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West Side News & Notes

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

Akron Police Department changing response to burglar alarms

DOWNTOWN AKRON — In trying to better utilize its resources, the Akron Police Department (APD) is changing its policy in regards to how officers respond to burglar alarms.

The new policy will take effect sometime after the first of the year, said Lt. Rick Edwards, APD public information officer.

“We are not going to a ‘no alarm’ policy,” he said.

The APD will be going to a “verified response policy,” according to Edwards. What this means, said Edwards, is the APD will verify there is cause for officers to respond to an alarm before doing so. Police will respond if an intrusion is confirmed by a licensed security representative or by a visual account, live video or live audio, said Edwards.

The policy change affects both residential and business alarms, said Edwards.

“Ninety-eight percent of the alarms we respond to are false,” and every alarm requires sending two cruisers, he said.

Edwards said from January 2009 to October 2011, the APD responded to 26,229 alarm calls. Of those, only 489 generated some kind of incident report, and of those, only 12 arrests were made, he added. Of the arrests, only three were for breaking and entering, he said. None of the arrests were related to residential alarms, he noted.

“We will still respond to hold-up alarms, bank alarms and panic alarms,” without the required step of verification, Edwards said.

Most household alarms do have a panic button, added Edwards. Under the new policy, if a panic button is pressed, officers would respond, he said.

Edwards added the APD is following the lead of other communities across the nation with the policy change. Resources wasted on responding to false alarm calls could be put into adding to community policing efforts, including increasing foot patrols, he said.


SWSCOG meeting includes dispatch center opening

NORTON — The first annual meeting of the Southwest Summit Council of Governments (SWSCOG) is taking place today, Dec. 12, at 11 a.m. at 3380 Greenwich Road, Suite 100.

The meeting will be followed by the grand opening of the new dispatch center.

Topics of discussion at the meeting will include bids to establish a bank account for the SWSCOG; 2014 temporary appropriations; a lease agreement with Government Capital Corp. to purchase the Zetron Max Call Taking System; approval to hire all current dispatch employees from Copley, Barberton and Norton, effective Jan. 4; promotion and hiring of dispatchers; election of officers; and other organizational matters.


Akron leaf pickup delayed, new schedule announced

AKRON — Due to the continued snow and cold weather, the city of Akron has modified its leaf pickup schedule.

According to city of Akron officials, Ward 8 was expected to be completed by Dec. 10. Ward 4 is continuing, with crews having completed approximately 20 percent of the area as of Dec. 9.

The last three wards have not been started, according to city officials. The new start dates are: Ward 3, Dec. 16; Ward 5, Dec. 20; and Ward 10, Dec. 24.

Akron residents in Wards 3, 5 and 10 should watch for yard signs placed on the tree lawns for the most up-to-date schedule or check the city’s website at www.akronohio.gov.


AMATS releases Montrose survey results

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) released this week key findings from an ongoing survey of what residents think about transportation, accessibility and aesthetics of the Montrose business area.

The Building a Better Montrose survey was begun in late August. The purpose of the online survey was to gather feedback and comments from those who live, work, shop and dine in the Montrose area. The data collected will be used to inform the planning process for the AMATS Connecting Communities planning grant recently awarded to Bath and Copley townships.

AMATS officials said to date the survey has recorded 678 individual responses. Among the key findings are:

  • 82 percent of survey participants visit Montrose at least once a week; two-thirds visit more frequently.
  • 80 percent of respondents indicated that dangerous traffic deters walking and bicycling in the Montrose area. Nearly two-thirds indicated the absence of sidewalks and/or safe crosswalks prevents them from walking.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists are reluctant to cross state Route 18 (Medina Road). The most frequently suggested improvements to surmount this obstacle were a pedestrian bridge or tunnel (60.4 percent) or crosswalks with signals to temporarily stop traffic (42.8 percent);
  • 64.1 percent of participants were not familiar with the transit options available to the area;
  • Most (63.7 percent) felt the available parking was sufficient for the area;
  • Nearly half (46 percent) found the area aesthetically unappealing, and that improvements such as additional landscaping (76.9 percent), well-designed sidewalks and crosswalks (70.1 percent) and additional outdoor patio dining options (62.1 percent) would enhance the overall appeal of the area.

The survey remains active and may be accessed at www.surveymonkey.com/s/BetterMontrose.

To implement its Connecting Communities initiative, AMATS awards two $50,000 planning grants each year to communities facing transportation, land use and inter-connectivity challenges. These competitive grants are used to foster partnerships between local residents, businesses, elected officials and transportation planning/engineering consultants to develop a plan to address and overcome these transportation and land use challenges. The initiative places emphasis on enhancing the recipient community’s nonautomobile transportation options, including walking, bicycling and public transportation.

For additional information, call AMATS at 330-375-2436 or go to www.amatsplanning.org.


Copley-Fairlawn Kiwanis Club asking community for help in canned food drive

COPLEY — The Copley-Fairlawn Kiwanis Club is reaching out to the community for canned food donations to help fill Christmas food baskets for families in need.

As in past years, students in the Copley-Fairlawn City School District are collecting canned goods to help fill Christmas food baskets. The annual canned food drive at the schools usually results in 10,000 cans of food. This year, the Copley-Fairlawn Kiwanis Club is asking for additional help from the community.

“On Saturday, Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., we are asking all Copley and Fairlawn residents to help by bringing donations of canned goods to our semi-trailer located in the parking lot of the Copley Community Center on Sunset Drive,” said Ray Shelker, chairman of the annual food distribution program.

In addition to the canned goods, the club also will provide other donated and purchased items such as pies, fresh fruit and vegetables. 

“This has always been a real community effort,” said Shelker. “We expect this year we may have as many as 150 families receiving food baskets, so additional canned food donations would be a great help in providing food to needy families at the holiday season.”


Grants being used to upgrade, improve local emergency response capabilities

Shown above, from left, are Summit County Executive Russ Pry, Akron Fire Department Capt. Clarence Tucker, Stow Fire Department Capt. Steve Groves, Summit County Emergency Management Agency Director Valerie DeRose, Copley Fire Department Chief Michael Benson and Rob Pursley, from The University of Akron. The county recently received grant funding to improve its emergency response systems.
Photo courtesy of Summit County Executive’s Office
SUMMIT COUNTY — Grants totaling more than $580,000 will be used to upgrade equipment used by the Summit County Special Operations Response Team (SORT). The State of Ohio Homeland Security funding will improve the Hazardous Materials and Collapse Search and Rescue elements of SORT.

SORT, while based in Summit County, responds to incidents throughout Ohio Homeland Security Region 5, including Summit, Medina, Stark, Portage, Wayne, Holmes, Ashland, Richland, Tuscarawas, Carroll, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

“This is a great example how working together can benefit an entire region,” said Summit County Executive Russ Pry. “Through cooperation and consolidation, the safety and well-being of our citizens has improved as a result of these grants.”

The largest of the three grants, $315,000, will be used to purchase two vehicles that will replace a single 1994 vehicle that has more than 187,000 miles on it. The two smaller vehicles can be stationed strategically in Summit County for the most effective response throughout the region.

The second largest grant, more than $220,000, will be used to purchase equipment that will upgrade current hazardous materials detection capabilities. According to county officials, the Razor EX BioDetection system is the most reliable and sensitive detection and identification system for biological pathogens in the field, and the Smith’s Detection Guardian portable gas chromatograph/mass spectrophotometer can identify volatile organic compounds and weapons of mass destruction in complex gases, vapors, liquids and solids.

The third grant, just more than $47,000, will be used to replace items that are near expiration or require an annual renewal. These items are used in conjunction with primary detection devices and to support the mitigation of the effects of weapons of mass destruction and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive incidents.

“The award of these three grants to our Emergency Management Agency [EMA] is a testament to the abilities and professionalism of the team,” said Summit County EMA Senior Administrator Valerie DeRose. “The significant amount of the grants is an indicator of the quality of service that state officials see in our organization.”


American Red Cross taking nominations for Hero Awards

WEST AKRON — Each year, the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties presents the Acts of Courage in Summit County and the Real Heroes Awards in Portage County to honor local individuals who have performed courageous acts to save a life.

The Red Cross is currently seeking nominations of local heroes for the 2013 calendar year.

To submit a nomination, individuals can visit www.redcross.org/oh/akron. Nominations can be accepted online or through the use of a mail-in/fax-in nomination form that can be downloaded from the website or obtained from the Red Cross offices at 501 W. Market St.

The American Red Cross annually recognizes those residents of Summit and Portage counties who have acted courageously and selflessly in a time of emergency. Often at great risk and sacrifice to their own personal safety, comfort and well-being, these ordinary individuals have acted in a heroic manner by reaching out to help others in times of greatest need, according to Red Cross officials.

The hero event may have happened anywhere, but must have occurred in 2013. Nominees must reside in or be employed in Summit or Portage counties. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 31. Heroes will be selected in January.

The selected 2013 heroes will be honored during a special reception in the spring.

For details, call the American Red Cross at 330-535-2224.


UA hosts experts on corrosion management for sustainable bridges

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The University of Akron (UA) is addressing the nation’s failing infrastructure by bringing together experts in corrosion engineering for a workshop.

The group worked to devise solutions on corrosion management for sustainable bridges Dec. 10-12 at the Student Union ballroom.

Workshop Chair Joe Payer, chief scientist of UA’s National Center for Education and Research on Corrosion and Materials Performance (NCERCAMP) and an internationally recognized expert in corrosion engineering, stated “corrosion costs are huge” and “we need sound strategies to reduce costs, effective programs to realize savings and action to implement these programs.”

According to UA officials, NCERCAMP, which supports the nation’s first and only baccalaureate program in corrosion engineering, was selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration to host the workshop. Topics addressed at the workshop included: degradation processes, advanced materials, reconstruction and rehabilitation, and reliability and performance assessment.

The workshop findings will be compiled and presented to the Federal Highway Administration early next year, according to UA officials.


Copley Police Department seeking donations for 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.

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


Hospice of VNS presenting Light up a Life Campaign

COPLEY — Akron General Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service (VNS) is hosting its 28th Annual “Light up a Life” fundraising campaign through Dec. 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 through Dec. 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) through Dec. 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.


Living With Alzheimer’s program starting next month

WEST AKRON — The Alzheimer’s Association Greater East Ohio Area Chapter will offer a Living With Alzheimer’s program at the Northwest Family Recreation Center, located at 1730 Shatto Ave., starting Jan. 14.

The program is designed to address the needs of people in the early stages of memory loss and their care partners. Living With Alzheimer’s meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m. for five consecutive months.

According to Alzheimer’s Association officials, topics to be presented in these sessions include: understanding Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss; effective communication and telling others about the diagnosis; coping with changes and making health and legal decisions; daily strategies and safety issues; and resources for individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Interested participants and their caregivers must register by contacting Carolyn Lake by email at clake@alz.org or by calling 800-272-3900.


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

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