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West Side News & Notes

6/12/2008 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Akron honored again as All-America City

Mayor Don Plusquellic addresses judges at the National Civic League Conference in Tampa, Fla., on June 5 as Akron competes to be selected an “All-America City.” Some of the 66 Akron-area participants accompanying the mayor to the stage are shown from left: neighborhood activist Sharon Connor; Akron Fire Chief Larry Bunner; Police Capt. Sylvia Trundle; Daryl Mangeri, of the Salvation Army; City Councilwoman Reneé Greene (D-Ward 4); Juvenile Court Judge Linda Teodosio; YMCA Chief Executive Officer Doug Kohl; Zev Gurion and Mike LeHere, of the Akron Global Business Accelerator; Plusquellic; City Council President Marco Sommerville (D-Ward 3); Akron Urban League Chief Executive Officer Bernett Williams; Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank President Dan Flowers; Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority Executive Director Tony O’Leary; Akron Zoo Vice President Doug Pierkarz; Akron Public Schools Special Projects Coordinator Carla Sibley; Deputy Mayor Dave Lieberth; and Tyrell Butts, of Perkins Activities Central.
Photo courtesy of city of Akron
TAMPA, Fla. — For the third time in its history, the city of Akron was named an “All-America City” by the National Civic League at its annual competition June 6 in Tampa, Fla.

“This affirms the outstanding work of many people in our community who have worked so hard to make Akron one of this country’s great places to work and live,” said Mayor Don Plusquellic.

A delegation of 66 people from Akron was on hand to applaud the city’s victory in the competition.

Representatives from Akron schools, the business community, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood groups and The University of Akron participated in the 10-minute presentation to a panel of 10 judges June 5 and attended the awards ceremony June 6.

Plusquellic was accompanied to the stage to receive the award by two students from Perkins Middle School in West Akron — eighth-graders Tyrell Butts and Devonte Roper — participants in Alchemy Inc., an after-school program at Perkins.

The competition required presentation of one youth project in the community. Competitors also were required to identify two community challenges and how the city faced them. Akron identified its need to build and pay for new schools as community learning centers to retain young families in the city, and the need to increase employment, especially in technology-related business.

According to the National Civic League, “The All-America City Awards recognizes communities for collaboration, inclusiveness and successful innovation. All-America Cities demonstrate community-wide civic accomplishments, cross-sector cooperation, grassroots participation and creative approaches to issues.”

Nero appointed to house seat

Republican Richard Nero, of Hudson, was sworn in as the new Ohio District 42 representative by Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted June 10. Nero’s wife, Melanie, is shown at his left.
Photo courtesy of Ohio House of Representatives
COLUMBUS — Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted (R-District 37) appointed Republican Richard Nero June 10 to serve as the state representative for the 42nd Ohio House District. District 42 encompasses portions of Summit County and includes the communities of Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Munroe Falls, Silver Lake and Stow.

The seat was vacated when John Widowfield resigned May 28. It is up for election in the Nov. 4 General Election.

“With a background in business and a drive for public service, Rich Nero will certainly be an asset to the legislature and his constituents back home,” Husted said. “I have no doubt that he will bring fresh, new ideas to the table as we continue to work to improve Ohio’s economy and move Ohio forward.”

Joined by his family, Nero took the oath of office June 10 in the chamber of the Ohio House of Representatives and was welcomed with a standing ovation from his fellow members.

“This is truly an honor and a privilege for me today,” Nero said. “I pledge to work hard for the people of the 42nd district and ensure their voices are heard here at the Statehouse. I look forward to the work that lies ahead and thank you for the distinct opportunity to serve this great state.”

Born and raised in Northeast Ohio and a graduate of Kent State University, Nero, 37, is employed by Oracle. He resides in Hudson with his wife, Melanie, and their two daughters.

In the coming months, Nero hopes to meet constituents throughout the district and hear their ideas on how to improve the state of Ohio.

Sawyer hosts regional economic development forum

DOWNTOWN AKRON — State Sen. Tom Sawyer (D-District 28) will host an open forum tomorrow, June 13, as part of the Ohio Senate Democrats’ Listening Tour. The forum will be at 2 p.m. at the Canal Place Cafeteria, 520 S. Main St.

The forum will focus on regional economic development in a rapidly changing global marketplace. Using Akron’s experience as an example, the panel will explore how partnerships between educational institutions and local industry can transform and revive an economy.

The Listening Tour is a series of statewide public forums addressing legislative strategies to create economic security and stability through job creation, access to quality health care, sustainable energy policies and investment in urban neighborhoods.

Joining Sawyer on the panel will be:

  • Eric Fingerhut, chancellor, Ohio Board of Regents;
  • Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic;
  • Bill Crooks, vice president, United Steelworkers of America Local 7, and president, Tri-County Labor Council;
  • Frank Kelley, former dean, College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering, The University of Akron (UA);
  • George Newkome, vice president of research, UA;
  • Jim Blank, chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Kent State University;
  • Mike LeHere, chief executive officer, Akron Global Business Accelerator;
  • Robert Gray, vice president of technology, Schneller LLC; and
  • Daniel Colantone, president and chief executive officer, Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce.

Bath-Richfield Relay For Life just around corner

RICHFIELD — The family-friendly American Cancer Society’s Bath-Richfield Relay for Life, “Cruising for a Cure,” will take place June 21-22 from 9 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Richfield Woods and is open to the community.

This year’s entertainment will include performances by members of the National and World Champion Heartbeats Jump Rope Team as well as the state champion Revere High School cheerleaders. There also will be a number of bands playing at various times throughout the event.

Hundreds of luminaria, inscribed to remember those who have lost their lives to cancer or to honor a cancer survivor, will be placed around the lake at Richfield Woods and lit the evening of June 21. Those wishing to purchase luminaria in advance may call Karen at (330) 659-4750.

A special attraction this year at the event will be a cruise-in featuring antique and collectible cars. Check-in for cars will be June 21 at 11 a.m., and the cruise-in will end at 4 p.m. Anyone interested in displaying a car may call Kathy at (330) 659-2221. There is a limit of 50 spaces.

Cancer survivors are invited to participate in the opening ceremony of the Relay June 21 at 11 a.m., which will be followed by a complimentary luncheon for them. If you would like to take part, call Sally at (330) 283-3478.

For details on the Relay, contact Penny Thomas at (888) 227-6446, ext. 2260, or penny.thomas@cancer.org.

For up-to-date information, visit www.acsevents.org/relay/oh/richfield.

Refugee events, naturalization ceremony planned

DOWNTOWN AKRON — A World Refugee Day Event and Naturalization Ceremony sponsored by the International Institute of Akron will take place June 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, 60 S. High St.

This cultural awareness event is free and open to the public.  Information booths, multimedia presentations, food and entertainment, including ethnic dancers, will be featured.

At noon, there will be a special presentation of the film “The Lost Boys of Sudan,” a documentary directed by Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk that follows two young orphaned Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America.

A special naturalization ceremony will take place at 2 p.m., when individuals will take the Oath of Allegiance to become U.S. citizens.

Summit County Executive Russ Pry and representatives from Congress and the U.S. District Court will address the new citizens and welcome those in attendance. Girl Scout troops will present the color guard ceremony. An African drum group will provide music.

The United Nations has designated June 20 as World Refugee Day. It is commemorated each year to highlight the plight of refugees worldwide and recognize their courage and resilience.

Fairlawn to spray for mosquitoes

FAIRLAWN — The city of Fairlawn’s Department of Public Service will conduct a mosquito control program starting this month and continuing through September, or as conditions warrant, every Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Tuesdays, all residential streets north of West Market Street, Ridgewood Road, Brunsdorph Road, the Ridgewood Lakes allotment and the Villages of Fairlawn will be sprayed.

On Thursdays, all other residential streets south of West Market Street, Rothrock Road and Rosemont Ridge allotment will be sprayed.

Spraying will begin at dusk and proceed into the next morning (usually no later than 1 a.m.). Typically the program takes two days to complete and is dependent on temperature, wind and precipitation, according to city officials. Rain dates will be on Thursdays and Fridays.

For more information, call (330) 668-9550.

Green building opens to public June 21-22

NORTHWEST AKRON — New offices for park rangers and biologists in Sand Run Metro Park will be open to the public June 21-22 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Due to limited parking, visitors will be shuttled from the Metro RTA park-and-ride at 530 Ghent Road in Bath to the building on Sand Run Parkway. An alternative is for users of the 6-mile Jogging Trail to park in designated spaces along the parkway and hike to the building, located near the corner of Sand Run Parkway and Revere Road.

A former private residence, the 2,200-square-foot structure was expanded by 1,700 square feet to make room for the park district’s ranger and resource management departments. Metro Parks, Serving Summit County staff moved in earlier this year.

The building includes geothermal heating, waterless toilets, solar panels, a green roof, lumber from downed trees in the Metro Parks and recycled carpet, furniture and cabinetry. Outside, the features include porous pavement, a rain garden, rain barrels and native landscaping. Some of the original building materials were “recycled” by Habitat for Humanity.

This fall, the building could be named the first “Platinum” LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified building in Ohio, according to Metro Parks officials.

For more information, call (330) 867-5511.

OhioRideshare registrants up with gas prices

NORTHEAST OHIO — The number of registrants with OhioRideshare is climbing right along with gasoline prices.

OhioRideshare is a free online carpool matching service sponsored by the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS), Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, and Eastgate — serving a total of 13 counties.

Interested participants can visit www.ohiorideshare.com to register and begin searching for potential carpool partners for work trips. For more information, call (800) 825-7123.

When the program was officially launched in January 2007, the OhioRideshare database serving the AMATS area began with 43 active registrants. As 2007 unfolded and gas prices began to rise, the number of commuters registering with the program began to inch up. By the end of 2007, 299 active registrants were participating in the program.

During the past several months, OhioRideshare has experienced another significant spike in the number of registrants, to 393 by the end of April.

“We expect interest in the program to continue to grow,” said program spokesman Curtis Baker. “We’re also going to increase awareness of the program through various means so commuters know where to find relief.”

Baker added carpooling might be an attractive option not only to those wanting to lower their commuting costs but also to those looking for a way to help improve the region’s air quality.

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