More than 55,000 drivers were forced to find a new route to work this week after construction crews closed the westbound lanes of the Kenmore Leg.

On Monday morning, the Ohio Department of Transportation closed I-76 WB for a resurfacing project that expected to last about 35 days.

ODOT District 4 Spokesman Justin Chesnic said it's no surprise that drivers had to deal with a few issues on their detour route.

"We've obviously had some back ups around the morning rush hour and afternoon rush hour, but for it being the first couple days of the closure, we would say things have gone pretty smooth," said Chesnic.

Chesnic said they haven't received any complaints -- despite some slowdowns reported during rush hour.

"A lot of folks see the inconvenience of the closure, but what they also see is that we're getting the work done out there," said Chesnic.

Once crews complete the construction work on the westbound lanes, ODOT will move over to the other direction and close the eastbound lanes for the same amount of time. Crews hope to reopen the eastbound lanes of I-76 by the end of July, but the entire $9.6 million project to make pavement repairs and resurface the Kenmore Leg is expected to be completed by October.

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Previous Coverage: 

VIDEO Construction Closes Westbound Lanes Of Kenmore Leg

Kenmore Leg To Close April 27

Monday, 27 April 2015 18:19

No Charges For Kent Officer Who Killed Her Ex

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The Kent police officer who shot and killed her ex-boyfriend in March will not be charged.

Summit County Prosecutor Sherrie Bevan Walsh announced Monday that Officer Sarah Berkey acted in self-defense when she shot 29 year-old Adam Jovicic after she said he broke into her Munroe Falls home and attacked her. She was placed on administrative leave while Munroe Falls police conducted an investigation.

Walsh believes Berkey was "within her lawful rights to use deadly force" on Jovicic who died a short time later of a gunshot wound to the abdomen at an Akron area hospital.

The police report also states that Jovicic was under the influence of drugs and alcohol during the incident.

Edited 4/28 to correct spelling

(Summit County Prosecutor) Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that no charges will be filed in connection with the March 19, 2015 deadly shooting involving an off-duty Kent Police officer at her Munroe Falls home.

“This was a very unfortunate incident and we feel both for the family of Adam Jovicic and for Officer Sarah Berkey,” said Prosecutor Bevan Walsh. “We thoroughly investigated the tragic events of March 19 and found Ms. Berkey to be within her lawful rights to use deadly force.  Ms. Berkey found herself under attack in her own home and was forced to defend herself.”

A .pdf of Bevan Walsh's report is included as an attachment. 

Monday, 27 April 2015 17:37

Chelsea Schobert Has Judicial Release Hearing

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The young woman whose parents were killed by a former boyfriend in Coventry Township is hoping to get out of prison early on drug charges.

Chelsea Schobert is asking for early release today.

Chelsea Schobert's mother and father, Margaret and Jeffrey Schobert, were murdered by her ex-boyfriend Shawn Ford Jr.

She's been in custody on a two year, six month sentence for drug trafficking, and gave birth to a daughter at a prison hospital.

Schobert's letter to the court says she doesn't want to "miss the opportunity" of being a mother due to her past mistakes.

Ford was given the death penalty by a jury, a sentence which hasn't yet been imposed.

Monday, 27 April 2015 16:19

Akron Reacts To Deadly Nepal Quake

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Akron has a sizeable community from Nepal, and they are watching the situation there closely after the devastating earthquake over the weekend that has killed thousands.

Mary Raitano is director of refugee resettlement at Akron's International Institute says it's a struggle to get information to know what to do to help.

"It's kind a day of scrambling a little, trying to get our feet under us," Raitano tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "to try to figure out the best way that we can help the community over there."

Raitano says many of the institute's staff members have relatives in Nepal, and they're mostly OK since they're a ways away from Kathmandu.

But others have friends there, like Amber Subba...who says his friends away from Kathmandu are OK, but as of Monday, he was still waiting to hear from friends near the city, after communications improve there.

"We are trying to find information," Subba says, "and we don't know much about a few of the friends...where they are, and what they are doing right now."

Subba and Raitano say members the Nepalese communities in the United States have started raising money for their home country via the "GoFundMe" online fundraising site.

Monday, 27 April 2015 12:54

Fugitive Of The Week Believed Hiding In Akron

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This corrects earlier incorrect information provided by the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.

The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force is looking to the Akron area to try to nab its Fugitive of the Week.

He's 35 year-old Michael Czerpak, who is believed to be hiding in Ellet or on Triplett Boulevard in Akron. He's charged with aggravated burglary.

A picture and description can be found on WAKR.net.

(Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, news release) The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force is offering a reward for information which would lead to the capture of fugitive Michael Czerpak.

Czerpak is wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Summit County Sheriff’s Department for aggravated burglary.

Czerpak is a 35 year old white male standing approximately 5’08” and weighing 180 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes. Czerpak is believed to be actively hiding in the Ellet area or the 800 block of Triplett Blvd. in Akron.

If you have any information in reference to Michael Czerpak, please contact the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 1-866-4WANTED or Text keyword WANTED and tip to 847411 (tip411) Tipsters can remain anonymous and reward money is available.

A 10-million dollar renovation project is expected to bring new life into the Akron Rubber Bowl. 

The project's proposed completion date is 2016, but events will be held there as early as next month. Zac Wicks, promotions and operation manager with Team1 Promotions Group, said while the stadium may not look the best, it is safe.

"Structurally it's sound and safe, but if you would drive by, some people would think it's not as appealing," said Wicks.

The University of Akron last used the stadium in 2008. Team1 Promotions Group plans on adding a dome roof to the stadium so it can be used year-round to host sporting and entertainment events.

"We've got all the bleachers ripped out. We're going to renovate the inside of the stadium," said Wicks. "Just kind of bring it back to life."

The Akron Rubber Bowl will continue to follow the history of the stadium by hosting similar events as in the past. The only difference will be the dome roof that will make it an indoor stadium.

Wicks said the stadium will be both safe and visually appealing when the renovation is complete.

While the company's website states that the stadium is expected to open in 2016, Summit County Storm, a non-profit Akron minor league football team, recently announced that the team will use the Rubber Bowl when the regular season begins in June.

Drivers may come across a delay in their morning commute as the Ohio Department of Transportation begins their resurfacing project on the westbound lanes of the Kenmore Leg.

ODOT closed Interstate 76 westbound overnight -- and that"s expected to last about a month.

"Basically, although we say westbound, the Kenmore Leg actually runs north and southbound if you look at it on a map," said ODOT District 4 Spokesman Justin Chesnic. "So, it'll be the direction heading towards the south."

Chesnic said crews have closed the 77 North and South ramps to 76 West. That means drivers will have to take Route 21 as a detour or pass along through the Central Interchange.

- The ramp from I-77 southbound to I-76/Kenmore Leg westbound. The detour will be I-76 eastbound to I-77 southbound to I-277 westbound.

- The ramp from I-77 northbound/I-76 westbound to I-76/Kenmore Leg westbound. The detour will be I-77 northbound to SR 21 southbound.

- The ramp from 22nd St. to I-76/Kenmore Leg/ westbound The detour will be Kenmore Blvd. to SR 93 south to Waterloo Rd. to I-277.

closure

Sunday, 26 April 2015 18:08

Open House For New Kay Jewelers Pavilion

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Akron Children's Hospital held an Open House Sunday to unveil its newest edition, the Kay Jewelers Pavilion.

The 7-story buildling renovation began in May 2013, focusing on four specific areas of the hospital.  Those are the Emergency Department, Outpatient Surgery Center, Special Delivery Unit, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Construction for the $200 million  renovation called for ideas from more than just the architects.

"We had our nurses, our doctors - we brought equipment out there," says Akron Children's Hospital president Bill Considine.  

"We learned a lot about functionality, that we caught while it was in cardboard and you didn't have to wait to build everything out."

Parents of Akron Children's patients were also in on the process.  Beth Tenda, parent of three special needs kids, stepped up to get involved in the construction of the hospital.

"I wanted to give back to the hospital because they do so much for my kids and I," said Tenda.

patients volunteer Sommerville and Considine ribbon cutting 2

Considine, Sommerville, Akron Children's patients, and Volunteer in Ribbon-Cutting...............Elizabeth Miller, WAKR

Considine and Councilwoman Margo Sommerville spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which also included music and dance performances and other activities.  Five Akron Children's Hospital patients and a volunteer joined Considine and Sommerville in cutting the ribbon.

The building officially opens May 5.

Saturday, 25 April 2015 15:27

LeBron, Kia Donate Car For Auction

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LeBron James and Kia Motors have teamed up in an auction to benefit the Lebron James Family Foundation.

James and Kia have been promoting the car, the Kia K900, a luxury sedan customized by James himself. Special features of the car include King James logos on the inside and outside of the vehicle.

James has previously driven the car, which was first revealed at the NBA All-Star game in New York in February.

The auction started Thursday on Charitybuzz and bidding will continue until May 7.

Saturday, 25 April 2015 07:57

Green Checkpoints Net Arrests

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Another Friday night, another round of OVI checkpoints in greater Akron. Last night's tally from roadblocks on Turkeyfoot Lake Road, the second at Arlington Road, both in Green. 413 cars stopped, seven arrested for driving under the influence, eight on other charges including open warrants and open containers.

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(OVI Task Force) On Friday, April 24th, 2015 the Summit County OVI Task Force conducted two sobriety checkpoints in the City of Green. The first checkpoint was conducted at 40 W. Turkeyfoot Lake Road:

294- Vehicles passed through the checkpoint in total
18- Vehicles were directed into the diversion area for further investigation or violations
04- People were arrested for OVI
01- Person was arrested for driving under suspension
02- People were arrested for possession of open containers in a motor vehicle
01- Person was arrested for an outstanding warrant for narcotics equipment possession

The second checkpoint was conducted at Arlington Road at Liberty Green:

119- Vehicles passed through the checkpoint in total
07- Vehicles were directed into the diversion area for further investigation or violations
03- People were arrested for OVI
01- Person was arrested for driving under suspension

Of the seven individuals arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence tonight only four opted to provide a breath sample- their BAC average was .132.

The remaining three arrested refused to provide a breath sample

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