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South Side News & Notes

12/19/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Further revenue reduction prompts library hours change

SUMMIT COUNTY — After five years of declining revenue and staff reductions, another anticipated loss in state funding in 2014 has made it necessary for the Akron-Summit County Public Library to reduce its hours of public service, library officials announced Dec. 16.

Beginning Jan. 6, library hours at the Main Library will change to the following: Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m.

The Main Library will be closed on Sundays in the summer from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Branch library hours will be Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday bookmobile service will be canceled.

Library program times might change, and patrons are asked to check with their local library before attending a program.

In 2014, the library expects to receive approximately $450,000 less in state funding than in 2013. Due to continued reductions in state funding since 2009 and real estate property devaluation, the library’s overall annual revenue is now $4.4 million (16 percent) less than in 2008, according to library officials.

In a press release, Library Director David Jennings said, “Unlike many public libraries, we did not reduce hours of service during the recession or in the years immediately following. Over the past five years we have reconfigured our work to continue to provide high caliber library services with significantly fewer staff. Through attrition, we now have 77 fewer employees (-16 percent) than in 2009, and our personnel budget has $2.6 million less in 2014 than in 2009. With this latest loss of revenue, our organization is compelled to make changes we had managed to avoid until now. As we enter a sixth year of decreased funding, our hours of service must be adjusted to correspond to our reduced staffing level.”


Akron moratorium on water service disconnections underway

AKRON — Mayor Don Plusquellic has directed the Water Supply Bureau to cease water service disconnections from Dec. 16 through Jan. 1 for all customers who are unable to make payment.

“I am pleased to continue our annual moratorium so all our customers will maintain water service during their holidays,” Plusquellic said.

Approximately 675 customers per month have their water service disconnected due to nonpayment. The city does not disconnect water service due to nonpayment on the weekends, so Dec. 12 was the final day for water service disconnections this year.

The utility will resume disconnection of water service due to nonpayment Jan. 2.

The Akron Water Supply Bureau provides retail water and sewer service to approximately 85,000 accounts in Summit County, including Fairlawn, Mogadore and portions of Bath, Cuyahoga Falls, Copley, Coventry, Hudson and Springfield.


Shared dispatch set to open in January

The new Southwest Summit Communications Center is shown above.
Photo: Maria Lindsay
NORTON — Beginning in January, dispatchers will be answering the call for help for three communities using the latest technology at the new Southwest Summit Communications (SWSCOM) Center.

The center, located inside the new Norton Fire Station, will serve as a dispatch station for police, fire and emergency management services for Copley, Norton and Barberton.

“This center will offer improved services at a lower cost for all the communities,” said Copley Fire Chief Michael Benson.

The Southwest Summit Council of Governments (SWSCOG) Board, which oversees the operation of the SWSCOM, held a meeting Dec. 12 and approved a $1.7 million operational budget for 2014. A grand opening of the new center took place after the meeting.

The SWSCOG Board includes Norton Mayor Mike Zita as president, Barberton Mayor William Judge as vice president and Copley Trustees President Scott Dressler as fiscal officer.

With Karen Gregorcic serving as the manager, the center will have a total of 19 full-time and five to six part-time employees, with four dispatchers serving per shift. The dispatchers are employees from the SWSCOM Center communities, but will soon be working under a new contract for the SWSCOM Center, according board officials.

Benson explained this collaborative effort “literally saves lives.”

“By working as a team, we can have one dispatcher focused on the 9-1-1 caller offering instruction and another can be working to send police, fire and EMS to the caller at the same time, reducing the response times,” he said.

Benson said operational costs for the new center could be further reduced if New Franklin joins the group. Currently, New Franklin officials are attending SWSCOG Board meetings and watching how the center works to determine whether to join, he added.


Park Subaru, Mobile Meals join forces

GREEN — For the sixth year, Subaru is celebrating its “Share the Love Event,” which began Nov. 21 and runs through Jan. 2. During the event, Subaru will donate $250 to one of five charities for every new car purchased or leased.

Park Subaru in Akron has partnered with Mobile Meals to raise awareness and help raise funds to provide home-delivered meals for people who are in need, said Phil Marcin, development director at Mobile Meals.

Employees at Park Subaru began delivering meals to the homes of Mobile Meals’ clients Dec. 9 and will continue delivering meals until Jan. 2, and they are looking for help. Anyone interested in helping to deliver meals can contact Taylor Tuohy at 330-436-0133 or taylor.tuohy@parkauto group.com.

The public also can support Park Subaru’s “Share the Love” Event and Mobile Meals by purchasing 50/50 raffle tickets for $1 each or $15 for 20 tickets. Fifty percent of the money will go to Mobile Meals, and the other 50 percent will go to the winner of the raffle. To purchase a raffle ticket, stop by Park Subaru and see the receptionist or send a check to 3363 S. Arlington Road, Akron, OH 44312, Attn: Park Subaru — Mobile Meals. Tickets may be purchased through Jan. 2.

The 50/50 raffle winner will be drawn the week of Jan. 6 and notified by phone. The winner will need to go to Park Subaru with valid identification to collect the winnings.

For further information, contact Marcin at Mobile Meals at 330-376-7717 or pmarcin@mobilemealsinc.org.


Nominations, sponsorships open for 2014 Women of Achievement Luncheon

FAIRLAWN — Women’s Network of Northeast Ohio is accepting sponsorships and nominations for its 15th Annual Women of Achievement Luncheon.

Notable local women professionals will be recognized for their achievements at work and in the community at this May 16 event at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn.

Nominees come from all levels of leadership in for-profit, nonprofit, academia and government areas. Nominations are being accepted through Feb. 21 for the Women of Achievement Award (individuals) and Dorothy O. Jackson Award (businesses). Paid sponsorships are being accepted through March 15 for Women of Professional Excellence recognitions.

Forms and more information can be requested at 330-256-1122 or wninfo@womensnetworkneohio.com. Event proceeds will benefit Women’s Network programs, including the 2014 Authentic Leadership workshop series, THRIVE! Mentoring Program and the Judith Resnik Scholarship Fund. Nominated and sponsored recipients, as well as their organizations, will be notified prior to the event.

For more information, visit www.womensnetworkneohio.com.


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 task force 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 bylaws for the group.


Ariel Hakim and Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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