Wednesday, 26 November 2014 12:43

Vinson's GoFundMe Campaign Collects $23,000

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An online fund set up to help former Ebola patient Amber Vinson has collected more than $23,000.

In the past month, more than 430 donations have been sent to the GoFundMe campaign created by one of Vinson's friends, Terri Clark. The fund's goal is to raise $70,000 to help Vinson with medical expenses and replace some of her belongings that were destroyed to eliminate any potential contamination.

Vinson told WFAA-TV that her wedding ring was one of the items destroyed in the decontamination process. Zales Jewelers in Dallas offered Vinson an opportunity to pick out a new ring -- free of charge.

Vinson was diagnosed with Ebola after treat Thomas Eric Duncan, who later died from the virus.

Vinson recently faced some criticism after her lawyer sent a letter to Coming Attractions bridal store in Akron requesting a refund for several bridesmaids dresses. That's the same store that closed its doors for several weeks following Vinson's visit back in October.

Owner Anna Younker said she has lost thousands of dollars following the Ebola scare in the area.

Previous Coverage:

Now Ebola-Free Amber Vinson Requests Refund From Bridal Shop


Wednesday, 26 November 2014 11:41

Akron Zoo Welcomes New President, CEO

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The Akron Zoo has picked its new president and CEO. The zoo's board of directors announced today that Doug Piekarz will take over the new position at the start of 2015. Piekarz, who has spent 17 years at the zoo, is currently the Vice President of Planning and Conservation. He'll be taking over as president and CEO, a position left vacant by Pat Simmons who left to begin a new journey at the North Carolina Zoo as as their deputy director and chief operating officer.


(Akron Zoo - Press Release) AKRON, Ohio – The Akron Zoo Board of Directors announces the selection of Doug Piekarz (p-ah-kosh) as its new President & CEO after an extensive nationwide search.

Piekarz, is currently the Vice President of Planning & Conservation at the Akron Zoo and follows Pat Simmons, who in June, after 31 years at the Akron Zoo, announced she was leaving for the North Carolina Zoo to take a position as their deputy director and chief operating officer.

Piekarz will start in his new position January 1, 2015. In Piekarz's 17 years at the Akron Zoo, he has held various positions including four years in his current position. Piekarz has a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from Rutgers University and a Master's of Science degree in biology, ecology and evolution from Montclair State University.

He recently received the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) outstanding service award for his work on the AZA Green Scientific Advisory Group and AZA Climate Initiative Task Force. Piekarz is currently a member of AZA's Executive Leadership Development Program, an AZA accreditation inspector and a member of various AZA national committees. He has 27 years of experience in the zoological industry starting his career at the Wildlife Conservation Society and Bronx Zoo. "I am humbled by the Board of Directors confidence in me to lead the Akron Zoo," commented Piekarz.

"I look forward to keeping the Akron Zoo as a leader in conservation as well as a thriving asset for our community. I am excited to continue to work along side such a talented and dedicated group of staff and volunteers."

"After talking with many local and national candidates during our search, we felt Doug was the right person to lead the Akron Zoo as the next President & CEO," said Bob Littman, chairman of the zoo's board of directors.

"Doug has great passion and dedication to the Akron Zoo, the community and conservation. He has earned the respect of the Board of Directors, his peers and zoo staff through his extensive work in exhibit design and construction, animal welfare and sustainability efforts."

A Board of Directors Search Committee, chaired by Jim Snider, has been working
with the search firm of DHR International for the past four months to select the right

According to Snider, "We owed it to our community to make sure we did our due diligence and hire the best person." The zoo received applications from several other AZA accredited institutions across the U.S. "Piekarz was selected as President & CEO due to the breadth of his experience in wildlife conservation, sustainability, strategic planning and community involvement," commented Snider.

The Akron Zoo is open 361 days a year. Winter hours are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and admission is $7.00 per person. Children under two are free. The parking fee is $3.00.

Lisa Mansfield of Akron Public Schools talks to Ray Horner about making the sidewalks a more safe place for children walking to school.

WAKR's Ray Horner talks with President of Akron City Council, Garry Moneypenny, about alleged campaign violations and how they plan to investigate the situation. President Garry Moneypenny talks about the plans to hire a new attorney to ensure there will be no question it is a fair investigation.


Wednesday, 26 November 2014 08:50

AUDIO: Reverand Jeff Kaiser on The Haven Of Rest

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Reverand Jeff Kaiser talks to Ray Horner about the mission of the Haven of Rest. Jeff talks about donations, helping those in need and how YOU can help out.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014 08:04

Holiday Travel Up This Year

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Prepare for busy roads and busy airports.

AAA predicts that 46.3 million Americans are traveling at least 50 miles away from home during this holiday weekend.  That's 4% more than last year and Akron AAA President Brian Thomas says the lowest Thanksgiving weekend gasoline prices since 2009 account for some of the increase.

"In fact, the prices we're seeing - of course, they bounce up and down from day to day - have been at their lowest in almost 1,500 days," said Thomas.

Thomas says increased consumer confidence is another variable that convinces people it's okay to spend the extra money.

While the vast majority of holiday travelers will be on the road, 3.55 million will travel by air.  Akron-Canton Regional Airport Senior Vice President Kristie VanAuken suggests an online check-in before you leave the house and arriving at the airport about two hours before your flight.

"Don't expect to have lots of open seats no matter where it is you're going," said VanAuken.  "All of our flights to Florida, New York, Boston, Atlanta, everythingis chuck full and that makes me really happy but it might make it a little cozy for you on the airplane."

In terms of congestion, road trips are a little more difficult to predict.  Thomas says that while most people all come home Saturday or Sunday, they embark on their trips one, two or more days before the holiday.

VanAuken says it's too early predict whether an anticipated storm along the Atlantic Coast will cause many delays.

"Bring a little extra patience in case there is that storm," said VanAuken.  "It may cause some travel delays."

Thomas is also asking people to conduct a safety check on their vehicles before leaving the house.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 17:20

Marching for Ferguson at Kent State

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Students at Kent State are marching and protesting Tuesday in support of Michael Brown.

Michael Brown died in August and his death has fueled riots and looting in Ferguson, Missouri, where Brown was shot by a police officer.  The officer responsible for the shooting, Darren Wilson, was not indicted last night.

KentWired student media reports that the group Black United Students walked out of class at around 12:30pm and walked to the City of Kent Police Department. 

They yelled and chanted phrases like "No justice, no peace" and "Hands up, don't shoot".

A protest in Cleveland blocked off Public Square for about an hour starting at 3pm.

The Cleveland protest was held for 12-year old Tamir Rice, who died Sunday after being shot by a police officer.  Protestors shouted, "Justice for Tamir".

Protestors then moved to the West Shoreway and blocked off a section of that freeway.  

The officer who shot Rice and another officer present at the shooting are on paid administrative leave. 

Coming Attractions Bridal & Formal was at the center of the Ebola-scare in the Akron area in October after nurse Amber Vinson visited the store for her upcoming wedding. Now --- Vinson is no longer planning to purchase her bridesmaid dresses at the shop and is requesting a refund.

"Right away, what came to my mind was, 'Oh, they're probably sending some kind of apology for what we've gone through," said Younker.

But that wasn't the case. Vinson's attorney, Stephen Malouf, sent a letter to shop owner Anna Younker stating that they wanted "minimize additional public scrutiny" by choosing another bridal shop to purchase the dresses and to keep the process confidential.

Vinson's lawyer did not immediately return WAKR's request for comment.

"If she doesn't want anything to do with our store anymore, she could easily just walk away and we can pretend like this never happened. But to ask for a refund, when I'm already losing money, is such a slap in the face."

Vinson is requesting that Coming Attractions issue a refund to four of her bridesmaids -- two bridesmaids made a deposit of $107 each and two others paid the full amount of about $132 each. In total -- around $479.84.

"For her to even turn around and have her lawyer draw up this letter, I mean, I bet you that costs more than the refund she's requesting. She could've easily picked up the phone and I could've helped her, talked to her and worked the situation out."

Younker voluntarily closed her shop for several weeks after Vinson's visit in October. Younker says she's still trying to make ends meet and doesn't intend to issue a refund.


Previous Coverage: 

AUDIO: Coming Attractions Seeking Healthy Return

Akron Bridal Shop Ready To Reopen

Summit County: Still No Ebola, Calls Down Significantly

Monday, 24 November 2014 18:14

Medina Fatal Crash Driver Indicted

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The driver in a Montville Township crash in August which killed a 16 year-old Bath Township resident now faces a long list of charges.

The Medina County Grand Jury issued an indictment for the arrest of 26 year-old Jeremy Goodrich of Rittman on counts including aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault and drug possession - of meth, heroin and fentanyl.

Montvillle Police and Rittman Police arrested Goodrich at home without incident, and he's currently in the Medina County Jail.

Goodrich was the driver of an S-U-V that police say went left of center on River Styx Road and struck the car driven by 16 year-old Katherine Babak.

Goodrich and two passengers in Babak's car were lifeflighted to MetroHealth Medical Center the night of the crash.


8/4/14: UPDATE Bath Township Teen Driver Dies In Montville Crash


(Montville Police Department, news release) After a three month investigation the Montville Police Department presented this case to the Medina County Grand Jury on Tuesday November 18th, 2014. As a result of the Grand Jury review, an indictment was issued (today) for the arrest of Jeremy Goodrich. Shortly after the receipt of the indictment the Montville Police Department, with assistance from the Rittman Police Department, located Mr. Goodrich at his home. Mr. Goodrich was taken into custody without incident. Mr. Goodrich is currently being house in the Medina County Jail on the following charges:

- 1 count of "Aggravated Vehicular Homicide" a Felony of the 2nd Degree

- 2 Counts of "Aggravated Vehicular Assault" both Felonies of the 3rd Degree

- 3 Counts of Drug Possession :

o Possession of Methamphetamine

o Possession of Heroin

o Possession of Fentanyl



Monday, 24 November 2014 16:39

Summit Council Race To Be Recounted

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There'll be a recount in a very close race in the November elections.

The Summit County Board of Elections will recount votes in the Summit County Council at Large race. In final, unofficial returns, just over 350 votes separated two incumbents, Sandra Kurt and Bill Roemer, for the last of three council seats up for election.

The Board of Elections will also recount votes for fifth place finisher Debbie Walsh and sixth place finisher Gary Hagen.

The recount will take place on December 2nd.

A local option race in Springfield Township, Issue 59, will also be recounted.

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