation Army, Shelter Care and other concerned citizens.

The group elected officers to assume leadership roles to begin formalizing the group. Graham and Spencer were elected to share the responsibilities each as a co-chairman. Heckman was elected treasurer, and Susan Ross, a judicial attorney and magistrate with the Akron Municipal Court, was elected secretary.

Victim Assistance Program has volunteered to be the fiscal sponsor of the group, which has allowed the collaborative to apply to local foundations for financial support of awareness projects.

The group expects to launch a Facebook page, a website (at www.endslaverysummitcounty.org) and create email accounts for officers in the near future. Administratively, the first order of business will be to create a mission statement and by-laws for the group.


2014 dog licenses now available

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The 2014 dog license tags are now available for Summit County dog owners.

The Ohio Revised Code requires all residents who own, keep or harbor a dog more than 3 months of age to purchase a county dog license, according to Summit County officials.

“It is my responsibility to protect our pets by maintaining accurate dog registration records,” said Fiscal Officer Kristen Scalise. “If your dog is ever lost or stolen, having a dog license can help them return home.”

County officials state a dog brought into Summit County Animal Control wearing a license tag can be quickly reunited with its family, and residents who find a lost dog wearing a license tag can go to the county website at fiscaloffice.summitoh.net and click on “dog search” to type in the license number of a lost dog and find its home.

“In addition, by purchasing a dog license, you will contribute to the care of lost and abandoned animals,” said County Executive Russ Pry. “Funds generated from the sale of dog licenses are redistributed to the Summit County Animal Control Facility, which provides housing and adoption services for our displaced pets.”

The dog licenses will be available through Jan. 31. The cost is $18 for a single-year license, $54 for a three-year license and $180 for a permanent license. After that date, there is an $18 late fee.

Licenses for dogs providing assistance to those with disabilities are free with proof of training and are valid throughout the duration of the animal’s life, according to county officials.

Dog license renewal applications have been mailed out to pet owners, according to county officials.

Kennel owners also must renew their licenses during the same time period at a cost of $80 per license.

The licenses are available at Summit County offices in Akron at the Division of Animal Control, 250 Opportunity Parkway, and the Service Department, 1030 E. Tallmadge Ave.

To apply online for a dog license, find additional locations to purchase a license, or for further information, visit the above website or call 330-630-7226.


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

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