Thursday, 23 October 2014 18:14

Akron Schools Give Ebola Situation A Visual

Numbers about the Ebola situation in Summit County are easy to find, but the Akron Public Schools are making those numbers easier to understand.

APS deputy superintendent Ellen McWilliams and head of elementary education Mary Kelly sketched out a "teaching tool" of concentric circles.

APS communications director Mark Williamson says it was made into a graphic that shows in visual terms how the Ebola situation in Akron affects the area and the schools.

"Exactly how many people, what state they're in in terms whether they're being monitored, whether the health department knows about them," Williamson explains, "are they part of our school system, do they live in the county."

Williamson says the graphic is much easier to grasp than a lengthy, wordy document.

"We need some teaching tool for this, which is what teachers do," Williamson says. "They think of ways to convey concepts and ideas without having to write 700 words in a document."

The Akron district has a section with Ebola information on its website.

Published in Local
Thursday, 23 October 2014 15:40

AUDIO: Russ Pry Breaks Down Sales Tax Issue

On the Morning Show, Summit County Executive Russ Pry spoke with WAKR's Ray Horner about the Summit County Sales Tax issue Thursday.


Summit County officials are hoping residents approve a new proposed quarter-percent countywide increase on the ballot this November. The issue faced some criticism when it also called for the funding of an arena. Officials decided this past summer to eliminate that plan and focus, primarily, on public safety needs.

If approved by voters, the new plan would allocate more than 92-percent of the money for the sheriff's department, including staffing at the Summit County Jail and upgraded communication equipment for first responders across Summit County. The tax is limited to 10 years, rather than the previously proposed permanent tax.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 11:42

UPDATE 159 Ebola Contacts Being Monitored

The numbers are changing on a daily basis -- now 159 people statewide are being monitored for Ebola symptoms. The number is up about 17 contacts from the Ohio Department of Health's report released late Monday morning.

Health officials said it's normal to see those numbers change as they learn more about the amount of exposure each individual had with Amber Vinson during her visit. The number of those who are under strict quarantine remains at three -- two in Summit County and one in Cuyahoga County.


(Ohio Department of Health) The Ohio Department of Health reported this morning in its Daily Ebola Contact Report that there are currently:

  • 0 confirmed cases of Ebola in Ohio;

  • 3 people under quarantine;

  • 159 contacts statewide;

ODH’s Daily Ebola Contact Report is issued at approximately 11 a.m. and is compiled from the local health districts, ODH officials and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Ohio team members who are working together to identify anyone who may have had contact of some type with the Dallas nurse who was in Northeast Ohio, Oct. 10-13. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8-10 days.  It is anticipated that contacts will be removed from the contact list between October 31, and November 4, 2014. The figures may change daily based on the information officials learn from contacts and the type of exposure they may have had.

The report is below and also found on ODH’s website here:

(as of 11 AM, EST of date of issuance)























Enforced restrictions on movement/travel; temperature taken twice daily; public health contact; no commercial travel

Temperature taken twice daily--once in-person by a public health official; no commercial travel; other travel restrictions possible

Temperature taken twice daily--reported to public health official; international travel restrictions

Temperature taken twice daily; not reported, but will call if change

Any direct skin/membrane contact

No direct contact, but within 3 feet for more than 1 hour

No direct contact, in same enclosed space (not within 3 feet) for morethan 1 hour

No direct contact, in same enclosed space (not within 3 feet) for lessthan 1 hour





























All Other Counties *














14 counties have seven or less contacts and those figures are not being broken out by county in order to protect the privacy of individual contacts.  (Belmont, Erie, Franklin, Geauga, Hamilton, Hardin, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Putnam, Stark, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Wayne)


Published in Local

The Akron Fire Department will take the lead in transporting any contact of nurse Amber Vinson who would show symptoms of Ebola.

Akron Fire Chief Rob Ross says that the department will transport any of those patients countywide, using a specialized ambulance and well-trained crews.

"We've identified a very particular ambulance that we will use for that purpose," Chief Ross tells, "and we also have highly trained crew members who are very used to donning and doffing the sorts of protective equipment that will be used with any patient that may be exposed to Ebola."

Chief Ross says the specialized transportation will only cover those who are already being monitored after contact with Vinson, who spent the weekend October 10th in the Akron area.

"It is not meant to be a countywide, every single Ebola-type call," he says. "Only those individuals who are being monitored as contacts right here and now."

Others who fear they have Ebola would be transported through their local EMS unit. Chief Ross says those units have been trained to handle possible cases.

The plan came together after a meeting Saturday between Summit County's health commissioner, the mayors of Akron and Tallmadge, and county executive Russ Pry.

Published in Local

Seven people are now under voluntary quarantine -- all have been identified as those who had contact with Amber Vinson during her stay in Ohio.

Health officials confirmed that five people in Summit County and two in Cuyahoga County are now being monitored and are under "voluntary quarantine."

"People who have not been notified by the health department as being a potential contact are not really at risk because they did not come in contact with the ill person," said Dr. Margo Erme, Summit County public health director. 

Health officials said Vinson's mother has also been placed under voluntary quarantine and is being monitored by health officials in Dallas.

A retail business in Summit County, visited by Vinson, is closed today. The name of the business has not been released.

"So until we have any information that there is a risk to anyone, we are going to protect the privacy of the people there. It makes a lot of sense." 

Dr. Erme did state that it appears Vinson was "conscientious" and aware that she should should limit her contact with the public.

"Remember, she was a health care worker who knew she had been potentially exposed. She was a very, what appears to be, a very conscientious person that she did not take undue risks. She seemed to limit her activity here," said Dr. Erme.

The Ohio Department of Health has activated a 24-hour-a-day call center to answer questions about Ebola and Ohio’s response. The telephone number is 1-866-800-1404. Information about Ebola is also available on the ODH website at and the CDC website at



Published in Local
Monday, 13 October 2014 12:39

Palcohol: Concerns Over The Powder

Questions and concerns surrounding Palcohol, the new powdered version of alcohol, continues to stir up discussions both locally and statewide.

Akron City Council and Attorney General Mike DeWine both favor statewide legislation that would ban the substance. Summit County Council approved a resolution last week to encourage the Ohio General Assembly to pass House Bill 594, legislation banning the sale of powdered alcohol for human consumption.

Akron City Council President Garry Moneypenny doesn't want it to hit store shelves.

"It can fit into your pocket, much like a sugar packet," said Moneypenny. "It can mixed with liquids, it can be sprinkled into food or even, possibly, snorted."

Moneypenny also thinks the powdered alcohol will make is easier to conceal and sneak into places like movie theaters and schools.

"You can't hide a bottle of beer in your pocket, it creates a bulge. But you can carry five or six of these packets, easily."

Summit County Council also approved a resolution last week to encourage the Ohio General Assembly to pass House Bill 594, legislation banning the sale of powdered alcohol for human consumption.

Palcohol's creator, Mark Phillips, disagrees with some of the concerns. On Palcohol's website, Phillips demonstrates on video why some of the claims just don't add up.

According to Phillips, it would take a person about 60 minutes of "painful snorting to get the equivalent of one shot of vodka up your nose."

For those who think the powdered version of alcohol makes it easier to spike a drink, Phillips said that's also not true. He says it's easier to pour another liquid into a drink -- rather than stirring a powder into the liquid for a minute in order for it to completely dissolve.

A package of Palcohol weighs about an ounce. Phillips said the package would still be bigger than a mini bottle of liquor. He doesn't agree with some critics who say it'll be easier to conceal.

Phillips also said that Palcohol would be sold just like alcohol. Those who want to purchase the product would have to be 21 or over with a valid I.D. That, according to Phillips, means it won't be easier for kids to snatch up.

Powdered Alcohol, or Palcohol, is currently not available for sale anywhere in the United States.

Published in Local
Tuesday, 26 August 2014 14:34

Help With The Electric Bill

We usually hear about utility bill assistance in the winter, but it can be a problem year round. Summit County Executive Russ Pry joins Jasen to talk about an upcoming program aimed at helping people who are having trouble paying their electric bill. 

Published in Jasen Sokol

A Summit County official has been suspended without pay for two weeks after he pleaded no contest to OVI and speeding charges Thursday.

According to Barberton Municipal Court records, Jason Dodson, the chief of staff for Summit County Executive Russ Pry, has also been sentenced to a three-day driving program, fined $375 and his driver's license has been suspended for 180 days (six months). He'll be granted limited driving privileges after 15 days.

Dodson's two-week work suspension begins August 25.

"Jason Dodson has been an outstanding employee and has diligently worked to improve Summit County government," said Summit COunty Executive Russ Pry in a written statement. "Jason has made a mistake and has accepted responsibility for that mistake. The driving incident occurred after work hours, did not involve a work assignment and did not involve a county vehicle."

Dodson also released a statement:

"I made a mistake in judgment, and for that I apologize to my family, friends, co-workers and the citizens of Summit County. It was important to me to take responsibility and handle the judicial process in an expedient manner in order to avoid any further embarrassment to the County of Summit and Summit County Executive, " said Dodson.

Published in Local
Monday, 18 August 2014 11:49

Plusquellic, Pry To Teach Class At UA

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Summit County Executive Russ Pry are teaming up to teach a new class at the University of Akron. The 3-credit hour course is titled "Practical Governing: The Buck Stops Here."

In a press release, Plusquellic says the course, which is designed to cover major issues facing local governments, will include subjects that "you cannot possibly read in textbooks."

As of Monday morning at 10a.m., three students signed up for the course. The class is limited to 25 students

The class will be offered on Wednesday nights and is open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students in Political Science and Public Administration, and to other students with permission.


(City of Akron Press Release) The University of Akron is offering a new class called, "Practical Governing: The Buck Stops Here," covering the major issues facing local governments. The course will be team taught by Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Summit County Executive Russ Pry, who bring many decades of practical experience to the classroom.

The course is in keeping with the "applied politics" mission of the University's Bliss Institute, bringing seasoned practitioners of government and politics of all political persuasions into the classroom. The focus will be on how policies are developed, implemented, and managed.

"There is no better teacher than experience," noted Mayor Plusquellic. "After working in City hall for over 40 years, as a councilperson and then as Mayor, I think I can give good insight into the way government is run - through real situations that I've lived through. Russ and I can talk about things that have happened to us throughout our tenure as politicians; true teaching moments that you cannot possibly read about in textbooks."

"Having worked for Congressman John Seiberling, served as a village councilperson, an officer for a local political party, and the County Executive for the last seven years, I look forward to sharing my experiences and lessons with a new generation of students," said Summit County Executive Russ Pry. "Over the years, Don and I have had the opportunity to jointly address various groups about politics and governing. The students in this class will learn from a spirited discussion and debate."

"This course is a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn how local government really works," said Bliss Institute Director John Green, "there is no substitute for real world experience."

Plusquellic and Pry will teach the course without compensation. In lieu of payment, The University of Akron will make a donation in an amount equal to Plusquellic/Pry's earnings to the Plusquellic Foundation, a fund that has provided tuition scholarships to numerous Akron residents to attend the University of Akron.

The 3 credit hour course will be taught on Wednesday nights and is open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students in Political Science and Public Administration, and to other students with permission. The class is limited to 25 students. (For more information about enrolling, contact the Bliss Institute at 330-972-5182).

Published in Local
Saturday, 16 August 2014 16:27

Summit County Official Stopped For OVI

A Summit County official faces charges of suspicion of drunken driving.

The Beacon Journal reports that Jason Dodson, chief of staff for Summit County executive Russ Pry, was pulled over by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Friday night near a sobriety checkpoint in Green.

The newspaper reports that Dodson was pulled over for speeding at South Main Street and Killian Road and submitted to a field sobriety test, but not a breathalyzer text.

Dodson had no comment, and Pry said he wouldn't comment on any pending case.


On the Web: Akron Beacon Journal,

Published in Local
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