Edward L. Esposito

Edward L. Esposito

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 eesposito@rcrg.net

Saturday, 01 November 2014 06:42

Final Regular Season Scoreboard

The final Friday for regular season high school football; Hudson and Nordonia remain perfect going into the playoff rounds. Hoban and CVCA on the short end but Walsh and St. V winners as was Mogadore, Copley, Green and Barberton. 

Friday’s Games

Barberton 38, Northwest 14
Canton Central Catholic 31, East 13
Chippewa 39, Northwestern 7
Cleveland Benedictine 35, Archbishop Hoban 7
Copley 25, Revere 21
Coventry 29, Rootstown 13
Dalton 20, Hillsdale 10
Ellet 30, Garfield 12
Elyria 50, Medina 20
Field 28, Crestwood 26
Firestone 26, North 12
Garfield Heights 42, Cuyahoga Falls 6
GlenOak 30, Perry 20
Green 15, Tallmadge 14
Highland 41, Cloverleaf 0
Hudson 51, Twinsburg 13
Jackson 17, North Canton Hoover 7
Kent Roosevelt 35, Norton 21
Keystone 54, Black River 20
Lake 14, Boardman 3
Manchester 21, CVCA 14
Mogadore 43, Southeast 14
Nordonia 41, Wadsworth 7
Norwayne 49, Rittman 15
Ravenna 34, Springfield 0
St. Vincent-St. Mary 38, Youngstown Ursuline 6
Stow 35, North Royalton 7
Streetsboro 57, Waterloo 8
Walsh Jesuit 35, Mentor Lake Catholic 13
Waynedale 32, Smithville 14
Woodridge 27, Garrettsville 7

Games today:

Buchtel at Kenmore
Open Door Christian at Western Reserve Academy
Orrville at Wooster

Wednesday, 29 October 2014 09:19

Cop-Killer Thompson Remains On Death Row

Ashford Thompson will not only remain in prison for the murder of Twinsburg police officer Joshua Miktarian in 2008 -- but he'll stay on Death Row with the clock ticking down the seconds on his execution date.
 
The Ohio Supreme Court unanimously ruled that any hint of prosecutorial misconduct in his trial wasn't enough to overturn his conviction for shooting Miktarian to death during a traffic stop because of loud music coming from Thompson's vehicle. Thompson shot Miktarian in the head four times; his license and registration were still in Miktarian's pocket when police arrived minutes after the shooting after dispatchers couldn't raise Miktarian on the radio after he requested backup.
 
Thompson also tried to have the court overturn his death sentence and on that issue the Court split 4-3 with justices French, O'Connor,  O'Donnell and Kennedy voting in the majority. 
 
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(Ohio Supreme Court) The Ohio Supreme Court today ruled in the case of Ashford L. Thompson, who was convicted in 2010 for the murder of Twinsburg police officer Joshua Miktarian during a traffic stop.
 
In an opinion written by Justice Judith L. French, the court unanimously affirmed Thompson’s convictions for the murder and other crimes. However, the court split 4-3 on imposing a sentence of death.
 
In July 2008, Thompson picked up his girlfriend after midnight, and they went to a bar. An hour or two later, Officer Miktarian started following Thompson’s car because of loud music coming from the vehicle. Thompson turned into his driveway, and the officer called dispatch to report that he was making a traffic stop and pulled in behind Thompson. The officer’s police dog was in the cruiser. A few minutes later, Miktarian requested backup. A dispatcher relayed that Thompson had a license to carry a concealed handgun, but Miktarian never responded.
 
Witnesses reported yelling and popping sounds. When additional officers arrived at the scene, Miktarian was found on the ground next to his cruiser, and no other vehicles were in the driveway. Thompson’s driver’s license and insurance card were in Miktarian’s front shirt pocket. Miktarian had been shot four times in the head.
 
Soon after, police went looking for Thompson at a prior address – his sister’s house in Bedford Heights. When an officer stepped into the house, he found Thompson with a pair of handcuffs dangling from one wrist. The handcuffs were later determined to belong to Miktarian. Thompson struggled with the officer but was eventually arrested. A handgun found on the stove was also seized.
 
A jury convicted Thompson of aggravated murder with specifications that carried the death penalty, including purposely killing a police officer. He was also found guilty of escape, resisting arrest, tampering with evidence, and carrying a concealed weapon. The jury recommended a death sentence, and the court agreed.
 
Thompson appealed the conviction and death sentence directly to the Ohio Supreme Court. He presented 18 claims of errors during his trial.
 
One issue raised was a mistake in the trial court’s June 23, 2010, sentencing opinion. The opinion merged two felony escape charges, even though one of the charges had already been dismissed. The opinion then claimed to sentence Thompson on the dismissed escape offense, which carried a longer prison term.
 
However, in the trial court’s journal entry the next day, the court correctly sentenced Thompson on only the single felony escape offense for which he was found guilty. The entry eliminated any reference to the dismissed escape charge and the incorrect prison sentence.
 
Justice French explained that the Supreme Court may consider both the trial court’s sentencing opinion and the subsequent journal entry to determine whether it has jurisdiction to consider Thompson’s appeal. Together, the documents met the necessary requirements for a final appealable order.
 
Thompson also made several claims of prosecutorial misconduct, which he argued deprived him of due process and a fair trial. Justice French concluded that some statements made by the prosecutor were inappropriate. In closing arguments during the trial phase, the prosecutor asked, “How much more do you think the Defense is willing to deceive you to find out—find the defendant not guilty?” Justice French noted that the state may not suggest that the defense’s case was dishonest. The prosecution also improperly suggested that Thompson had pressured his girlfriend to lie in the trial with no evidence to support the claim and that Thompson was “obsessing and controlling,” implying negative conclusions about Thompson’s character, Justice French added.
 
While these comments were not acceptable, none were so substantial that they changed the outcome of Thompson’s trial, Justice French reasoned.
 
The court rejected Thompson’s numerous other charges of misconduct by the prosecution. Thompson’s other arguments – related to the selection and dismissal of some jurors, pretrial publicity concerning Thompson’s original guilty plea that was withdrawn, and comments by a bar patron – also lacked merit, Justice French wrote.
 
The court concluded that the evidence supported the jury’s finding of two aggravating circumstances – that Thompson murdered an on-duty law enforcement officer and that he committed the murder to escape detection for another offense, such as resisting arrest or carrying a concealed weapon.
 
The court reviewed factors that might lessen Thompson’s punishment. Thompson was a licensed practical nurse who assisted patients who lived in difficult neighborhoods. As a result, he obtained a license to carry a concealed weapon to protect himself. He had a stable upbringing and was close to his family. He did not have a significant criminal history, and he expressed remorse for the murder.
 
However, the court found that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating factors, and the death penalty in this case was proportionate to death sentences imposed in other similar cases.
 
Joining the four-justice majority opinion affirming the death sentence were Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Terrence O’Donnell and Sharon L. Kennedy.
 
Justice Paul E. Pfeifer, in an opinion joined by Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, concurred with the majority in affirming Thompson’s convictions but dissented on the death sentence. He concluded that Thompson’s history, character, and background were sufficient to outweigh the aggravating circumstances in the case, so he would have sentenced Thompson to life without parole.
 
In a separate opinion, Justice William M. O’Neill also concurred in the convictions but dissented on the death penalty. He took issue with contention that Thompson killed the officer to escape detection or punishment for another offense. While the record showed that Thompson did violate a noise ordinance and resisted arrest, the testimony of Thompson and his girlfriend refuted the theory that Thompson was trying to avoid responsibility, Justice O’Neill wrote.
 
Instead, he added, the evidence indicated that Thompson was confused and frightened and incorrectly thought that Miktarian was going to release his police dog or shoot him. Justice O’Neill concluded that the allegation that Thompson killed the officer to escape detection or punishment was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
 
Justice O’Neill expressed gratitude and sympathy for the officer’s family. However, he reasoned that the only aggravating factor remaining for Thompson – killing a police officer – did not outweigh the mitigating factors in the case to justify imposition of the death penalty.
 
“[T]he evidence in this record establishes that this was a routine traffic stop gone tragically wrong,” he wrote. “This case is not in the same category as the premeditated intentional taking of the life of another.”
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 08:25

Goodyear Hits Record Q3 Marks

Goodyear reporting a record for third quarter income with some of the highest profit margins in over a decade. Q3 operating income was up 21% at over $520 million dollars, earnings up 30% and year to date income up 17% to $1.4 billion dollars, even though third quarter sales were down slightly from a year ago.

(Goodyear Tire and Rubber) The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company today reported record segment operating income for the third quarter of 2014.

- Record third quarter segment operating income of $520 million, up 21%
- Record North America third quarter earnings up 30% to $210 million
- Europe, Middle East and Africa third quarter earnings up 57% to $181 million
- Year-to-date segment operating income of $1.4 billion, up 17%
- Company expects 2014 earnings growth near high end of 10% - 15% range
- Company reaffirms 2014-2016 financial targets
- Company plans to acquire up to $150 million of its common stock in fourth quarter

"We delivered outstanding earnings growth in the quarter and achieved a segment operating income margin of more than 11 percent, the highest in more than a decade, despite an increasingly challenged global economy," said Richard J. Kramer, chairman and chief executive officer.

"These results reflect our focus on capturing the value of our branded products in the marketplace and continued progress generating cost savings through our operational excellence activities," he added.

Goodyear's third quarter 2014 sales were $4.7 billion, compared to $5.0 billion a year ago.

Sales were negatively impacted by $137 million in unfavorable foreign currency translation. Tire unit volumes totaled 41.9 million for the third quarter of 2014, down 2 percent year-over-year. Original equipment unit volume was down 3 percent, primarily due to reduced vehicle production in Brazil.

Replacement tire shipments were down 1 percent, due primarily to a decline in North America where markets were disrupted due to significant stockpiling of imported low-end tires in advance of potential tariffs being imposed in 2015.

"In the distorted North American industry environment, we remained committed to our strategy of pursuing profitable volume and we achieved record segment operating income in the quarter," said Kramer.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 14:10

Umana Gets 15 To Life For Junius Murder

15 years to life for the homeless man who murdered a woman, her body found in a shed on East Buchtel Avenue.

Jacob Umana, 37, was arrested for the murder Stephanie Junius, 44, of just before Christmas of last year. Police say neighbors heard screams that night and notified police; death was by stabbing, according to the Summit County Medical Examiner's office.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Christine Croce gave Umana a 15 years to life prison and tacked on an additional year under Ohio's Repeat Violent Offender Specification. Court records show Umana was a laundry list of prisor convictions including drug abuse, breaking and entering, robbery and grand theft. Croce also ordered Umana spend each December 23rd in solitary confinement on the anniversary of Junius' murder.

Today in Judge Christine Croce's Court...Judge Croce sentenced Jacob Umana to 15 years to life for the charge of Murder. Judge Croce also imposed an additional year in prison for the Repeat Violent Offender Specification.Judge Croce also ordered that Umana spend each December 23rd in solitary confinement.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 13:19

Zips Picked High In MAC Preseason Poll

Since 2005, the University of Akron men's basketball squad has gone 21 wins or better in each season. That alone is likely worth high marks but for MAC Conference sports beat reporters it isn't always what you did last, but what they think you've got in the tank tomorrow. The Zips are picked to lead the East division but will face a strong overall conference challenge from the Toledo Rockets, picked not only to win the West Division but also to take the conference championship and a berth to March Madness in the process.

Along with Akron's first-pick selection with a majority of votes from the media panel the Ohio Bobcats were picked second for the division, followed by the Kent State Golden Flashes.

- - -

(University of Akron Athletics) The Akron Zips men's basketball team has been tabbed as the favorites in the Mid-American Conference East Division in the 2014-15 MAC Basketball Preseason poll, the league office announced on Tuesday.

The Zips received 17-of-20 first-place votes and 117 points overall from the MAC News Media Panel. Ohio was selected second (two first-place votes, 92 points), followed by Kent State (66 points), Buffalo (58 points), Bowling Green (one first-place vote, 52 points) and Miami (Ohio) (35 points).

Toledo received 18-of-20 first-place votes as the favorite in the MAC West, with the one first-place vote going to Western Michigan and Central Michigan, respectfully. Toledo finished with total points. Defending MAC Champion WMU was predicted to finish second (94 points), followed by Eastern Michigan (68 points), Northern Illinois (63 points), CMU (49 points) and Ball State (28 points).

The Rockets were selected as the favorite to win the MAC Tournament in March, garnering 15 votes, with Akron, BGSU, CMU, Ohio and WMU receiving one vote each.

For a second-straight season, Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell was selected to the MAC East Preseason All-MAC team. The honor is one of many for Treadwell as he has been named preseason All-MAC by Lindy's, Sporting News and the Blue Ribbon Yearbook. Lindy's tabbed him as the potential Player of the Year in the league.

The Zips return three starters and eight letterwinners from last season's squad that posted a 21-13 overall record and a 12-6 mark in MAC play. UA posted 21 or more wins for a ninth-straight season, joining the likes of Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Kansas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Over the last 10 seasons, the Zips have won 231 games, most by any team in the MAC and tied for 30th among all Division I programs.

Akron made its seventh-straight postseason appearance, playing in the 2014 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The Zips are one of just 25 programs to play in a postseason tournament in each of the last seven seasons.

UA opens its 2014-15 campaign on Monday, Nov. 10, when it plays host to Rochester (Mich.) in its lone exhibition contest. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. ET at James A. Rhodes Arena.

2014-15 MAC East Division Predicted Order of Finish (First-Place Votes)
1. Akron – 117 points (17)
2. Ohio – 92 (2)
3. Kent State – 66
4. Buffalo – 58
5. Bowling Green – 52 (1)
6. Miami – 35

2014-15 MAC West Division Predicted Order of Finish (First-Place Votes)
1. Toledo – 118 points (18)
2. Western Michigan – 94 (1)
3. Eastern Michigan – 68
4. Northern Illinois – 63
5. Central Michigan – 49 (1)
6. Ball State – 28

Tournament Champion: Toledo (15), Akron (1), Bowling Green (1), Central Michigan (1), Ohio (1), Western Michigan (1)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 14:31

Amber Vinson Released From Ebola Quarantine

Update 2:17 p.m. In an afternoon news conference upon release from Emory University Hospital, Amber Vinson said she thanked God and then the medical professionals for her recovery and for taking care of her during her ordeal after being found to have contracted Ebola. Vinson noted her family, especially her grandparents, aunt and uncle for playing a critical role in her recovery, despite not being able to be close to her. She also noted her mother and step-father, who themselves were quarantined.

She also thanked Dr. Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol for their donation of life-saving plasma. Both Writebol and Brantley were successfully treated for Ebola they contracted while working with Ebola patients in West Africa. She also thanked both for their leadership in helping the public understand more about what she called a "treatable disease." 

Vinson has been at Emory in Atlanta since being transferred from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where she works, on October 15th. 

Previous coverage:

Akron native Amber Vinson will finally be able to move about the country now that she's been officially proclaimed Ebola-free by her doctors at Emory University Hospital and the CDC.

Vinson's been in quarantine since she was moved from Dallas to the Atlanta facility after testing positive for Ebola following a visit to Akron. Officials at the hospital say Vinson is expected to make a statement at a 1:00 news conference this afternoon.

Here in Ohio, health officials continue to monitor 164 people for any signs of the virus, including three individuals who were under travel-restricted quarantine in their homes. State health officials expect that monitoring to be cleared by November 4th.

Vinson's family had announced nearly a week ago that Amber was cleared of the Ebola virus but hospital officials hadn't declared her Ebola-free until last night.

Vinson and fellow Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse Nina Pham were both quarantined for treatment after testing positive for Ebola; they were among the primary caretakers for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from the disease.

 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 13:47

Ford Guilty Of Schobert Murders

It's guilty for Shawn Ford Jr. -- perhaps not a surprise given his admission for the beating and stabbing death of Peg and Jeffrey Schobert in their New Franklin home. What was surprising is the three days worth of deliberations taken by the jury, including removing two jurors.

Ford, 20, could get the death penalty Monday when this same jury returns Monday to being the sentencing phase. Ford's lawyers had offered guilty pleas in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table but prosecutors said the Schobert family would not agree.

The Schobert's were found stabbed and bludgeoned to death in April 2013; Ford had dated their youngest daughter, Chelsea and the Schobert's wanted the relationship ended after she wound up beaten in the hospital. Construction workers on the home off Rex Lake in New Franklin found the bodies in a bedroom of the home. 

The Beacon Journal reports Ford's mother wept when the verdict was announced. Jessica Schobert, the eldest daughter of the victims, did not comment following the decision from the jury. A gag order on both sides was imposed by Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tom Parker.

Saturday, 18 October 2014 12:44

Kasich Gets Akron Ebola Update

A high-level briefing Saturday for Governor John Kasich on the Ebola concerns in Ohio the week following a visit home by Dallas nurse Amber Vinson to plan for her wedding.

New numbers today the CDC and local health departments are tracking in Ohio. Ohio Department of Health Epidemiologist Dr. Mary DiOrio identified 29 contacts identified in close contact with Amber Vinson; 87 who were on flights on Frontier Airlines with her and one individual in quarantine. thought to be Vinson's stepfather now in his Tallmadge home. There are with various tiers of monitoring including phone checks as well as face-to-face meetings with public health officials. Kasich said he did not want a widespread release of the names noting none are showing symptoms.

There are no active cases of Ebola infection in Ohio. The Summit County Health Department provided the following breakdown of the 29 cases currently monitored as being in contact:

Summit – 14
Cuyahoga – 7
Medina - 3
Belmont- 2
Putnam- 2
Portage – 1

The Governor praised the local response, noting Ohio decided to implement stricter protocols than the Centers for Disease Control but with the backing and support of CDC.

Vinson was one of the team tending to Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital; he is the lone fatality from the disease. Vinson and another nurse later developed symptoms and tests confirmed they had been infected by the disease. Vinson is currently being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Nina Pham, who also helped treat Duncan, is at the National Insitute for Health in suburban Washington, D.C.

CDC Doctor Christopher Braden, on assignment from the agency to Ohio, called Ebola a "wimpy virus" because it dies easily with simple cleaning when asked to distinguish between the droplets of a sneeze compared to other bodily fluids. It's cases where there's vomit or blood, he said, that cause more concern.

Governor Kasich says it's President Obama's call to make but he thinks a ban on travel into U.S. from those in the West Africa Ebola Zone makes sense. Kasich also strongly supported involvement in the problem in Africa.

"Lots of dedicated people are working on this problem," the Governor says. "We will stay on top of this until this problem has passed." He did not want the list of those with contacts to be widely distributed to protect them, noting none showing symptoms.

Saturday, 18 October 2014 07:44

Friday Night Lights

Hudson's Explorers remain unbeaten while Hoban, Walsh and St. Vincent-St. Mary also won under the Friday Night Lights with the playoffs fast approaching.

LOCAL SCORES

Archbishop Hoban 27, Parma Padua 14
Bedford 35, Barberton 14
Brunswick 59, Twinsburg 27
Buchtel 41, Ellet 21
Canton Central Catholic 41, North Canton Hoover 14
Chippewa 27, Smithville 7
Copley 38, Cloverleaf 6
Crestwood 32, Springfield 12
Dalton 13, Waynedale 7 (OT)
East 36, Firestone 22
Fairless 24, CVCA 21
Field 35, Norton 14
GlenOak 28, Lake 21Highland 24, Revere 10
Hudson 41, Strongsville 7
Manchester 50, Tuslaw 20
Mansfield Madison 50, Orrville 16
Massillon 38, Garfield 0
Mogadore 49, Garrettsville 7
Nordonia 40, Tallmadge 7
Northwestern 45, Rittman 13
Ravenna 53, Coventry 33
St. Vincent-St. Mary 49, Warrensville Heights 16
Southeast 17, Rootstown 7
Stow 38, Medina 18
Streetsboro 54, Kent Roosevelt 47
Valley Forge 21, Cuyahoga Falls 7
Wadsworth 21, Green 10
Walsh Jesuit 31, Chardon NDCL 17
Woodridge 49, Waterloo 7

Saturday, 18 October 2014 06:59

Medina School Teacher To Avoid Contact

The wave of people who visited the Coming Attractions bridal shop as Amber Vinson leading local schools to go into full cleaning mode and self-quarantine. The latest includes Heritage Elementary in Medina, where a first-grade teacher identified as "Mrs. Carlisle" visited the store.

In a call to parents, Medina City Superintendent David Knight said Carlisle will voice student contact for 21 days and the district was taking the action as a "cautious stance." He noted Carlisle is not show any symptoms and is not contagious and not at risk.

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(Medina City Schools statement) Today we have learned that a dress shop visited by Ms. Vinson, the nurse being treated for Ebola, was also visited by Heritage 1st grade Teacher, Mrs. Carlisle.

The Health Departments of both Summit and Medina Counties have been working in conjunction with Medina City Schools. As a proactive precautionary measure, Mrs. Carlisle will voluntarily avoid student contact for 21 days.

Our school's position is to take a very cautious stance. Mrs. Carlisle does not have any symptoms of sickness, is not contagious, and is not at risk. This is a measure of caution fully supported by the health department.

More information is available at the Medina County Health Department website to review important information from the Health Department with regard to Ebola. We will update you as necessary in the event of any new information. Look for updates from the health department as well. Our children's and staff's safety are of utmost importance.