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, 29 May 2014 06:22

Bank Robber Wigs Out

Police in Jackson Township are investigating a robbery at Buckeye State Credit Union on Munson Street NW.  Police say a man with a wig and fake beard walked inside the credit union Tuesday afternoon with a gun and demanded money.  He took off in a black compact car.  Police did not say how much money the robber got away with.


(Jackson Township PD) On May 27 2014, at 1400 hours, officers responded to the Buckeye State Credit Union located at 4100 Munson St. NW, Canton, Ohio, for a Bank Robbery. A white male entered the Credit Union and demanded money and brandished a handgun. The suspect fled the area in a small, black compact car towards Whipple Road. The suspect is described as follows: 5’3 to 5’6, heavyset, wearing a long, dark wig, fake beard and glasses to conceal his identity. Investigation is ongoing and more details will be released when the investigation requires a release. Anyone with information please contact Lieutenant James Lenemier or Detective Kim Haines of the Jackson Township Police Detective Bureau at 330-830-6264. Anonymous tips can be directed to the tip line at 330-834-3967

Monday, 19 May 2014 08:52

Jeff Kinzbach Remembers Murray Saul

Jeff Kinzbach recorded many of the "get down" rants from Murray Saul back in the glory daze of the Buzzard. Murray passed away Sunday at the age of 86; in classic fashion he waited until the weekend was over. Jeff talked with former Buzzard program director John Gorman about Murray and shared just a few of the stories they could tell on the air. 


Sunday, 11 May 2014 12:04

COMMENTARY Food Wars, Ad Nauseum

Innovation is a word politicians, academics and deep corporate thinkers like to toss around, especially when discussing their own programs. They'll point to their vision as being "innovative" when it strays from the conventional thinking and finds new ways to work within a system to improve a service or a product. 

Cynics usually call that "marketing."
Real innovation usually comes out of a garage, a basement, or the truck of a car used as a warehouse on wheels. Because at the start of something new and remarkable, it's more about innovative vision rather than process. It's about the spirit of a new direction. It's visionaries building computers on their spare time in the garage to grow into HP; it's about smart kids in a dorm room imagining their ideas were cool before they became Google and Facebook. It's about the men and women who tinkered with ideas, Goodyear and Firestone and Seiberling. And Ford and Edison. 
It's also about people who put their hearts and souls behind their vision, especially to open a restaurant or start a catering business. Or start a food truck business. Innovation starts small; it may remain small, go bust, or develop beyond the wildest dreams of the first thinkers. It's about faith, sweat, hard work and a hell of a lot of luck. It's about keeping Akron names like Vaccaro, Yanko and Swenson's through the generations but in new venues. It's about the newcomers who work a truck on the side or full-time because they see opportunity to provide a service and feed their family at the same time. 
They are the ones with vision. It's not the bureaucrats, bean-counters or process-controllers lurking in the background to make sure the successful won't have too much success. Their job is to control innovation, wrap it up in regulation to protect us from the excesses of being too innovative. One side showcases the romance of big dreams, coloring outside the lines. The other showcases the reality of enforcing rules to make sure the color stays within the border.
Unfortunately, Akron's first look at regulations on the innovators bringing the idea of mobile restaurants to the customer -- us -- flops heavily on the altar of heavy-handed control. It's more border control than riding a wave. Change isn't just coming, it's already here. Building barricades won't stop food trucks from success all around Akron. It will only marginalize Akron as a small-thinking town that won't even allow someone to eat a taco on a sidewalk.
City Council has a golden opportunity to come up with reasonable regulations similar to other communities, but instead presents the idea of charging innovative risk-takers nearly $2,000 -- much of that non-refundable -- for doing business downtown, in the so-called biomedical corridor. That's most of downtown and the University of Akron, including the three hospitals. 
While Akron dragged it's political feet over the past year, the movement of food trucks -- driven largely by social media because small business cannot afford major media ad budgets -- grew. Call it a cool factor; the idea of a restaurant coming to you, for a limited time, right outside your doorstep. 
Other cities across the nation have dealt with the same issues of weighing the social good versus the health of existing businesses. It's been a fight on both sides but it hasn't been a fight without precedent. There are plenty of guidelines and examples available to city lawmakers on how other cities handle the food truck issue. It isn't rocket science, far from it. Most recognize that, like social media, the changes are coming regardless of the petty bureaucracy because innovation isn't a stream you can just dam up. It'll flow, regardless, over man-made obstacles.
Cleveland, for example, charges just a sixth of the price for a permit for food trucks to operate in a far larger marketplace. What makes Akron's downtown population more than six times more worthy of protecting than the workers in Cleveland? 
Even a casual observer should take a cynical view of the promise to split up the loot from this excessive fee to spread the vig across county, schools, city, parks and even the library. Anytime a politician starts spreading the wealth around it's usually because they know the very idea is so silly, distasteful or just plain unpalatable they have to pay a toll to other groups to support the idea. 
This is the type of game used when the real game is political extortion. When the object of the game isn't to make it happen, it's to stop it from happening by making it too expensive for the little guy to get in the game. It's supposed to give cover to politicians and special interests who will claim they tried to forge a compromise when in reality it's shutting the door before the game even starts.
The supporters will say it's levelling the playing field with existing restaurants because they pay taxes. This strategy ignores the point of innovation: doing something truly different. It's a political pretend world that brick and mortar restaurants and food trucks are the same; they aren't. It's the government picking who wins or who loses. 
The restaurant experience encourages lingering and close social interaction; the food truck experience is testing new cuisine and eating while standing up. Customer bases are different. To imagine they are the same is like thinking a Ford 150 is the same as an 18-wheel Peterbuilt because they both haul cargo.  
Akron proposes to limit food trucks to distances from "brick and mortar" business of 200 feet. Most would call that a fair bargain. But 750 feet -- two and a half football fields -- from a park, unless there's a city-sanctioned or community event and the food truck pays it's vig to the city? Talk about double billing. 
A thousand feet from a school? Is City Hall really that afraid a food truck will spoil the appetite of teachers, staff and students from their nutritious school meal programs? 
By the way, the "thousand foot rule" is the same distance state regulations use to prohibit registered sex offenders from living near a school. So now food trucks are in the same class as convicted sex offenders.
Instead of spending time on figuring out how high to set permit fees for food truck operators as a ploy to discourage them from doing business and providing a benefit to the people who actually work downtown, maybe City Council can look around and ask why northeast Ohio's young people continue to go ABNEO (Anywhere But Northeast Ohio) with more engaging and exciting places in which to live. 
There's a reason cities like Madison, Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor and even Columbus are a magnet for the future. Even Cleveland get this. The decision makers every Monday night on High Street would do well to go to Walnut Wednesday in Cleveland and see how it works. Or Fairlawn this summer with yet another food truck roundup to mirror the one that drew over 10,000 people last year. 
Maybe this upcoming Food Truck Friday can provide a better picture. It's at East Market and North Forge to provide a service and raise a buck or two for Child Guidance and Family Solutions. Ten local small businesses are taking part in this regularly-scheduled event. 
Using the power of the government to hinder innovation, to try and manage the changes forced by innovation, and control growth in such a ham-handed fashion didn't fare so well in the Soviet era; China's growing prosperity came when it's government opened the door to capitalism and innovation. It unleashed the power of individual dreams versus the bland thinking of the state.
Instead of celebrating the new in Akron, we shrink behind protectionist policies that send a clear message innovation is just a slogan, and the leadership class here is only interested in what it can get a piece of. Or not have it happen at all.
Ever find it interesting how the best and brightest start here and go elsewhere to change the world? The musician Prince stayed in the Twin Cities because home provided him what he needed to grow and express himself. Akron's Black Keys still call Akron home -- when they visit from Nashville, just as Devo did moving to Los Angeles. Just as Chrissy Hynde did. It's not the only reason they left to follow fame and fortune, but it's worth asking the question why other places can hold on to their young longer than we can. The answer isn't food trucks, it's the mentality that encourages food trucks and other risk-takers. 
City Council can send a big message to young people and innovators that you don't have to leave to grow and prosper. That message, however, comes at a price: showing political innovation beyond the same tired norm. 
Tuesday, 29 April 2014 09:25

Goodyear Earnings Up, Sales Down

Goodyear reporting first quarter income was up even as sales were down overall. The Akron tiremaker reports a 23 percent increase in earnings on $4.5 billion in sales worldwide.

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(Goodyear) The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company today reported higher Segment Operating Income for the first quarter of 2014 compared to the year-ago quarter.

“Our Segment Operating Income growth demonstrates our strategy is working and continues to deliver sustainable results. Despite the Venezuelan charge in the quarter, our operating results remained strong and in line with our expectations and we are reaffirming our 2014-2016 financial targets,” said Richard J. Kramer, chairman and chief executive officer.“We delivered solid performance in our developed markets, led by North America, which reported a 23 percent increase in earnings. Growth in North America and Europe offset headwinds in emerging markets where we continue to navigate foreign currency and economic challenges,” he said.

Goodyear’s first quarter 2014 sales were $4.5 billion, compared to $4.9 billion a year ago. First quarter 2014 sales reflect $202 million in lower sales in other tire related businesses, most notably third party chemical sales in North America; $126 million in unfavorable foreign currency translation; and $98 million in lower price/mix, principally due to lower raw material costs, partially offset by $44 million in higher tire unit volumes.Tire unit volumes totaled 40 million, up 1 percent from 2013. Original equipment unit volume was down 2 percent. Replacement tire shipments were up 3 percent.

“We remain confident in our full-year expectation of 2 percent to 3 percent year-over-year volume growth, despite the negative impact of severe January winter weather in North America and labor and economic disruptions in Venezuela during the quarter,” Kramer said.

Goodyear’s first quarter 2014 Net Loss Available to Common Shareholders was $58 million (23 cents per share), driven by a $132 million after-tax foreign currency exchange charge in Venezuela. Goodyear Net Income Available to Common Shareholders in the 2013 first quarter was $26 million (10 cents per share). All per share amounts are presented on a fully diluted GAAP basis.

The company reported record Segment Operating Income of $373 million in the first quarter of 2014. This was up 24 percent from the year-ago quarter, reflecting $111 million in cost savings that more than offset inflation of $75 million, lower unabsorbed overhead of $48 million due to higher production levels and favorable price/mix net of raw materials of $17 million (excluding raw material cost savings). These were partially offset by $22 million of increased SAG expense and $16 million in unfavorable foreign currency translation.Consistent with historical seasonal trends, the company used cash in the first quarter. This use of cash was due to the normal timing of collections in Europe as well as higher inventory levels in North America to support sales growth in the second quarter. As a result, Free Cash Flow from Operations was a use of $513 million for the first quarter of 2014.

Saturday, 26 April 2014 07:55

Akron's Cabinet Shuffle

Changes in the chairs for Mayor Plusquellic's cabinet. Deputy Director for Economic Development Sam DeShazior will replace his boss, Economic Development deputy mayor Bob Bowman, on his retirement the end of the year.  The Mayor's office also announcing Economic Development Manager Adele Roth will take DeShazior's post. Plusquellic also renaming a cabinet post for Intergovernmental Relations and picking former councilmember Terry Albanese for the new Assistant to the Mayor for Education, Health and Families. Albanese will be paid over $105,000 in the post. She now works as manager of Medical Health for Summa Health System.

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(City of Akron) Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic announced today that veteran cabinet member Bob Bowman is retiring by year’s end. Bowman, who has been serving as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development since 2004, is retiring due to the new OPERS changes that kick in this year. Under the previous law, public employees with 10 years of service are fully vested for health care purposes after retirement. However, the new law requires 20 years of service beginning January 2015 for that benefit. Certain employees with 10 years of service providing the mandatory 2014 retirement notice to their employers are not affected by the new requirement. Bowman began his career at the City of Akron nearly 10 years ago, after serving as Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Akron Chamber, previously the Akron Regional Development Board. He held that position for 16 years.“Bob has been a great asset to the City of Akron and has done a fantastic job of attracting companies and bringing jobs to our residents,” said Mayor Plusquellic. “He is a devoted, hard-working public servant who had the knowledge to run our Economic Development Department successfully and efficiently. I am losing a great employee and good friend.”“I have been honored to serve under Mayor Plusquellic’s leadership for the past 10 years,” said Bowman. “I really appreciate the Mayor’s confidence in me, in allowing me to expand and develop the City’s economic development program into a full service development plan, consisting of business retention, attraction, and creation. I have also enjoyed working with, and have been impressed by, the talent and professionalism of the many great council representatives, cabinet members, and city employees. Akron is a great city with unlimited potential. I am pleased to have played a small part in its success over the years.”

Moving into the position of Deputy Mayor for Economic Development is veteran Deputy Planning Director for Economic Development Sam DeShazior. DeShazior, who also came to Akron via the Greater Akron Chamber, has worked side-by-side with Bowman for the past 26 years. “Sam knows the City’s Economic Development Department inside and out,” noted Mayor Plusquellic. “There will be no transition period for him as he will seamlessly step into the role of Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.”Also making a move upward is Economic Development Manager Adele Roth. She will become a cabinet member when she moves into the position of Deputy Planning Director for Economic Development, the position that is currently held by DeShazior. “Adele will also effortlessly transition into her new position as she has worked closely with both Sam and Bob for over 8 years,” said Mayor Plusquellic. “She already is an integral part of our economic development team, and she has earned her new position through hard work. I am pleased she accepted the new assignment and obligations.”Also, Mayor Plusquellic is renaming and filling the cabinet position Deputy Mayor for Intergovernmental Relations. The position will be named Assistant to the Mayor for Education, Health and Families, and that position will be filled by Dr. Terry Albanese, currently Summa Health Care System’s Manager of Medical Health.The Mayor explains the name change as, “just a different name that better reflects what the job entails, better explains its multifaceted responsibilities.” As Assistant to the Mayor for Education, Health and Families, Albanese will be the City’s liaison to many agencies and organizations including the Akron Public Schools, Summit Education Initiative, Summit County Health Department, Summit County Job and Family Services, Community Support Services, Summit County Juvenile Court, Oriana House, and many others. Prior to serving as Summa Health Care System’s Manager of Medical Health, Albanese spent seven years conducting health services research at Summa and, before that, she taught in Community Health Sciences at NEOMED (working for Akron’s own Dr. Keck). Albanese also represented Ward 6 as a Councilperson from 2001 until 2009, and currently serves on the City’s Planning Commission, a position she will have to resign before assuming her new obligations.
“I am very excited and humbled about this opportunity to again work with Mayor Plusquellic,” said Albanese. “This is a way of serving the City of Akron in a very different capacity than I have before and I am looking forward to that challenge. It is equally humbling to just think for a moment about the people who work (or have worked) under the Mayor’s leadership and their long history of successes for Akron. The Mayor has created teams that have been nothing short of awesome, and now I am joining the team – that is humbling!”

Mayor Plusquellic is also excited about the prospect of working with Albanese in this new capacity, “When Terry was a City councilperson, we didn’t agree on everything. But, she challenges me in ways that make me think differently about issues, and she is all about making our City a better place. Her background in health services and serving our community, unique perspectives, and passion for our City make her a perfect addition to my staff in an expanded position that compliments her strengths.”

Albanese will start at the City upon completing some projects at Summa, which should be in about a month. Her salary will be $105,393.60. 

A judge of a local court district is named in a whistle-blower filing by a former court employee stemming from use of the LEADS state database, reserved strictly for official business only, to check on the driving record of a local politician's girlfriend. 
Judge Kim Hoover defends the record search as something he would do for any citizen, and something visitors to the Municipal Court access on a routine basis when trying to find information about their own records. In Ohio, law enforcement agencies use a system called LEADS -- Law Enforcement Automated Database -- to access that information. But the LEADS system is still off-limits for all but official business. Use of the system for personal reasons is a Class 5 Felony.
It's that threat of a felony charge that led to an investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol of the Stow Municipal Court's use of the LEADS system. The records inquiry came at Hoover's direction after a local Democratic party leader whom Hoover describes as a long-time friend asked for help to determine why his girlfriend's driving privileges had been suspended. Hoover says he got the call in part because the party leader thought the suspension may have originated at the municipal court level, and the Stow Municipal Court was the jurisdiction he lived in.
The report generated by the inquiry using the LEADS system without a specific ongoing case number led Hoover's colleague Judge Lisa Coates to file an incident report which sparked an investigation. The OSHP incident report and an appeal from a Stow Municipal Court employee claiming he was the victim of retaliation and terminated as a whistle-blower have been obtained by AkronNewsNow. 
The investigation report and notice of appeal filed with the Ohio State Personnel Board of Review details a complicated set of circumstances. Coates made the initial report of suspected misuse of the LEADS system, and a lower-level court employee who wound up running the report was later dismissed. Worker James Rogers claims he was laid off after he refused to provide court officials with a report on the OSHP investigation. Hoover says Rogers was laid off as a budget-cutting move when finances tightened because Cuyahoga Falls retained a Mayor's Court, and points to the layoff of three part-time magistrates as part of the budget cuts. Hoover told AkronNewsNow he kept Rogers on the payroll when the magistrates were first laid off because of the ongoing investigation but moved forward after a prosecutor opted to not pursue charges relating to the use of the LEADS system. 
The case started December 19, 2013, according to the heavily-redacted report filed by OSHP Trooper Rayetta Kanters and supervised by OSHP Sgt. Kevin Weber. That's when Hoover asked his bailiff to get the driving suspension record from the court employee who usually filed the LEADS requests. The OSHP investigative report notes the request to run the check was first made to Jamie Matvey, the court's LEADS Tac Officer. When asked for a case number and told there wasn't one he refused to execute the request. Court employee James Rogers of Wadsworth was then asked to run the LEADS search and complied. 
The police report blacks out the names of individuals who were uncharged suspects; it also deletes social security numbers and public employee home addresses.
Matvey learned of Rogers' actions and became angry because the two had discussed the earlier request, according to interviews with investigators. Matvey told troopers he did not share the name of the individual in that discussion. Rogers advised Coates on December 20th, who filed a report. She told investigators there was "no evidence there was any legitimate court reason...to be run through LEADS."
Hoover tells AkronNewsNow he handled the request as he would for any other resident, noting the same requests are often made at the counter of the Municipal Court office from motorists trying to re-establish driving privileges. In this case, Hoover says, the case did not originate in Stow Municipal Court but instead came from a judgement in Summit County Common Pleas Court. 
Hoover says he advised the politician where to get additional information on the case and considered the matter closed. He said he was surprised and angered to learn Coates turned the case over to the OSHP. 
The local political figure, whose name was obscured in the public version of the report, did admit he made contact to determine the status of a suspended driving license and assumed the case originated in Stow Municipal Court. 
Hoover said the political figure was Summit County Democratic Party chairman Wayne Jones. In his interview with the State Patrol, Jones told Kanters "...he did contact (Judge Hoover, REDACTED) and asked him to check in (the) case; REDACTED (Jones) automatically assumed the case originated in Stow Municipal Court..." because he "...depends on her to drive him to certain places." Jones suffers from illness and is not physically able to drive. AkronNewsNow is not identifying the girlfriend by name since she is not a public figure, but confirmed there was a judgement against her in Summit County Common Pleas Court that led to a license suspension. 
Rogers was asked to detail the incident with a report to Stow Court Administrator Rick Klinger, but declined on the advice of Trooper Kantera. A day later Rogers was laid off for economic reasons; in his appeal of the dismissal Rogers maintains he was a victim of Retaliatory Discipline as a whistle-blower. Hoover said there was an offer to bring Rogers back to his position when Matvey later resigned to accept another position, but Rogers did not accept the offer. Asked if Rogers was offered the job conditionally based on the LEADS investigation, Hoover said he was not aware of any conditions but the offer was handled by the court administration.
Since the Stow Municipal Court is considered an arm of the City of Stow, the Law Director's office was advised of the criminal investigation but directed any inquiry to the Summit County Prosecutor's Office, which then routed the case to the Stark County Prosecutor for review. Stark County officials made the decision to not pursue the case as a criminal matter.
The State Personnel Board of Review has appointed an administrative judge to hear the appeal but a hearing date has not been set. Fairlawn attorney Michael Creveling represents Rogers. He declined comment on the specifics of the case.
Saturday, 19 April 2014 00:00

OVI Stops Haul In Six

Summit County's OVI Task Force went fishing last night and pulled in a quite a haul. Twin sobriety checkpoints with more than 320 vehicles checked on Brittain Road and another at Tallmadge Avenue. Six arrested for driving under the influence, and half refused a breathlyzer. The others had an average reading nearly double the legal limit.

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 (OVI Task Force) On Friday, April 18th, 2014 the Summit County OVI Task Force conducted two sobriety checkpoints; one at 1561 Brittain Road and the second at 975 Tallmadge Avenue- both in the City of Akron. The results of the Brittain Road checkpoint are as follows: 145- Vehicles passed through the checkpoint in total
17- Vehicles were directed into the diversion area for further investigation or violations
03- People were arrested for Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
06- People were arrested for Driving under Suspension
01- Person was arrested for Wrongful Entrustment of a Motor Vehicle
01- Person was arrested for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant
01- Person was cited for Failure to Use Safety Restraints
03- Vehicles were impounded The results of the Tallmadge Avenue checkpoint are as follows: 181- Vehicles passed through the checkpoint in total
18- Vehicles were directed into the diversion area for further investigation or violations
03- Person was arrested for Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
06- People were arrested for Driving under Suspension
02- People were arrested for outstanding Felony Warrants
01- Person was arrested for Carrying a Concealed Weapon
02- People were arrested on outstanding felony warrants
01- Person was cited for an open container of an alcoholic beverage
01- Person was cited for Fictitious License Plates
01- Person was cited for Failure to Use Safety Restraints
06- Vehicles were impounded Of the six total individuals arrested for Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence, three refused to  provide a breath sample, while the other three opted to provide a breath sample resulting in average BAC
of .154 

Monday, 31 March 2014 00:00

Bath Cops Look For Shooter

Gunfire at play in Montrose is a relatively rare occurrance -- except for Friday, when a man was shot after what's being described as a "verbal altercation." Bath Township police say the 44-year old victim, a former Navy Seal, tried to follow his assailants but drove himself to the Bath Police Department headquarters despite "bleeding profusely" from the abdomen. The vehicle carrying three individuals was last seen heading toward the entrance ramp on I-77 northbound from Ghent Road and is described as a gray "low profile sports car" with a raised spoiler, black rims and trim, tinted windows and a performance-style muffler. 

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(Bath Police Department) Bath police are seeking witnesses to a Friday, March 28 at the West Market Plaza, 3800 Medina Rd., Bath Township. A 44-year old Medina man sustained a gunshot wound to the abdomen following a verbal altercation at 5:25 p.m.

The suspects fled the shooting in a motor vehicle described as a low profile sports car. The car was a shade of gray described as neither primer nor metallic. It had a raised spoiler on the trunk and black rims. There was a dark black tint on the side rear windows and back window. The muffler was a performance style muffler with a loud noise.

The vehicle traveled north on N. Cleveland Massillon Road and turned southeast onto Ghent Rd. It was last seen at the traffic light at Ghent Rd. and entrance ramp to Interstate 77 north.

The vehicle was occupied by three male subjects. Two are described as African-American. The third subject was seated behind the rear seat tinted window.

The victim, a former Navy Seal, attempted to follow the suspects but realized he was bleeding profusely. He drove himself to the Bath Township Police Department to seek help. Bath Township Fire Department personnel administered first aid and transported him to a local hospital. The victim remains hospitalized.

Police are reviewing numerous videos from local businesses to determine if the crime was recorded.

Any citizen who may have witnessed the altercation or vehicle fleeing from the scene is asked to contact the Bath Police Department at 330-666-3736. Anyone recognizing the vehicle description or having any information is asked to contact Detective Dan Lance at 330-666-3736 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

UPDATE : Summit County Common Pleas Judge Christine Croce has ordered Doug Prade to appear in her court for a hearing Thursday morning at 9 after the 9th District Court of Appeals Wednesday ruled that Prade, who was convicted of the 1997 murder of his ex-wife Dr. Margo Prade, should have never been released from prison by former Summit County Judge Judy Hunter based on new DNA evidence which his attornies claimed proved Prade's innocence.    


Previous Coverage 

Another reversal in the Doug Prade case.  The 9th District Court of Appeals has issued an opinion that sides with prosecutors and says that post-relief conviction should never have been granted.  The former Akron police captain was convicted for the 1997 murder of his estranged wife, Dr. Margo Prade.  Doug Prade was released from prison, based on new DNA testing that ruled him out as the person who left DNA evidence through bite marks on Margo's lab coat.  The appellate judges say that the meaningfulness of the new test results is unclear and given what they called the "enormity" of other evidence that points to Prade as the killer, they disagree with Judge Judy Hunter, who said that "no reasonable factfinder" would have found him guilty.  The case now goes back to Summit County Common Pleas Court for reconsideration that is consistent with the appellate decision.

A copy of the Court's decision is attached to this story as a .pdf file.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 10:47

SUPCO Rules Against Akron Police Captains

The Plusquellic Administration winning a round in the State Supreme Court, which rules mayoral assistant Charles Brown could serve as acting police chief because the position doesn't exist.

The court also ruled Brown doesn't serve as deputy police chief either. The Court's ruling came on a challenge from six of the nine captains on the police department who contended the Mayor's appointment of Brown, who had retired in 2013 as a Lieutenant, overstepped them as the qualified contenders.

Brown served as acting chief for four days. In their 4-3 ruling, the Court reinforced the power of the Mayor to appoint and remove non-elected city officials.

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(Ohio Supreme Court) An assistant to the Akron mayor cannot be removed as acting city police chief because there is no such position, and he does not hold the office of deputy police chief so he cannot be ousted from that position either, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled today.

In a 4-3 decision, the court denied a request from nine captains in the Akron Police Department for a special order called a writ quo warranto to remove Charles Brown from two offices. The captains argue that they are eligible to serve in those positions while Brown is not.

Brown resigned as a police lieutenant in the department and was appointed in January 2013 as an assistant to the mayor and as assistant chief of police, a position not included in the police division's manual or the city's charter. In February, Akron's police chief appointed Brown to serve as acting chief of police for four days. Before that, the chief typically had named a police captain as acting police chief in his absence.

Since the captains filed their action, the chief has not appointed anyone as acting police chief in his absence, but instead has ordered that any issues be directed to the mayor.

In today's per curiam (not authored by a specific justice) opinion, the court determined that the evidence shows that "acting chief of police" is a temporary assignment filled only when the police chief is away for a brief time. The court stated that because acting police chief is not a public office to which anyone has a right, it is not an office from which a person can be removed by court order.

The captains also contended that Brown has been serving as de facto deputy chief of police. To be a de facto officer, Brown must appear to be in an office he is not entitled to hold and appear to be performing that office's duties and responsibilities, the court explained.

Akron's police department has no official deputy chiefs. The court stated that Brown does seem to carry out some duties usually done by a deputy chief, such as signing findings and recommendations while sitting on the city's firearms review board, overseeing the community relations office, and representing the chief at meetings and events, and he had been named assistant chief of police, a title he often has used publicly.

The court noted, however, that Brown does not claim to be a deputy police chief, and these facts do not necessarily support a court order to remove him.

"[T]o the extent that [the captains] question the legality of Brown's actions as an assistant to the mayor and assistant chief of police because those actions are normally performed only by a deputy chief, quo warranto cannot be used to oust him from his position," the court's opinion stated.

"The mayor of Akron has the power to 'appoint and remove all employees in both the classified and unclassified service, except elected officials,' and to exercise control over all departments and divisions," the opinion continued. "The mayor has the power to appoint Brown as an assistant to the mayor. If the duties Brown performs in that capacity violate the city's collective-bargaining agreement or state or federal law, [the captains] are free to pursue those theories. But the writ of quo warranto does not lie to oust Brown as assistant to the mayor even if Brown, as an assistant, performs duties that are more akin to the duties usually assigned to deputy chiefs." The court concluded that Brown is not a de facto deputy chief.

Making up the court's majority were Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Terrence O'Donnell, Sharon L. Kennedy, and William M. O'Neill. Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger dissented in an opinion joined by Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor and Justice Judith L. French.

In her dissent, Justice Lanzinger agreed with the majority's decision that the court cannot remove Brown as acting chief of police because that position is a temporary assignment rather than a public office. However, she would order Brown to be removed from performing the duties of deputy chief because he is unlawfully serving as a de facto deputy chief.

Justice Lanzinger wrote that this is not a situation where the writ is being sought to test the legality of Brown's actions but that instead the captains are asserting that Brown usurped or intruded on the office of deputy chief.

"The majority in part justifies denying the writ on the fact that Brown does not claim to be a deputy police chief," she continued. "Such a claim, however, would not be in his interests. If Brown claimed he held the position, it would be readily apparent that he has usurped, intruded, or unlawfully exercised that public office. Instead, he refers to himself as 'assistant chief of police,' a position the majority acknowledges does not exist under the city charter."

"In my view, sufficient evidence exists to show that respondents have sidestepped the provision of the city charter that requires the deputy police chief to be a member of the classified civil service," she wrote. Brown's position as assistant to the mayor is unclassified. "By assigning Brown to perform the functions of a deputy police chief without actually appointing him to that position, respondents have circumvented civil-service requirements, a maneuver we have held to be improper," she concluded.