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West Side News & Notes

5/15/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Metro Parks commissioners seeking input on expansion of park board

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Summit Metro Parks Board of Park Commissioners is seeking input on the possible expansion of the board from three to five members.

Currently, commissioners, who are appointed by the Summit County Probate Court judge, serve overlapping three-year terms. The idea of adding two additional members was introduced at the March board meeting.

Public comments can be submitted at www.summitmetroparks.org/InsideMetroParks/Board.aspx.

To contribute via written letter, mail whether your preference is three or five commissioners, with an explanation why, to Board of Park Commissioners, 975 Treaty Line Road, Akron, OH 44313.

Comments must be received by May 30 at 4:30 p.m. Participants’ contact information may be helpful, but is not required, according to Metro Parks officials.

For more information, call the administrative offices at 330-867-5511.

Plusquellic proposes working with court-appointed monitor on firefighter testing

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The city of Akron is appealing a recent federal court ruling regarding its promotion cycle for fire department district chiefs and lieutenants, but in the meantime, Mayor Don Plusquellic said he wants to find a way to move forward.

According to city officials, U.S. District Court Judge John Adams recently ordered a court monitor to oversee promotional testing. Plusquellic takes issue with the reaches of the monitor’s oversight, which, the mayor said, would enable him to “even ignore the city’s charter.”

“I have instructed our attorneys to draft a proposal where all parties and the union work with the court monitor appointed in this action to expedite the announcement, development and administration of two tests for promotions to fire lieutenant and fire district chief while the city’s appeals are pending,” Plusquellic said in a lengthy statement released May 9.

Plusquellic proposes the monitor oversee the testing process and testing procedures only.

“Firefighters are anxiously awaiting their opportunity to take a promotional test and should not have to wait any longer,” he stated. “Our citizens deserve skilled decision-makers in these positions and at the scene of a fire. We need to do that while preserving our rights to appeal the judgments and orders issued in this case. It is in everyone’s best interest if we continue to move forward in whatever way we can while we await final rulings from the courts.”

Litigation in the case, in which several firefighters sued the city regarding the promotion process, has been ongoing since 2004.

Harvest for Hunger campaign nears goal

DOWNTOWN AKRON — More than 100 community members gathered May 9 at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank to celebrate the successes of the 2014 Harvest for Hunger campaign.

With the need for emergency food now greater than ever before, according to Foodbank officials, the Foodbank encouraged the community to continue its participation in the campaign. The Foodbank is 280,000 meals away from its goal of 4 million meals.

“You need to know one thing above all before you leave here this afternoon and start your weekend,” said Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. “For the mom who visits a food pantry for fresh vegetables during summer vacation, and for the senior citizen who goes once a week to a soup kitchen to help stretch their money to buy their prescriptions — you have provided more than food; you have given these individuals hope. Thank you for continuing to rally around your Foodbank.”

The local Harvest for Hunger campaign has been led by: Bill Frantz, of Sandridge Food Corp.; Shawn McCall, of U.S. Foods; and C.J. Fraleigh, of Shearer’s Foods.

Lock 3 is looking for volunteers

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Lock 3 is looking for volunteers to help with summer concerts Friday and Saturday nights from May 23 through Sept. 6.

Help is needed clicking attendance at the gates, greeting patrons, serving beverages and assisting with seating at VIP seating areas.

Lock 3 is seeking volunteers with positive attitudes and good customer service skills. The ability to stand periodically for extended periods of time is preferred. Volunteers must be mobile and able to navigate Lock 3 without difficulty.

To learn more about volunteering for Lock 3, contact Volunteer Coordinator Jane Startzman at 330-535-3179, ext. 206, or jstartzman@akroncivic.com.

IRS seeks applicants for volunteer tax assistance program grants

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced it will accept applications for the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grant programs through June 2. Some organizations can apply to receive annual funding for up to three years.

Applications must be submitted through www.Grants.gov. Previous grant recipients have the option to apply for up to three years of annual funding, which reduces the amount of paperwork that must be completed annually and helps recipients with budget planning.

Interested applicants can find TCE and VITA application packages on www.Grants.gov. Click on “Browse Agencies” and then on “Department of the Treasury.” Electronic versions of the grant application package instructions, Publication 1101 for TCE and Publication 4671 for VITA, can be found on the www.IRS.gov website.

Local food trucks serve up new way to help children

Orange Trük will participate in Child Guidance and Family Solutions’ Food Truck Fridays events this spring and summer.
Photo courtesy of Child Guidance and Family Solutions
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Child Guidance & Family Solutions (CG&FS) and local food truck chefs have cooked up a plan to benefit children in Summit County.

On Fridays starting tomorrow, May 16, and running through Sept. 12, CG&FS will host Food Truck Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Food trucks will be parked on the CG&FS lot facing East Market Street at the corner of North Forge Street. The food trucks will be donating a portion of the lunch proceeds to CG&FS, which offers programs that support mental and emotional health for children and youths.

The six participating trucks are:

  • Boca Loca Burrito Factory, offering fast street fare;
  • Green Machine, with a menu that includes the signature Naanwich, salads and homemade desserts. The classically trained chef uses organically raised products from local farms;
  • Orange Trük, run by two classically trained chefs who bring artisan food to the streets with their gastropub menu;
  • Retro Dog, providing fresh, made-to-order classic hot dogs (char-grilled, in natural casings) and burgers;
  • Stone Pelican, serving up gourmet sandwiches, paninis, wraps and more; and
  • Wholly Frijoles, a fast-casual Mexican taqueria concept.

For information on which trucks will be participating each week, visit the CG&FS Facebook page at www.face book.com/childguidancefamilysolutions.

“2014 is our 75th anniversary year, so we are especially excited that these local chefs and entrepreneurs are so generously supporting our work with children, adolescents and the families of our community,” said Tiffany Jamison, development associate at CG&FS, who is coordinating the activities. She added that as the summer goes on and interest grows, Food Truck Fridays might expand.

Peace Walk planned for May 17

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The second annual Peace Walk to Canal Park event will take place May 17.

Students and families who want to walk in the event should arrive at 9:30 a.m. at The University of Akron Quaker Square parking lot on South Summit and East Mill streets or the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority building at 100 W. Cedar St. Remarks will begin at 10:15 a.m. at Canal Park.

Sponsored by the Reduce the Violence Committee, the event will include food, teen rappers and a chance to win bicycles and other prizes.

Digital signatures to the pledge for safer neighborhoods can be added at www.facebook.com/reduce.committe. Signatures will be displayed at Canal Park during the event. In addition, high school students are invited to make a school audio or audio/video “Peace Pledge/Message” to be played or displayed.

GASP hosting event at Summit Mall

FAIRLAWN — Guardians Advocating Child Safety and Protection (GASP) will present its fourth National Missing Children’s Day Event May 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Summit Mall.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is intended to bring awareness to the community about missing children and how to keep children safe, according to GASP officials.

Free fingerprinting and identification discs will be available, and organizations involved with children and families — such as Summit County Children Services (SCCS), Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, Summit County Juvenile Court, Bath Police Department, Victim Assistance Program, Summit County Collaborative Against Human Trafficking and others — will participate.

The event is sponsored by GASP, Fairlawn Community Foundation, Ohio Savings Bank and SCCS.

KAB deems Clean Up Akron Month a success

Volunteers are shown above at Lock 4 Park during Downtown Akron Partnership’s Green and Clean Day May 2.
Photo courtesy of Downtown Akron Partnership
AKRON — According to Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) officials, 4,240 volunteers registered to clean up 128 public sites, including 36 city parks, six community centers and 20 schools during Clean Up Akron Month, which resulted in 20,680 pounds, or 10.34 tons, of litter collected, along with 880 pounds of recyclables. KAB volunteers also collected 106 tires, coats, clothes, plastic furniture and pieces of cars that were illegally dumped.

A diverse group of individuals and organizations dedicated over 16,960 hours. Several local businesses organized cleanup groups, including Bridgestone-Americas Tire Operation; Robert W. Baird and Co.; Brenna, Manna and Diamond LLC; and Dominion East Ohio. There also were groups from the Young Professionals of Akron, Cascade Locks Park Association, The Glendale Community Garden and The Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition. In addition to these cleanup groups, there was a large cleanup at the Hyre Trail, done by Pi Sigma Epsilon. Andrew Lamb, KAB volunteer, organized the group, which pulled out over 40 bags of trash, bottles, tires and plastic furniture from the water. Lamb is being recognized nationally as Keep America Beautiful’s Volunteer of the Week.

Downtown Akron Partnership joined the fight and cleaned up downtown Akron with its crew of more than 300 volunteers May 2 during the Green and Clean campaign. Tasks included mulching, painting, landscaping, cleaning, weeding and litter pick up at Commerce Park, Charles Goodyear Park, the Northside District and Main Street. Volunteers painted more than 156 feet of railings, 115 parking meters, 40 fire hydrants, 13 light poles and 58 trash can lids; collected 123 bags of weeds, leaves and trash; cleaned 20 bus shelters and 22 planters; washed 23 benches, bike racks and 32 ash urns; swept 11 blocks of sidewalks; cleaned 25 sections of skywalk and cleaned out 148 tree grates.

The Super Saturday picnic took place May 3 with over 600 Clean Up Akron Month volunteers coming to the Akron Zoo for a free volunteer appreciation picnic and awards ceremony.

Orbit from the Akron Rubber Ducks, Conrad Conservation from the Akron Zoo and the St. Vincent-St. Mary High School band entertained the crowd, while Akron Deputy Service Director Phil Montgomery and KAB Program Manager Jacqui Flaherty congratulated the volunteers.

The picnic was free through the generosity of 19 local sponsors, according to KAB officials, including: Acme Fresh Markets, Akron Zoological Park, city of Akron, D-A Specialty Co. Inc., Eat’n Park, GOJO Industries, Hitchcock Fleming and Associates Inc., House of LaRose, Junior League of Akron, KAB Board of Directors, Little Debbie Snacks, Sandra Smith, Schwebel’s Bakery, Shearer’s Branded Snacks, Sully’s Party Rental, Pepsi-Cola, The University of Akron, The Volunteer Center of Summit County and Waste Management of Ohio.

ODH encourages immunizations

COLUMBUS — With the beginning of summer camps, fairs, vacations and family picnics, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) recently issued a reminder to Ohioans that immunizations are the most effective way to prevent illness from vaccine-preventable diseases.

According to ODH officials, the ongoing measles and mumps outbreaks in Ohio serve as a reminder to all Ohioans that they should be up to date on immunizations.

“Activities that bring large groups of people together can accelerate the spread of these diseases,” said ODH state epidemiologist Dr. Mary DiOrio. “When coming into close contact with sick individuals, immunizations can provide the protection you need to keep from getting ill.”

Given the ongoing measles and mumps outbreaks, ODH recommends that Ohioans are familiar with the signs and symptoms of the diseases. Symptoms for measles include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, sore throat and a red rash appearing three to five days after the start of the symptoms. Symptoms of mumps include runny nose, cough and swelling of the salivary glands.

When individuals are fully vaccinated, the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is 97 percent effective in preventing the measles and 88 percent effective in preventing the mumps, according to ODH officials. Those who are not up-to-date on their immunizations should contact their health care provider or local health department and receive the MMR vaccine if there is no medical reason not to do so, according to ODH officials.

ODH and its local public health partners support the vaccine recommendations set forth by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These recommendations include schedules for when individuals (children and adults) should receive their vaccinations.

For more information, visit www.odh.ohio.gov.

Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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