Edward "Ed" Esposito is vice-president, information media for the Rubber City Radio Group. He oversees news and public affairs programs for www.AkronNewsNow.com, 1590 WAKR, 97.5 WONE and 94.9 WQMX. He is Secretary-Treasurer of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation; a former chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association and Foundation and a former president of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Association. He's also served as a member of the Akron Press Club , Kent State University Student Media Advisory Board, Ohio Open Government Coalition, Northeast Ohio AMBER Task Force. He's lectured on broadcasting and journalism for the University of Missouri in China, as well as across the country for RTDNA and RTDNF. You can reach Ed through the newsroom at 330-864-6397 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The brief controversy over adding another juvenile court judge for Summit County is over.
Green Republican state representative Anthony DeVitis is asking the chair of the committee in Columbus considering the issue to withdraw his request, saying more research was needed.
Critics said the addition was not needed, and would add an necessary burden to the county budget.
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(State Rep. Anthony DeVitis)
Chairman Bob Peterson
1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Dear Chairman Peterson,
After much discussion with the children’s advocates and other members of our community who are interested in adding a second juvenile judge to the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, I have concluded that it would be best to remove this provision from the operating budget.
Our duty, as legislators, is to represent our constituents in a way that best reflects their values. The proposal was brought to me by a Green resident who serves as the president for the Summit County Foster Parent Association. She, along with others, have pointed out to me that the selected data that we have been presented to date do not show everything.
The data omit things such as cases that have been dismissed and re-filed and, more importantly, the emotional stress and frustration placed on families and their children that occur when these cases are dragged out over a period of time.
Before the amendment introduced by Rep. Marilyn Slaby and me was added to the budget, I gathered much research about the costs that would be incurred by Summit County from the Legislative Services Commission and the Ohio Supreme Court. We have been working on this for over a year, holding numerous meetings and phone calls with members of County Council, the Foster Parent Association, Summit County Children’s Services, Jobs and Family Services, and Judge Linda Teodosio herself.
As a courtesy, the Ohio Supreme Court has historically been asked to review proposals to change the number of judges in a jurisdiction prior to legislative action, but it is not required under the Ohio Constitution or Revised Code to do so. We need to remember that we, the legislature, are the authority for creating and eliminating judgeships under Ohio’s constitution.
For me, doing as well as, or even “better” than comparably-sized Ohio counties is not good enough—I want Summit County to do the best. The families that go through the juvenile court process are not numbers to me; they are my friends and neighbors. One cannot place a monetary value on these children or their families who we are elected to represent.
It is my hope that removing this provision from the operating budget will allow the legislature the time it needs to fully investigate the needs of Summit County’s children and families and make the decision that is in their best interests.
Akron city hall is putting it's legal staff on the front lines in the wake of last week's hacker attack of the City's website, which put at risk the personal information of thousands of citizens.
The attack attributed to a Turkish group posted anti-American comments before it was taken down; the city at first believed no sensitive information was accessed but upgraded the assessment after a security review indicated records of more than eight thousand individuals filing their city taxes online was involved. That number was later boosted to 30,000.
The City of Akron has been advising those impacted by phone call, email or regular postal mail. Account holders were also encouraged to call the City's 3-1-1 help line to find out of their records were among those accessed in the computer attack.
Lawyers from the city will be at community centers today to answer questions from the public, and offer advice on making their financial information more secure and protect their credit ratings. The City also has a blanket police report, posted HERE on AkronNewsNow.com, that account holders can use with credit reporting agencies to help avoid extra fees and charges.
(City of Akron) Today and tomorrow (Tuesday and Wednesday), City of Akron attorneys will be at different Akron community centers to talk to residents about what they can do if they are on the list of people whose information was compromised by the cyber-attack that occurred last week. These attorneys will be able to look up whether citizens are on the list of people whose information was stolen, and they will be able to explain what a person should do to secure their accounts and credit.
The following community centers will have help available from 10 am to 3 pm:
Lawton Street Community Center, 1225 Lawton Street
Patterson Park Community Center, 800 Patterson Avenue
Firestone Park Community Center, 1480 Girard Street
Kenmore Community Center, 880 Kenmore Boulevard
Ellet Community Center, 2449 Wedgewood Drive
Reservoir Park Community Center, 1735 Hillside Terrace
Also, the City is bringing in extra help to answer the deluge of 311 calls the City has encountered. The City had already added extra man-power and extended its hours at the 311 call center throughout the weekend, but more help is being utilized today.
“We are treating this cyber-attack as we would any other attack on the City and its residents,” said Mayor Don Plusquellic. “Although we already had extra people manning the 311 phone lines, we are significantly expanding our staffing in the hopes that everyone can get through easily. We are also providing help at our community centers for those people who want to sit down and talk with someone. At this point, we are doing everything we to keep our citizens informed, and we are trying to help them prevent misuse of their sensitive information.”
To recap, a cyber-attack was launched last week against networks across the country, including the City of Akron. The attackers infiltrated the City of Akron’s computer network in spite of all of the efforts by the City to meet top national standards of intrusion protection systems, firewalls, and virus protection software. The City is continuing to work closely with the FBI to determine how the City’s site was accessed and to determine the full extent of the information hacked.
The City of Akron filed a police incident report, Report Number 13-011564, which is available at www.akronohio.gov. Citizens can access this report for use with banking institutions, credit agencies, and to keep on file.
Also the stolen information has been removed from the public website as of Saturday, May 18, 2013. The City and the FBI continues to monitor and investigate whether the information is elsewhere.
The City has already contacted some individuals by email (those who had valid emails on file) and other individuals by Reverse Alert phone calls (those who had valid phone numbers on file). All affected individuals will receive a letter by mail informing them that their information was compromised.
To find out whether your information was compromised, you should call 3-1-1 (330-375-2311 from a mobile phone), call the City’s income tax office at 330-375-2290, or visit one of the community centers listed above between 10 am and 3 pm to talk to an attorney.
If you are on the list of individuals whose information was released, the FBI recommends that at this point, you monitor all your financial accounts very carefully until we have more information.
In the meantime, here are some resources to help you protect your credit:
The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit agency in San Diego, offers free victim assistance at 888-400-5530 or online at www.idtheftcenter.org.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Identity Theft Unit can assist consumers after they’ve been ID theft victims by helping them straighten out accounts. Also, the office can provide a self-help assistance guide. A police report must be filed. Call 800-282-0515 or go online to www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.
Your Homeowner’s Insurance may include ID theft coverage. If not, you may be able to add that coverage
You can also contact one of the Credit Report services and put a freeze on your credit.
Equifax: 800-685-1111 (Option 3), Equifax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348 or www.equifax.com
Experian: 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742), Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen TX 75013 or www.experian.com
TransUnion: 888-909-8872, TransUnion, Fraud Victim Assistance Department, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834 or www.transunion.com
Think you'd be surprised to get a water bill of over $4,000?
Lisa and Bob Joyce of Munroe Falls sure were, as chronicled in Bob Dyer's Akron Beacon Journal column over the weekend. They were stunned when Munroe Falls sent them a water bill for $4,416.20 over the alleged use of nearly 700,000 gallons of water. They were even more surprised when the city claimed the family of four must have had a leak in their swimming pool.
Problem is, there is no swimming pool on their lot. It turns out Munroe Falls used a satellite image of the property and mistook a trampoline for the pool. But that didn't make any difference to the city, which insists they're still owed $4,416.20 for water over the years, now citing more reliance in the home's inside water meter versus the outside meter the city uses for readings that can be taken more conveniently.
Summit County, which provides sewer services, didn't buy the massive bill triggered by the readings either and dropped the sewer fees that are usually based on water usage.
But that wasn't good enough for Munroe Falls City Hall, in particular Mayor Frank Larson.
Dyer's column quoted Larson, insisting the family owed the money regardless of the city's error identifying a trampoline as a swimming pool, and defending the city's meters as reliable and pushing responsibility for accuracy of the readings on the homeowner.
So much for the slogan the city uses: "Munroe Falls, A Great Place to Call Home."
Larsen doesn't have support of at least one member of Munroe Falls City Council. Councilman Steve Stahl says the city's own service director told him most remote meters are faulty, and most residents of Munroe Falls aren't even remotely aware they're on the hook for any discrepancies despite the fact the city owns both the inside and outside meters.
Stahl tells WAKR's Ray Horner the entire situation is "just terrible" and ought to be compromised. He doesn't understand why it's so difficult to find compromise, since the city has records back to 2008 and the city can easily figure out average water use and take into account any problems.
Stahl says the problem also lies with the city, since water meters are supposed to be compared by water meter readers but the practice has been discontinued for years. A former police chief in Munroe Falls, Stahl notes the city used to perform the service annually or at least every two years. City council has discussed the issue at least three times, he says, but noted Larson turned the issue over to the law director.
Larson did not return calls or emails to AkronNewsNow for additional comment.
After weeks of sliding downward the onset of summer is helping to driving local gasoline prices up again, just within reach of the busy Memorial Day travel weekend.
GasBuddy.com reports average prices are up 13.8 center per gallon, to an average $3.79 a gallon. The national average increased 8.9 cents on the same period. Prices locally are higher than a year ago, and higher than just a month ago.
(GasBuddy.com) Average retail gasoline prices in Akron have risen 13.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.79/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 372 gas outlets in Akron. This compares with the national average that has increased 8.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.67/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Akron during the past week, prices yesterday were 14.9 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 15.1 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 16.6 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 3.0 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.
"The last seven days have delivered some shocks at the pump for motorists in the nation's Midwest," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "I don't believe I've ever seen gasoline prices in the Midwest surpass California- areas of Nebraska, Minnesota, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, and Kansas- have done that. Gas price records in these areas aren't being quietly replaced, they're being blown out of the water. I don't believe I've ever seen such crazy trends in gasoline prices occur all at one- prices spiking in one area, falling in another, and holding steady in others. What we're seeing today is certainly rare," DeHaan said.
Still on-suspension Medina school chief Randy Stepp's heading to court, filing suit against the school district for defamation of character and dumping his lucrative renewal deal. Taxpayers in Medina went through the roof when they heard about his bonus of over $80-grand; it didn't get any better when they heard the district paid him hundreds of thousands. The Board's already seen changing faces, even yanking a school levy.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reporting Stepp filed suit last week, charging defamation and breach of contract among other things. The board took up Stepp's offer to repay more than $80,000 in bonus money, but the offer was based on a repayment plan critics say amounted to a lucrative interest-free multi-year loan.
Critics also pointed to revelations reported by the Medina Gazette on the school district's payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars in reimbursement to Stepp for his college costs, including undergraduate and post-graduate work, from an account he controlled without board oversight.
Dr. Stepp says he was left with no choice, but suffered significant loss of standing in the community, mental anguish, humiliation and suffering. He also claims lost current and future income as damages.
The news operations of the Rubber City Radio Group was honored over the weekend at the first annual awards ceremony of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Association. The OAPME operated this year after a merger between print and broadcast members of the AP in Ohio.
Among the highlights: Amani Abraham recognized for her work as Best Reporter in the Radio II category; Aaron Coleman took second place in the Best Enterprise Reporting category for "The Price of the High"; Best Feature Reporting second place for the Fall Natatorium same-sex rate controversy; Extraordinary Coverage of a Scheduled event for the "2012 Election"'; Best Continuing Coverage for "Craigslist Rafferty Trial" and a second-place showing as Outstanding News Operation.
WAKR-WONE-WQMX and AkronNewsNow.com are owned by the Rubber City Radio Group. We congratulate our fellow broadcasters and print colleagues on their recognition.
(Associated Press) RADIO II
Outstanding News Operation: 1, WTUZ-FM, New Philadelphia; 2, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron.
Best Use of Sound: 1, Will Davis, WYSO-FM, Yellow Springs, "Filmmaker's Homage to the 80's Slasher Film"; 2, Jerry Kenney, WYSO-FM, Yellow Springs, "WYSO Weekend: Laramie At Sinclair."
Best Anchor: Todd Walker, WIMA-AM, Lima.
Best Reporter: 1, Amani Abraham, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron; 2, Jamie Hambach, WJER-AM, Dover.
Best Enterprise Reporting: 1, Jamie Hambach, WJER-AM, Dover, "The Oil & Gas Rush"; 2, Aaron Coleman, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron, "The Price of the High."
Best Documentary or Series: 1, Jamie Hambach, WJER-AM, Dover, "The Oil & Gas Rush"; 2, WTUZ-FM, New Philadelphia, "2012 Elections."
Best Feature Reporting: 1, Basim Blunt, WYSO-FM, Yellow Springs, "Boogie Nights: A History of Funk Music In Dayton"; 2, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron, "Falls Natatorium Rate Fight."
Best Breaking News Coverage: 1, WJER-AM, Dover, "Dover Chemical Leak"; 2, WTUZ-FM, New Philadelphia, "Dover Chemical Incident."
Extraordinary Coverage of a Scheduled Event: 1, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron, "2012 Ohio Presidential Election."
Best Continuing Coverage: 1, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron, "Craigslist Rafferty Trial"; 2, WTUZ-FM, New Philadelphia, "District Seeks Answers for Future of School Facilities."
A Homerville man is dead, days after he was injured in a car-buggy crash in Ashland County.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol reports John Yoder, 50, died at Akron General Hospital last night from injuries suffered when the horse-drawn carriage he was driving was hit by a vehicle on Ashland County Road 500. The driver of the other vehicle, Douglas Church, 20, of Sullivan, was uninjured in the crash.
Charges have not been filed at this point against Church; troopers reported he was distracted when he hit Yoder's buggy and then failed to stop after the crash. Church's 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee was later recovered in Sullivan.
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(Ohio State Highway Patrol) Troopers from the Ashland Post of the Highway Patrol are investigating a hit-skip crash that has resulted in a fatality, on Ashland County Road 500 near township road 101.
John Yoder, 50, of Homerville died of his injuries last night suffered in the crash Monday evening. The driver of a vehicle traveling eastbound on CR 500 became distracted and drove into the rear of an Amish buggy. After the vehicle struck the buggy the vehicle continued eastbound on CR 500 failing to stop for the crash he had caused.
Utilizing the media to broadcast information on the hit-skip vehicle, a short time later a call was received at the Ashland Patrol Post advising the location of the vehicle in involved. Officers responded to a residence in Sullivan, Ohio and located the 2002 silver Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Yoder, age 50, of Homerville, Ohio. Mr. Yoder was transported to Lodi Community Hospital and later taken by MedFlight to Akron General Hospital in critical condition. Mr. Yoder succumbed to his injuries on May 16, 2013 at 6:40 PM.
The driver of the Jeep Cherokee, Douglas B. Church, age 20, of Sullivan, Ohio was not injured in the crash.
Personnel from the West Salem Fire Department and Ashland County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene for assistance. The Ashland Patrol Post is working with the Ashland County Prosecutor’s office reviewing the case. No charges have been filed at this time.
Ohio's unemployment rate dipping to seven percent for April, down from 7.1 percent in March. This time last year the jobless rate was 7.3 percent. In terms of people that means seven thousand fewer on the unemployment listings but the numbers don't include those who've given up looking for work.
(Department of Jobs and Family Services) Ohio's unemployment rate was 7.0 percent in April 2013, down from 7.1 percent in March, according to data released this morning by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). Ohio’s nonfarm wage and salary employment increased 7,600 over the month, from the revised 5,175,600 in March to 5,183,200 in April.
The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in April was 400,000, down from 407,000 in March. The number of unemployed has decreased by 21,000 in the past 12 months from 421,000. The April unemployment rate for Ohio was down from 7.3 percent in April 2012.
The U.S. unemployment rate for April was 7.5 percent, down from 7.6 percent in March and down from 8.1 percent in April 2012.
Total Nonagricultural Wage and Salary Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)
Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 7,600 over the month, from a revised 5,175,600 in March 2013 to 5,183,200 in April, according to the latest business establishment survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) in cooperation with ODJFS.
Goods-producing industries, at 853,500, gained 800 jobs over the month. Increases in manufacturing (+2,400) exceeded declines in construction (-1,400) and mining and logging (-200). Private service-providing industries, at 3,583,700, gained 7,400 jobs. Employment increased in leisure and hospitality (+5,300), trade, transportation, and utilities (+3,500), other services (+1,500), and educational and health services (+800). Losses were seen in professional and business services (-2,300), financial activities (-1,000), and information (-400). Government employment, at 746,000, decreased 600 as losses in federal government (-900) and local government (-300) outweighed gains in state government (+600).
From April 2012 to April 2013, nonagricultural wage and salary employment grew 4,400. Goods-producing industries decreased 300 over the year. Construction lost 9,200 jobs. Manufacturing gained 8,800 jobs in durable goods (+5,000) and nondurable goods (+3,800). Mining and logging added 100 jobs. Private service-providing industries increased 18,700. Gains were posted in educational and health services (+12,300), leisure and hospitality (+4,200), trade, transportation, and utilities (+2,600), financial activities (+1,800), and other services (+900). Losses were seen in professional and business services (-2,000) and information (-1,100). Government employment decreased 14,000 through losses in local government (-7,200), state government (-3,800), and federal government (-3,000).
A Massillon lawyer shouldn't go to a bar -- and the state's highest court deciding he won't be an active member of THE bar in the immediate future.
Ohio's Supreme Court posting an indefinite suspension on Dale Alan Zimmer's law license over incidents dating back to 2006, including numerous car crashes, traffic warrants and even blowing off a DUI court hearing.
The Court could restore Zimmer's license if he completes a substance-abuse program but the earliest he could be reinstated would be May 2015.
(Ohio Supreme Court) The Supreme Court of Ohio today imposed an indefinite suspension against the law license of Massillon attorney Dale Alan Zimmer for multiple violations of state attorney discipline rules.
The court voted 7-0 to adopt findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline that Zimmer engaged in professional misconduct and showed a disregard for his obligations as a citizen and as a lawyer in connection with three separate incidents involving traffic law violations between 2006 and 2012.
In its report, the disciplinary board noted that in November 2011 Zimmer crashed his car into a parked vehicle and a building, causing damage to both, then fled the scene without reporting the accident or leaving contact information. He was subsequently arrested and found guilty of failure to stop at the scene of an accident. While Zimmer was in custody for the November 2011 arrest, law-enforcement authorities discovered that there was an outstanding bench warrant for his arrest based on a September 2008 incident in which he was convicted of driving without a license and ordered to return to court with proof of a valid driver’s license, but failed to appear.
The board also noted that a new bench warrant was issued for Zimmer in March 2012 for violating the conditions of a home confinement sentence imposed on him in January 2012. That sentence was based on a 2006 DUI arrest for which Zimmer failed to appear at a scheduled court hearing, and subsequently evaded prosecution for more than five years. The board noted that in July 2012 Zimmer sent a letter to the judge in that case stating that he was currently being treated at a Canton hospital and had been attending numerous 12-step program meetings in an attempt at sobriety.
Observing that Zimmer’s misconduct had not resulted in any reported harm to his clients, but that his record of alcohol-related traffic offenses and his flight from the scene of his most recent incident suggested an untreated substance abuse problem, the court adopted the board’s recommended sanction of an indefinite license suspension with future reinstatement conditioned on proof of Zimmer’s compliance with an established substance-abuse treatment program.
Based on today’s action, the earliest date on which Zimmer would be eligible to apply for reinstatement is May 16, 2015.
Hiram College will be looking for a new president when next school year ends.
Tom Chema announcing today he's stepping down at the end of the 2013-14 academic year after 11 years on the job. A national search will be undertaken to find a successor by July 2014.
During Chema's tenure there's been significant capital development of the campus with new sports, residence halls and other campus buildings. Enrollment in the College increased by more than 50% under Chema's watch.
Chema's mark on northeast Ohio is also evident in Cleveland's sports facilities, namely Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena. Both were built as then-Jacobs Field and Gund Arena under his management heading the Gateway development authority in the early 1990s.
(Hiram College) Hiram College President Thomas V. Chema has announced he will step down at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year after 11 years in the position. Hiram’s 21st president, Chema made his announcement at the May meeting of the Hiram College Board of Trustees.
During Chema’s presidency, Hiram has experienced tremendous growth in enrollment, new programs, fundraising and campus facilities while enjoying increased visibility and an enhanced position in the higher education marketplace. Enrollment in Hiram’s undergraduate program has increased by more than 50%. Concurrent with growth in the student body is growth in Hiram’s academic program. Expansion of Hiram’s academic offerings during Chema’s tenure include distinctive majors in nursing and accounting, eight Centers of Distinction built on Hiram’s historic strength in the liberal arts and enhanced and expanded offerings for adult learners through a new program in Professional and Graduate Studies.
The Hiram campus has also been transformed during Chema’s time leading the institution. New facilities include the Lester and Kathy Coleman Sports, Recreation & Fitness Center; a residence hall which serves as the home of Hiram’s new Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurship Center; dining hall; apartment style townhouses; reconstruction of the Mecca Church, home of Hiram’s Garfield Institute for Public Leadership; expansion of the James H. Barrow Biology Field Station; and renovation of existing campus facilities to house a state-of-the-art nursing education facility, the Henry C. Gelbke Fine Arts Center and renovation of Frohring Fine Arts Building to include a black box theatre.
Hiram has seen impressive growth in fundraising support as well, experiencing increases in the number of donors, average gift size, and alumni participation in annual giving. The College has received more than 100 gifts of more than $100,000 during Chema’s presidency. Hiram’s recent Endowment Initiative, a two-year, $10 million effort, exceeded goal eight months early and has currently raised more than $12 million. The campaign is the first phase of a plan to increase the Hiram endowment to $100 million.
“There is a natural ebb and flow in any executive leadership position like a college presidency and I believe I have accomplished the bulk of what I had planned when I became president,” said Chema. “We have established a sustainable model of operations and Hiram is now in a position to not simply survive, but to thrive. The next president will inherit a talented and committed group of faculty & staff, a strong and committed Board of Trustees and an alumni body who are happily connected to their alma mater. I’m enormously proud of what we have accomplished together and know that Hiram is positioned well for the next 100 years.”
Hiram has initiated a national search for a new president. A search committee of faculty, staff and trustees has been formed and is chaired by Trustee Robert Turner, a 1972 graduate of Hiram and Senior Vice President of the Union Pacific Corporation. Plans call for Hiram’s 22nd president to begin on July 1, 2014.
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