South Side News & Notes
Manchester district seeking PLCC Board representation
NEW FRANKLIN — The Manchester Local Schools Board of Education approved a memorandum of understanding involving the Portage Lakes Career Center (PLCC) and the associate local school districts, including Coventry, Green and Springfield school districts, at its Dec. 17 meeting.
The memorandum recognizes changes to PLCC’s governance, including associate school district representation on its board, as outlined in the Ohio Revised Code.
Local school boards are now required to select PLCC Board representatives who have “experience as chief executive officers, chief financial officers, human resource managers or other business, industry or career-counseling professionals who are qualified to discuss labor needs of the region with respect to the regional economy,” according to Manchester Local School officials.
In addition, the diversity of employers in the PLCC geographic footprint must be considered as representatives are selected for the PLCC Board.
Anyone interested in serving as a Manchester representative for the PLCC Board should send a résumé and a cover letter by Jan. 7 to: Richard Sponseller, president, Manchester Local Schools Board of Education, 6075 Manchester Road, Akron, OH 44319.
Flu activity in Ohio increasing; ODH encourages vaccine
COLUMBUS — Influenza activity is on the rise in Ohio, and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is encouraging Ohioans to get an influenza vaccine.
Although Ohio is currently experiencing minimal influenza-like illness activity compared to what is being seen in other parts of the country, there are signs activity in the state is increasing, according to ODH officials. So far this flu season, 338 influenza-associated hospitalizations have been reported to ODH, primarily in Northeast Ohio.
“The flu virus will be less likely to spread if more people are vaccinated,” said ODH Director Dr. Ted Wymyslo. “Immunization has proven to be the safest and most effective way to fight the flu, so I encourage all Ohioans to get vaccinated. Moreover, it takes two weeks to build up immunity after receiving the vaccine, which is another reason to get immunized as soon as possible.”
Symptoms of influenza can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
ODH officials say influenza should not be taken lightly — although most people fully recover from the flu, a small portion of people do experience severe illness (like pneumonia and respiratory failure), and sometimes the flu can be fatal. Anyone who becomes ill with the flu and is pregnant, has an underlying medical condition or experiences a particularly severe form of the illness should contact his or her health care provider immediately, according to ODH officials.
In Ohio, as in the rest of the country, most of the flu circulating now is H1N1, which disproportionately affects young and middle-aged adults. However, seasonal flu viruses could become more prominent as the season continues. This year’s vaccine contains both H1N1 and seasonal flu strains, so those who become immunized will have an increased degree of protection against multiple kinds of flu.
While a vaccine provides the greatest protection against the flu, other effective measures include: washing hands frequently or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer; covering coughs and sneezes with tissues, or coughing or sneezing into elbows; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; and staying home when sick and until fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication.
For more information on influenza, including where to find vaccine, visit the “Flu Season in Ohio” feature at www.odh.ohio.gov.
Winners of historic preservation tax credits announced
AKRON/NORTH CANTON — The Ohio Development Services Agency recently awarded $33 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits to rehabilitate 31 historic buildings in 10 communities across the state, and five are in Northeast Ohio. The projects are expected to leverage more than $250 million in private investments.
“The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit strengthens local communities by restoring a piece of its history,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “These projects help enrich cities across Ohio, preserving the character and charm of buildings that may have otherwise been demolished.”
The awards will assist private developers in rehabilitating buildings in downtowns and neighborhoods, according to agency officials, who add many of the buildings sit vacant today, meaning they will drive further investment in their surrounding neighborhoods once new businesses and residents move in.
The Round 11 Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit recipients in Northeast Ohio include the following local buildings:
- •Akron Masonic Temple, 103 S. High St: total project cost, $47,954,105; total tax credit, $4,997,737. Faced in gray terra cotta, the former Masonic Temple was erected circa 1917. The landmark is now included in a plan to bring a full-service, 161-room hotel to Downtown Akron by constructing an addition to the structure. Former lodge rooms will be repurposed for the hotel’s banquet, meeting and food-service facilities.
- •Hoover West Factory Complex, 101 E. Maple St. in North Canton: total project cost, $51,621,490; total tax credit, $5 million. Consisting of 19 buildings encompassing 500,000 square feet, the Hoover West Factory Complex is the central landmark of Downtown North Canton. The complex, once the home of the nation’s leading vacuum manufacturer, will be transformed into a mix of retail, office and residential space. The rehabilitation project will create 132 market-rate residential units. Hoover West Factory Complex is the first project in North Canton to utilize the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program.
Heating assistance available
OHIO — The Ohio Development Services Agency and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) want to remind Ohioans that assistance is available for those who have been disconnected or are threatened with disconnection from their utility service.
The Winter Crisis Program, a component of the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), provides assistance to eligible households that are threatened with disconnection, have been disconnected or if their tank contains 25 percent or less of its capacity of bulk fuel. The gross income of eligible households must be at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. For a family of four, the annual income must be at or below $41,212.50.
Individuals interested in receiving Winter Crisis assistance must have a face-to-face interview at their Winter Crisis Program provider. In Summit County, the provider is Akron/Summit Community Action Inc., which can be reached at 330-376-7730.
Ohioans also can call the toll-free hotline at 800-282-0880 Mondays through Fridays (hearing impaired customers may dial 800-686-1557 for assistance) or visit www.energyhelp.ohio.gov for more information.
PUCO’s Winter Reconnect Order allows residential customers the opportunity to pay a designated amount to have their service restored or maintained. Residential customers are required to pay no more than $175 to maintain service under the reconnection order. If the customer’s service has already been disconnected, the customer must pay the $175 and possibly a reconnection fee of no more than $36 to restore service.
There is no income eligibility requirement or sign-up required to use the Winter Reconnect Order.
Ohio enhances habitual offender registry
COLUMBUS —The Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) launched last week an enhanced registry of people who have been convicted at least five times of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and meet certain other criteria established by law.
By automating what had been a paper-driven process, ODPS and the Ohio State Highway Patrol have produced a more up-to-date, complete and searchable listing of habitual offenders, according to ODPS officials.
Several recent media reports had identified gaps in the registry, which was created in 2008. The upgrades dramatically improve the system and the results, according to ODPS officials. Instead of relying on local court jurisdictions to submit forms to add a habitual offender to the registry, the new system compiles the information automatically from already existing electronic records.
To access the Habitual Offender Registry, visit ext.dps.state.oh.us/omvi.
A state law created the registry and defined who should be included:
- Anyone with five or more convictions during the past 20 years (at least one of the convictions must be since the law took effect on Sept. 30, 2008).
- The registry does not include convictions more than 20 years old.
- The registry does not include deceased people.
- The registry does not include out-of-state convictions.
- Juvenile offenses are included.
- If a single incident results in multiple impaired driving-related convictions, it is counted as one conviction for purposes of this registry.
The public is encouraged to continue using #677 to report dangerous or impaired drivers, as well as drug activity, according to ODPS officials.
2014 Envirothon set for April 30
NORWALK — The 2014 Area II Envirothon will take place April 30 at Bronson-Norwalk Conservation League, 295 Townline Road 151.
The Envirothon is an outdoor academic competition in which teams of high school students test their knowledge of soils, wildlife, aquatic ecology, forestry and current environmental issues. Each team consists of five students from the same high school. They work together to answer questions at five test stations. Each year there is an area of focus, and this year’s environmental issue is “Sustainable Agriculture/Locally Grown.”
The tests are graded, and the top four teams move on to the state competition, which will take place June 9-10 at Salt Fork State Park in Guernsey County. The winning team from the state competition will move on to the National Canon North American Envirothon, which will take place July 20-24 at the University of Georgia.
The Envirothon exposes students to natural resource professionals and current conservation issues.
For more information on participating in the Envirothon, call the Summit Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) at 330-929-2871, ext.16.
Packets including entry forms and information will be sent to Summit County High Schools in early January. Interested home school teachers should call the SWCD to have packets sent to them.
The forms will need to be sent to the Summit SWCD office at 2525 State Road, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223, no later than March 21.
Maria Lindsay and Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.
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