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West Side News & Notes

1/16/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Business continues after fire at ACF building

DOWNTOWN AKRON — An early morning fire at Akron Community Foundation’s (ACF) office building Jan. 10 has not deterred business, said ACF President and CEO John Petures Jr. in a press release.

The building, located at 345 W. Cedar St., will be closed until Jan. 21, but staff will be operating remotely to maintain operations. The ACF’s assets, which are held off-site, currently total nearly $180 million, including more than $4 million received during the last two weeks of December.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, and damage was confined primarily to the building’s lobby.

According to Petures, fire doors prevented damage to grant records, historical documents and agreements the ACF has with its more than 440 fundholders.

“We were founded in 1955 to serve this community, especially during times of disaster, and the planning, foresight and preparedness of staff, board members and prior leadership has made that possible,” said Petures.

“Our team has such a passion for the organization, and this passion will carry through to a quick and strong recovery,” added Mark Allio, ACF board chair.

Staff resumed operations Jan. 13 and can be reached via email and phone. A message from Petures and Allio, as well as staff contact information, is available on the ACF website at www.akroncf.org.


Bath names interim director of parks

BATH — With the coming departure of longtime Park Director Mike Rorar, Bath Township is moving forward with an interim staff member.

According to Township Administrator Vito Sinopoli, Alan Garner will be the interim parks supervisor.

“Alan brings a wealth of experience to the interim position, having worked closely with Mike for many years and serving as parks crew chief,” Sinopoli said. “Alan has a passion for the Bath Parks and is ready to take on the challenge of day-to-day operations. The Board of Trustees remains committed to the quality of the amenities and services in our township and is currently considering future plans for more permanent coverage of Mike’s duties as park director, as well as the role he filled as assistant service director.”

Trustees approved Rorar’s resignation, effective Feb. 15, at the Jan. 6 board meeting. Sinopoli said he resigned to take a job in Stark County.

“Not only is our tremendous park system a testament to Mike’s hard work and dedication to the township, but he epitomized professionalism in every sense of the word,” Sinopoli said. “He worked tirelessly to ensure that our park system was developed and maintained at the highest level of quality.”


Valor Court seeks volunteer mentors, advisers

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Valor Court, a specialty court for veterans, is seeking local residents interested in serving on its Citizens Advisory Committee or as members of its Mentor Program.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Amy Corrigall Jones and Akron Municipal Court Jerry Larson established the Valor Court last year. The judges said the project not only protects the citizens of Summit County, but also provides a unique service to local veterans.

“It is our intention that Valor Court will provide increased management to veterans and active duty military personnel in the criminal justice system who may be eligible for benefits and services from the Veterans Administration,” the judges stated in a press release.

They added that the court is a collaborative effort involving Jones, Larson, the Veterans Administration, Summit County Veterans Service Commission and other community leaders.

Citizens interested in either the mentoring program or advisory committee are asked to call Jon Groza at 330-375-2009 or Tamara Keefer at 330-643-8534.


Bus routes change Jan. 21

SUMMIT COUNTY — METRO RTA’s winter bus schedules take effect Jan. 21. Major bus route changes are listed below. Some other routes may have minor time changes.

  • Route No. 3 and No. 6 — times have been adjusted;
  • Route No. 12 — 1 p.m. peak‐hour trip added to ease overcrowding;
  • Route No. 18 — weekday and Saturday times adjusted; route ends at Manchester Road Acme Fresh Market;
  • Route No. 26 — times adjusted; only two weekday trips to Center Towers;
  • Route No. 31 — now the Stow Circulator: route ends at the Independence Turnaround and connects with the No. 7, No. 10, No. 12, No. 19, No. 23, No. 34 and No. 59 routes. No service to the Transit Center.
  • Route No. 34 — weekday and Saturday times adjusted;
  • Route No. 101 — route now ends at Katherine Boulevard and meets up with Greater Cleveland RTA Route No. 77F;
  • Route No. 102 — service to Rocksino in Northfield added; Twinsburg service is now on the new route No. 104;
  • Route No. 103 — route now serves Clarion Inn; the bus no longer pulls into Laurel Lake; and
  • Route No. 104 — new route: No. 104 Twinsburg/Creekside serves Pinewood Gardens and Twinsburg Industrial Park; ends at Creekside Park and Ride.

METRO’s customer service representatives can answer routing questions at 330‐762‐0341. A trip planner is also available at www.akronmetro.org.


H. Peter Burg Community Leadership Award recipient named

Pam Williams
WEST AKRON — Pam Williams, a community leader and longtime American Red Cross volunteer, will receive the 2014 H. Peter Burg Community Leadership Award.

Each year, the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties presents the award to one or more individuals who best exemplify Burg’s leadership in the community, compassion for its people and dedication to the humanitarian mission of the American Red Cross, according to Red Cross officials. The award is named for Burg, president, chairman and CEO of FirstEnergy Corp. from 1999 to 2004, according to Red Cross officials.

Williams was selected by a committee of past award recipients. She will be presented with the award at the 18th Annual Acts of Courage event March 6 at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn, 3180 W. Market St.

“Pam Williams is one of those people who you come across from time to time that truly embodies the spirit of the American Red Cross,” said Joe Kuzma, executive director for the Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties. “Her kindness and compassion are matched only by her energy and can-do attitude. It is a fitting tribute to the legacy of Pete Burg for Pam to be selected as this year’s award recipient.”

Williams is always willing to respond wherever there is a need, according to Red Cross officials. She has been deployed to disasters in Colorado, Mississippi, Montana, New York and many other locations across the country, and she currently represents the Northeast Ohio Region as chair of volunteer services, according to Red Cross officials.

Williams also provides support to the United Way of Summit County as chair of its Development Fund/Priorities Fund Committee, according to Red Cross officials. Also, she was the first female president of the Summit County Bluecoats Inc. and volunteers with Northern Ohio Golf Charities.

Williams is a graduate of Revere High School and The University of Akron. She is a former first-grade teacher with Akron Public Schools, according to Red Cross officials.

For reservations to the Acts of Courage event, contact the Red Cross at 330-535-6131.


Personal protection classes for women, children taking place this month

GREATER AKRON — The Petrosino Personal Well Being Foundation, a community outreach program assisting victims of abuse, has announced two dates for free personal protection training.

A Children Safety and Awareness Seminar will be Jan. 19 at Midway Lanes, 1070 E. Tallmadge Ave. in North Akron, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. This seminar will focus on how to become more aware of your surroundings and protect yourself and your loved ones from dangerous situations. Children 6 and older are invited.

A Personal Protection for Women Seminar will take place Jan. 25 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Cuyahoga Falls Library, 2015 Third St. The seminar will demonstrate how to protect yourself and your loved ones using the patented technique from Street Protect Principle. This technique trains participants to become adept at using common sense and prevention training in their defense against real adversaries, according to organizers. It will address the most common attacks on women, including chokes, punches and grabs. The goal is to show how to end a violent encounter with a minimum effort and minimum risk of injury to the victim.  

For details or to make a reservation, call 330-929-0613.


Grants available for green space conservation projects

SUMMIT COUNTY — Applications are now available for political subdivisions and nonprofit organizations that seek grant funding for projects to protect green space in Summit County.

The Summit County Department of Community and Economic Development has released applications for Program Year 8 of the Ohio Public Works Commission’s (OPWC) Clean Ohio Green Space program for District 8, including all of Summit County. Applications are due Feb. 14 by 4 p.m.

According to county officials, the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program provides grants of up to 75 percent of the estimated costs for projects that provide for open space acquisition and that protect and enhance riparian corridors or watersheds, including the protection and enhancement of waters of the state, and/or protection or enhancement of forests or plant and animal habitat.

Application packets can be found at www.co.summitoh.net/index.php/nrac.


Summit County Historical Society accepting nominations for Woman of the Year Awards

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Summit County Historical Society is now accepting nominations for the Woman of the Year Awards as part of the Women’s History Project. 

An online nomination form can be found at www.summithistory.org. Nominations may be submitted via email to schs@summithistory.org or by mail to Women of the Year Awards committee, c/o The Summit County Historical Society of Akron, Ohio, 550 Copley Road, Akron OH 44320.

All nominations are due by Jan. 24.

Nominations can be made in the following categories: Courage, Creativity, Faith, Heroine, Imagination, Innovation, Inspiration, Integrity, Pioneer, Perseverance, Woman to Watch and Posthumous.

A program will be held in March to recognize those selected by the Awards Committee.


Workshop to focus on small farm issues

BOSTON HEIGHTS — Countryside Conservancy, Summit County Soil and Water District and The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension will present the first in a series of conservation workshops for small farms in Northeast Ohio.

Small Farm Conservation, presenting common solutions to common issues on small farms in Northeast Ohio, will be offered by the Natural Resource Conservation Service Jan. 30 from 9 a.m. to noon at Happy Days Lodge, 500 W. Streetsboro Road in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This workshop will familiarize participants with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and how it can help their small farm businesses address issues facing them. The workshop will cover some of the more common problems and possible solutions on livestock farms and produce/specialty crop farms, as well as some of the incentive payments available to help install practices.

NRCS presenters will include Scott Kenreich, who is the district conservationist covering Summit, Portage and Cuyahoga counties. He was raised on a potato and vegetable farm in Mahoning County and graduated from OSU with a bachelor of science in natural resources in 1995 and was an officer in the Ohio and Michigan army national guards. He has worked for NRCS for 16 years in Ohio and Michigan.

Dee Waters is a resource conservationist for the NRCS and provides service to producers in Summit, Portage and Cuyahoga counties. She has worked for NRCS for 16 years as a soil conservationist, a district conservationist and a resource conservationist in many Ohio counties. She also has had extended emergency watershed program positions in Durango, Colo., and Springfield, Mo. She graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in conservation of natural resources and a minor in geography in 1996.

The registration fee is $10, which includes refreshments. To register, call 330‐657‐2542 or email info@cvcountryside.org. Registration also is available at www.cvcountryside.org.


TRIAD/Next Level announces 2014 Design4Good recipients

CUYAHOGA FALLS — TRIAD/Next Level has granted 12 area nonprofits marketing, interactive and graphic design services through its Design4Good pro bono partnership program.

Projects to be completed in 2014 include a benefit microsite, Stand up for Downs, a website for Friends of Historic Glendale Cemetery and overview brochures for Family Promise of Summit County and The Giving Doll.

Other recipients include Falls Cancer Club Inc., ACCESS Shelter, Tuesday Musical Association, Church of Our Saviour, Women’s Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation, Neighborhood Network of University Park, Portage Path Behavioral Health and Ronald McDonald House of Akron.


New statewide drug prevention initiative announced in Ohio

COLUMBUS — State Sen. Senator Frank LaRose (R-District 27) has announced the formation of a statewide youth drug prevention effort in cooperation with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and First Lady Karen Kasich.

The program, Start Talking, works to eradicate youth drug use through prevention, according to LaRose, who added that research shows that youths are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs when parents and adults talk with them about substance use and abuse.

“As parents, it’s our job to talk with our children about the dangers of drug use,” LaRose stated in a press release. “We can’t be silent and just hope they hear the message somewhere else.”

Numerous schools have already committed to participating in program, LaRose said. The initiative takes the following four-prong approach that interacts with educators, school officials, parents and students:

  • Know! is a drug prevention and awareness partnership developed by the Drug-Free Action Alliance that targets parents and caregivers of middle school students and empowers them to raise their children substance-free. Its goal is to increase communication between parents and their children about substance abuse. This is achieved through free, twice-monthly emails that offer parent tips to families to help them talk about this subject.
  • Parents360 Rx is a component of a national community education program developed by the partnership at Drugfree.org that has demonstrated significantly increased knowledge of substance abuse among adults, according to LaRose. Ohio is disseminating Parents360 Rx Action Toolkits to assist parents and school leaders in hosting discussions locally to support prevention efforts in their communities.
  • 5 Minutes for Life is led by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio National Guard, in partnership with high schools and the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA). Patrol and National Guard members talk to student athletes and encourage them to become ambassadors who lead peer-to-peer conversations that promote healthy lifestyles.
  • Building Youth Resiliency and encouraging good behavioral health among young people are both essential to enhancing their ability to resist substance abuse and addiction, according to LaRose. The Office of Ohio First Lady Karen Kasich, in partnership with other state agencies, is seeking applications to assist local communities in utilizing evidence-based programs to help youth resist substance use.

LaRose, of Copley, encourages Ohioans to visit www.StartTalking.Ohio.gov for details.


Akron hospitals complete Community Health Needs Assessment

KENT — Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron General Health System and Summa Health System recently completed a Community Health Needs Assessment intended to help the three hospital systems prioritize and guide their efforts in the next three years.

Working with the Kent State University College of Public Health, the three hospital systems reviewed epidemiological data for Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit and Wayne counties. Additional input was obtained from community resident focus groups and interviews with community leaders and public health experts. A steering committee comprised of members from the three hospital systems directed the effort, which began in November 2012.

The following were among health needs identified as priorities for adults and children:

  • chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes;
  • maternal and infant health, such as premature births and infant mortality;
  • birth risk factors, such as maternal tobacco use and lack of prenatal care;
  • lifestyle factors, such as obesity and tobacco use;
  • mental health concerns, including depression and access to care;
  • substance abuse, including alcohol, opiate and prescription drug abuse;
  • child abuse and neglect;
  • access to health care, including health insurance coverage;
  • quality of care, including preventable hospital stays and elder care; and
  • environmental factors, including access to healthy food.

This is the second time the three hospitals have worked together on a community health needs assessment.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 now requires nonprofit hospitals to conduct community health needs assessments every three years.

Copies of the assessment are available on the websites of the three hospital systems.


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

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