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West Side News & Notes

5/29/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Ohio EMA works with communities as recovery continues after storms

OHIO — As residents across Ohio continue to recover from damage and flooding caused by last week’s severe storms, field staff from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA) are assisting county EMAs in assessing the damage.

County-level emergencies were declared in Lorain, Medina and Summit counties. As of last week, no local officials had requested state assistance or resources that would require a governor’s emergency declaration.

Residents and businesses with storm damage are urged to contact the state’s Renew Ohio and Rebuild Ohio programs to assist homeowners with long-term, low-interest loans. Additional information is available at www.tos.ohio.gov/renewrebuild or by calling 800-228-1102.

Residents also can dial 2-1-1 for storm recovery information and local lists of resources available. Local American Red Cross chapters and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) are also providing assistance to residents in need.


Akron emergency vehicles no longer warn residents during dangerous weather

AKRON — The City of Akron does not have a tornado siren system to warn residents during dangerous weather, and the city’s practice of running the sirens on emergency vehicles is ebbing, said Fire Chief Rob Ross.

“Basically, it was determined that it was not effective,” he said. “We have pretty much stopped that because it’s just not practical.”

Ross said there are a number of reasons the fire department will no longer pull fire trucks out of station garages and activate sirens to warn residents of the possibility of an approaching tornado.

For one, the sirens could not be heard even a few blocks away, according to Ross. For another, emergency vehicles are not consistently available to run their sirens at the station.

“In many cases when we’ve had these severe storms go through, our trucks are all out in the field, anyway” responding to calls of downed trees or wires and alarm drops, he said.

And additionally, the warbling siren sound on a fire truck is a very different tone than that of a traditional tornado siren. 

“There’s no way to bring [a fire truck siren] up to that high pitch and hold it,” Ross said. “People did not associate that with a weather warning.”

According to city spokesperson Stephanie York, it was more efficient for the city to pull out all fire trucks and police vehicles and run their sirens to alert residents rather than invest in tornado sirens.

“Tornado sirens are not effective for their cost, and with respect to Akron’s hilly topography, it would be less effective and more costly,” York said.

Ross said that a siren system would cost the city millions of dollars and likely not be very effective, either, given Akron’s hilly and wooded terrain that would “suck in that sound and absorb it,” as well as the 62.5 square miles to be covered.

Instead of relying on a siren system, Ross strongly recommends using a weather radio or smartphone app.


Peninsula Council approves purchase for road repair

PENINSULA — During a special Peninsula Village Council meeting May 22, Council approved funds for the repair of Akron-Peninsula Road.

According to Village Fiscal Officer John Stiegel, Council authorized the purchase of materials up to $15,000 for Alden Excavating Co. for emergency road repair. He said the work includes shoring up the side of the road, which was damaged during severe weather May 12.

Peninsula Village Council’s next regular meeting is set for June 9 at 7 p.m. in the second-floor Council room of Peninsula Village Hall, located at the corner of state Route 303 and Akron-Peninsula Road.


Norton board openings announced

NORTON — Mayor Mike Zita is seeking interested Norton citizens to serve on the Parks and Cemetery Board. 

There are two openings, with each held for a three-year term. The board meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 5:30 p.m.

Desired applicants will have a strong interest or have historical knowledge of Norton cemeteries. 

Interested applicants must be registered voters and officially reside in the city. Board members are paid a small stipend for each meeting.

Individuals interested in applying are asked to send a letter of interest and qualifications addressed to Mayor Zita at 4060 Columbia Woods Drive, Norton, OH 44203, or via email to annc@cityofnorton.org.

Placement on the board will be upon completion of a majority approval by City Council.

Any questions may be addressed by contacting the Norton Administration Building at 330-825-7815, ext. 314, or by email to annc@cityofnorton.org.


Common Pleas Court warning of jury duty scam

SUMMIT COUNTY — Summit County residents should be wary of telephone calls from someone claiming to be law enforcement officials calling about an alleged discrepancy with jury duty.

Summit County Common Pleas Court officials said the caller likely will try to obtain or verify the resident’s Social Security number, date of birth or other personal information for fraudulent use. Court officials ask that anyone receiving such a call hang up immediately, contact local law enforcement and make a note of any caller identification information available.

Court officials said they never ask for personal information or threaten with warrants for arrest. If a potential juror fails to report, the court will send a letter via the U.S. postal service asking the recipient to call the jury bailiff.

Anyone who believes they have provided confidential information in error to a caller who identifies himself as law enforcement should take steps necessary to protect their identity, said court officials.


Public meeting set for Sand Run Metro Park master plan

WEST AKRON — Summit Metro Parks officials are hosting an open-house style public meeting June 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Sand Run Metro Park to share plans for possible improvements there.

According to Summit Metro Parks officials, Sand Run Metro Park, with nearly 1,000 acres, is one of the district’s largest natural-area parks and more than 2 million visits were recorded in 2013. The jogging trail averages 1,000 users per day, officials added.

Lisa King, the park district’s chief of planning and development, said staff has examined connections between existing park areas and identified improvements to current amenities. Summit Metro Park officials added it has been decades since they have reviewed visitor uses at the park.

The improvements may include an extension of the 6-mile jogging trail — the most popular path managed by the park district — and the addition of fitness stations, a playground, bike lanes, a new picnic shelter, improved public parking and more, according to Summit Metro Parks officials.

The meeting will take place in the park’s Mingo Pavilion, 1501 Sand Run Parkway. The building is located on the north side of the parkway between Portage Path and Sand Run Road. The entrance drive is near the Sand Run maintenance center.

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


Red Cross launches anti-drowning campaign

NORTHEAST OHIO — On May 21, the American Red Cross launched a new national campaign to reduce drownings and urged people across the country to make sure they and their families can swim safely.

Ohio averages 93 drowning deaths each year.

“As we all gear up for trips to the pool, beach, rivers and lakes, we’re asking that adults here in Northeast Ohio make water safety a priority this summer,” said Mary-Alice Frank, CEO of the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio, in a press release. 

“Parents and caregivers should take advantage of the summer months to enroll children in Red Cross swim lessons and download the free Red Cross Swim App to track their progress,” Frank said. “Parents and caregivers, in addition to learning how to swim, should also know critical water safety rules and know how to respond to a water emergency so they can protect children and others.”

The Red Cross encourages all household members to enroll in age-appropriate water orientation and Learn-to-Swim programs. To find classes, contact a local aquatic facility and ask for American Red Cross swimming and water safety programs.


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

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