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West Side News & Notes

5/8/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Local agency partners roll out anti-drug campaign

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Several local agencies have partnered to begin an anti-drug campaign in the city that will feature graphic images intended to spark discussion.

Akron City Councilman Jeff Fusco (D-at large), who helped spearhead the campaign, said the images on billboards, in water bill inserts and on vehicles “are meant to be graphic. They’re meant to start conversations between parents and teenagers, brothers and sisters, neighbor to neighbor.”

The message, he said, is to get help.

And to make it easier to do so, those seeking assistance — everything from requesting counseling to reporting a drug house — will be able to call the city’s 3-1-1 call center for direction by dialing 3-1-1 from a landline within the city of Akron or 330-375-2311 from any other phone.

Fusco said the campaign has been in the works since 2012, after a toddler died as a result of residing in a house with a methamphetamine lab. During the same period of time, City Council passed legislation tightening restrictions on billboard advertising in the city. As a result of the legislation, the city received education funding and the use of 20 static billboards, Fusco said.

“We’ve worked on it for some time in earnest,” Fusco said.

Ten billboards will begin advertising the images this month and 10 in July, he said, in addition to messages on digital billboards.

In addition to large-scale advertisements and public service announcements, Fusco said, cards will be printed for police officers to hand out and for community center visitors to pick up, and posters are expected to be displayed at Akron Public Schools high schools this fall.


Stamp Out Hunger taking place May 10

AKRON — On May 10, U.S. Postal Service letter carriers across the country will take food donations from homes on their route to help feed local families facing hunger.

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is joining forces with Campbell’s Soup Co., the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and Feeding America for Stamp Out Hunger May 10.

Now in its 22nd year, Stamp Out Hunger has grown from a regional effort to a national effort that provides assistance to the millions of Americans struggling to put food on the table, according to Foodbank officials. The Stamp Out Hunger food drive, held on the second Saturday in May, is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, according to Foodbank officials.

To participate in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive, leave a sturdy bag containing nonperishable foods — such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal — next to your mailbox prior to the time of regular mail delivery May 10. Local letter carriers will collect these food donations as they deliver the mail and take them to the Foodbank.

“We are so thankful to the National Association of Letter Carriers and Campbell’s Soup Co. for their continued energy in Stamp Out Hunger,” said Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the Foodbank. “Join us on May 10 and help provide relief for our neighbors struggling with hunger.”

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic’s Office presented a proclamation to local NALC Branch No. 148 May 7 to recognize NALC’s efforts in contributing more than 30,000 pounds of donated food to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank last year.

For more details on the food drive, visit www.facebook.com/StampOutHunger or follow the food drive at www.twitter.com/StampOutHunger.


Summa Health System announces organization-wide changes

NORTHEAST OHIO — Summa Health System announced a series of operational and facility changes are being made to the health system.

“Summa is a forward-looking organization, and we have demonstrated again and again that we can make important changes to where and how our services will be offered tomorrow, even when those changes challenge us today,” said President and CEO Tom Strauss. “By staying ahead of the curve and taking a leadership position in the industry, we will ensure that we continue to offer outstanding care for many years to come.”

According to Summa officials, the following adjustments to the Summa business model of care as described below are now in effect or will be under way shortly:

  • Operational changes include:

√ Summa Health System corporate functions will continue to report to Strauss.

√ All clinical operations of Summa Akron City, Summa St. Thomas, Summa Barberton and Summa Wadswsorth-Rittman hospitals now report to Dr. Tom Malone, chief operating officer for the Care Delivery System.

√ System-wide quality, clinical integration and growth will be overseen by Dr. Erik Steele, chief medical officer. Steele is now responsible for the six key Summa institutes: Cardiovascular, Women’s Health, Cancer, Orthopedics, Seniors and Behavioral Health.

√ The positions of president, chief operating officer and vice president finance/CFO for Summa Wadsworth-Rittman and Summa Barberton hospitals have been eliminated.

  • Facility changes include:

√ The Summa St. Thomas Emergency Department (ED) is being transitioned to a Summa Physicians Inc. primary care office. The long-term goal is to partner with AxessPointe Community Health Center and become a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) satellite facility. Approval and designation from the federal government as a FQHC is required. The SPI primary care office will be directed by Dr. Elina Shakya.
The decision to close the ED is in response to the way that many of the St. Thomas patients use the ED as a primary care center. As a result of these changes, the current St. Thomas Emergency Department operation will close permanently June 1 at midnight.

√ Over the next three to five months at Summa Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital, the inpatient services, which now often average fewer than 20 patients a day, will be closed. This closing of inpatient beds at Wadsworth will allow for a transition to an integrated medical campus that will include: a free-standing ED with an observation unit; expanded primary care offices with imbedded behavioral health services; x-ray, CT, ultrasound and women’s imaging services; cardiology with noninvasive testing and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation; physical, occupational and speech therapies; a center for senior health; sports medicine; and laboratory services.

For more information, visit www.summahealth.org.


Falls announces electronics recycle program for area residents

CUYAHOGA FALLS — The city will provide the fifth annual E-Recycle Program in partnership with Accurate IT Services. Citizens and businesses may drop off electronics and accessories tomorrow, May 9, from 5 to 9 p.m. and May 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the city of Cuyahoga Falls Service Complex, located at 2560 Bailey Road (participants will enter and exit at Gaylord Grove).

Included among the electronics and accessories that will be accepted for recycling at no cost are scanners, shredders, tools, copiers, printers, DVD/VHS/VCR units and all accessories, electronic toys, video game consoles and hand-held games systems, GPS devices, hair dryers, kitchen equipment, microwaves, LCD/plasma TVs, cameras, radios, cell phones and all telephones, computer equipment hardware, servers and accessories, as well as electrical appliances that do not contain Freon.

There will be a flat $20 recycle fee per unit for old tube-style, cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs of any size. Checks should be made payable to Accurate IT Services. More than two CRT computer monitors per vehicle will be $5 per additional unit also payable to Accurate IT Services.

Alkaline batteries and light bulbs of any kind will not be accepted. Organizers suggest checking with local hardware stores for compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulb recycling.

The program is open to all; there is no residency requirement. For details, visit www.cityofcf.com or email mcclearyrm@cityofcf.com.


Falls hosting River Day Cleanup, launching new website

CUYAHOGA FALLS — The 2014 Great American River Day Cleanup and Beautification Project is planned for May 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Volunteers will clean up litter, plant trees and flowers, and pull garlic mustard plants at designated public grounds areas. Lunch, cleanup and planting supplies will be provided for volunteers.

A special noon presentation by kayaker David Hill will be followed by a River Raffle.

To register by May 15, email mcclearyrm@cityofcf.com. Volunteer sign-in location and project details will be provided upon registration.

In addition, Mayor Don Walters has announced the launch of “Yes, Cuyahoga Falls,” a new community engagement website.

“‘Yes, Cuyahoga Falls’ is a tool that brings together the diversity of our residents to identify, improvise and discuss issues while helping to broaden the horizons and thought processes of decision-makers,” stated Walters in a press release.

The new site is located at cuyahogafalls.mindmixer.com.

Developed by MindMixer and used in communities throughout the United States, this website provides a forum for community decision-makers and residents to connect, communicate and collaborate on city issues. Using topic questions, polls, surveys, idea submissions and picture-share opportunities, this social media platform is designed to get residents involved in the challenges facing the city today, while laying the groundwork for a prosperous Cuyahoga Falls tomorrow, according to city officials.


Norton provides prescription drug, weapons turn-in

NORTON — The Norton Police Department, with cooperation from the Norton Medicine Shoppe, has set up a collection date for citizens to drop off potentially dangerous unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Participants can bring in current or expired unwanted medications, including unknown tablets and capsules, to properly dispose of them and prevent their abuse.

The event will take place May 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Norton Medicine Shoppe, 3300 Greenwich Road, Suite No. 14.

The Norton Police Department also will be accepting firearms and weapons that homeowners wish to dispose of. This may include functioning and nonfunctioning firearms and any ammunition.


Local nonprofits participate in Write a Will Month

SUMMIT COUNTY — Local nonprofits, under their partnership with Leave a Legacy® Summit/Portage/Medina, will participate in “Write a Will” month.

Attorneys will write free simple wills for interested individuals whose assets are less than $300,000, including home, cars, insurance, etc. For an appointment, contact one of the following, which will host events on the dates listed:

  • Victim Assistance Program, 150 Furnace St. in Downtown Akron, May 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; contact Shelley Koch at 330-376-0040;
  • Holy Family Parish, 3459 Sycamore Drive in Stow, May 21, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; contact Susan Figler at 330-689-0186; and
  • Unity Chapel of Light, 503 Northwest Ave. in Tallmadge, May 29, 3 to 6 p.m.; contact Dianne Oldenburg at 330-338-6083.

There also will be an event May 19 at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls for faculty and staff only.


Bath Volunteers for Service drive collecting used musical instruments

BATH — Bath Volunteers for Service (BVS) is sponsoring a drive to collect gently used, portable musical instruments for low-income children in the Akron Public Schools who are prevented for financial reasons from renting an instrument.

BVS is asking friends and relatives to search for unused instruments and bring them to the Bath Fire Department, 3864 W. Bath Road, where there is a collection box near the entrance.

Central Instrument Co. (CIC) has volunteered the labor and materials to refurbish the collected instruments, according to BVS officials. A tag should be attached to the instrument with the donor’s name, address and daytime phone number, so that CIC can estimate the value of the item and send the donor a letter to be used for tax deduction purposes.

The collection box will remain at the fire department until June 21. The instruments will be flushed and repaired to playing condition and distributed to one of the most economically challenged schools in the district (including Helen Arnold, Findley or Robinson community learning centers, according to BVS officials) in August, before the band programs begin.

According to BVS officials, instructional music generally begins in the sixth grade, and students often perform their first school concerts in December.

For more information about the collection drive, contact the coordinator, Pat Stahl, at 330-665-0312 or Stahl294@roadrunner.com.


ODOT issues traffic advisories

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has issued the following traffic information.

Beginning tomorrow, May 9, at 6 p.m., Bartges Street westbound over state Route 59 in the city of Akron will be closed through May 13 at 6 a.m. for bridge repairs. The detour will be Dart Avenue to state Route 261/Vernon Odom Boulevard to Rhodes Avenue.

In addition, also beginning May 9 at 6 p.m., the Route 59 exit ramp to Mill Street will be closed through May 13 at 6 a.m. for bridge repairs. The detour will be Rand Street to West Center Street to Dart Avenue.

Until further notice, Route 59 eastbound and westbound between Interstate 76 and North Main Street has various lane restrictions for roadway resurfacing. This work is part of a $6.9 million project to resurface Route 59 from I-76 to Market Street and make repairs to 21 bridges. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by September.

In addition, ODOT announced that, until further notice, Interstate 271 in Richfield Village and Richfield Township has the following restrictions in place:

  • The Brecksville Road bridge over I-271 is reduced to one lane of traffic maintained by a traffic signal through early June for bridge rehabilitation;
  • State Route 303 over I-271 is restricted to one lane in each direction for bridge work through early December; and
  • I-271 between Broadview Road and the Ohio Turnpike has various lane restrictions during nonpeak traffic hours for roadway construction.

This work is part of a $46.4 million project to reconstruct the pavement along I-271 from Broadview Road to the Ohio Turnpike. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by late July 2017.


Junior League of Akron seeks new members

AKRON — The Junior League of Akron is currently seeking new members.

Women who are interested in hands-on leadership training are invited to attend an upcoming New Member Open House to learn more about membership. The events are open to the public and will take place May 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. and May 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. For locations and additional information, call the League office at 330-836-4905 or email info@juniorleagueakron.org.

The Junior League of Akron is a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for women to gain leadership skills and volunteer expertise while working on community projects. During its more than 85-year history, the organization’s members have contributed thousands of volunteer hours to organizations throughout Greater Akron, according to group officials. Members are business owners, working mothers, professional women and stay-at-home moms who are committed to community service. They represent more than 28 communities across Greater Akron.


Kathleen Collins and Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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