We all know Santa's elves work up at the North Pole, but a number of them have been spreading Christmas cheer to children here in Northeast Ohio for nearly a decade.
Cheer in the form of new bikes that is...
The workers and volunteers of the non-profit group "Elves and More" spent their Sunday morning handing out over a thousand bikes to needy kids in two Canton neighborhoods.
"It was a real good turnout", says "Elves and More" co-founder Tim House. "It's always the same, you always get a handful of smiling faces...This year it was just welcomed with open arms. It was incredible. "
Instead of Santa's workshop, 380 volunteers met in a local warehouse last week to build the bikes and get them ready for delivery.
House asks local police departments each year which neighborhoods could use a little joy, but he says the location is mostly just based on a feeling.
"We'll drive through those neighborhoods, maybe take a walk, and you get a feel", says House. "You can just feel like 'yeah this neighborhood could use a little help this year.'"
House says it only took about an hour and a half for all of the 1,100 bikes to find a good home and make Christmas a reality for kids who otherwise might not have gotten one.
"There was a handful of mothers coming up with tears in their eyes saying 'Christmas wasn't going to happen this year'", he says. "It was just a really good feeling."
'Tis the season for holiday parties. Unfortunately for some, it's also the season to pay the price for getting behind the wheel when liquored up or driving when you know the police are waiting. Overall a couple dozen people nabbed with 27 charges filed to make it the not-so-happiest time of the season at Summit County OVI Task Force checkpoints at East Market and College and a second stop at West Market and West.
It's a healthy reminder to take advantage of the LifeRide program supported by Rubber City Radio Group, parent company of WAKR.net, 1590 WAKR, 94.9 WQMX and 97.5 WONE.
(Summit County OVI Task Force) On Saturday, December 20th, 2014 the Summit County OVI Task Force conducted two sobriety checkpoints in the City of Akron.
The Akron based organization Mobile Meals provides an average of 2,600 meals and supplements a day to people in Northeast Ohio, including a special delivery to the Tenda family.
Beth Tenda has been a foster parent to many kids over the years, but decided to adopt three children of her own years ago.
"These were three I couldn't let go", says Tenda. "It was awesome. I've never regretted a day of it."
Angel, Jordan, and Michael have a number of health issues, including ADHD and sleep disorders. They also struggle with digestive problems and need help from a thickening agent which is added to liquids so they don't choke.
According to NewsChannel 5, Mobile Meals has been able to provide the supplement to the children for the past nine years at absolutely no cost.
"If we can deliver those, or if we can find a way to help get those paid for in a more cost effective manner, then we believe that we are able to provide health care for them", says Mobile Meals President and CEO Lori Travaglino.
This generosity has certainly given Jordan and his siblings something to smile about this holiday season.
"I've got a pretty cool life", he says.
The organization started the new "250 in 250 Campaign" to help other families like the Tendas. They are encouraging 250 new people to donate $15, which provides a week of meals for one person.
You can find out more information about Mobile Meals at MobileMealsInc.org
On the Web: newsnet5.com
An 18-year-old was killed in a head-on collision in Wayne County Friday night.
State troopers reoprt Sara Ruth Weikert, 18, of Dalton, was driving on State Route 57, north of Route 30 in East Union Township when her vehicle collided with a car driven by Linford N. Falb, 67, of Orrville.
Weikert was pronounced dead at the scene.
Falb was taken by Life Flight to Akron City Hospital. His condition is not known at this time.
Weikert was a senior at Dalton High School. Counselors will be available for students Saturday morning, according to the district's Twitter page.
It is with great sorrow we must report the passing of DHS senior, Sara Weikert. The HS will be open tomorrow at 9am w/counselors available.— Dalton Schools (@DaltonLocal) December 20, 2014
The crash is still under investigation.
The flu is making its march through Ohio, and hospital visits are going up as well.
The Ohio Department of Health says last week alone, there were 529 new hospitalizations linked to the flu. That's up from just 216 at this time during last year's flu season. There have been 985 flu-related hospital cases since this flu season started.
Ohio has had two young people who've died from the flu, the latest a 16 year-old boy in Licking County.
The 2014-2015 flu season is expected to continue into spring, and the U.S. CDC says it may be severe.
A Stark County school was locked down for a while Friday afternoon after a report of a possible student with a gun.
The Stark County Sheriff's Office says a school resource officer at Marlington High School learned about a text message reportedly with a photo of a gun was sent from the high school to Marlington Middle School.
That student told a teacher, and a school administrator locked down Marlington High School shortly thereafter at about 12:30 p.m.
Sheriff's units located a 16 year-old student and charged him with felony inducing panic charges. Marlington High School's lockdown was lifted at 1:43 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
It's not too late to mail packages that need to be delivered by Christmas.
Still, time is not exactly on your side.
David Van Allen, a regional spokesperson for the United States Postal Service, says it's best to get things in the mail by Sunday.
"If you do wait past then, we highly recommend you use Priority Mail Express and you have until December 23 to get it there on time," said Van Allen.
Post offices on West Market Street in Fairlawn and on Dressler Road in Canton will be open this Sunday from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The Sunday hours were established to meet demand. USPS expects to deliver 470 million packages during the holiday season.
"That's a 12% increase over last year and last year we had a 12% increase over the year before," said Van Allen.
He says the spikes point toward one of the very things that is blamed for much of the severe financial issues that the postal service is trying to deal with - the internet. Van Allen says people are doing more online shopping, especially this time of year, and those packages need to somehow be shipped.
Van Allen says that while there is no regular mail deliver on Sundays, packages are being delivered every day, including December 25th.
Akron police say they found a car full of packages last night on Seminola Avenue, its front windows down, and say they arrested a man who came back to that car.
Officers say 26 year-old David James Gonzales of Pioneer Street admitted to stealing the packages.
Police noted that the packages had destinations on them, in Goodyear Heights and Tallmadge.
That helped police return the packages to their rightful owners.
Police say Gonzales admitted to stealing the packages, and says he told officers that he was a heroin user and needed rent money.
Police found syringes and a spoon in the car.
Prosecutors are trying to keep a man who kidnapped and raped six women in Summit County in 1983 behind bars.
Willie Lagway has a parole hearing in February.
Summit County prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh says it doesn't matter that Lagway committed his crimes decades ago at the age of 27.
"Even though that was 31 years ago," Bevan Walsh tells WAKR.net, "we feel very strongly that if he gets out, he will commit rapes again, and our community will still be in danger."
Bevan Walsh says Lagway is an extremely violent man, whose victims still suffer from the physical and emotional torture he inflicted on them.
He was sentenced to a minimum sentence of 109 years, and a maximum sentence of 375 years.
(Summit County prosecutor's office, news release) Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh is asking for your help to keep Willie Lagway (Criminal Case No. 83-02-0232) in prison. The Ohio Parole Board is considering Lagway's release at a parole board hearing in February.
From February 10 -14, 1983, Lagway, 27, went on a five-day crime spree victimizing six women in Summit County. Willie Lagway kidnapped two friends walking to a car in the Akron Children's Hospital parking deck, one from Akron Children's Hospital parking lot, one from Gold Circle in Barberton and one woman from TransOhio Savings Bank in downtown Akron. All the victims were robbed and two were raped. Lagway was armed with a knife and threatened the victims with their lives if they did not comply with his demands. Lagway didn't just commit these crimes and leave. He terrorized these women for hours and before leaving each victim, he copied the information on their driver's licenses, including their addresses. For his crimes, Lagway was sentenced to a minimum sentence of 109 years and a maximum sentence of 375 years.
After his arrest, while being questioned about the abductions and robberies near Children's Hospital, Lagway stated, "I'm an ex-con and a sinner and a heathen. Do your job. The more I suffer on earth the better it will be for me."
Prosecutor Walsh stated, "Wille Lagway should never be released from prison. His lengthy criminal record began as a juvenile with violence escalating with each crime. He is an extremely violent man and we believe he will victimize again if released. He forever changed the lives of his victims and the physical and emotional torture he inflicted on each of them still torments them today."
We are asking for the public's help in keeping this dangerous man in prison.
Please send letters to:
Ohio Parole Board
770 West Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43222
Please include Lagway's name and Inmate Number A173689
on each page of the correspondence
This has truly been a "rockin'" year for the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, celebrating it's first anniversary with state-leading numbers showing the investment in a Hard Rock property in northern Summit County was a winner.
Hard Rock Rocksino President Jon Lucas, visting WONE's Jeff Kinzbach, said the company would invest another $50 to $60 million dollars developing a hotel and create hundreds of more jobs if table games were added to the lineup, but the numbers alone the past year have been impressive. An estimated 2.7 million visitors with monthly revenues of $15 million dollars, over $3 million more than the closest Racino competitor in Ohio and even topping the slots revenue from Ohio's four major all-game casino operations.
The Rocksino next to the Northfield Park race track employs more than 700 people and is a major revenue source for local communities and schools in addition to the state of Ohio.