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West Side News & Notes

7/10/2008 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

West Akron shooting under investigation

Courtland Wright is accused of fatally shooting Robert Smith in West Akron.
Photo courtesy of Akron Police Department
WEST AKRON — The Akron Police Department and the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the death of Robert Smith, 62, of North Akron.

Smith was shot following an altercation at Circle K gas station, 440 W. Market St., July 4 at about 11:05 a.m.

The homicide occurred after an altercation in the parking lot in which multiple shots were fired, according to police. Smith was found unresponsive when officers and paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:35 a.m.

The suspect was identified as Courtland J. Wright, 27, of Russell Ave. in near West Akron. After being at large throughout the weekend, Wright turned himself in July 7 and was charged with aggravated murder.

He is being held at Summit County jail on a $1 million cash bond and will next appear in Akron Municipal Court July 23, according to Lt. Rick Edwards, of the Akron Police Department.

Sewer backups affect 55 homes

WEST AKRON — The basements of 55 homes south of West Exchange Street along South Hawkins Avenue were affected by a sewer backup following a storm June 26.

“We’re gathering information to determine what the cause of the backups was,” said Jim Weber, construction division manager for the city of Akron.

City Director of Communications Mark Williamson said the bypass system that was to work in place of city sewers during Kenmore Construction’s sewer project on North Hawkins Avenue might have failed.

“People need to go to their insurance company and work with their insurance companies,” Weber said. “Anything that the insurance company does not cover, and their deductible, they may choose to file a claim with the city of Akron Law Department.”

To do so, call (330) 375-2030 and ask for the claims agent.

The city paid for the sewage cleanup for those homeowners who do not have insurance, Weber said.

Schocalog contamination contained, cleaned up

COPLEY — The contamination of waters and fowl in Schocalog Lake and feeder creeks has been cleared up, according to Ohio Environmental Agency (EPA) officials.

Bart Ray, an on-scene coordinator from the Twinsburg Ohio EPA office, reported diesel fuel flowed into the Schocalog waters June 27 as a result of roadwork along Interstate 77 in the Fairlawn and Copley areas, which was followed by heavy rains.

The contamination occurred when the paving contractor, Shelly & Sands Inc., sprayed a pretreatment liquid asphalt, which contains diesel fuel, onto the interstate prior to the application of asphalt in the area, according to Ray. Heavy rains washed much of the pretreatment into a roadside ditch, which flows into Schocalog creek and the lake.

“Shelly & Sands [of Zanesville] has been very cooperative in the cleanup,” Ray said. “They hired Inland Waters, an environmental cleanup company, to take care of the cleanup.”

In addition, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife personnel came out to the area to trap and remove about 20 ducks and geese covered in oil, according to Doug Miller, an ODNR wildlife representative.

The animals were taken to a Lake County rehabilitation facility for cleanup and will be released back into the wild.

“We don’t believe any animals died,” Miller said. “The animals are doing fine.”

Miller added Shelly & Sands was asked to cover the cost of the effort.

    — By Maria Lindsay

White Pond Drive project receiving more than $600,000

WEST AKRON — The Department of Transportation has announced that the White Pond Drive expansion project will receive $604,729 in federal funds.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton (D-District 13) secured the funding in the final omnibus appropriations bill that was signed into law late last year.

“This is good news for West Akron,” Brown said in a press release. “These federal funds will help to create more access for more businesses in the area. Projects like these help to promote economic growth ...”

The federal dollars for the White Pond Drive project will be used to widen and improve the roadway and create new office space at the White Pond Office Park and assist FirstEnergy in establishing its new West Akron office on White Pond Drive, creating an estimated 150 new jobs.

FirstEnergy’s move allows Sterling Jewelers to move into FirstEnergy’s existing building, adding an estimated 300 new employees.

Work continues on Towpath Trail through Akron

AKRON — Akron continues to move forward with connections along the nearly 100-mile-long Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.

While work began July 2 on the towpath that will take hikers and bikers around Summit Lake, Public Service Director Rick Merolla sent Akron City Council legislation July 7 that would help construct the trailhead at Beech Street and also build the next link in the trail from Wilbeth Road to Waterloo Road in South Akron.

When these three links are completed this year, only two connections, near Bartges Street and behind Advanced Elastomer Systems downtown, will remain to complete the trail’s Akron route.

The trailhead at Beech Street is next to a former power station and will include a parking lot and an Americans With Disabilities Act-accessible ramp connection to the Cascade Locks Bikeway and the pedestrian connector trail. The approximate location for the trailhead is just west of the intersection of Howard and Perkins streets.

Council OK’d the $572,682 project at its July 7 meeting. Construction is scheduled for later this month, with completion in October.

The portion of the trail that will connect at the trailhead and head south to a new bridge on state Route 59 is expected to open in August.

The Wilbeth-to-Waterloo project is bigger and involves the construction of a trailhead and towpath just south of Wilbeth and east of the canal. Work on this is set to begin in 2009.

The towpath itself will be installed from south of Wilbeth to Waterloo along the eastern shoreline of the historic canal. Council also approved that legislation July 7. The cost is almost $2.09 million.

Geographically, this is the Towpath Trail’s last stretch of real estate in Akron on its eventual journey to Zoar.

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