Spencer Platt/Getty Image(MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.) -- Sheriff Joe Arpaio's attorneys said Saturday they plan to appeal a federal judge's finding that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, helmed by Arpaio, racially profiled Latinos while on immigration patrols.
Complaints of deputies pulling over and singling out people who are dark skinned and...
iStockphoto/ThinkStock(SAN ANTONIO, Tex.) -- Record rainfall hitting the city of San Antonio, Texas, in the past 24 hours is causing widespread flooding, with at least one confirmed death.
The National Weather Service says the city airport recorded about 10 inches of rain in 12 hours, breaking several records.
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Stephen Brashear/Getty Images(MOUNT VERNON, Wash.) -- The trucker whose oversized load bumped the steel framework of a Washington State bridge just before it collapsed will be interviewed today by investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, who are on the scene working to determine the cause of the collapse.
Three people were sent...
The City of Akron will be adding its own public natural gas station in the near future.
Akron City Council approved plans during their meeting Monday evening for regional trucking company J Rayl Transport to add a compressed natural gas filling station and truck terminal to its property at the corner of South Arlington Street and Palmetto Avenue.
City Council President Garry Moneypenny says not only will this provide a quality service, but help improve the environment as well.
"Obviously, Akron's real big in going green and this helps us in our goal of helping the environment," Moneypenny explained.
"There's not a whole lot of places that sell the natural gas and this provides a much-needed location on the southeast side of Akron."
J Rayl Transport currently employs more than 200 people.
Moneypenny says he's pleased to see the company expanding its footprint in Akron after they bought the old Rex's Salvage building, which has been abandoned for some time.
"This will help get rid of an eyesore as well as provide a much needed service to the Akron area," Moneypenny said.
The company plans on converting its fleet ot trucks from diesel fuel to either natural gas or a combination of diesel and natural gas.
Moneypenny says the plans to add the natural gas station are a win-win for both the city and J Rayl Transport.
"This is a very positive thing for Akron and we're thankful that J.Rayl stepped up to provide this for us."
The station is expected to open in the next three to six months.
Akron's golf courses are about to get a little greener this summer.
The city will be using 20 new eco-friendly golf carts that will be fueled by either hydrogen or natural gas.
City Council President Garry Moneypenny explains what the inventor along with locally-based developer Hydrogen Energy Systems (HES) will do.
"What this will allow us to do is put the hydrogen engine in 5 of those golf carts and 15 will have the natural gas engine," he said.
Akron City Council passed legislation Monday evening to purchase the golf carts from HES.
The carts will be used at both the Mud Run and Good Park golf courses.
Moneypenny says when he saw the prototype , he noticed some fundamental differences between the HES golf cart and the traditional carts.
"It has just as much torque and power as the standard golf cart and it doesn't cost as much."
"If you sit in a room when this engine is running, not only is it quieter, but it puts out fumes that are completely odorless."
As part of the agreement to purchase the carts, the Akron Development Corporation (ADC) will agree to aid Hydrogen Energy Systems in marketing and selling their golf carts to potential buyers. HES will then pay the ADC a portion of the sale for every cart marketed by them.
Moneypenny says there won't be any drop-off with the performance of the eco-friendly carts out on the links this summer.
The council president says eventually the company will develop more environmentally friendly alternatives for running lawn mowers and tow motors among other appliances.
Pardon me for being behind the curve but I was out of town when most of the Larry Modic saga blew up. By now, most of you are aware of the City's pursuit of it's demolition order against Modic's property on Manchester Road. Modic's supporters wanted more time, noting he was unaware of the building code violations and demolition order that existed when he purchased the property. He grew frustrated, the city grew frustrated, the case went through the appeals process, tempers grew hot but on a cold February morning the issue became moot with the swing of a dozer bucket.
Going beyond the political bluster on both sides, it's helpful to point out the political bluster after the fact -- even the night before said bulldozer took 34 minutes to turn Modic's house into a pile of scrap, seen at left -- may not even be necessary.
Akron City Council is making much of an ordinance that would assess penalties against property owners who fail to disclose building code citations or, as in Modic's case, demolition officers to prospective buyers. Council President Garry Moneypenny says "...maybe, if we introduce something that requires sellers and real estate people" to disclose problems such as demolition orders it would have prevented Modic from losing his home.
Note to South High Street: been there, already done.
A simple search on the Internet, in fact, provides a handy do-it-yourself primer to real estate transactions, including a state law-mandated disclosure process exactly along the lines of what supporters on City Council say they need to have a new city law to cover. The 19-page "Home Seller's Guide" offered by the Ohio Department of Commerce is a helpful resource and includes completion of the "Property Condition Disclosure Form" that includes, among other things, an honest description of any problems with the property.
Here's the telling language: "Whether you sell your home on your own or list it with a real estate agent, Ohio law requires you to complete a “Property Condition Disclosure Form.” You must fill out the form on your own and sign it before your house is shown. This form is used to notify potential buyers of any conditions, defects or repairs, past or present, including conditions relating to major mechanical or structural areas of the property, such as heating and cooling, the roof and the foundation. The form tells anyone interested in your house whether the house or property has any wet areas or standing water, what water and sewage system it has, past uses of the property and other important information."
In the firm belief few legal avenues are a path never trodden, we've taken the liberty of including, at the bottom of this post, a .pdf download of the Property Condition Disclosure Form. I'm sure the State of Ohio won't mind Akron taking a document updated in 2008 as the basis of more debate on just how to help Mr. Modic move forward with a grievance apparently best directed at the seller of the property. This might even save city lawyers a few billable hours as they move forward on new legislation. It never hurts to have a crib sheet handy at exam time.
In a sincere effort to save City Council's lawyers the time and trouble of writing a new Akron law, maybe they can talk to the folks who are listed on the state's own primer. The online resource still bears the name of then-Governor Ted Strickland and then-Commerce Director Kim Zurz. In case they can't contact Strickland, maybe a trip down to 500 Grant Street can be arranged to speak with Zurz, who's now working as Deputy Director for the Summit County Board of Elections.
In an editorial Thursday, the Akron Beacon Journal opined it was "encouraging that city officials plan to find ways to make such information more easily accessible to the public" and notes the intention to pursue new legislation to fill gaps where holes now exist to avoid future problems such as those Larry Modic lived through.
Maybe seeing what's already on the books is a good start. Another would be to simply put the list of property citations and demolition orders online, for any prospective buyer to access. The County's Fiscal Office already does this for real estate transactions and property taxes. In fact, here's the page where you can read more about Larry Modic's house before it was demolished; the house and property he purchased for $10,000 was assessed to be worth nearly $63,000 according to the folks at the office of Fiscal Officer Kristen M. Scalise.
If there's already a database in the county that lists property parcels and values of homes, can it be that difficult to also include information the city's own inspectors prepare when deciding a building is so dilapidated it needs to be torn down?
On the chance there already is such a database where we can see listings of Building Department citations and orders online, I went to Akron's web site for information on the building department. There, you'll find a link to the Summit County Department of Building Standards. That's to be expected, since the County took over building inspections and standards in an agreement with the city that just celebrated it's fourth anniversary.
Unfortunately, the link on the City page does not go to the County Building Standards but instead goes to a virtual property called a "404 Error Page." The dreaded "404" means the link is broken. If you do a Google search for the County Department, you'll get to the correct County Building Standards Department page, which should be the final resource you'll need.
Here's what the County says when it comes to working in Akron: "The County of Summit, Building Standards Division is responsible for all plan reviews, permits, and inspections related to the Construction, Alteration and Repair for all structures located within the City of Akron, in regards to the Ohio Building Code (OBC) and the Residential Code of Ohio (RCO)."
The County's site even notes there's a "one stop shop" available designed to help not only professionals but also residents, but it may not be helpful if you're in Akron. That's because the County's page tells you to contact the Akron Plans and Permits office at 330-630-7305 or 330-375-2010. If you want to check out the Akron Plans and Permits office online with the link provided on the County's page, good luck; it goes back to the City's main page, where there are helpful links include Akron's Sister City program, a video from Mayor Don Plusquellic on international travel, a 10-year retrospective of Lock 3, "Imagine Akron 2025" which lists the initiative from 2000, and even a badge on how the city site is award-winning.
Come to think of it, maybe a few billable hours for lawyers is in order.
The City of Akron is taking further steps to promote public awareness about the dangers of methamphetamine use and manufacturing.
At-large councilman Jeff Fusco says part of the process is educating people on how these labs can cause problems.
"Right now it's vital and important for people to identify these meth labs," Fusco explained.
"These materials are toxic and dangerous to handle, so people could get hurt when they encounter these items."
The city passed an ordinance authorizing $10,000 to be spent towards an educational program to warn about meth use and the tools used to make it.
Akron City Council's Jeff Fusco and Russel Neal Jr by Aaron Coleman
Ward 4 Councilman Russel Neal Jr echoes Fusco's sentiment by saying education on this problem is vital.
"It's important that we educate the public on this problem through these pieces of legislation," Neal said.
The other two ordinances passed Monday night will put the cost of meth lab cleanup on the property owners to take the burden off of the Akron Police Department for getting rid of the chemicals found at the lab sites.
The other is urging the Ohio General Assembly to set a standard for assessment and remediation of homes where meth labs have been found.
Ward 10 Councilman Garry Moneypenny believes that the APD and the taxpayers will benefit greatly from this legislation.
Ward 10 Councilman Garry Moneypenny by Aaron Coleman
"Right now that cost is being absorbed by the residents of Akron, and with this we're trying to put some of that responsibility on the property owners."
The Ward 10 councilman, who has a background in law enforcement, says there are more "shake and bake" meth labs out there and that the drug can be made in many different ways.
There are many dangers that go along with meth making and usage, including people dumping the materials along the side of the road, causing fire hazards and causing issues for children who find these materials.
Moneypenny says that the problem has reached borderline "epidemic" status and that the three ordinances are a step in the right direction to taking these drugs off the streets.
Akron City Council has passed the city's operating budget for 2012.
Budget and Finance Chair Garry Moneypenny tells AkronNewsNow.com about the biggest change in the budget.
"The most major change would be a decrease of $27 million dollars or overall 5 percent," he said.
The 2012 operating budget is $502 million, which is down from last year's budget of $528 million.
Moneypenny says the Council body was instrumental in moving forward with its adoption and passage Monday evening.
"I believe a lot of these council people did their homework, came back the following day to the budget hearings and asked the important questions they needed to in looking over the budget before it was passed.
Moneypenny said the budget was very lean, and in overall operating expenses would be reduced with its passage. He says Akron residents can expect the same quality services, just with less people.
"We have no laid-off full time employees at this point, we do have some seasonal employees that maybe won't be hired back this summer, so we are following the model of doing more with less."
The councilman adds that City Finance Director Diane Miller Dawson did a "phenomenal job" of organizing the budget meetings and providing City Council with the information they needed to adopt the budget.
Miller-Dawson says Akron's tax amnesty program is one of the main programs in terms of generating revenue.
"We're hoping the amnesty program will help us grow income tax revenues that will offset some of the cuts we'll be receiving from the State."
The city's employment numbers are the lowest they've been since the 1960's with over 1700 employees.
"Our employees have been working hard and they've been doing their part in balancing the budget by submitting their budget requests and cutting expenses where they can."
More information begins to surface after Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander announced he would not be running for a fourth term.
Alexander says he was frustrated with the Republican Party and GOP Chairman Alex Arshinkoff after they asked him to step down early and chose another candidate without his input.
"I was committed for four years and I was insulted that they would even ask me," Alexander said.
Sheriff Drew Alexander talks with WAKR's Ray Horner by Akron NewsNow
He says with the current situation, it was an easy decision to endorse his friend, Democrat Garry Moneypenny.
Moneypenny previously served as Alexander's former chief deputy and was recently elected to Akron City Council.
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