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West Side News & Notes

7/17/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Summit County Councilman seeking proposals for funding

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Councilman Bill Roemer (R-at large) announced over the past two years, he has donated $23,700, an amount equal to his annual salary for serving on Council, to local charities.

According to Roemer, during his 2010 campaign for Summit County Council, he pledged to donate half of his annual $23,700 salary to charity if Council did not propose and maintain a balanced General Fund budget, he said.

Roemer is preparing once again to donate $11,850 to local charities and is seeking proposals for funding. Interested Summit County-based 501(c)(3) charitable organizations may submit proposals to roemerbill@hotmail.com by Aug. 1 for consideration.

Recipients for funding will be chosen by a committee comprised of: Mary Serpentini, philanthropist; Randy Briggs, Akron deputy mayor for labor relations and chairman of the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board; Dan Bell of Daniel L. Bell Co. LPA and past chairman of Summit County Children Services; and Kevin Crum, CPA partner with Levin Swedler Crum and past chairman of the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board. Sarah Shimek, intern to Roemer, will be assisting with the donation project, he said.

In addition to his charitable donations, Roemer said he has kept his campaign pledge to decline Summit County benefits, including health, pension, vision and dental. He also does not accept the monthly stipend offered to county employees who decline benefits, he added.

“Summit County has been a wonderful place to raise my family and I am pleased to be able to give back,” said Roemer.


Copley Fire responds to apartment building fire

COPLEY — The Copley Fire Department responded to a garage fire on the north end of an eight-unit apartment building at 1320 Vale Drive July 14.

Fire units from Bath, Fairlawn, Norton and Sharon assisted, along with the Code 10 Fire Investigation team, according to Copley Fire Chief Michael Benson.

Benson reported no one was injured in the fire, but tenants in the four units closest to the fire were displaced due to damage to their apartments. Those who were forced from their apartments were assisted by the American Red Cross, he added.

According to Benson, the firefighters on duty did an excellent job controlling the fire quickly. He said the fire was contained to the garage, with smoke and water damage in the four affected units. Damage is estimated at $225,000 and the cause is under investigation, according to Benson.

Benson said the building’s management company has secured the building.

ACF announces growth, celebrates new board members, record gifts at annual meeting


FAIRLAWN — On July 8, Akron Community Foundation (ACF) officials announced the highest 12 months of growth in the organization’s 59-year history for its fiscal year ending March 31. Nearly $20.3 million in contributions and investment growth of 13.7 percent brought the ACF’s assets to an all-time high of nearly $181 million.

President and CEO John Petures Jr. delivered the news to a crowd of more than 200 at the 59th annual meeting at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn.

During the same period, individuals, families, companies and nonprofit organizations started 41 new charitable funds at ACF. The largest gift ever, $12 million, established the Interval Brotherhood Home (IBH) Foundation Fund June 7, 2013. Tim Killian, IBH Foundation board chairman, thanked the community foundation for its partnership in creating a permanent source of funding for IBH Addiction Recovery Center.

“I am very grateful that this management assistance will far exceed my lifetime. In fact, it will live on forever to aid IBH’s mission,” Killian said.

ACF Treasurer Paul Belair announced that grants and distributions for the fiscal year totaled more than $7.5 million thanks to the ACF’s “prudent investment policies.” This grew the organization’s cumulative grant-making to $114 million since its founding. He also reported operating expenses of 1.1 percent, “an expense ratio that is one of the lowest in the country for community foundations of our size,” he said.

Dale Koblenzer, Nominating Committee chairman, announced the slate of incoming officers, which was approved prior to the meeting: Mark Allio, Bath resident and CEO of MSA Associates, chairman; Steve Cox, West Akron resident and partner at Roetzel and Andress, vice chairman; Belair, Hudson resident and president of Roth Bros., treasurer and finance chairman; the Rev. Dr. Sandra Selby, Fairlawn resident, secretary; Steve Strayer, Bath resident and senior vice president at PNC Institutional Investments, community investment chairman; Tommy Bruno, West Akron resident and general manager of 91.3 The Summit, community relations chairman; and Michael Sweeney, Fairlawn resident and partner at Brouse McDowell, immediate past chairman.

Koblenzer also welcomed three new board members: Green resident Mark Krohn, partner at Brouse McDowell; Fairlawn resident Dee Lowery, president of FirstEnergy Foundation; and Hudson resident Mike Zeleznik, financial advisor at GDK and Co. They replace Koblenzer, Eileen Burg, Carla Moore and Robert Reffner, each of whom completed three three-year terms.

Petures gave an update on renovations to the ACF’s office building on West Cedar Street, which was damaged Jan. 10 in a fire of unknown origins. Following the fire, the ACF temporarily relocated to the U.S. Bank Building at 195 S. Main St. In addition to showing a video depicting renovations, Petures thanked the community for its continued support.

“We’ve been working very hard these past three years to transform Akron Community Foundation into a more donor-centric organization, and we can’t wait to invite all of you to see the physical transformation that is occurring at our permanent home … which will reopen sometime this fall,” he said.


Volunteers needed for s.o.a.p. project against human trafficking

DOWNTOWN AKRON — In response to human trafficking, a grant from the Women’s Endowment Fund of the Akron Community Foundation is allowing the Summit County Collaborative Against Human Trafficking to host a S.O.A.P. (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution) event.

The S.O.A.P. project strives to educate Summit County hotel and motel managers about saving trafficked children who are often hidden in plain sight, according to collaborative officials. The collaborative is partnering with Be Free Dayton, a nonprofit organization, and Teresa Flores, an author, advocate and survivor, who will provide training for all volunteers willing to approach hotel managers about maintaining a traffic-free hotel.

According to collaborative officials, each year an estimated 1,078 Ohio-born children are trafficked, including underage victims currently residing in Summit County.

Adult volunteers are needed to distribute bars of soap to specified Summit County hotel managers. Adults, placed in teams of four, will be asked to encourage hotel managers to replace current bars of soap with the new bars labeled with the National Human Trafficking Hotline phone number.

The event will take place July 27 at 1 p.m. at the Oasis Facility, 847 Crouse St. Register by searching for the event at www.eventbrite.com.

For additional information, contact Belinda Wing at belindawing3@gmail.com.


FDWSC recognizing civil rights champions


COPLEY — The Federated Democratic Women of Summit County (FDWSC) will host “50 Years of Civil Rights: A Change Is Gonna Come” Aug. 9 at 11:30 a.m. at St. George’s Fellowship, 3204 Ridgewood Road.

The guest speaker will be attorney Edward Gilbert. In addition, there will be community awards for champions of Akron’s civil rights leaders from 1964 to 2014.

Reservations are recommended. Tickets can be purchased from any member of the FDWSC, or call 330-864-8280 for more information and to make a reservation. Advance tickets will be discounted. Payment received confirms a reservation. The deadline for advance ticket sales is Aug. 2.

In addition, those who are interested may nominate a civil rights champion in 100 or fewer words. Champions or pioneers have best demonstrated compassion for civil/human rights in Greater Akron. Mail nominations postmarked no later than July 25 to: FDWSC, c/o Reneé Greene, 477 Mineola Ave., Akron, OH 44320, or email reenie477@yahoo.com.


ACCESS hosting breakfast event Aug. 14


DOWNTOWN AKRON — ACCESS Inc. will host its “Shelter From the Storm” Breakfast Aug. 14. The complimentary breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m., with the program from 8 to 9 a.m.

According to agency officials, ACCESS empowers homeless women through pertinent programming, intensive case management, emotional support and more. The breakfast will celebrate the agency’s accomplishments. Last year, ACCESS:

  • sheltered 501 homeless women and children, 252 of whom were children and 126 whom were younger than 6;
  • served 39,500 meals;
  • provided 13,000 nights of shelter; and
  • completed 255 physical health assessments.

To reserve a spot, contact Tara Regan at 330-376-0997 or by email at tregan@access-shelter.org.

Those who cannot attend but would like to make a contribution are invited to make a check payable to “ACCESS Breakfast” and mail to ACCESS Inc., 230 W. Market St., Akron, OH 44303, or contribute online at www.access-shelter.org (choose “Donate” from the “Support Us” drop-down menu).


Stephanie Kist, Ariel Hakim and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.

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