Wednesday, 26 August 2015 11:54

Plane Tracks Speeding, Fleeing Motorcyclists

In the last five days, two motorcyclists have been arrested for speeding and fleeing from officers in Summit and Stark counties, thanks to help from an eye in the sky.

The patrol's fixed-wing aircraft, stationed out the Akron – Fulton Airport, is able to track speeding motorcyclists and stay connected with them when a chase on the ground is terminated.

"Our pilots are real good about tracking these motorcycles or cars to where they ultimately stop, at which time he guides ground units into their locations," said Lt. Leo Shirkey. "At that time, they can make an apprehension."

On Friday, the Ohio State Highway Patrol Aviation Division helped Stark County Sheriff's deputies and Canton police track a speeding motorcyclist who was fleeing from authorities on US 30.

A similar incident happened on Tuesday after troopers found a motorcyclist who was traveling 90 mph in a 60 mph zone.

In both pursuits, the drivers were tracked by the plane to residences in Canton and Akron where they tried to hide their motorcycles.

So far this year, Skirkey said six motorcycle fatalities have been reported in Stark and Summit counties.

Published in Local
Thursday, 13 August 2015 15:50

Nexus: A Tale Of Two Counties

It's a tale of two counties when it comes to surveying for the proposed Nexus pipeline.

The company did not get a temporary restraining order in Summit County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, that would allow it to go onto properties to survey without permission.

Many of those involved in the court case are from the city of Green, where G-I-S planner Chrissy Lingenfelter says property owners are being told that the city sent the surveyors.

"And that's just simply not true," Lingenfelter tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol. "We never sent them, we've been adamantly opposed to this project, from day 1, coming through the city of Green. And there's no permit for them to have."

Lingenfelter says the pipeline should go in less populated, more rural areas.

In Stark County, the Repository reports that Nexus got an extension on Thursday to an existing temporary order allowing surveyors. 

Published in Jasen Sokol
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 11:23

AUDIO: Portage County To Increase Sales Tax

The quarter-percent sales tax hike should go into effect in October in Portage County.

Commissioners voted to impose the tax Tuesday, according to the Beacon Journal. It stays on the books for five years, then voters can decide if they want to keep it.

The heroin epidemic is just one problem that has forced commissioners to raise the sales tax.

So far this year, the county has recorded double the amount of heroin deaths compared to traffic fatalities, according to Portage County Sheriff David Doak.

The estimated 5-million dollars per year raised from the tax would pay for more deputy sheriffs, more jail space and more programs to prevent and treat heroin addiction.

Sheriff David Doak said one of the first major issues that needs to be addressed deals with the growing number of female inmates at the jail. The current maximum capacity is 35 inmates.

"About three weeks ago, we were at 73. Last week we were at 65," said Doak. "We just can not continue this trend and be able to keep the inmates and staff safe."

Voters will have the opportunity to decide on whether they want to keep the sales tax increase after 5 years.

Don't look for Summit County Council to follow the lead of Portage County Commissioners. Summit County Executive Russ Pry said the county charter doesn't allow any tax without a vote of the people. And he said it's not likely that a long-term sales tax - like the one that failed last year - will be on a ballot any time soon.

Published in Local
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 08:49

AUDIO: Russ Pry Addresses County Budget

Portage County announced a sales tax to help quell the heroin epidemic. It will be a quarter-percent hike in sales taxes to help pay for medical treatment for victims, extra space in the jails, and other amenities.

Can Summit County do the same? Will they?

Summit County executive Russ Pry joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to compare and contrast the two counties, as well as discussing what is outlined in the budget.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

A Stow couple has waited 31 years for this day.

"It's like I won the lottery," said 66-year-old John Marshall.

Marshall couldn't hold back the tears while explaining the meaning behind getting a marriage license to legally tie the knot with his partner, 65-year-old James Neilsen.

"It's just like all of your life you've been denied something that you know in you heart is right," said Marshall. "And finally the door swings open."

According to the Summit County Probate Court, Marshall and Neilsen were the first male couple to recieve their marriage license in Summit County.

Marshall called it a historic day -- breaking down barriers and giving same-sex couples equal rights.

Within a two hour period, four couples applied for a marriage license Friday afternoon.

Published in Local
Friday, 26 June 2015 12:10

Local Same-Sex Couples Can Marry Today

Same-sex couples in Ohio can officially tie the knot following the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Summit County Probate Court Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer said they were prepared for the ruling to be handed down this week -- but there wasn't a line immediately forming outside the courthouse.

"We've received calls from people who indicated that they're going to be coming," said Stormer.

Stormer said changes were already made in preparation of the Supreme Court's ruling.

"What we did a couple of weeks ago was go to a general neutral marriage application, so it doesn't say bride and groom. It just says 'applicant 1 and applicant 2' and then there are some other minor tweaks," said Stormer.

But that's just the beginning of some of the changes that will be made in the near future.

"Adoptions will now be recognized between same-sex couples. Name changes can be made between same-sex couples," said Stormer. "So there are other ancillary items that can come through the probate court that people were not able to do, and now they will be able to do that."

Couples planning to stop by the Summit County Probate Court by 4 p.m. will be able to receive their marriage license today. Hours may be extended.

Published in Local

The former Akron police captain convicted, exonerated, then sent back to jail for the 1997 murder of his ex-wife, Dr. Margo Prade, is set to appear in court today.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Christine Croce will hear arguments today in regards to whether Douglas Prade should get a new trial in the murder of his ex-wife.

The hearing was scheduled after the Ohio Supreme Court refused to hear Doug Prade's appeal.

The legal battle comes after new DNA evidence suggests that Prade is excluded from one central piece of evidence, although prosecutors say that hardly means he's innocent.

Published in Local
Monday, 25 May 2015 08:53

Summit Memorial Day Observances

On this day the reason flags fly at half-staff until noon, and a moment of silence observed nationwide at 3:00 p.m.

The swimming, boating, gardening and cookouts to the contrary, Memorial Day marks the anniversary of end of the Civil War and honors all in service, those wounded in action and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in fighting for our freedoms.

There are suggestions Memorial Day observances have strayed from the original reason for the holiday, and some pushback to restore Memorial Day to it's traditional May 30th date and not fix the holiday to a three-day weekend.

Communities across northeast Ohio celebrate Memorial Day with flags, marching bands, parades and ceremonies.

Summit County Memorial Day Observances:

Akron will hold its Memorial Day Observance at 11 a.m. at Greenlawn Cemetery.

Bath Township Memorial Day Observance will take place at noon at Bath Veterans Memorial Park.

Clinton Memorial Day Parade will begin at 11 a.m. at Highpoint Christian Church on Comet Road.

Copley Township Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. from Copley Middle School to Copley Veterans Cemetery, 3788 Copley Road.

Cuyahoga Falls Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. at Lillis Drive and Portage Trail. Ceremony will commence at 11 a.m. in the Veterans Section of Oakwood Cemetery.

Green Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade at noon at the Green Veterans Memorial Park, 1900 Steese Rd. Activities include a pancake breakfast, parade, community picnic and car show.

Hudson Memorial Day Parade will start at 10 a.m. at Milford Road and Veterans Way.

Mogadore Memorial Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. at James Street and South Cleveland, ending at Greenwood Cemetery. There will be a ceremony following the parade. A pancake breakfast will also be held from 8-11 a.m. at Mogadore Christian Church.

New Franklin Memorial Day Parade will begin at 9 a.m. at Grace Bible Church parking lot. A remembrance service will follow the parade at the gazebo at Manchester Cemetery.

Northfield & Sagamore Hills Memorial Day Parade will start at St. Barnabas School at 10 a.m. and end at the Northfield-Macedonia Cemetery. A memorial service will follow at 11 a.m.

Richfield Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast is hosted by Kiwanis at the Richfield Senior Center until 1:00 p.m. 

Peninsula and Boston Township Parade will start 11 a.m. from Boston Township Hall to Cedar Grove Cemetery. Another ceremony will be held at Boston Cemetery.

Stow Memorial Day Ceremony will be held at Stow Cemetery at 10:15 a.m. There will be a march to the Veterans monument. The high school symphonic band will also perform.

Tallmadge Memorial Day Parade and Service will form in the Our Lady of Victory Church parking lot at 9:30 a.m. and march to Tallmadge Cemetery. A ceremony will take place at the cemetery.


Published in Local

You may have just started to see ads targeting benefit abuse in Summit County, but it's not a new topic for Summit County Executive Russ Pry. 

There is a full staff of investigators at the county level and a reporting hotline (330-643-7315) to combat fraud in programs including food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and others. Pry says the programs are governed by state and federal guidelines, so it is important to make sure people are not receiving improper benefits.

Pry discussed benefit fraud on Thursday's edition of The Jasen Sokol Show:


Published in Jasen Sokol

More than 55,000 drivers were forced to find a new route to work this week after construction crews closed the westbound lanes of the Kenmore Leg.

On Monday morning, the Ohio Department of Transportation closed I-76 WB for a resurfacing project that expected to last about 35 days.

ODOT District 4 Spokesman Justin Chesnic said it's no surprise that drivers had to deal with a few issues on their detour route.

"We've obviously had some back ups around the morning rush hour and afternoon rush hour, but for it being the first couple days of the closure, we would say things have gone pretty smooth," said Chesnic.

Chesnic said they haven't received any complaints -- despite some slowdowns reported during rush hour.

"A lot of folks see the inconvenience of the closure, but what they also see is that we're getting the work done out there," said Chesnic.

Once crews complete the construction work on the westbound lanes, ODOT will move over to the other direction and close the eastbound lanes for the same amount of time. Crews hope to reopen the eastbound lanes of I-76 by the end of July, but the entire $9.6 million project to make pavement repairs and resurface the Kenmore Leg is expected to be completed by October.


Previous Coverage: 

VIDEO Construction Closes Westbound Lanes Of Kenmore Leg

Kenmore Leg To Close April 27

Published in Local
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