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West Side News & Notes

2/27/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Plusquellic resolves foreclosure action on former home

WEST AKRON — In a statement to the West Side Leader Feb. 24, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic said he has resolved the foreclosure filed against him last year.

Wells Fargo Bank filed the foreclosure action this past September against Plusquellic and his former partner Melissa Barnhart regarding the property they jointly owned on West Exchange Street. Although his name was on the title, Barnhart had possession of the property and was paying the mortgage, Plusquellic said, adding he had had no involvement with the property for four years.

He said he was unaware that the mortgage payments were not being made and later learned that Barnahart had moved to Columbus and had stopped the payments because there was a pending sale through a real estate agent. According to Plusquellic, that sales contract and a subsequent sales contract fell through, and the mortgage fell into arrears.

“I can assure you that if I had received notice of the mortgage issue, I would have worked with Wells Fargo Bank at that time, prior to the filing of any lawsuit,” Plusquellic stated, saying Wells Fargo never made any attempt to give him notice of the mortgage issue.

Once the lawsuit was filed, Plusquellic said he worked with Wells Fargo and paid back the mortgage payments, plus interest, court costs, penalties and fees (more than $15,000), paid off the Wells Fargo mortgage and refinanced with another bank.

“The title is now held solely in my name, and the property is currently rented with the plan to sell in the future,” Plusquellic stated.


Park district plans name change

WEST AKRON — Newly appointed Metro Parks, Serving Summit County Commissioner Jane Bond moved forward on simplifying the park district’s name during the park commissioners’ Feb. 18 meeting.

According to spokesman Nate Eppink, Bond suggested the name be changed to Summit Metro Parks, and fellow Commissioners Mark Spisak and Roland Bauer agreed.

“We’re hopeful the new name, Summit Metro Parks, will be official in mid- to late-March,” Eppink said. “Legal counsel said it needs final sign-off by Probate Judge [Elinore Marsh Stormer], who appoints our commissioners, and the secretary of state. We’re modifying the logo and will roll that out soon.”

Eppink said the park district was established as the Akron Metropolitan Park District in December 1921. The name was legally changed in 1995 to Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, though that name had been used for several years prior, he added.

One item that won’t need to be altered is the district’s website domain name; it’s already www.summitmetroparks.org.


ASCPL celebrating 140 years of service

The interior of the librarian’s office at the Akron Public Library in 1904 is shown with, from left, Jane Proehl, an unidentified woman, Pauline Edgerton and Maude Herndon.
In 1874, the Akron Public Library was first located in the Masonic Temple at Mill and Howard Streets.
Photos courtesy of the Akron-Summit County Public Library
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Akron-Summit County Public Library (ASCPL) is celebrating 140 years of service in 2014. Events recognizing the ASCPL’s anniversary will be scheduled later this year.

In 1869, the Ohio legislature gave cities the ability to create free libraries and to maintain them through taxation. In January 1874, Akron City Council passed an ordinance to create a free public library for the city, and the existing Akron Library Association immediately donated all books and property to the city.

On Feb. 27, 1874, the Board of Trustees of the newly formed Akron Public Library met for the first time, with John Buchtel the first board president. The Akron Public Library officially opened to the public in a building at the corner of Mill and Howard streets March 1, 1874.

A century later, in 1974, the library became the Akron-Summit County Public Library, incorporating suburban branch libraries into its system. Today, the service area consists of two-thirds of Summit County, with 285,000 cardholders and 18 library locations.

For information on the early days of the ASCPL, visit www.akronlibrary.org/documents/AkronLibrary25Yrs.pdf.


Robart working for Ohio secretary of state

Don Robart
CUYAHOGA FALLS — Former Cuyahoga Falls mayor Don Robart is now working for the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

Robart, who had been mayor for 28 years, said he started Jan. 27 as the office’s regional liaison for Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, Portage, Trumbull, Stark, Mahoning and Columbiana counties. Since he started, he said he’s been going to meetings at county board of elections offices throughout the region.

“In a nutshell, I’m the eyes and ears for the Secretary of State in those eight counties,” Robart said. “I report back if there’s any controversy, but it’s [Secretary of State Jon Husted’s] call. I don’t have any influence.”

Robart said so far he’s enjoying the job, which has him spending a lot more time in his car than he’s used to.

“It’s certainly more travel,” he said. “For 28 years, I had an eight-minute ride to work, and now I drive easily an hour to get to a meeting.”

He said he is working out of his home. According to Matt McClellan, spokesperson for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, the full-time position pays $40,000 a year. Robart is one of eight liaisons working in the state, McClellan added.

Robart assumed the job after Brian Daley, a former Summit County Board of Elections member, decided to retire.

“It’s a very different role than I’m used to, but less stress than being in the mayor’s office,” Robart said. “It’s been a real nice opportunity for me.”

Republican Robart ran for mayor in the Nov. 5 General Election but lost to Democrat Don Walters, a longtime Cuyahoga Falls City Council member.


Foodbank kicks off Harvest for Hunger

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank kicked off its 23rd year of Harvest for Hunger Feb. 26 with a goal to raise more than $1 million for those facing hunger in the community.

The food and funds drive is coordinated locally. Campaign co-chairs are Bill Frantz, president, Sandridge Food Corp.; Shawn McCall, president, U.S. Foods; and C.J. Fraleigh, chairman and CEO, Shearer’s Foods.

For details on Harvest for Hunger, visit www.akroncantonfoodbank.org/harvest-for-hunger.aspx to donate or visit www.facebook.com/akroncantonfoodbank or www.twitter.com/ACRFoodbank.


Akron PeaceMakers offering youth financial literacy workshops

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron PeaceMakers, a youth civic/anticrime group, is sponsoring free financial literacy workshops for high school students March 1 at the Akron-Summit County Main Library, 60 S. High St.

According to city officials, the 40-minute workshops will be presented at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m., and will be facilitated by an executive member of Akron PeaceMakers. The topics will include budgeting, student loans and credit cards. All materials will be provided at the sessions.

Participants may attend all three, and each will be eligible to win a $2,500 scholarship, according to city officials.

Free parking will be available in the East Market/South High streets parking deck, located next to the library.

To make a reservation to attend, contact Willa Keith at 330-375-2712 or via email at wkeith@akronohio.gov.

The group also will host a PeaceMakers orientation beginning March 12. Applications for membership and more information is available at the group’s website at www.akronpeacemakers.org.


Peninsula Library offers retirement seminars

PENINSULA — This March, the Peninsula Library and Historical Society, located at 6105 Riverview Road, will offer informational seminars for those who are condsidering retirement. 

The Evening Retirement Series will begin March 10. This series is in three sessions at 6:30 p.m. March 10, 19 and 24. Financial planning professionals James Sexton III, CFP®, CFS, and Alan Shall, CPA, CFP®, CFA, of Western Reserve Capital Management, will lead these one-hour classes, which are designed to help attendees become financially aware. Each class will share suggestions on what to do to get ready for retirement.

The first session March 10 will be on “Retirement Income Planning: Find out How Much You Need.” Sexton and Shall will take a look at some common and costly mistakes retirees make with their investments.

In the second session March 19, “Your Retirement and Your RA: Avoiding Costly Mistakes While Keeping More of Your Retirement Money,” they will discuss individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and the proper way to transfer 401(k)s, 403(b)s, how to deal with IRA pension rollovers and the new ROTH Rules.

The final session March 24, “Sound Investing for Retirees,” will cover the need for a solid understanding of basic economic and investment concepts. Questions about assets, stocks, bonds and more will be answered.

These programs are free and a public service. Reservations are requested in order to have enough handouts for everyone. Call the Peninsula Library at 330-657-2291 or email info@peninsulalibrary.com to reserve a seat.


Akron seeking nominations for Global Youth Service Day

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The city of Akron is currently seeking nominations for its 24th Global Youth Service Day, which will take place April 22. The deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. March 21.

Organizations are asked to nominate a youth volunteer 12-18 years old who has volunteered at least 20 hours in 2013 with their organization or program.

The three youth volunteer age categories are 12-13, 14-15 and 16 and older. In each category, a “Volunteer of the Year” and “Outstanding Volunteer” will be selected.

Organizations whose nominees are selected for these two top honors will receive cash prizes to help further their volunteer programs.

All the nominated youth volunteers will be honored at a reception and awards ceremony at the Akron-Summit County Main Library, 60 S. High St. Youth volunteers also will have the opportunity to tell their stories of why they give time to organizations, hospitals and communities.

For volunteer nomination forms, go to www.akronohio.gov, type “Global Youth Service Day” in the Search Box and click on “GYSD Nomination Form.”

For more information, contact Billy Soule at 330-375-2660 or bsoule@akronohio.gov.


Ohio EPA announces new grant opportunities for Ohio Environmental Education Fund

OHIO — Potential applicants for the Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) grants can now view guidelines online and should plan to submit a letter of intent (LOI) to apply by March 4.

Application guidelines are posted for the spring and summer 2014 grant cycles. The LOI and application can be completed in the OEEF grant service in Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) eBusiness Center at ebiz.epa.ohio.gov.

The LOI should include contact information for the project director and a short description of the proposed project. OEEF staff will normally approve LOIs and assign a grant application number within one business day, allowing applicants to begin entering their application information in the OEEF grant service. Applications must be completed and submitted by 5 p.m. March 11. The next application cycle will have an LOI deadline of July 8 and an application deadline of July 15.

OEEF application guidelines are written to align education projects with Ohio EPA’s regulatory priorities and environmental issues of current concern. During 2014, the OEEF has four targeted areas of focus:

  • projects that demonstrate and encourage the use of innovative storm water management practices;
  • projects that demonstrate and encourage the reduction of air emissions, including, but not limited to, promotion of alternative modes of transportation;
  • projects that encourage and explain the importance of habitat restoration efforts to increase biodiversity and improve air and water quality; and
  • targeted efforts to encourage nutrient management practices, including, but not limited to, awareness campaigns to reduce nutrient loadings to rivers and streams from urban and rural areas.

Ohio EPA encourages prospective applicants to contact the OEEF staff at 614-644-2873 or oeef@epa.ohio.gov to discuss project ideas and request staff review of draft proposals before the submittal deadline.


Summit County SkyWarn has moved

SUMMIT COUNTY — The first week of March (March 2-8) is National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. With spring approaching, and the increased chances of severe weather, the week encourages Ohio residents to review their plans for reacting when severe weather watches and warnings are issued.

In conjunction with the national awareness campaign, the Summit County SkyWarn organization is announcing it has moved to a new radio frequency to better serve Summit County residents.

SkyWarn is a national severe weather reporting network consisting of close to 300,000 trained volunteers, many of them licensed Amateur Radio Operators (hams), who report ground-level severe weather events to the National Weather Service (NWS). This provides what’s called “ground truth,” allowing the NWS to relate radar images to what’s happening on the ground.

As of Jan. 1, Amateur Radio SkyWarn volunteers in Summit County have been using the Cuyahoga Falls Amateur Radio Club repeater on frequency 147.270 MHz as the primary frequency for reporting storm activity. The University of Akron Amateur Radio Club repeater, on frequency 145.17 MHz, is the back-up frequency. Those who listen in with a scanner during severe weather events will hear trained ham radio operators throughout the county report local conditions such as hail size, wind velocity and damage, and cloud types and formations. These reports are collected by the SkyWarn “net control” station and relayed (along with reports from surrounding counties) through a separate amateur radio “backbone” link to the NWS office in Cleveland.

Those without a scanner can hear SkyWarn reports (and other ham radio repeater activity) on the Summit County SkyWarn website (www.sumsky.org) by clicking on the “Listen to Summit County SkyWarn” box.

As a safety reminder, SkyWarn officials say to never use this information for the protection of life or property. When severe storms are occurring in, or threaten, your location, tune to your local National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NWS weather station or a local radio or TV broadcaster in your area for immediate weather information, according to SkyWarn officials.

For more information, visit www.sumsky.org or www.cfarc.org.


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

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