West Side News & Notes
Summit Metro Parks board to vote on board expansion
WEST AKRON — The Summit Metro Parks Board of Park Commissioners has scheduled a special meeting to discuss and vote on the possible expansion of the board from three to five commissioners.
The meeting will take place Aug. 25 at 3 p.m. in the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm Visitors Center, 1828 Smith Road.
The current three-person park board is appointed by the Summit County Probate Court judge. Commissioners serve overlapping three-year terms without compensation and are assisted by the park district’s director-secretary, who oversees the work of full-time and part-time employees, seasonal workers and volunteers.
The meeting is expected to take less than two hours.
Requests to communicate with the board must be in writing and must have been received by the park district’s director-secretary at 975 Treaty Line Road at least five business days before the special meeting. Public comments by individuals are limited to five minutes or less.
For more information, call the administrative offices at 330-867-5511.
Summa President Strauss to retire at end of year
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summa Health System President and CEO Tom Strauss is retiring at the end of the year.
Strauss served as president and CEO of Summa for 15 years, guiding the health system through some of the most challenging and tumultuous times in health care, according Summa officials.
“Tom has been a true visionary who has shaped Summa Health System into the area’s clear health care leader. I don’t know of anyone who cares about Summa more than Tom,” said Summa Health System Board Chair Norm Wells. “He exemplifies all you want in a CEO: a brilliant mind combined with a deep, genuine passion to provide the absolute best care for our patients. He will be truly missed.”
Summa Health System has $1.7 billion in annual revenue and is Summit County’s largest employer, with approximately 10,000 employees, according to Summa officials.
“Tom is leaving Summa well positioned to continue its leadership role in the health care industry and, for that, we are thankful,” said Wells. “Over the past two years, Tom has helped Summa select a partner, HealthSpan, which positions Summa to play a key role in the future of health care delivery in Akron, Summit County and throughout the State of Ohio. He has assembled a strong, talented leadership team, including the addition of two key physician executives.”
Strauss joined Summa in 1999 after serving as president of the four-hospital Meridia Health Services in Cleveland. A pharmacist by trade, Straus worked for a number of years in private industry, having held several management positions at Baxter Health Corp. prior to working for Meridia, according to Summa officials.
Wells said the Summa Health System Board of Directors is appointing a CEO search committee and will conduct a comprehensive review for Strauss’ replacement with a strong focus on internal candidates. Wells added he expected a great deal of interest in the position, but would conduct a national search only if necessary.
Strauss expects to continue his association with Summa through community engagement with the Summa Foundation following his Dec. 31 retirement, according to Summa officials.
Free clinic to assist job seekers with criminal records
WEST AKRON — People with criminal records who are having a difficult time finding a job or qualifying for a government-issued occupational license can get help from University of Akron School of Law students at a free clinic.
Law students will assist people who have felony or misdemeanor convictions apply for expungement/record sealing and for certificates of qualification for employment (CQE), according to the Summit County Executive’s Office. The free clinic is set for Aug. 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mount Haven Missionary Baptist Church, 545 Noble Ave.
People seeking to have criminal records expunged or sealed should bring a driver’s license or identification card, a pay stub and proof of address, such as mail addressed to them. The law regarding expungement and record sealing has changed to include people who may not have been eligible in the past, according to information from the executive’s office.
A CQE offers proof from a court that a felon has been rehabilitated, according to Lori Peschi, senior administrator with the executive’s office. Law students will help people complete the application for a CQE, and representatives from the Summit County Department of Job and Family Services will take applications for financial assistance for the $100 CQE filing fee.
Those who wish to apply for a CQE must live in Summit County and have completed all terms of their sentences, including probation, community supervision and payment of court costs, at least two years prior to applying, according to the executive’s office.
Applicants must need the CQE to relieve a collateral sanction — an indirect penalty or disadvantage as a result of their conviction or guilty plea — to get a job or an occupational license, according to the executive’s office. A CQE is no guarantee of a license or job, but it may ease the process, the executive’s office said.
Summit County Stand Down offering veterans services
SOUTH AKRON — Homeless and displaced veterans can get a hand up Sept. 9 at the ninth annual Summit County Stand Down.
The event, at Firestone VFW Post 3383, 690 W. Waterloo Road, will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and offer veterans food and access to clothing, medical services, legal and mental health assistance, job counseling and referral, companionship and camaraderie, according to event organizers. Veterans must present military identification such as dog tags, military discharge papers or a Veterans Administration ID to receive services.
RTA Metro bus No. 18 will transport veterans to and from the event.
Veterans will be assigned a “shepherd volunteer” at registration. The volunteer will guide veterans through Stand Down services, including a Veterans Health Administration clinic, where they may be seen by a registered nurse, podiatrist, optometrist and mental health professional. The Veterans Service Commission (VSC) will assist veterans with emergency financial assistance, medical claim applications, transportation to medical centers and clinics and wheelchair ramps, among other things, according to event organizers.
Veterans also may speak with representatives of the Ohio Department of Jobs & Family Services Veterans Services and Legal Aid. Barbers and hair stylists also will give free haircuts.
Gently used winter clothing will be provided by Goodwill Industries Inc., and food, clothing, shoes, boots, hats, scarves and ditty bags also will be available, according to event organizers.
The ninth annual Summit County Stand Down is sponsored by the VSC. In the military, stand down afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall well-being. The Summit County Stand Down affords the same opportunity to homeless veterans, according to event organizers.
Event organizers are seeking donations of clean and gently used cold weather clothing, shoes and boots. They also are seeking underwear, socks, sleeping bags, personal hygiene care kits, tarps, ditty bags and kitchen supplies.
For the day of the event, organizers said they are seeking gallons of soup and chili, sandwiches, cookies, cakes, pies, sandwich bags, lunch bags, fruit, drinks, coffee, sugar, cream, coffee cups, soup bowls and plastic tableware. Financial donations may be made to the VSC.
For more information, contact George Baker, executive director of the VSC, at 330-376-5551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foodbank’s Operation Orange seeking volunteers
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank still is seeking volunteers for Operation Orange, a 24-hour event to celebrate Hunger Action Month.
The Foodbank hopes to draw 1,200 volunteers from noon Sept. 5 to noon Sept. 6 to work on projects at the agency’s 85,000-square-foot warehouse, located at 350 Opportunity Parkway, said Kat Pestian, communications coordinator.
More than 800 volunteers — including individuals, families and groups — already had signed up by Aug. 18, Pestian said. Most shifts still are available, but volunteers particularly are needed during the early morning hours Sept. 6, she said.
To attract late-night volunteers, the Foodbank will host a dance party at midnight Sept. 5 and a free T-shirt giveaway to the first 50 volunteers at 2 a.m. Sept. 6, Pestian said. Young professionals are encouraged to volunteer from 10 p.m. to midnight on Sept. 5, she added.
“By participating in Operation Orange, community members will help raise awareness for the one in seven who experience food insecurity locally,” said Dan Flowers, president and CEO of the Foodbank. “We invite you to become involved and make a tangible difference in the fight to end hunger.”
Volunteers may select two- to four-hour shifts working on projects such as sorting fresh produce, labeling cans and sorting meat, Pestian said. As many as 100 volunteers are sought for each hour of the event, Pestian said. Online registration is available at www.akroncantonfoodbank.org/operation-orange.aspx.
UDS’ low vision clinic moves to new location
DOWNTOWN AKRON — United Disability Services’ (UDS) Low Vision Services has moved from the Advanced Elastomer Systems building to the agency’s main office located at 701 S. Main St.
Dr. Cheryl Reed and her staff are now seeing patients at the new location. The office phone number also has changed to 330-762-9755.
The Low Vision Services program serves more than 350 adults and children with visual impairments throughout Northeast Ohio each year, according to UDS officials. An individual is considered to have low vision when vision cannot be corrected with ordinary glasses, surgery or medical treatment and adversely impacts everyday activities.
The clinic provides low vision assessments, orientation and mobility training, instruction by teachers of visually impaired students, a bioptic driving program in collaboration with Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation and the opportunity for patients to try a variety of low vision aids and adaptive equipment, such as special reading or telescopic glasses, handheld magnifiers, large print or “talking devices,” special lighting and/or closed circuit TV systems.
To be considered eligible for services, candidates must have had an eye exam within the past year. Referrals are required and can be made by eye care professionals, schools or community agencies.
For more information call UDS Low Vision Services, visit www.udsakron.org.
Stephanie Kist, Pam Lifke and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.
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