Edward L. Esposito

Edward L. Esposito

Edward "Ed" Esposito is vice-president, information media for the Rubber City Radio Group. He oversees news and public affairs programs for www.AkronNewsNow.com, 1590 WAKR, 97.5 WONE and 94.9 WQMX. He is Secretary-Treasurer of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation; a former chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association and Foundation and a former president of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Association. He's also served as a member of the Akron Press Club , Kent State University Student Media Advisory Board, Ohio Open Government Coalition, Northeast Ohio AMBER Task Force. He's lectured on broadcasting and journalism for the University of Missouri in China, as well as across the country for RTDNA and RTDNF. You can reach Ed through the newsroom at 330-864-6397 or by email eesposito@rcrg.net

Indictments were handed down against Robert C. Clark and Jeffrey C. Stewart for the murders of Lillian and Doyle Chumney of Strasburg. Both were indicted on charges of aggravated murder and other felonies; the count against Clark contains death penalty specifications. The indictment against Stewart does not include the death penalty specifications.

Both Clark and Stewart were named in 15-count indictments each. They remain in jail pending trial. 

The cases now move to the pre-trial phase in Coshocton County Common Pleas Court; the Coschocton Prosecutor is being assisted by attorneys from the Tuscarawas County Prosecutor's Office and the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

A copy of the indictment for both Clark and Stewart is attached in .pdf on this post.

Friday, 06 March 2015 09:01

Statewide Tornado Test Today

The weather didn't cooperate Wednesday -- so today's the day you'll likely hear emergency sirens and emergency warnings on radio, television and even your smartphone as the state and local emergency agencies test out their warning systems with a statewide tornado drill.

The sirens are set to blare at 9:50 a.m.; the state held off a couple days over concerns it would confuse residents in southern Ohio dealing with potential flooding earlier this week.

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(Portage County EMA) In Portage County and across Ohio, residents may hear emergency sirens or receive notification of a tornado drill on Friday, March 6, at 9:50 a.m. The event is a statewide preparedness and practice drill for Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Portage County Homeland Security and Emergency Management officials are urging residents to take time to practice drills at home, school and on-the-job, even if there is not a drill warning in their area. The drill is a statewide project of the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness.“This is a good opportunity to develop a family plan or one for your business. Then put that plan into action and practice,” said Ryan Shackelford, HSEMA Director for Portage County.

Portage County’s HSEMA education program, Portage Prepares, has links to resources on how to be safe during a tornado and other emergencies. Portage Prepares is online at the county government website at www.co.portage.oh.us/portageprep. There is also social media for Portage Prepares on Facebook and on Twitter @PortagePrep

Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness has resources online at http://www.weathersafety.ohio.gov/TornadoFacts.aspx. Ready.gov also has information online to help families and individuals make plans for all types of emergencies. Portage residents without access to the internet can call Portage County HSEMA for printed materials.The Ohio Emergency Management Agency has designated March 1-7 as Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week and is focusing attention on preparing for tornadoes. Peak tornado season in Ohio is generally April through July, but tornadoes can and have occurred at any time, during any season.

Residents with smart phones can download the American Red Cross tornado app for free by going to an app store on their phone. ARC has tornado preparedness information on its website at www.redcross.org. You can also call the American Red Cross of Summit, Portage and Medina counties at 330-535-6131 to find out how to receive their printed publications.

A tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to an area. During a tornado watch, review tornado safety plans and be prepared to move to a safe place if conditions worsen. Listen to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio or local TV or radio station newscasts and social media sites such as Portage Prepares for storm updates.

A tornado warning is issued by the NWS when a tornado has been detected by Doppler radar or sighted by storm spotters. If a tornado warning is issued for your area, do not stop to take pictures or shoot video. Seek safe shelter immediately. Continue to listen to your NOAA Weather Radio, TV, radio newscasts and social media for up-to-date weather information.

The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness is comprised of 16 agencies and organizations that are dedicated to educating Ohioans about the natural disasters that typically affect the state, and how to plan and prepare for severe weather incidents and home emergencies before they happen. 

Saturday, 28 February 2015 07:24

Browns Ink McCown

Brian Hoyer apparently won't need to think about which shade of orange he's wearing -- unless he winds up in Denver or Tampa Bay. The Cleveland Browns sent a message with the three-year deal signing of journeyman quarterback Josh McCown Friday. Browns General Manager Ray Farmer says McCown -- who started 11 games for the 2-14 Buccaneers last season -- "...will help continue to move us in the right direction and help us build the type of team that will bring winning football to Cleveland."

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(Cleveland Browns) The Browns have agreed to terms with veteran quarterback Josh McCown, general manager Ray Farmer announced Friday.

McCown, 35, spent the past season -- his 12th in the NFL -- with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he started 11 games.

"Josh is your consummate professional," Farmer said. "He's known to be a great guy in the locker room and will be great for the quarterback room. He knows how to get an entire offense on the same page and get a team to rally behind him. He has been exposed to a lot of different types of offenses and we think still has the drive and skill set to be a successful quarterback in this league.

"We are excited to get him and believe he will help continue to move us in the right direction and help us build the type of team that will bring winning football to Cleveland."

McCown said he's excited to step into an environment where he can simultaneously compete for a starting job while mentoring the Browns' young quarterbacks.

"I just want to serve our team and help everybody in that locker room, do my best to help everybody in the locker room be better at their job and they're going to help me, too. It's a two-way street," McCown said. "I'm just excited about coming in and being a part of a team.

"Year 1 was a solid first year for coach (Mike) Pettine, and to see the vision with what he's got going on is exciting to me. In my room, I want to be able to help those young guys and pass along my knowledge and experiences I've had and help them grow."

McCown added he's "going to compete at the best level I can to help our team get better."

"We're going to be good at running the football and playing defense and being smart with the football at quarterback," McCown said. "Those are the things I know are going to be stressed. Those are the things I'm going to be focused on as we compete.

"As a quarterback, it starts off with the offensive line. You look at the guys they have there, namely, Joe Thomas and Alex Mack, it's a rare opportunity. Between meeting with the coaches and having a good connection with Coach Pettine and the offensive coaches, and those pieces on offense, that's kind of what drove the ship for me."

McCown, who hails from Jacksonville, Texas, threw for 2,206 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season for the Buccaneers. He missed five games with a thumb injury.

McCown thrived in 2013 when he was summoned to starting duty with the Chicago Bears. He accumulated the majority of his 1,829 yards and 13 touchdowns over a stretch of five starts during the second half of the season. During a three-game stretch in late November and early December, he threw for 348 or more yards in each game and eight touchdowns overall.

"Josh is a high-character, savvy, veteran quarterback that has a lot to offer to our team," Pettine said. "When you hear from people that have been around Josh, they speak of the leadership qualities and the positive impact he has on a locker room. I really enjoyed spending time with him during his visit. He has great passion for playing the quarterback position and wants to show that he can still be successful in this league.

"Obviously, he is a quarterback that has been in a number of systems and he has worked with (Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) so there is some good familiarity between the two. We are excited to have him become part of our team and we look forward to him playing an important role in our offense."

A third-round pick in 2002, McCown spent his first four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, working primarily as a backup until 2004, when he started 13 games. McCown threw for a career-high 2,511 yards and 11 touchdowns that season and followed with six more starts in 2005.

After his time with the Cardinals, McCown spent a season apiece with Detroit (2006), Oakland (2007) and Carolina (2008). While he was with the Raiders, McCown worked under DeFilippo, who was the Raiders' quarterbacks coach at the time.

After a one-year stint with the UFL's Hartford Colonials, McCown returned to the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 before joining the Bears later that season.

Thursday, 26 February 2015 08:06

Akron Galapagos Tortoise Dies

Azul was no stranger to the Akron Zoo; she'd been a resident since first arriving in 1992, just three years old after being born in Texas. Azul was a giant Galapagos tortoise, one of the largest of her kind weighting 165 pounts. Akron Zoo officials say zookeepers noticed a change in the animal's behavior and a CT scan showed a buildup of fluid around her heart but an autopsy shortly after Azul passed away a week ago showed her liver, heart and reproductive tract were also diseased. 

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(Akron Zoo) It is with great sadness that the Akron Zoo announces the passing of a female Galapagos tortoise, Azul. Azul passed away on Thursday, February 19, 2015. Azul was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Texas on June 23, 1989. She arrived at the Akron Zoo on October 26, 1992.

Last week Animal Care Staff noticed a change in Azul's behavior. The zoo's veterinarian performed a CT scan and ultrasound on Azul. Tests showed she had a larger than normal amount of fluid around her heart. The zoo's vet was able to remove the fluid and Azul was being treated with antibiotics. Her heart was also being monitored daily. While her condition showed signs of improvement as the week progressed, she unfortunately passed away.

A detailed necropsy was performed following her passing and revealed that her reproductive tract, liver and heart were diseased. Additional test results are pending. Azul weighed 165 pounds and was 32 inches long and her shell was 16 inches tall. Azul's half-sister, Pagos, the Akron Zoo's other Galapagos tortoise, is on exhibit in Komodo Kingdom.

The Galapagos tortoise is the largest living tortoise in the world. They are indigenous Galapagos Islands, which are located in the eastern Pacific Ocean of the western coast of South America. Galapagos tortoises are herbivores and they feed on a variety of grasses, leaves, cactus, vines and fruit. They obtain most of their moisture through their diet and can go for long periods without drinking.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015 07:41

AMBER Alert Reaches Into Ohio

UPDATE Police report Elinor Trotta was recovered safely and her father taken into custody. The father and daughter were discovered in Spencer, Massachusetts around 3:30 this afternoon and secured by a SWAT team. 
Previous coverage:
An AMBER Alert issued -- and this one we're sharing is unusual because it comes all the way from the state of Delaware, 500 miles away. Police are looking for a three year old taken by her father after he allegedly beat up the girl's mother.  
39-year old Michael Trotta may be heading here to Ohio; he's described as armed and dangerous. They were last seen in a 1989 gray Mazda 626 with Delaware plates number 247457 -- easiest thing it to just look for the Delaware plates. His daughter Elinor (seen above) was last seen with shoulder length hair. She was last seen wearing a purple puffy coat, pink pants and "Frozen" sneakers.
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MichaelTrotta(Delaware State Police) The Delaware State Police has activated an AMBER Alert at the request of New Castle County Police for the child, Elinor Trotta. The alert was issued after the suspect, Michael Trotta (seen at left), came into the child's residence, assaulted the child's mother and took the child. The suspect fled the scene in the listed vehicle and may have headed to New Jersey. He is possibly on his way to New York City. Police believe the child is in imminent danger. If you have any information on their whereabouts, please contact the New Castle County Police Department at 302-573-2800 or 9-1-1.
Missing From: New Castle, DE
Age Now: 3-years old
Sex: Female
Race: White Hair Color: Brown
Weight: 60 pounds
Description: The child is heavy set and has shoulder length hair. She was last seen wearing a purple puffy coat, pink pants and "Frozen" sneakers.
Wanted Vehicle Make: Mazda 626
Year: 1989 Color: Gray
License plate: 247457
License state: DE
Monday, 23 February 2015 09:34

A Stay For Ashford Thompson

The killer of Twinsburg police officer Josh Miktarian is getting another official stay of execution -- even though his scheduled execution is more than two years off.

Ashford Thompson is on death row for murdering Miktarian during a stop over noise coming from his car. Thompson shot Miktarian multiple times, including twice in the head when the officer lay wounded on the ground. When he was arrested, Thompson was still wearing the handcuffs on one wrist Miktarian had attempted to secure him on July 13, 2008.

Thompson has been waging a legal battle every since, including a recent 4-3 Ohio Supreme Court decision upholding the death sentence.

Now, the Supreme Court is granting an open-ended stay of execution scheduled for April 5, 2017 "pending disposition of state remedies" and the stay will remain in effect "until exhaustion of all state postconviction proceedings, including any appeals."

Such decisions are routine in death penalty cases. Thompson remains incarcerated at the Ohio Correctional Facility in Chillicothe. 

Saturday, 21 February 2015 13:39

Want Another Cold One? Uh, No

The good news is: it isn't hitting the record cold we had Thursday and Friday. The bad news: the warm air comes from the south, mixes with the cold air still moving in from the north, and the result is hazardous road conditions, event delays and cancellations and even worries from one Summit County community if they'll have enough salt on hand for what's to come next week.

Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry doesn't use the "Snow Level" system other Ohio counties use, but the roads were bad enough for him to declare a snow emergency and advise motorists to restrict their travel to necessary trips only. Wayne County did issue a Level 1 designation, which pretty much mirrors what Barry did.

Snow parking bans are piling up from communities where streets should be free of parked cars anytime there's snowfall of more than two inches, which the greater Akron area passed before lunchtime. Additionally, some events including the LBJ basketball program at Mason Park and events at Walsh Jesuit High School were also scrubbed by the winter weather. LINK to the list of closings and delays

The National Weather Service posted a Winter Weather Advisory until 10:00 with expectations of 3-6 inches of snow for the area including Akron, Medina and Ravenna. A Winter Weather Warning covers the same period for areas south stretching from Youngstown through Canton to Wooster and includes counties south of Route 30 with 4-8 inches expected. 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015 14:30

Judge O'Brien Agrees To Hear Cole Cases

The game of cat and mouse and whether a sitting Judge should step aside from hearing her cases because of her bailiff's objection to an assistant prosecutor appears to be over.

In a statement released by the Summit County Prosecutor's Office today, the all-clear was sounded as Common Pleas Judge Tammy O'Brien agreed to resume hearing cases presented by Assistant Prosecutor Jay Cole. O'Brien had been recusing herself from the cases for much of the docket since the first of the year, reportedly after her bailiff objected to Cole's mere presence in the courtroom.

Tiffany Morrison, the daughter of Summit County Republican party insider Jack Morrision, allegedly told Cole she would punch him in the face or vomit in court if he was part of the presentation of cases before Judge O'Brien. Cole was part of a team that included Ohio state ethics investigators who brought charges against the elder Morrison over alleged conflicts while serving as a member of the University of Akron Board of Trustees. Morrison was convicted but later won on appeal.

In the statement from O'Brien and County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh, the Judge said she took the step of recusing herself from Cole's cases to avoid any appearance of bias. O'Brien said she met with Cole and was "comfortable" with his assignment to her courtroom and will no longer recuse herself from his cases. The Beacon Journal had reported several cases had delays because of her decision to step aside in January. 

Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh, who rejected re-assigning Cole because of Morrison's objections, said she felt O'Brien handled their cases fairly and were glad to move forward. 

Neither O'Brien nor Walsh even mentioned Morrison in their statements.

(Summit County Prosecutor's Office)

Statement of Judge Tammy O'Brien:

Since Assistant Prosecutor Cole was assigned to my courtroom in January of this year, I have recused myself from his cases. I took that action after considering my ethical responsibilities under the Code of Judicial Conduct and after speaking with the Director of the Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Ohio. I took that action not because I had a personal bias or prejudice against Mr. Cole but because I wanted to avoid a situation where my impartiality might be questioned.
I had and have a great deal of respect for Mr. Cole. Today I met with Mr. Cole and talked through this situation. He is comfortable working in my courtroom and I am confident that I can be impartial on cases involving Mr. Cole. I no longer feel that my impartiality might reasonably be questioned. I will no longer recuse myself from cases involving Mr. Cole.

Statement from the Summit County Prosecutors Office

Today this office had discussions with Judge O'Brien. The Judge advised us that she will no longer recuse herself from cases assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Jay Cole and he will continue in his assignment to her court. Assistant Prosecutor Cole stated that "I have always thought highly of how Judge O'Brien handled our cases. I am confident we can put this distraction behind us." Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh stated that "Over the past four years our office has handled hundreds of cases with Judge O'Brien. We have always felt that our cases were treated fairly and we have had a high respect for the Judge. Given our positive experiences
over the years we are glad to move forward. We are confident she will continue to be fair.


Wednesday, 18 February 2015 10:14

Scott Held On $1 Million Bond

Cuyahoga Falls police releasing the 9-1-1 call Matthew Scott made February 5th when his three month old daughter, Alivia was injured. The child later died and Scott is now being held on one million dollars bond on a murder charge after doctors say the baby's injuries were consistent with abuse. Northeast Ohio Media Group reports police records charge Scott with shaking his baby so violently she suffered skull, neck and leg injuries. 

Alivia Scott was put on life support; her mother made the decision to remove her from life support after 11 days at Akron Children's Hospital.

Scott initially called for help, saying he had been sleeping and dropped the infant out of her swing. He describes for the dispatcher the baby's condition, including her lips turning blue. The dispatcher has him administer chest compressions at which point paramedics arrive.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015 08:39

Goodyear Releases Q4, 2014 Numbers

Goodyear reporting 2014 turned a profit despite a "challenging" global economy. The company reports while original and replacement tire volume was down for the quarter is still made $359 million in operating income, down from $419 million the prior year. Full 2014 results reported sales of $18.1 billion, down from $19.5 billion in 2013 which the Akron-based tiremaker blames largely on unfavorable currency rates. Operating income of $1.7 billion was up eight percent from the prior year.
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(Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company) The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company today reported results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2014. “We delivered record full­-ear segment operating income, successfully navigating a challenging global economic environment,” said Richard J. Kramer, chairman and chief executive officer. “While industry conditions led to mixed results globally, we achieved record fourth quarter segment operating income in North America as well as in Asia Pacific. Our continued performance validates the successful execution of our strategy,” he added. “The release of our $2.2 billion U.S. tax valuation allowance after 12 years is a major milestone for Goodyear. It marks the completion of the successful turnaround of our North America business,” Kramer said. 
The release of the tax valuation allowance represents a one­time, non­cash benefit to earnings in 2014. While the company will record charges for income taxes in future periods, it does not expect to  pay cash taxes in the U.S. for approximately five years. “Led by our momentum in North America, we are on target to achieve 2015 segment operating income growth of 10 percent to 15 percent above our record setting $1.7 billion in 2014, despite severe headwinds from the increasing strength of the U.S. dollar,” Kramer said.Goodyear’s fourth quarter 2014 sales were $4.4 billion, compared to $4.8 billion a year ago. Sales were impacted by $256 million in unfavorable foreign currency translation and $181 million in lower sales volume in Europe, Middle East and Africa. 
Tire unit volumes totaled 39.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2014. Original equipment unit volume was down 1 percent, primarily due to continued industry weakness in Latin America. Replacement tire shipments were down 4 percent, due to lower sales of winter tires in Europe resulting from one of the warmest winters on record. The company reported segment operating income of $359 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $419 million a year ago. The decline in segment operating income was driven by reduced price/mix and lower volume, which more than offset the benefits of lower raw material costs and other cost savings actions. 
Goodyear’s fourth quarter 2014 net income available to common shareholders was $2.1 billion ($7.68 per share). Excluding certain significant items, adjusted net income was $166 million (59 cents per share).  For the fourth quarter of 2013, net income available to common shareholders was $228 million (84 cents per share). Excluding certain significant items, adjusted net income was $209 million (74 cents per share). Per share amounts are diluted. 
Full­ Year Results
Goodyear’s 2014 sales were $18.1 billion, compared to $19.5 billion in 2013. Sales were impacted by $571 million in unfavorable foreign currency translation. Tire unit volumes totaled 162 million. Replacement tire shipments were up 1 percent. Original equipment unit volume was down 3 percent. 
The company’s segment operating income of $1.7 billion was up 8 percent from last year. Compared to the prior year, the significant increase in segment operating income reflects lower raw material and conversion costs partially offset by lower price/mix and unfavorable foreign currency translation. Goodyear’s 2014 net income available to common shareholders was $2.4 billion ($8.78 per share). Excluding certain significant items, adjusted net income was $790 million ($2.83 per share). Net income available to common shareholders was $600 million ($2.28 per share) in 2013. Excluding certain significant items, adjusted net income was $725 million ($2.63 per share).