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

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. 

- - -

(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). 
Sunday, 15 February 2015 10:51

How Cold Is It?

It's so cold there's no skiing today at Boston Mills or Brandywine, and both Akron and Cuyahoga Falls shut down ice skating rinks at Lock 3 and Falls River Square. It's so cold Haven of Rest continues it's "Code Zero" program, targeting homeless on the street to get them inside and safe. It's so cold the sunshine almost mocks us as temperatures dip to single-digits below zero and wind chills drop even further.

Wind Chill Warnings extend across the region with wind chill readings in teh -20 and lower range in northeast Ohio.

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
954 AM EST SUN FEB 15 2015
 
.WINDS WILL COMBINE WITH FRIGID AIR TO PRODUCE DANGEROUS WIND
CHILL VALUES OF 25 TO 30 BELOW ZERO THIS MORNING. WINDS WILL
BEGIN TO DIMINISH FROM THE WEST THIS AFTERNOON ALLOWING WIND CHILL
VALUES TO SLOWLY RISE.
 
OHZ003-006>013-017>023-027>033-036>038-047-152300-
/O.CON.KCLE.WC.W.0002.000000T0000Z-150216T0000Z/
LUCAS-WOOD-OTTAWA-SANDUSKY-ERIE OH-LORAIN-CUYAHOGA-LAKE-GEAUGA-
HANCOCK-SENECA-HURON-MEDINA-SUMMIT-PORTAGE-TRUMBULL-WYANDOT-
CRAWFORD-RICHLAND-ASHLAND-WAYNE-STARK-MAHONING-MARION-MORROW-
HOLMES-KNOX-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...TOLEDO...BOWLING GREEN...PORT CLINTON...
FREMONT...SANDUSKY...LORAIN...CLEVELAND...MENTOR...CHARDON...
FINDLAY...TIFFIN...NORWALK...MEDINA...AKRON...RAVENNA...WARREN...
UPPER SANDUSKY...CAREY...BUCYRUS...MANSFIELD...ASHLAND...
WOOSTER...CANTON...YOUNGSTOWN...MARION...MOUNT GILEAD...
MILLERSBURG...MOUNT VERNON
954 AM EST SUN FEB 15 2015
 
...WIND CHILL WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM EST THIS
EVENING...
 
* WIND CHILLS...WIND CHILL VALUES OF 25 TO 30 DEGREES BELOW ZERO
  WILL OCCUR ESPECIALLY THIS MORNING WITH SOME MODERATION THIS
  AFTERNOON.
 
* TEMPERATURES...5 BELOW TO 2 ABOVE ZERO.
 
* WINDS...NORTHWEST 5 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 20 MPH.
 
* IMPACTS...HAZARDOUS TRAVEL IS POSSIBLE WHERE SNOW BLOWS OVER
  ROADS. WIND CHILL VALUES OF 25 TO 30 BELOW ZERO WILL FREEZE
  EXPOSED FLESH AND CAUSE HYPOTHERMIA IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME
  IF PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN. AVOID OUTDOOR EXPOSURE.
 
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
 
A WIND CHILL WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN A STRONG WIND WILL COMBINE
WITH LOW TEMPERATURES TO CREATE DANGEROUSLY COLD CONDITIONS FOR
EXPOSED SKIN. THE WIND WILL MAKE IT FEEL LIKE IT IS 25 DEGREES
BELOW ZERO OR COLDER FOR SEVERAL HOURS. THOSE PLANNING TO VENTURE
OUTDOORS SHOULD USE COMMON SENSE AND DRESS WARMLY.
Thursday, 12 February 2015 08:42

Indians Set Earlier Starts

The Indians aren't taking any chances with spring's cold temperatures -- starting some games at Progressive field in April and May an hour earlier instead of the normal 7:05 with cold weather in mind. Weekday series against the Royals and Cardinals will start at 6:10; most of the other games in April and May are either afternoon start times or on the road. Games are heard locally on 1590 WAKR.

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(Cleveland Indians) The Cleveland Indians announced the club’s 2015 schedule, which begins on the road in Houston on Monday, April 6. The Indians open the home portion of the slate, the team’s 115th as a charter member of the American League, on Friday, April 10 vs. the Detroit Tigers. 

Home interleague opponents in 2015 include the St. Louis Cardinals (May 12-14), Cincinnati Reds (May 22-24, Friday-Sunday), Chicago Cubs (June 17-18) and Milwaukee Brewers (August 25-26). The Indians also will play the Cubs at Wrigley Field (June 15-16), the Reds (July 17-19, Friday-Sunday) and the Brewers (July 21-22).Other 2015 schedule highlights include:· Select weeknight home games in April and May will begin at 6:10PM, in order to avoid potential cold weather conflicts:

o April 27-29 v Kansas City Royals
o May 12-13 v St. Louis Cardinals

· The Indians will play at Progressive Field on six weekends from June-August: vs. Baltimore (June 5-7), Tampa Bay (June 19-21), Oakland (July 10-12), Chicago White Sox (July 23-26), Minnesota (August 7-9) and Los Angeles Angels (August 28-30).· Monthly home/road breakdown:

o April: (9 home/12 road)
o May: (15 home/14 road)
o June: (14 home/13 road)
o July: (14 home/12 road)
o August: (11 home/16 road)
o September/October: (18 home/14 road)
· The Tribe’s longest homestand is Sept. 10-20 (vs. Detroit, Kansas City and Chicago White Sox)
· The team has three 10-game road trips:
o June 26-July 5 (at Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh)
o August 14-23 (at Minnesota, Boston, New York Yankees)

Single-Game tickets will go on sale to those fans registered for the Indians Online Onsale on March 3. Fans can register for the Onsale at Indians.com/OnlineOnsale. 2015 Season Tickets are on sale now.

 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015 08:59

Spondike Loses Firing Appeal

WARNING graphic language

Another blow for former Firestone High School teacher David Spondike, fired over his racist post of Facebook.

His appeal of his dismissal by the school district was denied by Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tom Teodosio, who found little to agree with from Spondike's legal filing that the firing was unconstitutional. The ruling upholds an earlier ruling by a referee that Spondike's termination was proper for "good and just cause."

 In addition to the original Facebook postings, Spondike also took to YouTube in a series of videos where he first denied making the posts and instead attributed them to the son of an acquaintance.

Spondike was a music teacher at Firestone High School. 

A .pdf copy of Teodosio's ruling is included for viewing at the link below.

Editor's note: since the original posting remains central to the case, we made the editorial decision to include the graphic on this story for those readers who were not familiar with the case.