Amani Abraham

Amani Abraham

Amani Abraham is the morning web editor and also tracks morning drive traffic for 1590 WAKR, 97.5 WONE and 94.9 WQMX during weekday mornings and is a reporter/anchor. She's no stranger to AkronNewsNow.com, having worked as an intern with Rubber City Radio Group as a producer for the Daily Vodcast and other video projects.. Amani is a 2011 graduate with a Communications degree from the University of Akron, where she excelled in her work on the student radio station WZIP-FM and Z-TV, the University's television program. You can reach Amani through the newsroom 330-864-6397 or by email aabraham@rcrg.net

Friday, 19 April 2013 06:47

UPDATE Crews Battle Large Akron Fire

Firefighters battled a large fire that broke out at an Akron pallet company early Friday morning.

Crews responded to the fire at Tri County Pallet and Mulch on Flora Avenue near West Wilbeth Road around 5 a.m.

Around 9 a.m., Akron Fire Captain Al Bragg said the fire was under control and crews were working to put out hot spots throughout the area.

"There were six or seven tractor-trailers inside that were burning; as well as some tow motors, a few explosions in there," said Bragg. "A pretty substantial fire."

Bragg says size of the building is comparable to the size of a football field.

No injuries have been reported.

Fire crews were able to clear the scene at around 2:30 Friday afternoon.

It appears the building is not a total loss, according to Bragg. But the damage estimate so far totals more than $650,000

"I was told that they were able to save a substantial portion of the business. So, right now, it looks like there has been some of the business saved."

Fire investigators say sparks from a band saw could have ignited the fire.

Bragg says crews had to shutdown a portion of the railroad near the fire for several hours.


View Larger Map

Thursday, 18 April 2013 12:45

VIDEO Science On Wheels Visits Buchtel CLC

An 18-wheeler parked outside of Buchtel CLC is far more than just a transportation vehicle. It's an interactive experience that creates a unique learning environment for students.

The National Science Center and the U.S. Army traveled to the school with their Mobile Discovery Van (MDV) filled with hands-on activities related to science and math.

Students had an opportunity to visit the Mobile Discovery Van which included a 50-minute presentation. Col. Wayne Recknor, senior aerospace science instructor, requested that the mobile classroom make a trip to Buchtel CLC four years ago.

Sgt. 1st Class Steven McCarroll, an instructor with the MDV, says some students absorb more information when it's presented in a creative way.

"They get that hands-on experience and they can always relate back to that. 'I can remember when I did this' as opposed to when you read something or are told something, you don't always put it in the same part of your memory bank," said McCarroll.

McCarroll works with students across the country inside the mobile classroom using physical science demonstrations to peak the interests of students. Topics include electricity, magnetism, light and motion.

Click here to learn more about the Mobile Discovery Van.

 

 

Thursday, 18 April 2013 06:58

Money Balloons

The picture says it all. Skip the birthday card and add some cash to a balloon! A fun and easy gift.
Money Balloons
Source: www.bedifferentactnormal.com

...
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 09:42

KSU President To Retire In 2014

Kent State Unviersity's president is set to retire at the end of the 2014 school year.

Dr. Lester Lefton, who has served as the university's president since 2006, will leave the post on July 1st of next year. (2014) 

The announcement was made in an email to faculty, staff and students this morning. 

---------------

Press Release:

Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton announced today he will retire from the presidency of Ohio’s second largest public university, effective July 1, 2014.

He has served as Kent State’s chief executive officer since July 1, 2006.

“I am so proud of where our university is today, and our record-setting performances have exceeded even our own high expectations and captured regional, state and national attention,” Lefton said in an email message to university faculty, staff and students this morning.

“Kent State is well-positioned for the future, and the academic and physical transformations we have begun – across our campuses and our home communities, most notably, in Kent – will pave the way for an even more exciting future.”

Jane Murphy Timken, chair of Kent State’s Board of Trustees, praised Lefton as a strategic thinker and student-focused leader whose tenure has been transformational for Kent State. “President Lefton’s contributions to Kent State have been extraordinary,” Timken said. “He has been the right leader at the right time who has brought a new sense of purpose and pride in Kent State.

“Through his comprehensive vision and relentless pursuit of excellence, President Lefton has strengthened Kent State’s position at the forefront of higher education,” she said. “He has led our university through an unprecedented period of advancement and growth in enrollment, academic standards and programs, student retention and graduation, faculty success, fundraising, winning athletics, and public-private investments in our campuses and surrounding communities.

“Over the past seven years, Kent State has reached new heights – in fact, it is at the top of its game, and the board is committed to continuing this momentum,” Timken continued. “Seeking a new president who will move us to the next level will be the clear goal of our board.”

Timken thanked Lefton for informing the trustees of his retirement plans well in advance, allowing for a thorough search for a successor, who will be chosen after a national search process that will be launched in the coming weeks.

Under Lefton’s leadership, key university accomplishments to date include:

Kent State has solidified its position as Northeast Ohio’s #1 public university – leading in enrollment, graduates and retention. Since he assumed the presidency in July 2006, enrollment has grown by 25 percent to 42,513 students, the highest recorded enrollment in Kent State’s history. International student enrollment has more than tripled, and each year the university has attracted a more highly qualified, diverse and geographically dispersed entering class.

With a focus on college completion, Kent State has made great strides and significant investments in student success and retention strategies. This spring, the university will confer 4,375 degrees, which is roughly a 13 percent increase from last year and freshman retention has risen to 75-78 percent in recent years.

The transformational “Foundations of Excellence: Building the Future” program was developed and launched, funding some $200 million in campus improvements addressing academic needs, accessibility, energy efficiency and deferred maintenance. Among these will be new or improved facilities for the Sciences; Architecture and Environmental Design; Art; Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology; and Undergraduate Studies.

Key academic objectives have been realized including creation of a College of Public Health, acquisition of a College of Podiatric Medicine, continued integration of the regional campus system, expansion of online programs and courses, and growth in international enrollments and partnerships.
Kent State’s Centennial Campaign raised a record-breaking $265 million, surpassing its $250 million goal. University and foundation leadership together are building the pipeline to cultivate the next generation of donors and ever-higher levels of attainment, which are essential to the university’s future.

The university began a multi-year diversity initiative creating a new division and cabinet-level officer, the vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion; implementing a diversity scorecard; and launching a strategic diversity plan with a focus on inclusive excellence.

With 42,000 students coming to campus every year with expectations of technology that are rivaled in few business to consumer organizations, under Lefton’s leadership Kent State delivered technology-driven solutions that meet the campus community’s demands for support of a wide inventory of digital tools including smart phones, tablets, laptops and gaming devices. Additionally, the university empowered faculty and staff with IT tools to meet the pressures of a 24/7 environment created by the Internet.

Lefton commissioned the university’s first independent study that quantified Kent State’s annual economic impact to the state of Ohio as $1.9 billion. He also invested in branding initiatives that raised the global visibility of the university contributing to its recognition twice as a “Top University in the World” from the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings.

During Lefton’s tenure, The Chronicle of Higher Education selected Kent State twice as one of the “Great Colleges to Work For.” Additionally, for three years in a row, the Employers Research Council ranked Kent State one of the 99 great workplaces for top talent in Northeast Ohio.

The face of the Kent Campus has changed substantially during Lefton’s tenure. Risman Plaza and many campus academic buildings have seen renovation; campus landscaping, signage and many new student-focused facilities have been developed, including the new Student Green, new student study lounges, and a math emporium in the university’s library.

Significant progress has been made in revitalizing downtown Kent, creating Ohio’s rising college town and making Kent a great place to study, work, live and visit. With the tireless work of public and private partners, the $100 million Kent Gateway Project has become a reality, including the openings in June of the long-awaited hotel and conference center and esplanade extension.

Kent State celebrated its centennial in 2010 through yearlong observances, which included the 40th anniversary of the events of May 4, 1970, listing of the site on the National Register of Historic Places, and the opening of a May 4 Visitors Center marking its place in American history.

Lefton has built a strong leadership team for Kent State, most recently appointing Todd Diacon, Ph.D., as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. The board and the president have focused on leadership development and building bench strength as a strategic goal, as talent in the form of faculty and staff is key to achieving desired high-impact results in education, research and service.
Kent State Athletics has achieved unprecedented success academically and competitively; among key highlights of his tenure are the Golden Flashes’ 2012 appearance in the College World Series; consistent national rankings and conference championships in sports as wide ranging as golf, wrestling, gymnastics, track and field; six 20-win seasons in men’s basketball; and football’s historic run in 2012-13, including the first bowl appearance in 40 years.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013 06:57

Mom Says Son Didn't Kill Couple

The woman of the 14-year-old boy charged in connection with the murder of a New Franklin couple says her son witnessed the slayings, but was not the killer.

Misty Carswell, 33, tells the Beacon Journal that her son, Jamall Vaughn, was coerced by Shawn Ford, 18, to go to the home of Jeffrey and Magaret Schobert. The 14-year-old boy told his mother that he went with Ford only out of fear and that he thought Ford's intentions were to steal from the couple.

The couple was bludgeoned to death in their home with a sledgehammer on April 2.

The 14-year-old told his mother about the events a day after the attacks during a family meeting where he identified Ford as the killer. . The family met with a counselor and then took Vaughn to talk with police.

Ford was dating the couple's daughter.

Shawn Ford and Jamall Vaughn are facing aggravated murder, robbery and burglary charges. Summit County prosecutors are seeking to have the teen tried as an adult.

On the web: www.ohio.com

Previous Coverage:

UPDATE New Franklin Couple Found Dead

Suspect Arrested In New Franklin Murders

Summit ME: Couple Died Of Blunt Impacts

Teen Pleads Not Guilty To New Franklin Murders

Bond Set At $2M For Murder Suspect

New Franklin Double Homicide Case Bound Over

Double Homicide Suspect Facing Assault Charges

 

 

 

 

 

It's never too late to make one of your childhood dreams come true. Just ask Mae Packan.

The New Franklin Fire Department surprised her with a ride in a fire truck for her 99th birthday Tuesday afternoon.

"This is the most fabulous birthday present I could have. Money could not buy this," said Packan.

Kathleen and Bob Pickering, close friends and neighbors of Mae Packan, asked the department if they could grant her the wish.

Lt. Don Burroughs says in the midst of tragedy both locally and across the nation, he's happy the department can give back to the community, even if it's just a smile.

"It's something nice that's happening in the community after some of the events that's happened in the last couple of weeks here," said Burroughs. "The end result will be happiness on her birthday."

With a little help from firefighters, Packan was inside the large fire truck in her driveway shortly after she was surprised by a group of friends outside her home.

The trip around the block only lasted a few minutes, but the memory will last a lot longer for everyone involved.

So, what about her 100th birthday? Packan says she's thinking about a ride in a hot air balloon.

Security and training are the topics of discussion for local law enforcement following the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday.

Akron Police Chief James Nice says the police department and the Summit County Sheriff's Office train regularly for similar events.

"Just this year for our in-service, we had active shooter training, which had to do with responding to live incidents like that," said Nice. "We have a team of people that have been specifically trained, even more in-depth." 

Nice says the department trains with many different agencies in Summit County including fire, EMS and federal law enforcement.

Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry says there's extensive training that goes into training a bomb squad.

"Our bomb squad is trained through federal means when they first join the team and their training is continuous ," said Barry. "And our guys are exceptionally trained and they do a terrific job."

Barry says it can be a difficult job trying to piece together events following an explosive, especially in a crowded area .

"It'll take a lot of time for it to be safely done and, like I said, they would have to utilize their resources," said Barry.

Akron Police Chief James Nice says federal and local law enforcement will use every tool they have to try and piece together critical information.

"{Law enforcement } will be using every tool in the box," said Nice. "Whether it's tire track marks, satellite information, camera information, they'll be brining every tool in humanly possible ," said Nice.

The city of Akron will invest about $3.2 million in the reconstruction of the outdated Cascade Plaza after news that FirstMerit will be keeping its headquarters in Akron.

City Council approved legislation Monday to improve the building and parking deck following the announcement of a merger between FirstMerit and Citizens Republic Bankcorp of Michigan.

"During this merger process, there was the potential we were getting ready to lose 2,000 full-time jobs," said Gary Moneypenny, president of Akron City Council.

City officials say the improvements are an incentive for FirstMerit to remain in Akron and create an additional 150 jobs in the city.

The city says Cascade Plaza, which also acts as the roof of the underground parking facility, has deteriorated over time. It was built in the 1970's.

Moneypenny says renovations made to Cascade Plaza will include improvements to the parking deck.

"We're going to reseal that parking deck. Also, turn that parking deck into more of a 'park-like' atmosphere and that's also along with part of our 'going green' downtown," said Moneypenny.

The city will also provide a Job Creation Incentive in the form of income tax credits to FirstMerit that will provide the company with help towards the cost of their relocation, expansion and new employee training.

A Cuyahoga Falls man was sentenced to 18 months in prison after he was convicted of trafficking in more than $180,000 worth of counterfeit merchandise.

Authorities say Ronald Jason Azar, 34, of Cuyahoga Falls, was involved in trafficking or attempting to traffic 104 counterfeit handbags. If you're into labels - it included Gucci, Coach, Louis Vuitton and Versace.

Azar pleaded guilty in October to a one-count indictment charging him with trafficking in merchandise containing counterfeit trademarks, logos or labels.

----------

News Release: United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio:

Ronald Jason Azar, age 34, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in connection with his recent conviction for trafficking in more than $180,000 worth of counterfeit merchandise, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Azar pleaded guilty in October to a one-count indictment charging him with trafficking in merchandise containing counterfeit trademarks, logos or labels.

On or about April 27, 2011, Azar intentionally trafficked and attempted to traffic in approximately 104 counterfeit designer handbags which, if genuine, were valued at approximately $183,488, according to court documents.

The handbags included 12 Gucci, 23 Coach, 17 Louis Vuitton, five Versace, five Chanel, two Marc Jacobs, three Dooney & Burke, six Prada, eight Fendi, seven Chloe, seven Jimmy Choo and nine Dolce & Gabbana handbags, which contained counterfeit marks, logos, labels, hang tags, patches, stickers, emblems, holograms and packaging. The marks on the merchandise were identical to and substantially indistinguishable from marks used on genuine merchandise, and were in use and registered for such goods on the principle register of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, according to court documents.

The use of such counterfeit and spurious marks was likely to cause confusion, mistake or to deceive, according to court documents.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Kern, Cybercrime Coordinator for the Cleveland U.S. Attorney’s Office, following an investigation by the Cleveland Office of the Department of Homeland Security, Office Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Friday, 12 April 2013 12:12

Q & A: Trying A Juvenile As An Adult

The Summit County Prosecutor's Office is working to clarify and answer questions surrounding how and why juveniles can be tried as an adult in court. It's a discussion that's popping up not only locally, but across the country.

The office put together a list of questions and answers to help break down the process and requirements of trying a juvenile as an adult. Depending on the severity of a crime and the age of an offender, the State may look to try a juvenile in the Court of Common Pleas instead of Juvenile Court.

If a juvenile is convicted in adult court, the teen could receive an adult prison sentence. The death penalty remains off the table for juveniles.

A number of high profile cases in Summit County have involved juveniles who are accused of serious crimes. Recently, Shawn Ford Jr. and a 14-year-old boy were charged in connection with the murder of Jeffrey and his wife, Maragert Shobert, of New Franklin.

Previous Coverage:

Below is the full list of questions and answers from the Summit County Prosecutor's Office.

-------------------------------------------------------

Why would the State want to try a juvenile as an adult?

Depending on the severity of a crime and the age of an offender, the State may seek to try a juvenile in the Court of Common Pleas instead of Juvenile Court. Certain crimes are so heinous that the State feels an adult prison sentence would be more appropriate.

Can any juvenile be tried as an adult?

Only juveniles age 14 and older may be tried as an adult.

For what crimes can a juvenile be tried as an adult?

Any felony committed by a juvenile who is at least 14 can be tried in the Court of Common Pleas. Depending on the specific charge, it is either mandatory or discretionary for the Juvenile Court judge to allow the State to try the juvenile offender as an adult.

How does the State try a juvenile as an adult?

In order to try a juvenile as an adult, the State must file a motion for a transfer of jurisdiction from the Juvenile Court to the Court of Common Pleas. This is called a “bindover.” Bindovers are either mandatory or discretionary, depending on the age of the juvenile and the type of crime.

For a mandatory bindover, the juvenile’s case is automatically transferred to the Court of Common Pleas if the judge finds probable cause of the juvenile’s guilt.

For a discretionary bindover, the judge must also find that the juvenile is mature enough to stand trial as an adult and is not likely to be successfully rehabilitated before turning 21.

What crimes are eligible for a mandatory bindover?

A mandatory bindover means the Juvenile Court judge must transfer the juvenile’s case to the Court of Common Pleas if the judge determines there is enough probable cause to charge the juvenile. The age of the juvenile at the time the crime was committed and the type of crime determine whether a bindover is mandatory.

If the juvenile was 14 or 15 at the time the crime was committed:

If the juvenile was 14 or 15 at the time the crime was committed, the bindover is mandatory if one of the charges is Aggravated Murder, Attempted Aggravated Murder, Murder or Attempted Murder and the juvenile was previously adjudicated delinquent (found guilty) of one or more of the following charges and sent to the Department of Youth Services (DYS):

Aggravated Murder

Murder

Attempted Aggravated Murder

Attempted Murder

Voluntary Manslaughter

Kidnapping

Rape

Aggravated Arson

Aggravated Robbery

Aggravated Burglary

Involuntary Manslaughter (if charged as an F1)

If the juvenile was 16 or 17 at the time the crime was committed:

If the juvenile was 16 or 17 at the time the crime was committed, there are three different sets of circumstances for which the bindover is mandatory.

Charges of Aggravated Murder, Attempted Aggravated Murder, Murder and Attempted Murder require a mandatory bindover for juveniles who were 16 or 17 at the time the crime was committed.

A bindover is mandatory for juveniles who are charged with:

Voluntary Manslaughter

Rape

Aggravated Arson

Aggravated Robbery

Aggravated Burglary

Involuntary Manslaughter (if charged as an F1)

And meets one or both of the following criteria:

Used or had a gun on him during the commission of the crime

Was previously adjudicated delinquent and sent to DYS for any of the following charges:

Aggravated Murder

Murder

Attempted Aggravated Murder

Attempted Murder

Voluntary Manslaughter

Kidnapping

Rape

Aggravated Arson

Aggravated Robbery

Aggravated Burglary

Involuntary Manslaughter (if charged as an F1)

Finally, a bindover is mandatory if the juvenile is charged with a crime that falls into the discretionary bindover category and the juvenile was previously convicted of a felony in the Court of Common Pleas.

What is a discretionary bindover?

A discretionary bindover means it is the judge’s decision to either transfer the case to the Court of Common Pleas or keep the case in Juvenile Court. The bindover is discretionary when the offender was at least 14 at the time the offense was committed and the charge is a felony, but the bindover does not meet the mandatory threshold. When considering a discretionary bindover, the judge must first hold a probable cause hearing and then an amenability hearing.

What is a probable cause hearing?

A probable cause hearing must be held before a juvenile can be bound over, regardless of whether the bindover is mandatory or discretionary. As a result of this hearing, the judge decides whether enough probable cause exists to charge the juvenile with a felony. This is similar to an adult grand jury proceeding in the Court of Common Pleas, although in Juvenile Court the judge takes the place of the grand jurors. The juvenile can waive this hearing by stipulating to probable cause (agreeing that this exists).

What is an amenability hearing?

The second step in a discretionary bindover is an amenability hearing. The purpose of this hearing is for the judge to determine whether, if convicted, an adult or juvenile sentence would be more appropriate. Like probable cause, the juvenile can waive amenability.

There are a number of questions the court must consider in deciding amenability. These questions include:

Did the victim suffer physical, psychological or serious economic harm?

Did the juvenile commit the crime as part of a gang?

Was a gun used?

Does the juvenile’s prior experience with rehabilitative efforts (if any) demonstrate he is not likely to be rehabilitated by Juvenile Court sanctions?

Is the juvenile emotionally, physically and psychologically mature enough to be bound over?

Is there sufficient time to rehabilitate the juvenile before he becomes an adult?

Was the juvenile provoked into committing the crime?

Was the juvenile the principal actor in the crime?

Was the juvenile coerced into committing the crime?

Is the juvenile suffering from a mental illness or a mentally handicapped person?

What happens if the judge finds that the juvenile is amenable to rehabilitation?

If the judge finds that the juvenile is amenable, the case remains in Juvenile Court. If the judge finds he is not amenable, the case is transferred to the Court of Common Pleas.

What sort of sentence can a juvenile receive when treated as an adult?

When a juvenile is bound over to the Court of Common Pleas and convicted on adult felony charges, he is given whatever sentence would be appropriate for an adult who committed that same crime, unless the sentence would be a capital (death) sentence. Juveniles cannot be sentenced to death.

However, a juvenile can receive what is called a “blended sentence” if he either pleads to or is found guilty of only misdemeanor or low-level felony charges in the Court of Common Pleas or if the bindover motion fails and the Juvenile Court retains jurisdiction. In either case, the juvenile is disposed (sentenced) in Juvenile Court. A blended sentence consists of an adult sentence to be served at an Ohio prison and a juvenile sentence to be served at the Department of Youth Services. The adult portion of the sentence is stayed, provided that the juvenile successfully completes his sentence at DYS. If the juvenile does not commit a felony or violent misdemeanor of the first degree while at DYS, he will be released when he completes his sentence or he turns 21, whichever is first. If the juvenile commits a felony or violent misdemeanor of the first degree while at DYS, his adult sentence can be imposed.

Can a juvenile receive the death penalty?

Juveniles cannot receive the death penalty.

If a juvenile is sent to prison, is he housed with all of the other adult criminals?

No, juveniles are separated from adult prisoners until they turn 18.