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West Side News & Notes

6/19/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Richfield Joint Recreation District board positions available

RICHFIELD — Richfield Township is seeking three qualified board members for the Richfield Joint Recreation District.

According to township officials, volunteer board members will have a strategic leadership role in creating vision, mission and strategy for the park district, overseeing every aspect of its implementation and operation.

Candidates need a desire to preserve and protect real property with valuable natural features as parks and spaces for governmental, civic, educational or recreational activities for the benefit of all citizens.

According to township officials, successful experience in the following areas will be beneficial: community programming for recreational, educational, social, cultural and athletic areas; acquiring property for, constructing, operating and maintaining parks, playgrounds and play fields; and fundraising and levy campaigns.

Those interested are asked to forward a letter of interest and/or a résumé by June 27 to Richfield Township Board of Trustees, P.O. Box 191, Richfield, OH 44286. The information also can be hand-delivered to 4410 W. Streetsboro Road.


Copley groundwater work taking place

COPLEY — Through tomorrow, June 20, workers are operating heavy drilling equipment north and east of Copley Square Plaza, on the Meadows of Copley property and behind Hamad’s Auto Shop on Copley Road.

From 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contractors will be drilling six new monitoring wells and abandoning and replacing four old wells.

Individuals in the area might notice frequent loud equipment noises and dust from construction. Children should not be permitted to play on or near the heavy equipment in the area.

When the wells are ready for sampling, the contractors will return in July and then every three months after that to take samples.

According to EPA officials, sampling results will reveal if last year’s injection of chemicals into the ground to clean up the tetrachloroethene, or PERC, in the shallow groundwater and soil is still working. A chemical mixture of iron shavings and carbon was shot into the polluted soil and groundwater to destroy the dry-cleaning solvents in the groundwater and render them harmless over time, according to EPA officials, who said it will take at least 10 years to completely destroy the plume.

The new information also will be used in a separate study of deeper groundwater, which is expected to be completed in January 2015. Results will be summarized in a document called a Remedial Investigation Report, which should be available to the public by spring 2015, according to EPA officials.

For updated information, visit www.epa.gov/region5/cleanup/copleysquare or the Copley Square Plaza Superfund Site on Facebook or follow on Twitter at @epagreatlakes or #copleycleanup. For more information, contact Margaret Gielniewski, remedial project manager, at gielniewski.margaret@epa.gov or 312-886-6244 or Susan Pastor, community involvement coordinator, at pastor.susan@epa.gov or 312-353-1325, or call the EPA at 800-621-8431.


Probate Court launches new Volunteer Guardian Program

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Probate Court has chosen Jewish Family Services (JFS) to provide trained legal guardians for a new Volunteer Guardian Program.

Under the direction of Probate Court Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer and in collaboration with the Summit County Executive’s Office, Summit County Public Health, the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board and the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, JFS will provide trained legal guardians to serve as advocates and surrogate decision-makers for those under the guardianship of Probate Court, according to the court officials.

Frequently, indigent wards have no one willing or able to serve as a guardian, according to the court officials.

“The JFS Volunteer Guardian Program volunteers will make a real difference to someone facing the most challenging time of their life,” said Stormer. “Our court works every day to protect those who cannot care for themselves.”

Probate Court will provide a significant portion of the funding for the program, as well as ongoing training and oversight, according to court officials.

“The JFS Volunteer Guardian Program is committed to maintaining the health, emotional well-being and stability of adult wards under guardianship of Probate Court,” said JFS Executive Director Gizelle Jones. “We are excited to be a part of this new and innovative program.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the JFS Volunteer Guardian Program, Probate Court and guardianships can attend a meeting June 25 at 10 a.m. in the Ocasek Building auditorium, 161 S. High St.

For more information, contact Probate Court at communityoutreach@summitprobatecourt.com or JVS Volunteer Guardian Program Director of Volunteers Jennifer Mesko-Kimmich at volunteerguardian@jfsakron.org.


Andreoli to receive Polsky Award

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron Community Foundation (ACF) announced June 17 Rennick Andreoli will be the 47th recipient of the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award. Andreoli will receive the award at the annual Polsky Humanitarian Award Dinner Oct. 14 at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn.

The Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award is named for the former president of Polsky’s Department Store and founding trustee of ACF and presented each year to the individual or couple who best exemplifies Polsky’s selfless dedication to humanitarian causes in Akron.

According to ACF officials, Andreoli is the president of RDA Hotel Management Co., which has owned, operated and renovated more than 30 hotels, including its current area hotel properties: the DoubleTree Akron/Fairlawn; Sheraton Suites Akron/Cuyahoga Falls; and the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn, the longest continually owned and managed Hilton franchise in the country. In 2003, he created two scholarships at The University of Akron to help hospitality management students pursue careers in his industry, according to ACF officials.

Foundation officials said Andreoli is well known for his charitable work, which ranges from health care to education. Most recently, his efforts on Akron Rotary Camp’s “Sailing the Course” campaign helped raise more than $3.5 million to renovate the camp, which serves children with special needs and their families, according to ACF officials. His company also provided volunteer labor to renovate seven of the camp’s cabins, as well as a home for Habitat for Humanity.

In addition to serving on the board of Akron Rotary Camp, Andreoli has held positions on the boards of ACF, Akron Art Museum, Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and the Stephen A. Comunale Jr. Family Cancer Foundation, of which he is a past chair, according to ACF officials. He is a past honorary chair of the American Diabetes Association’s Sugartown Express and past co-chair of the Northern Ohio Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s annual Golf Classic.

According to ACF officials, Andreoli has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the North Central Ohio Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Zenith Chairman’s Award from the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau. In 2011, he was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of Akron for his exceptional service to Akron Rotary Camp.

Foundation officials said Andreoli attended the American School in Switzerland and the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. He is also a graduate of Ohio University. Andreoli resides in Bath with his wife, Dee.

Andreoli was selected for the award by a committee of past Polsky Humanitarian Award honorees, Foundation officials said. Recent recipients include the late H. Peter Burg, former FirstEnergy CEO, and his wife, Eileen; retired cardiologist and author Dr. Terry Gordon; Akron Children’s Hospital President and CEO William Considine; and former First Akron Corp. President Kathryn Motz Hunter.


Summit County team to join statewide opiate addiction symposium

SUMMIT COUNTY — At the invitation of Gov. John Kasich and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Summit County Common Pleas Administrative Judge Tammy O’Brien will lead a team made up of 10 local leaders at the Ohio Judicial Symposium on Opiate Addiction.

O’Brien’s team includes:

  • Summit County Councilmember Paula Prentice (D-District 8);
  • Akron Municipal Court Presiding Judge Jerry Larson;
  • attorney Paul Grant, chair, Criminal Law Section, Akron Bar Association;
  • Margaret Scott, deputy chief assistant, Summit County Prosecutors Office;
  • John Ellis, manager of clinical services, Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board;
  • Lt. Mathew Paolino, Summit County Sheriff’s Office;
  • Akron Police Department Det. Michael Schmidt; and
  • Probation officers Cynthia Schwarz and Mathew Snyder, Summit County Adult Probation.

The symposium is being presented by the Supreme Court of Ohio and the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team and will take place June 30. Its purpose is to foster an exchange of ideas among teams from all 88 Ohio counties on the most promising practices and options for treatment. It is hoped that local communities can implement plans to ensure that nonviolent offenders with opiate addiction receive appropriate judicial and clinical intervention and services, according to court officials.

“Opiate addiction has touched the lives of so many in our community,” O’Brien stated in a press release. “Local leaders must continue to work to understand the dynamics of addiction. Successful intervention can result not only in the reduction of drug-related crime, but also in preventing individual tragedy to addicts and their families.”  

For more information, call the Summit County Court of Common Pleas General Division Court Executive Office at 330-643-2390.


Volunteers to unite for Day of Action

SUMMIT COUNTY — The 21st annual United Way Day of Action will feature more than 1,300 corporate volunteers undertaking more than 90 projects across the county tomorrow, June 20.

The volunteers all will wear black-on-white LIVE UNITED T-shirts.

Nonprofit organizations will receive assistance with landscaping and beautification projects, painting, cleaning projects and more.

“Each year, on the third Friday of June, hundreds of people from across Summit County come together for one day to make a difference,” Bob Kulinski, president and CEO of United Way of Summit County, stated in a press release. “Now in its 21st year, United Way Day of Action is a day when we ask everyone in our community to help us put our mission into action that results in benefits that ripple out to the community as a whole.”

Over 2013, the number of projects has increased by 54 percent and the number of volunteers has increased by 15 percent. Day of Action is organized by United Way of Summit County and sponsored by FirstEnergy Corp., with product donations from January Paints & Wallpaper and Pepsi Beverages Co.


Akron Towpath section closes weekdays for two weeks

NORTHWEST AKRON — As of June 18, the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail is closed between the Memorial Parkway (499 Memorial Parkway) and Mustill Store (248 Ferndale St.) trailheads weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

A contractor for the City of Akron is making repairs near Lock 18, where the Cuyahoga River is coming close to undercutting the trail, according to Summit Metro Parks officials.

The trail will be open weeknights and weekends during the work, which is expected to last up to two weeks, weather permitting.

For information, call the Akron Engineering Bureau at 330-375-2355.


NOVFTF presents annual awards

CANTON — Today, June 19, at 1 p.m. at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the U.S. Marshals Service Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force (NOVFTF) will hold its annual award ceremony. This event recognizes the outstanding efforts of those who have contributed to the success of the NOVFTF, including law enforcement officers, partner organizations and the general public.

Award recipients are as follows:

  • 2013 Wayne Leon Task Force Officer of the Year: Bruce Birr, Lucas County Sheriff’s Department;
  • 2013 Susan Graves Task Force Division of the Year: Canton Division;
  • 2013 Law Enforcement Partner of the Year: Bath Police Department;
  • 2013 Citizens of the Year: Celia Moore and Colin McDermott (NewsChannel 5);
  • 2013 John K. Elliott Perseverance Award, for the Bobby Thompson capture: Deputy Bill Boldin, Deputy Tony Gardner and Detective Mike Caruso (Euclid Police Department); and
  • 2013 Outstanding Community Partnership: WKYC TV3.

The keynote speaker will be David Baker, executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and guest speakers Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose will also address the group.


Assistance request denied for Cuyahoga Falls damage

CUYAHOGA FALLS — According to city officials, the storm that struck May 12 was one of the worst storms on record in Cuyahoga Falls history.

Within hours of the event, city staff began compiling damage assessment reports to potentially qualify for state and federal emergency assistance. As part of the compilation process and to ensure an accurate assessment of damages, Mayor Don Walters urged homeowners to report their damages to City Hall. In all, the city suffered property losses totaling more than $1.4 million.

On June 9, the city received notice that the minimum threshold for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance was not met, and its funding request was denied.

“The denial is extremely disappointing,” stated Walters in a press release. “To think that $1.4 million in city losses plus damage to more than 900 homes failed to meet the minimum threshold is disheartening.”

Walters also expressed his thanks to all of the residents who shared their information. Moving forward, Walters encourages all residents to review their insurance policies to determine whether flood and/or sewer backup coverage is a viable option.

The city has a limited number of deferred loans available to address some of the damages for income-eligible homeowners. For more information and to determine income eligibility, contact the Development Department at 330-971-8140.


Daytime hydrant flushing begins June 23 in Cuyahoga Falls

CUYAHOGA FALLS — Hydrant flushing will occur during daytime hours, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. Hydrant flushing will begin June 23 and end approximately Aug. 15.

Barricades and signs will alert residents and drivers of hydrant flushing. Water may appear discolored after flushing, and users should allow the cold water to run until it clears.

For more information, call the city’s Water Utilities Department at 330-971-8005.

According to city officials, hydrant flushing serves the dual purpose of removing sediment and iron deposits from the water mains and also providing a check of the working conditions of hydrants to ensure the best fire protection for the community.


VAP selected for human trafficking grant

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Victim Assistance Program (VAP) is one of six programs selected by the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Systems to participate in a new grant-funded project.

The Ohio Commission on Service and Volunteerism and the Department of Job and Family Services granted the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services funds to place two full-time workers at six host sites to support Ohio’s anti-human-trafficking efforts. During the 11-month program, these individuals are tasked to help strengthen local efforts by working on projects that raise awareness and serve victims of human trafficking in Ohio.

The selected Summit County AmeriCorps workers will devote equal time to both VAP and the Summit County Collaborative Against Human Trafficking. VAP Executive Director Leanne Graham is the co-chair of the Collaborative, which works to ensure Summit County is prepared to help and respond to victims of human trafficking throughout the continuum of care.

AmeriCorps workers will utilize the resource guidelines created by the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force to strengthen services provided by VAP victim advocates and strengthen awareness and education provided by the Collaborative.

For details, visit www.endslaverysummitcounty.org.


City of Akron seeking new PeaceMakers class members

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron PeaceMakers, Mayor Don Plusquellic’s anti-crime youth program and youth volunteer group, is seeking new members.

“We are looking for teens who want to make a real difference in the things that directly affect them and their peers. In turn, we empower them to become part of the decision-making process, which will benefit them in the long-run, and while doing so, making our community better and safer for youth,” said Billy Soule, assistant to Plusquellic and in charge of community relations, in a press release.

Soule said the program has more than 80 active members. In 2013, PeaceMakers volunteered and participated in more than two dozen different community projects and provided over 4,500 volunteer hours.

“These young citizens are successfully promoting peace in our city and actively making Akron a stronger, safer community,” Plusquellic said in the release. “The teens are spending their free time mentoring middle school children and performing community service projects. We’re extremely proud of them.”

The PeaceMakers will hold two summer accelerated orientation sessions to welcome and prepare new members for service: July 15-18 or Aug. 5-8. To qualify, the teen should reside in the Greater Akron area. Only applicants entering grades nine through 12 will be considered.

The deadlines for applications are July 9 for the July 15 session and July 30 for the Aug. 5 session. Application forms are available online at www.AkronPeaceMakers.org.

For details, call Willa Keith at 330-375-2712 or Soule at 330-375-2660 or email PeaceMakers@akronohio.gov.


Ariel Hakim, Stephanie Kist and Pam Lifke contributed to these reports.

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