Photos.com/Thinkstock(EDISON, N.J.) -- An Edison, N.J., police officer is behind bars, accused of setting the home of his captain ablaze while the family of five was asleep inside.
Flames, believed to be from a Molotov cocktail thrown at the two-story home, came within inches of where Captain Mark Anderko's two children were sleeping, but the kids...
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama and actress Kerry Washington stopped by Savoy Elementary School in southeast Washington, D.C., Friday to watch a song-and dance performance that included “Who Put the Bop” and a few other numbers.Washington has adopted the school in the capital’s...
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- Three dogs rescued from alleged Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro are in foster care until the three women police say he held captive decide whether any one of them wants to keep the dogs.The Chihuahua and two terrier-poodle mixes were found at the Ohio house where Castro allegedly kept Amanda Berry, 27,...
Larry States has been a news anchor and reporter for 36 years at radio stations in Akron and Canton, including the last 26 at 1590 WAKR. States served as News Director of WAKR for 14 years. Larry also served as news director of the former WAKR TV 23 in Akron. Larry was inducted into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame in Akron in 2004. He is currently a member of the Summit County Emergency Management Committee. An Akron native, Larry is a 1970 graduate of Hower High School and a 1975 graduate of the University of Akron. Contact Larry through the newsroom at 330-864-6397 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
He was an innovator who helped move Metro Transit in Akron into the future as one of the nation's model bus systems. Metro Executive Director Bob Pfaff passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 61. Metro's Molly Becker says Pfaff is the main reason Metro is what it is today.
She tells AkronNewsNow: "He helped Metro go countywide. He introduced Sunday service. He helped kick off our service to Cleveland. He helped us open the Transit Center in 2009, and in 2008 he was responsible for getting us our sales levy passage so that we could keep Metro moving forward."
Becker says Pfaff, who started as a bus driver and worked his way up through the ranks, brought a perspective that no one will ever be able to bring to Metro again. Becker says Pfaff made Metro and public transit a well respected industry in Summit County as well as helping further public transit in the entire country.
News Release From Metro Regional Transit Authority
Robert (Bob) K. Pfaff, METRO RTA’s Executive Director, passed away on Monday, July 2nd after a courageous battle with cancer.
Pfaff began his career at METRO as a bus operator in 1974 and worked his way up through the ranks. He worked at METRO for 38 years, serving 17 as the Executive Director.Pfaff was most proud of his achievements in advancing public transportation in Summit County. Pfaff was instrumental in helping METRO go county-wide, introducing Sunday service, kicking off service to and from Cleveland, and the 2009 opening of the Transit Center in downtown Akron. In May 2012, the transit facility in downtown Akron was named the Robert K. Pfaff Transit Center, honoring his years of dedicated service to the residents of Summit County. If you asked Pfaff what he felt was his number one personal achievement, it was a 2008 tax levy increase, which secured the future of public transportation in Summit County and halted the detrimental cuts that would have happened without the levy’s passage. He was proud of the direction METRO is headed and leaves behind a legacy of excellence in the public transportation industry. In June, Pfaff was honored with the Leonard Ronis Excellence in Transit Award through the Ohio Public Transit Association.
Pfaff was the father of four daughters, grandfather to four grandchildren and a friend to many. He is also survived by two brothers. Bob was raised in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and most recently resided in the City of Green. Bob was 61 years old.
Another weekend of gunfire in Akron.
Police are investigating two shootings.
The first happened around 6:30 Friday evening. A 23 year old man, sitting on his neighbor’s porch in the 1100 block of Herman Street, was shot in the head. The victim, Mychael Andrews, reported he was sitting with two other men , when a dark blue, minivan pulled up in front of the house. A passenger got out of the van, walked up in the front yard and yelled “Hey” before firing several shots. Andrews was struck in the head and several bullets struck the front of the house. Andrews was transported to Akron General Medical Center, where his injuries appear to be minor.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Akron Police.
Another shooting at around 2 Saturday morning sent 34-year old Dion Scott to City Hospital with a bullet in his leg.
Scott was shot in the parking lot of Glen's Bar on East Glenwood Avenue. Police say his injuries don't appear to be life threatening. He was unable to describe the suspect.
An Akron mother who set her three-year old child in the middle of an intersection was convicted by a Summit County jury on several charges Friday.
A jury found Melissa D. Swiger, 33, of Doty Drive in Akron, guilty of Aggravated Vehicular Assault, Failure to Stop After an Incident, Operating Under the Influence, And Child Endangering, all felonies. The Court also found Swiger guilty of Reckless Operation of a Vehicle, and Running a Red Light .
On November 2, 2011, Swiger set her three-year-old child in the middle of Waterloo Road and drove away. A passerby picked up the child and called 911.
Just 15 minutes later Swiger crossed the double yellow line on South Main Street and crashed into a truck. The driver of the truck is now in a wheelchair.
Swiger ran from the scene of the crash to Holy Cross Cemetery, where she was found by two Sheriff’s deputies. Because Swiger was talking incoherently, the deputies sent her to the psychiatric ward. Tests revealed a large amount of marijuana in Swiger’s system.
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Lynne Callahan sentenced Melissa Swiger to four years in prison.
The Stark County Jail, which had its inmate population trimmed to 300 last year, due to budget cuts and deputy layoffs, will be adding more deputies and prisoners beginning next month, thanks to county voters approving a sales tax.
Stark County Chief Deputy Michael McDonald tells AkronNews Now " On July 5th we're going to open up some more areas in the jail. We've been able to hire some folks and we can now have the population to increase to 400."
McDonald credits Stark County judges with being very creative in coming up with sentencing alternatives to keep the jail population lower during the impact of the budget cuts.
McDonald says the Sheriff's Department plans to have the jail back to its full capacity of 500 prisoners by early next year.
But that's not all that will improve.
" We're also going to put some people back out on patrol. It's very dangerous for our patrol officers right now. They're working extremely short handed, and we're committed her at the sheriff's office to getting that built up too," says McDonald.
He says the situation at the jail was dangerous at times over the past year due to jail personnel cutbacks. " We had a lot of officers get hurt. The inmates knew we were short staffed, and as a result they began to assault our officers. So that's stopped now that we've been able to hire more people."
The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office and the Akron Police Department are investigating the death of a 35-year old Wadsworth man after he reportedly climbed on top his vehicle and over the fence of the All-American Y- Bridge before jumping Thursday night. An autopsy is scheduled for today.
What puzzles police and Akron Engineering Bureau Manager Jim Hewitt is how the man was able to make it over new fencing installed last year that was designed to stop such suicide attempts.
Hewitt tells AkronNewsNow " When the fence was originally designed, it was designed so you couldn't climb it. Now they probably didn't take into account someone standing on top of a vehicle to get to the top of it and jump."
Hewitt says they'll study what happened. " We're going to have to go back and we'll discuss it with Akron Police, and our designers and see what happened, and how it happened, and if there's any modifications we can make. We'll go back and see what the elevation of the fence is versus the elevation of vehicles, and try and evaluate what type of vehicle was used and how the person that jumped last night, how they did it,"says Hewitt.
The city of Akron spent nearly $10-million to install the fences to prevent a growing number of suicide jumps from the span.
Editor's note 4:30 p.m.: The Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Summit County and other agencies offer assistance to individuals and families through a variety of contact methods. The ADM Board Suicide Prevention Coalition website offers resources online; calls can also be directed to 330-434-9144 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-TALK (8255). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24/7 service.
UPDATE 7:14 P.M.
Power has been almost completely restored to almost all customers in Stow after a down power line knocked out nearly 14,000 customers late Wednesday afternoon. Only 7 customers are without electricity according to FirstEnergy Spokesman Mark Durbin.
Durbin tells AkronNewsNow.com those homes will be back to full service within the hour. The cause of the downed line is still uncertain.
UPDATE: 6:55 P.M.
Power was out for Stow residents late Wednesday afternoon for over 10,000 FirstEnergy customers.
FirstEnergy Spokesman Mark Durbin tells AkronNewsNow.com how the problem started.
"About 5:10 p.m. a wire came down along Darrow Road in Stow affecting 14,000 customers," Durbin said.
FirstEnergy crews immediately went out to investigate and restore power
As of 6:43 p.m Wednesday, most customers have been fully restored with about 1,500 still in the dark.
The outage does not appear to be heat-related but crews are currently investigating to see what the caused the wire to come down.
Traffic lights in the area are starting to come back on. FirstEnergy crews say they will continue to be out until all customers are restored.
Power is reportedly out to about 10,000 FirstEnergy customers in Stow. There are no other details on the cause of that outage at this time.
A 20-year old Akron woman is facing vehicular homicide and vehicular manslaughter charges in the traffic crash death of a friend.
WKYC Channel 3 reports that on April 19th, at about 3:20 in the morning Cherica Jones was driving an SUV on West Cedar Street, when she drove through a malfunctioning traffic light at Wabash Avenue and collided with an AMR ambulance in the intersection.
The traffic light was not working due to a power outage.
Her passenger 57-year old Collins Green, also of Akron, was killed.
The ambulance, did not have its lights and sirens on.
The ambulance was taking a 56-year-old Macedonia man to Akron General Medical Center at the time. No one in the ambulance was hurt.
The summer of 2012 is shaping up to be a very dry one in Ohio and that has Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials bracing for a lot of wildfires. Drew Todd of the Division Of Forestry tells AkronNewsNow "We haven't had a season this bad since 1999. There were sporadic fires throughout that summer, and if we don't get a specific amount of precipitation soon that could equal the 99 situation we had."
Todd says campers should be careful to make sure their fires are out and cold before they leave, and for folks to avoid tossing cigarette ashes on to dry grass or parking cars with hot catalytic converters in taller grass or weeds. He says burning trash outside in such dry conditions can also start wildfires. He urges vigilance with other equipment that produce heat and sparks such as chain saws and welding equipment.
While wildfires here don't match the damage and intensity of wildfires in western states Drew Todd says they can cause significant property damage, sparking house and car fires.
Trucking companies are having a tough time hiring enough drivers for long haul jobs. It's estimated there is a shortage of more than 200,000 truck drivers nationwide.
Ohio trucking companies are experiencing the same shortage according to Larry Davis, President of the Ohio Trucking Association. Davis says many older truck drivers are retiring, and companies are trying to make the on-the-road jobs more attractive to fewer younger drivers.
Davis tells AkronNewsNow " Companies are all about trying to figure out how to make it better for the driver, because if he sees the company next door offering two cents more a mile, or he gets to come home every third night and I don't get to come home but every two weeks, people will move from one job to another." Larry Davis says the employee turnover rate is very high in the trucking industry.
Davis says younger drivers want more time with their families, especially on weekends. He admits that weeks away from home as a long-haul trucker can be tough on family life, and that's why companies are trying to make changes to the typical work week.
Ohio Truckers Shortage by Larry States
One method the trucking companies used over the past decade was to hire older husband and wife teams, whose adult children had already left home, and have them pair up on delivery trips, allowing them to be together for those long cross country deliveries that could last last a couple of weeks or more.
Larry Davis says the trucking industry has proposed an idea to help ease the shortage. " We suggested to the feds that they start looking at the kids coming back from the military that have been across the pond, driving semis over there and they come back and they're not 21 yet. They ought to be able to get a CDL, and drive one here in this country," says Davis. The current minimum age for a commercial drivers license is 21.
Construction employment has fallen over the last year in nearly half of the 337 metropolitan areas surveyed. In Akron, its a different story. Construction employment not only up 14-percent, but the city is tied for eighth nationwide in the number of construction jobs, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Their report shows Akron had 12,800 construction jobs last month ... about 16-hundred more than last year at the same time.
New home construction is also looking up in Summit and Portage counties, according to Carmine Torio ,Executive Vice President of the Homebuilders Association of Greater Akron.
" You can talk to realtors, you can talk to builders. They're signing contracts, people are buying houses. Now its just a matter of what are you going to compare it too," says Torio.
Torio says low mortgage interest rates of between three and four percent are also fueling new home construction and sales.
" The last four months have been the most positive sustained comments I've got in the last six years. New home sales for the month of May have gone up 18%, which is the highest in two years."
Summit-Portage New Home Construction Rebounds by Larry States
Carmine Torio says many homebuilders have been operating with smaller crews since the recession as a hedge against more downturns.
Torio says new homes in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range are most in demand right now thanks to the lower mortgage interest rates making them more affordable.
He says past increases in local new home construction have been choppy, not lasting for very long before declining again. He hopes this recovery is sustainable, after four months of increases.
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