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South Side News & Notes

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

Stamp Out Hunger taking place May 10

GREATER AKRON — Tomorrow, 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 on contributing more than 30,000 pounds of donated food to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank last year.

For details, visit www.facebook.com/StampOutHunger or follow www.twitter.com/StampOutHunger.


Local veterans invited to recognition ceremony

COVENTRY — All Summit County veterans and their families, including those from Coventry, Barberton, New Franklin and Green, are invited to a free Veterans Recognition Ceremony May 22 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Portage Lakes Library, 4261 Manchester Road.

New Franklin Mayor Al Bollas will welcome veterans and their families. The keynote speaker will be Kim Kovesci, executive director of the MAPS Air Museum, located in Green. The MAPS Air Museum is a museum of aviation and serves as a center of aviation history for Northeast Ohio.

A highlight of the evening will be a special ceremony beginning at 6:15 p.m. Hospice of the Western Reserve will recognize veterans from all branches of the U.S. military with the individual “pinning” of each veteran in attendance. Each veteran will be recognized and thanked for his or her service to the country, according to event officials.

Light refreshments will be served. Advance registration is required by May 19. Registration is available via email to cluck@akronlibrary.org or by calling 330-644-7050.

The recognition ceremony is one of several ways Hospice of the Western Reserve is reaching out to former military personnel through the We Honor Veterans program, according to the organization. We Honor Veterans is a campaign that provides specialized knowledge, training and guidelines to help organizations meet the unique needs of veterans, who may have experienced physical or psychological trauma during their time in service. The recognition ceremony is offered to honor all veterans; no hospice connection is necessary.

Hospice of the Western Reserve officials state the organization has achieved recognition as a Level IV partner in the program, the highest level achievable. Level IV partners have demonstrated a commitment to providing the highest quality end-of-life care by collaborating with the Veterans Affairs and other veteran organizations, by increasing accessibility of hospice and palliative care services and by working with other hospices across the nation to implement best practices, according to organization officials.

The nonprofit agency’s local office is at 150 Springside Drive, Suite 235B, in Bath. For details, call 330-800-2240.


Volunteer water monitors needed for Portage Lakes

PORTAGE LAKES — The Portage Lakes Advisory Council is seeking volunteers to monitor water quality in the Portage Lakes.

Participants are invited to learn how to become an Environmental Protection Agency-certified lake water-quality monitor. Monitors are usually residents who live on or near a lake and have a boat.

The Portage Lakes Advisory Council will train volunteers and provide them with water-quality monitoring equipment. Volunteers take water quality readings and enter the results into an online database.

For more details or to volunteer, call 330-644-7037.


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.


Summa Health System announces organization-wide changes

GREATER AKRON — 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 are now in effect or will be underway 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) being transitioned to a Summa Physicians Inc. (SPI) 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.

For more information, visit www.summahealth.org.


‘Re-thinking Agriculture’ discussion May 14

DOWNTOWN AKRON — “Re-thinking Agriculture” will be the subject of the GAINS (Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability) meeting May 14 at Musica.

The evening’s discussion will cover Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), a smart technology sustainable agricultural solution designed to link food and local job creation and retention in urban and rural communities from The University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF) and the status of industrialized hemp agriculture in Ohio for application in food, fuel, fiber and medicine.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for networking. The free program will begin at 6:15 p.m., with time for questions and answers at the close of the talks.

Wil Hemker, senior fellow, UARF, will discuss how automated CEA greenhouses powered with renewable energy produce highly nutritious, safe and affordable food while conserving 90 percent of fresh water using smaller footprints of land and using biodynamic vs. synthetic chemical practices, said organizers. In addition, Lauren Berlekamp, special projects coordinator for Ohio Rights Group, will discuss the potential for a hemp-based economy in Ohio and the types of businesses in existence.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/GAIN4Sustainability.


Stephanie Kist and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.

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