West Side News & Notes
Red Cross, civilians providing relief to Haiti
SUMMIT COUNTY — The American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties offers the following suggestions detailing how individuals can best support its relief efforts to Haiti following the Jan. 12 earthquake:
• Donations — According to Red Cross officials, the best way that individuals can help the relief efforts is by making a financial donation directly to the Red Cross International Relief Fund at www.redcross.org or by calling (800) 733-2767. Donors will have the option of making a contribution to the general Relief Fund or one specifically for Haiti.
Local residents also can make a donation online at www.summitcounty.redcross.org or www.portageoh.redcross.org or in person at the Summit County Office, 501 W. Market St. in West Akron, (330) 535-6131.
The Red Cross also is receiving money through a third-party mobile fund-raising effort in which mobile donors can text “Haiti” to 90999 to send a $10 donation to the Red Cross. According to Red Cross officials, this mobile giving effort raised more than $3 million by Jan. 14, and all money raised goes to support Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.
• Blood donations — To date, there have been no requests for blood products from the government of Haiti directly to the Red Cross. However, blood donations are always needed, and the Northeast Ohio area is currently experiencing a severe blood shortage, say Red Cross officials. Individuals wishing to make a blood donation can do so by calling (800) GIVELIFE or visiting www.redcrossblood.org to schedule an appointment.
• Other Donations — The American Red Cross is unable to accept product donations. The cost of processing and transporting these types of donations often outweighs the cost of the donated items themselves. Plus, donations of collected goods require time, money and personnel to accept, clean, sort and distribute them.
• Volunteers — The Red Cross is deploying only experienced staff and volunteers trained in international relief efforts to Haiti and is not currently accepting volunteers to travel to Haiti.
Anyone wishing to provide personal assistance in Haiti is instead encouraged to contact the Center for International Disaster Information, which has established a dedicated page to coordinate Haiti support at www.cidi.org/incident/haiti-10a/.
• Contacting family members in Haiti — Individuals should not contact the Red Cross for assistance in reaching friends or family members in Haiti. People trying to locate U.S. citizens living or traveling in Haiti should contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at (888) 407-4747.
The International Committee of the Red Cross also launched a Family Links Website Jan. 14, which is aimed at enabling people in Haiti and abroad to register the names of relatives with whom they are striving to restore contact. Those seeking news from their loved ones can register the name at www.icrc.org/familylinks.
United Way, local AFL-CIO team up to accept relief funds
AKRON — The United Way of Summit County (UWSC) and the Tri-County Regional Labor Council AFL-CIO have teamed up to encourage and accept donations to a variety of Haitian relief causes in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake.
Those who wish to give can send checks to UWSC, 90 N. Prospect St., Akron, OH 44304, Attn: Haitian Relief. UWSC will forward contributions to the United Way Worldwide Disaster Fund and the Red Cross International Response Fund in equal shares.
“We know that times are tough for many of our members and for many in this community, but Americans have always shown the best of ourselves by giving to those in greater need, even when it’s hard,” said Tri-County Regional Labor Council Executive Secretary/Treasurer John Wagner.
“While we’re still working hard to raise money locally to meet our $11.3 million goal and help those in need here in Summit County, we recognize our responsibility to respond to global disasters and epic tragedies such as this earthquake,” said UWSC President Bob Kulinski. “We are happy to partner with the Tri-County Regional Labor Council to provide a vehicle to enable individuals and organizations to help out in this disaster. We will forward contributions to these relief funds with absolutely no administrative charge.”
For more information, call (330) 762-7601.
Vacant-property group to reveal findings
DOWNTOWN AKRON — After more than a year of work, the Summit County Abandoned and Vacant Property Task Force is set to announce its findings at a public meeting Jan. 27.
The meeting will take place at 3 p.m. in the auditorium of the Akron-Summit County Main Library, 60 S. High St.
During the meeting, representatives of the task force will unveil their goals for combating the problem of abandoned and vacant properties in the community, as well as strategies for implementation.
The task force was created in October 2008 by resolution of Summit County Council. The group was charged with finding ways to reduce the number of abandoned and vacant properties in the county, decreasing neighborhood blight and decay, maximizing the use of abandoned and vacant properties and preventing future abandonments and vacancies by addressing the needs of homeowners who face the loss of their property through foreclosure or other reasons.
Task force participants include representatives from the offices of the County Executive, County Council, Fiscal Officer and Consumer Affairs, the city of Akron, local mayors, nonprofit organizations, lending and real-estate entities and other interested parties.
Community leaders have been invited to the presentation, but it also is open to the public. Those interested in attending are asked to register by tomorrow, Jan. 22, to Erin Siebel, County Council administrative assistant, at (330) 643-2725.
For more information, contact Darlene Mims, chief of staff for County Council, at (330) 643-2726.
— By Kathleen Folkerth
Local Red Cross chapters offering open house for military families
WEST AKRON — Several local Red Cross chapters are combining their efforts to offer members of the military, veterans and their families the opportunity to learn more about specialized services available to them through a series of open houses Jan. 29 between noon and 5 p.m. Locations will include the Summit County Office, 501 W. Market St.
“Every day, the Red Cross helps local families cope with the stress and hardship of separation that occurs when military service members are deployed. The long separations and worry about loved ones in danger often place a serious emotional strain on families,” said Toby Ann Weber, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties, in a press release. “We are holding these open houses in an effort to reach as many local families as possible about the services available to them through the Red Cross and other community organizations.”
The Red Cross sends emergency messages between service members and their families around the world and around the clock, as well as facilitating financial assistance through military aid societies and making connections to other community services.
Other locations hosting open houses include the Medina County Office, 704 N. Court St., and the Barberton Office, at the Barberton Moose Lodge, 250 31st St. N.W.
Hourly orientation sessions will be provided, along with light refreshments, at each location.
For more information, call the Summit County chapter at (330) 535-6131.
County receives funding for Akron-Peninsula Road
CVNP — The U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton’s (D-District 13) office announced last week the Summit County Engineer’s office will receive $475,000 for Akron-Peninsula Road in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP).
This money comes from the Department of Transportation’s Public Lands Highway grant funds. The funds will be used to restore Akron-Peninsula Road and to improve accessibility to the CVNP and the Ohio & Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor.
The Summit County Engineer’s Office submitted the request for funding to Sutton’s office in 2008. Sutton and her staff identified the Department of Transportation’s Public Lands Highways grant as the best way to fund the project, according to the Engineer’s Office.
“This is a critical project,” said Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker, P.E., P.S. “We will use this money to improve the pavement condition and safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists using the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.”
Sixty-eight projects in 31 states will be funded through this grant for a total of $93.9 million. The Akron-Peninsula Road Improvement Project was the only Ohio project to receive funding this year.
More information on the program and the complete list of projects can be found at www.dot.gov/affairs/2009/fhwa0110.htm.
Late fee subject of questionable e-mail
OHIO — A much forwarded e-mail in recent days warns Ohio drivers they will be subject to a $20 late fee if they don’t renew their vehicle registration by their birthday.
Though the e-mail is incorrect about when the late fee is applied, Ohio law did recently change in regards to registration renewal.
According to www.oplates.com, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ (BMV) online plate renewal site, effective Oct. 1, 2009, those who renew their vehicle registration more than seven calendar days after the expiration date will be charged a $20 late fee.
This fee was added as a result of the passage of House Bill 2 and affects renewing any vehicle registrations whether completed online, over the phone, in person or through the mail.
House Bill 2, which was passed March 30, also included a number of fee increases, including: vision screening fee (increase of $1.75; impacts all operator license renewal transactions, including standard driver’s license, commercial driver’s license and motorcycle endorsement); temporary tag fee (increase of $8); registration for personalized plates (increase of $15); and registration for initial reserve plates (increase of $15).
The BMV stated in a news release it began notifying customers of these changes July 1, 90 days in advance, through notifications on the standard mail-in renewal notices sent to each customer with a vehicle registered in his or her name.
For more information, visit www.bmv.ohio.gov.
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Calendar of Events
- Ed Caner - 5/19/2013
- Three Choir Music Festival - 5/19/2013
- The Way We See It! - 5/20/2013
- Copley Historical Society - 5/20/2013
- Food Preservation - 5/20/2013