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

Looks like the battle between the Akron Bar Association, Akron Beacon Journal and reporter Phil Trexler is ending with a whimper.

The Bar Association wanted the newspaper and Trexler held in contempt for not testifying in it's investigation of local attorney Larry Shenise, who claimed he missed a hearing in Judge Paul Gallagher's court because he hadn't been notified. Gallagher was upset enough to file a complaint against Shenise, and the Bar Association wanted to force Trexler to testify beyond the quotes from Shenise in a story Trexler wrote. When Trexler and the paper refused, the lawyer's group sought a contempt ruling.

The newspaper and Trexler pushed back and the case went to the Ohio Supreme Court. In a ruling posted on the court's website today, justices denied the contempt motion from the Akron Bar Association and further quashed any other motions in the case.

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(Ohio Supreme Court) In Akron Bar Assn. v. Shenise, the court granted relator’s motion to dismiss the notice of appeal of the Beacon Journal Publishing Company and Phil Trexler, denied relator’s motion to hold Trexler in contempt, denied a request for a hearing by the Beacon and Trexler, and dismissed the case.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 05:47

Canton PD Issues Missing Adult Alert

UPDATE: Mr. Alexander was found by his sister and safely returned to his residence.

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Previous Coverage:

Canton PD issuing a missing adult alert overnight in the search for a disabled 46-year old man. Gary Alexander was reported missing; he suffers from seizures and need medication. Alexander was last seen on McKinley Avenue in North Canton.

He was last seen with a black and grey hoodie, black thermal shirt and blue jeans and walks with a limp.

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(Canton PD) A Missing Adult Alert has been issued by the Canton Police Department for Stark County.Information as of: March 11, 2014 at 2:16 AMBe on the lookout for a missing adult. On March 10, 2014 at 9:00 PM, Mr. Alexander left on foot his residence and has not returned.The incident took place in Stark County, OH McKinley Avenue North in the city of North Canton.The adult's name is Gary Lewis Alexander and the individual is missing. The adult is a White male, age 46, is 5'9" tall, weighs 140 lbs, has brown hair, and has blue eyes. Mr. Alexander suffers from seizures and is easily disoriented and is need of his medication. Mr. Alexander was seen wearing a black and grey hoodie, grey hat, black thermal shirt and blue jeans and walks with a limp.Call or dial 911 if you see the adult. You can also call 1-866-693-9171 to be transferred directly to the investigating law enforcement agency or to hear the alert information.To view photographs, visit the Endangered Missing Adult Alert website at: http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Law-Enforcement/Local-Law-Enforcement/Missing-Adult-AlertTo unsubscribe reply to this email with "unsubscribe" as the subject or call (800) 325-5604.

Thursday, 06 March 2014 09:20

High Court Drops Ohio Enticement Law

The Ohio Supreme Court today applied common sense to the state's laws governing child enticement, ruling the law as written and applied is unconstitutional because it's too broad.

The case stemmed from a man charged in 2010 with child enticement for offering a neighborhood child money to help carry boxes into his apartment. The court ruled in a 5-2 decision that while the goal of protecting children was worthwhile, making such common behaviors as a coach driving a student athlete home to pickup forgotten equipment or even a senior citizen paying a teenager money to help with chores a violation of the law was itself unconstitutional.

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(Ohio Supreme Court) The Ohio Supreme Court ruled today that Ohio's child-enticement statute is unconstitutional because it prohibits a significant amount of constitutionally protected activity.

In the 5-2 decision, authored by Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, the judgments of both the Tenth District Court of Appeals and the trial court were upheld because the broad language of the statute can lead to criminal charges against a person in many innocent situations.

Jason Romage of Columbus was charged with criminal child enticement in 2010. The complaint alleged that by offering money to a neighborhood child to carry some boxes to his apartment, he violated R.C. 2905.05(A). The law bars a person from knowingly soliciting, coaxing, enticing, or luring a child under age 14 to accompany the person in any manner without the permission of the parent or legal custodian. (The law includes exceptions for law enforcement, medics, firefighters, and others.)

Romage pled not guilty and asked the trial court to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the law was too broad. The trial court agreed. The state appealed the decision to the Tenth District, which upheld the trial court's decision.

The Tenth District notified the Supreme Court that its decision conflicted with a judgment from the First District Court of Appeals. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed and decided to hear the case. The court also accepted an appeal from the state.

In the court's majority opinion, Justice Lanzinger wrote: "We have held that 'protection of members of the public from sexual predators and habitual sex offenders is a paramount governmental interest.' ... Certainly, the safety and general welfare of children is even more deserving of governmental protection. But a statute that defines criminal conduct should not include what is constitutionally protected activity. Even though the state has a legitimate and compelling interest in protecting children from abduction and lewd acts, a statute intended to promote legitimate goals that can be regularly and improperly applied to prohibit protected expression and activity is unconstitutionally overbroad. ... R.C. 2905.05(A) is such a statute. ... The statute fails to require that the prohibited solicitation, coaxing, enticing, or luring occur with the intent to commit any unlawful act."

She noted that both a coach driving an elementary school student home to get a forgotten piece of equipment and a senior citizen offering to pay money to a 13-year-old for help with a household chore could be charged with criminal child enticement under the law.

Even if the court narrowly defined the word "solicit" in the statute, the law "would still criminalize a substantial amount of activity protected by the First Amendment," Justice Lanzinger wrote.

"The statute forbids anyone other than the legal custodian of a child, those listed in R.C. 2905.05(A)(2), or those who have the legal custodian's express permission to solicit a child under the age of 14 to accompany the person 'in any manner' for any purpose," she continued. "The motivation for the solicitation is irrelevant. There is no requirement that the offender be aggressive toward the victim. One need not have intent to commit a crime. Short of rewriting R.C. 2905.05(A), which is the province of the legislature rather than the court, we cannot construe the statute in such a way as to find it constitutional."

She also reasoned that the court cannot sever the word "solicit" from the law to keep it from being declared unconstitutional.

"[T]he remaining language — that no person may 'coax, entice, or lure any child ... in any manner' — still encompasses a wide range of innocent and protected conduct. An elderly person offering a child under 14 years old money to come with her to help with chores is more than merely asking, and this activity would arguably constitute coaxing, enticing, or luring. ... In other words, severance of the single word does not transform the statute into a constitutional one. The statute would still capture a substantial amount of protected conduct because without a criminal-intent requirement, it is still not narrowly tailored to achieve the state's interest in protecting children."

Joining the court's majority were Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Terrence O'Donnell, Sharon L. Kennedy, and William M. O'Neill. Justice Judith L. French dissented in an opinion joined by Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor.

In her dissent, Justice French contended that the court should construe the term "solicit" narrowly instead of declaring the statute unconstitutional.

"The majority reads 'solicit' out of context and uses the broadest definition it can find — 'merely asking' — which it borrows from an appellate decision," Justice French wrote. "By its use of a sweeping, out-of-context definition, the majority ignores the principle that courts should refrain from striking down a statute on First Amendment grounds whenever 'a limiting construction has been or could be placed on the challenged statute.'... When reading the word 'solicit' with its neighboring operative verbs — 'coax, entice, or lure' — one can reasonably find a more sinister connotation. Solicit can mean to 'lead astray' or 'lure on and esp. into evil.' (Emphasis added.) ... Applying this narrower construction, I cannot conclude that R.C. 2905.05(A) criminalizes a substantial amount of activity protected by the First Amendment."

Wednesday, 05 March 2014 11:58

Akron Marathon Claims $6 Million Impact

The folks who run the Akron Marathon say it's worth a $6 million dollar boost to Akron's economy in direct and indirect impact. Nearly 15-thousand participants take part in the race, celebrating it's 12th running on September 27th.

A study from Kent State's Department of Economics pegs 87 jobs as created by the Marathon, a hefty increase from the prior year. Most of those taking part in the various races come from outside Summit and Portage Counties, putting Akron in the spotlight.

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(Akron Marathon) Heading into its 12th running this fall, the Akron Marathon, presented by Time Warner Cable, continues to be a significant economic contributor to the region’s economy while also having a substantial impact on the health of the race’s nearly 15,000 participants. The findings come from a pair of recently completed impact studies commissioned by the race.

“Akron and the surrounding communities are the lifeblood of our race, and we are proud of the ever-increasing impact the Akron Marathon has on our region,” said Anne Bitong, Akron Marathon Executive Director. “Not only is the race a proven vehicle of economic growth, but it’s also improving our participants’ quality of life of. That’s a win-win for everyone associated with the event.

”Conducted by Kent State University’s Department of Economics, The 2013 Akron Marathon: An Economic Impact Analysis found that the race generated approximately $6 million to the local economy in direct and indirect impact. Roughly $2.4 million was direct impact from the race participants and spectators in areas such as hotels, restaurants and retail. The study concluded that the Akron Marathon was responsible for the creation of 87 jobs in 2013 — a 45 percent increase over the previous year.

The Kent State research also determined that more than half of the participants (51.5 percent) came from outside of Summit and Portage counties. These “non-local” participants were responsible for nearly $4.5 million in direct and indirect impact to the local community.

“This economic impact study illustrates how important holding large events can be to the local economy. The Akron Marathon is uncommon in that the economic impact came from both out-of-town runners and guests as well as from local runners by keeping them from spending outside the local area. In total, $6 million was spent or kept in the local economy due to the race, which substantively improves local spending, local earnings and local employment,” said Shawn Rohlin who led the economic impact analysis.

According to the Health Impact Assessment of the 2013 Akron Marathon, conducted by the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA), the race also had many positive impacts on the overall health of the participants.Among the findings was the fact that an estimated (25-30 percent) of participants reduced their weight to the normal body mass index (BMI) range. The study also found that the race led to a reduction of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and overweight individuals among adults in Summit County. Based solely on weight reduction, the Akron Marathon saved the region an estimated $1 to $1.2 million in potential medical costs for 2013.

Additionally, the participants who reduced their BMI from overweight to normal were expected to increase their lifespan by 2-4 years.The Akron Marathon includes four events: the full marathon, the half marathon, the five-person team relay and the kids fun run. Through these events, the Akron Marathon has grown by more than 10,000 participants since its inaugural event in 2003.

The Akron Marathon offers the community a health-focused, fun-filled event that draws thousands of participants and spectators. The 12th annual event will be held September 27, 2014. Registration is available at akronmarathon.org. Rates are slated to increase again on April 1st.

Wednesday, 05 March 2014 06:52

Vaughn IQ An Issue In Murder Case

The legal wrangling is on to consider the fate of the juvenile prosecutors say helped kill Margaret and Jeffrey Schobert of New Franklin last April.

Defense lawyers say now 15-year old Jamal Vaughn should not be considered an adult while prosecutors say Vaughn's IQ should not be part of the equation for Juvenile Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio to consider.

The Beacon Journal says Vaughn has a low IQ -- 70. His lawyer says transfer to an adult jail or prison would be like a death sentence. 19-year old Shawn Ford, former boyfriend of one of the Schobert's daughters, is charged with murder and could get the death penalty if convicted.

Prosecutors charge Vaughn weilded a knife in the murders while Ford beat the victims.

Monday, 24 February 2014 21:26

Boil Water In Coventry Township

A boil water order is in effect for some Akron water customers living in Coventry Township. The boil advisory covers some residents in the 2900 and 3000 blocks of Manchester Road as well some residents in the 2900 block of Cormany Road, including the American Legion Post #566 and Lakeside Mobile Home Park. The boil advisory will last at least through Tuesday evening.

(City of Akron) Due to a water main break in Coventry Township, the Akron Water Department has issued a precautionary boil water advisory for Akron water customers between 2900 and 3011 Manchester Road, between 2974 to 2991 Cormany Road and a single resident on South Prior Road.  This advisory includes the following specific locations:

2900 Manchester Road

2923 Manchester Road2960 Manchester Road - All residents of Lakeside Mobile Home Park

3011 Manchester Road – AutoZone

2974 Cormany Road - American Legion Post #566

2981 Cormany Road

2991 Cormany Road

3037 South Prior Road

Only locations listed above are included in the advisory.  As a precaution, and in accordance with EPA regulations, customers are advised to boil their water until further notice.   Water used for drinking or cooking should be brought to a full boil for a minimum of 2 minutes and returned to the proper temperature before use.  This advisory will be in effect until further notice, but for a minimum of 24 hours. 

This advisory is only in effect for these limited customers on Manchester Road, Cormany Road and South Prior Road.

Thursday, 13 February 2014 10:34

Bridgestone Agrees To $425 Million Dollar Fine

A major black eye for the parent company of Bridgestone Americas, which has it's Technical Center here in Akron, as the Toyko-based Bridgestone Corporation will pay a $425 milllion dollar fine and plead guilty to criminal charges over price-fixing.

The U.S. Attorney's office says the conspiracy to fix prices involved anti-vibration rubber parts sold here in the U.S. and other global markets. The one-count felony charge was filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District in Toledo. Bridgestone, according the the news release from the Department of Justice, agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation of the auto parts industry.

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(US Attorney's Office - Department of Justice) Bridgestone Corp., a Tokyo, Japan-based company, has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $425 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices of automotive anti-vibration rubber parts installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.According to a one-count felony charge filed today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Toledo, Bridgestone engaged in a conspiracy to allocate sales of, to rig bids for and to fix, raise and maintain the prices of automotive anti-vibration rubber parts it sold to Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Corp., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corp., Isuzu Motors Ltd. and certain of their subsidiaries, affiliates and suppliers, in the United States and elsewhere. In addition to the criminal fine, Bridgestone also has agreed to cooperate with the department’s ongoing auto parts investigations. The plea agreement is subject to court approval.In October 2011, Bridgestone pleaded guilty and paid a $28 million fine for price-fixing and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in the marine hose industry, but did not disclose at the time of the plea that it had also participated in the anti-vibration rubber parts conspiracy. Bridgestone’s failure to disclose this conspiracy was a factor in determining the $425 million fine.“The Antitrust Division will take a hard line when repeat offenders fail to disclose additional anticompetitive behavior,” said Brent Snyder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program. “Today’s significant fine reaffirms the division’s commitment to holding companies accountable for conduct that harms U.S. consumers.”According to the charges, Bridgestone and its co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy through meetings and conversations in which they discussed and agreed upon bids, prices and allocating sales of certain automotive anti-vibration rubber products. After exchanging this information with its co-conspirators, Bridgestone submitted bids and prices in accordance with those agreements and sold and accepted payments for automotive anti-vibration rubber parts at collusive and noncompetitive prices. Bridgestone’s involvement in the conspiracy to fix prices of anti-vibration rubber parts lasted from at least January 2001 until at least December 2008.“The Cleveland Division of the FBI is committed to aggressively investigating price-fixing and other antitrust violations,” said Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony. “The illegal activity in this case threatened the basic tenet of free competition. We are pleased with the acceptance of responsibility along with the significant penalty which will be paid by Bridgestone for this conspiracy to fix prices. Together with our partners in the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, we will continue to combat illegal practices which threaten consumers across the United States.”Bridgestone manufactures and sells a variety of automotive parts, including anti-vibration rubber parts, which are comprised primarily of rubber and metal, and are installed in suspension systems and engine mounts as well as other parts of an automobile. They are installed in automobiles for the purpose of reducing road and engine vibration.Including Bridgestone, 26 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty in the department’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the automotive parts industry. The companies have agreed to pay a total of more than $2 billion in criminal fines. Additionally, 28 individuals have been charged.Bridgestone is charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries maximum penalties of a $100 million criminal fine for corporations. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.Today’s prosecution is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the automotive parts industry, which is being conducted by each of the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement sections and the FBI. Today’s charge was brought by the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Office and the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office, with the assistance of the FBI headquarters’ International Corruption Unit and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio. 

Thursday, 13 February 2014 08:42

CVNP Gets New Boss

Northeast Ohio's national park is about to get a new boss. Craig Kenkel moves here from the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park in San Francisco, replacing Stan Austin who was promoted to regional director of the National Parks Service last summer. Even with most of his experience west of the Rockies, Kenkel is no stranger to the midwest; he's an Iowa native and also worked thirteen years from this region.

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(Cuyahoga Valley National Park) Craig Kenkel has been selected as the Superintendent of Cuyahoga Valley National Park headquartered in Brecksville, Ohio. Currently serving as Superintendent at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in San Francisco, Calif., Kenkel succeeds Stanley Austin, who became the National Park Service Southeast Regional Director in July 2013, and begins this new assignment this Spring (specific date yet to be determined).

In announcing Kenkel's selection, NPS Midwest Regional Director Michael T. Reynolds said, "Craig's leadership experience and ability to build strong relationships and accomplish major initiatives with partner groups will serve well to meet the needs of Cuyahoga Valley National Park." "He will continue to elevate the park within the Cleveland-Akron metropolis as a major urban national park, will engage new communities, and will lead an effort to build diversity, relevancy, and inclusion." Reynolds added.

"I'm excited to soon be working with Cuyahoga Valley's dedicated team of park staff, partners and local constituents to enhance what I believe is already a model 21st century park." Kenkel said of this new opportunity. "Since first visiting the park in 1992, Cuyahoga Valley has been on my personal 'top ten parks list.' That one can find this incredible river valley park rich with history, nature, and opportunities to play and learn in a large urban/suburban area is wonderful and compelling; I look forward to professionally and personally experiencing this park."

Kenkel began his NPS career in 1983 as an architecture student intern at the Denver Service Center. He began working full-time at DSC as a historical architect on the Western Team in 1985, and project work took him to Sitka NHP, Klondike Gold Rush NHP, Olympic NP, Crater Lake NP, Yosemite NP, Sequoia NP, Point Reyes National Seashore, and Petrified Forest NP. In 1988, Kenkel transferred to the Western Regional Office in San Francisco, where he served first as a project architect and then as Regional Historical Architect for the national parks of Hawaii, California, Nevada, Arizona, and the U.S. territories of the Pacific.

From 1992 to 2005, Kenkel worked at the Midwest Regional Office, transitioning from Regional Historical Architect to Regional Chief of Cultural Resources. Accomplishments include leading the team that designed the visitor experience for Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site; managing the expansion of the Regional Cultural Resources Program to include both park and community programs, with staff growth from 9 to 30; and serving as the NPS architect on the public-private development team for the new Midwest Regional Office building, the first NPS facility to be LEED gold certified.

In 2005, Kenkel became Chief of Cultural Resources at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, his first 'park' assignment, and served for a year as acting deputy superintendent before becoming Superintendent at San Francisco Maritime NHP in 2010. He fondly describes the maritime park as a place where 'ship happens!' and is honored to be part of the team that opened a new permanent exhibit in the park visit center, re-energized park partnerships, respectfully dismantled the National Historic Landmark steam schooner Wapama, is bringing active maritime steam back to Hyde Street Pier, and is readying the NHL coastal lumber schooner CA Thayer for her final phase of a 10-year restoration project.

A Harlan, Iowa, native, Kenkel and his nine siblings were raised on a livestock and grain farm near Earling in the southwest region of the state. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degree from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, in 1985. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, backpacking, biking, cooking, traveling, all things mid-century modern, and improving his pool game. Kenkel is drawn to exploring and understanding urban/wild edges, and he looks forward to engaging in Cleveland's sustainability and historic preservation initiatives.

Authorized as a national recreation area in 1974 and re-designated a national park in 2000, the 33,000-acre Cuyahoga Valley NP preserves rural landscapes along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron.

The park has a rich cultural legacy. Remains of the Ohio & Erie Canal, which flowed through the valley in the 19th and early 20th centuries, offer a glimpse into the past. The 20-mile Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail follows the historic route of the canal. Historic structures and natural features can be seen as the trail continues along the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway, and sustainable farming ventures help preserve the valley's agricultural heritage.

Cuyahoga Valley NP offers a wide variety of cultural, historical, recreational, and natural activities and experiences in one setting.

Thursday, 13 February 2014 07:50

AUDIO Goodyear Posts Record 2014 Earnings

Goodyear continues to have a great year. The Akron-based tiremakers reports record earnings for the fourth quarter and all of 2013, even moving ahead on fully funding it's U.S. pension plans thanks to more than a billion dollars on hand in cash. Quarterly operating income was up 54% to $419 million with full-year results up 27% to $1.6 billion on sales of $19.6 billion, down seven percent, while setting earnings records.

Goodyear Chairman & CEO Rich Kramer explained the upbeat report to investors and media in a conference call this morning - you can listen to a portion of it below:

 

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(Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.) The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company today reported results for the fourth quarter and full-year of 2013.

"Our outstanding fourth quarter and full-year earnings confirm that our strategy is working and demonstrate Goodyear's ability to deliver sustainable earnings growth and strong free cash flow," said Richard J. Kramer, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our North America business achieved record earnings in all four quarters of 2013."

Subsequent to the year-end, and consistent with its previously announced pension strategy, Goodyear has taken steps to fully fund its hourly U.S. pension plans with $1.15 billion of available cash balances and has begun the process to freeze and de-risk the plans.

"Our 2013 performance has given us the confidence to fully fund our hourly U.S. pension plans," Kramer said. "This is a major milestone in our history and will provide greater transparency to our underlying tire business while improving earnings and cash flow. Moving past these legacy obligations is a new beginning for our company."

Goodyear's fourth quarter 2013 sales were $4.8 billion, down 5 percent from the year ago quarter. Fourth quarter 2013 sales reflect $64 million in higher tire unit volumes; $178 million in lower sales in other tire related businesses, most notably third party chemical sales in North America; $36 million in lower price/mix, principally due to lower raw material costs; and $102 million in unfavorable foreign currency translation. Tire unit volumes totaled 40.7 million, up 2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012.

"As industry volumes recover, we continue to see mixed growth rates globally, but there is strong growth in the high-value-added segments we are targeting," Kramer said. "We remain disciplined in our approach, seeking growth where our brands and value proposition enhance our profitability."

The company reported record segment operating income of $419 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. This was up 54 percent from the 2012 quarter, reflecting favorable price/mix net of raw materials of $98 million (excluding raw material cost savings), lower unabsorbed overhead of $55 million due to higher production levels and $11 million in higher tire unit volumes, partially offset by $32 million in higher SAG expenses and $24 million in unfavorable foreign currency translation. See the note at the end of this release for further explanation and a segment operating income reconciliation table.

Goodyear's fourth quarter 2013 net income available to common shareholders was $228 million (84 cents per share), a fourth quarter record and up from breakeven in the 2012 quarter. All per share amounts are diluted.

The 2013 fourth quarter included total charges of $17 million (6 cents per share) due to rationalizations, asset write-offs and accelerated depreciation; and gains of $41 million (15 cents per share) due to income and other discrete tax benefits and $2 million (1 cent per share) from asset sales. All amounts are after taxes and minority interest.

The 2012 fourth quarter included total charges of $85 million (34 cents per share) due to rationalizations, asset write-offs and accelerated depreciation, primarily related to the announced closure of the Amiens North factory in France; $9 million (4 cents per share) due to discrete tax charges; $6 million (2 cents per share) resulting from a strike in South Africa; and $5 million (2 cents per share) due to charges relating to labor claims with respect to a previously closed facility in Europe; and gains of $6 million (2 cents per share) in insurance recoveries related to flooding in Thailand and $2 million (1 cent per share) from asset sales. All amounts are after taxes and minority interest.

Full-Year Results

Goodyear's 2013 annual sales were $19.5 billion, down 7 percent from 2012. Sales reflect $665 million in lower sales in other tire-related businesses, most notably third party chemical sales in North America; $354 million in unfavorable foreign currency translation; $166 million in lower tire unit volumes; and $206 million in lower price/mix. Tire unit volumes totaled 162.3 million, down 1 percent from 2012.

The company's segment operating income of $1.6 billion was up 27 percent from 2012. Compared to the prior year, 2013 segment operating income reflects favorable price/mix net of raw materials of $436 million (excluding raw material cost savings), which more than offset $52 million in higher unabsorbed overhead costs, $63 million in unfavorable foreign currency translation and $24 million in lower tire volume.

Goodyear's 2013 net income available to common shareholders of $600 million ($2.28 per share) is up from $183 million (74 cents per share) in 2012. All per share amounts are diluted.

The company generated more than $1 billion of free cash flow from operations, resulting from higher net income and a $415 million benefit from working capital. See the note at the end of this release for further explanation and a free cash flow from operations reconciliation table.

North America's fourth quarter sales decreased 8 percent from 2012 to $2.1 billion. Sales reflect a $170 million decline in sales in other tire-related businesses, most notably third-party chemical sales, and lower price/mix. These were partially offset by the impact of a 3 percent increase in tire unit volumes. Original equipment unit volume was up 7 percent. Replacement tire shipments were up 1 percent.

Fourth quarter segment operating income of $199 million was up 72 percent from the prior year, and a fourth quarter record. Segment operating income was positively impacted by favorable price/mix net of raw materials of $45 million, lower conversion costs of $31 million and increased tire volume of $8 million.

Europe, Middle East and Africa's fourth quarter sales increased 2 percent from 2012. Sales reflect a 1 percent increase in tire unit volume and favorable foreign currency translation of $27 million, which was partially offset by lower price/mix. Original equipment unit volume was up 4 percent. Replacement tire shipments were flat.

Fourth quarter 2013 segment operating income of $101 million was $63 million above the prior year. Favorable price/mix net of raw materials of $40 million, lower conversion costs of $27 million, higher tire unit volumes of $4 million and $3 million in favorable foreign currency translation positively impacted segment operating income.

The company has ceased production at its Amiens North plant in France, which produced consumer and farm tires. The facility will close during the first quarter of 2014. The timing of the company's exit from the Europe, Middle East and Africa farm tire business will be determined later in the year. These actions will result in about $75 million of annual profit improvement, with approximately $40 million expected in 2014.

Latin America's fourth quarter sales decreased $49 million from the prior year to $492 million. Sales reflect $83 million in unfavorable foreign currency translation. Improved price/mix more than offset an 8 percent decrease in tire unit volume. Original equipment unit volume was down 16 percent, primarily due to reduced vehicle production in Brazil. Replacement tire shipments were down 4 percent, primarily in Venezuela.

Fourth quarter segment operating income of $52 million was down $9 million from 2012. Segment operating income was positively impacted by price/mix improvements of $48 million and lower raw material costs of $12 million. These were more than offset by $28 million in higher SAG expenses, primarily due to marketing activities in support of new product launches and the impact of inflation on wages and other costs; higher conversion costs of $22 million due to the impact of inflation on wages and other costs; $12 million in unfavorable currency translation; and $10 million in lower tire unit volume.

Asia Pacific's fourth quarter sales decreased 9 percent from 2012 to $537 million. Sales reflect an 8 percent increase in tire unit volume, which was more than offset by reduced price/mix, $39 million in unfavorable foreign currency translation and $7 million in lower sales in other tire-related businesses. Original equipment unit volume was up 6 percent. Replacement tire shipments were up 9 percent.

Fourth quarter segment operating income of $67 million was up 18 percent from 2012. Segment operating income was positively impacted by favorable price/mix net of raw materials of $12 million, lower factory start-up costs of $14 million and $9 million in higher tire unit volumes, which more than offset $14 million in unfavorable foreign currency translation and $4 million in higher SAG expenses.

Outlook

The company reaffirmed its 2014-2016 financial targets, which include:
- Annual segment operating income growth of between 10 percent and 15 percent,
- Annual positive free cash flow from operations and,
- An adjusted debt to EBITDAP ratio of 2.5x.
Additionally, the company continues to expect about a 2 percent to 3 percent increase in unit volumes for 2014 over 2013.

Common Stock Dividend

The company paid a quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share of common stock on December 1, 2013. On January 13, 2014, the Board of Directors also declared a dividend of 5 cents per share payable March 3, 2014, to shareholders of record on January 31, 2014.

 

Sunday, 09 February 2014 19:50

No Ducking This New Look

No ugly ducklings with this gaggle; the new uniforms for Akron's baseball club features a wide range of new looks ahead of the team's rebirth from the Akron Aeros into the Akron RubberDucks.

Five radio celebrities helped show off the new uniforms Sunday at the Akron Civic Theater as the team officially unveiled the new uniforms players will wear at home in Canal Park and on the road for the 2014 campaign. Among those modeling the new uniforms was WAKR Morning Show host Ray Horner. 1590 WAKR and AkronNewsNow.com are both owned and operated by the Rubber City Radio Group.

Players who will be assigned to the minor league AA club will begin hitting the field in Goodyear, Arizona along with their big-league brothers this week as catchers and pitchers report for spring training.

(Akron RubberDucks) The Akron RubberDucks unveiled its uniforms during today’s Family Fun Day at the Akron Civic Theatre with the help of local media personalities.  

There were five uniforms unveiled: a home uniform with a white jersey and pants, a road uniform with a gray jersey and pants, an official Sunday uniform with off-white jersey and pants, an alternate uniform with blue top and white pants, and a batting practice uniform with black jersey and white pants. All five uniforms are accompanied by the official team socks, which are tire black with three electric blue stripes trimmed in white.
 
“I think the new uniforms turned out great and we are excited for our fans to see them. They tell the story of the Akron RubberDucks and highlight the heritage and history of the City of Akron,” said RubberDucks general manager Jim Pfander.
 
Je’Rod Cherry, co-host of the “Hooley and Je’Rod” show from 3-6 p.m. on ESPN Cleveland 850 WKNR and former New England Patriots defensive back, modeled the home white uniform. The jersey features the RubberDucks name across the chest with the iconic tire treads, trimmed in tire black with RubberDucks orange and electric blue highlights. The jersey sports a signature triple piping of the tire black and electric blue around the neck and on each sleeve. The RubberDucks webbed foot and tire tread circular “A” logo appears on the left sleeve and the numerals will be black, trimmed in orange and highlighted in electric blue on the front and back. Additionally, only the home uniforms will feature names on the back, which will be in tire black print. The home uniform pants feature the same triple piping as the jersey down each leg. The home cap is black featuring the primary RubberDucks logo.
 
The custom gray road uniform was modeled by “Waiting for Next Year” blogger Jacob Rosen. The road uniform features the name “Akron” in bold tire black letters on a white background trimmed in orange and electric blue. There’s electric blue piping along the sleeves and neck that continues down along each pant leg. The numerals are in tire black and trimmed in orange and blue. The left sleeve features the duck with arms logo, which is also the main batting practice cap logo and symbolizes the strength and blue-collar work ethic of Akron’s citizens. The road cap is in electric blue and has the webbed “A” logo encompassed by the circular tire tread mark. Fans will have a chance to see the road uniforms one-night-only at Canal Park on July 5 vs. Bowie Baysox.
 
Keith Kennedy from Clear Channel Radio and 98.1 WKDD morning host, modeled the batting practice uniform, which is highlighted by an all-black, tight-mesh jersey created specifically for the RubberDucks by Rawlings. It is the only jersey to feature the RubberDucks duck head logo on the left chest and numerals on the right side of the jersey. The hat is a New Era 59-50 fitted mesh black hat with the duck with arms logo. The team will wear either the home or road pants with the batting practice jersey, based on location. The RubberDucks plan on wearing the BP top during seven home games at Canal Park beginning with Sat., April 12 vs. Bowie Baysox.
 
The fourth uniform unveiled was the official Sunday uniform worn by 1590 WAKR Akron News Now’s Ray Horner. The off-white uniform brings a nostalgic feeling with a modern twist. The alternate tire tread “A” logo is featured on the front chest of the jersey and on the electric blue hat. This mark is made of two black tire treads trimmed on orange and meant to pay homage to Akron’s heritage as the “Rubber Capital of the World.” This is the only uniform regularly worn at home that will feature “Akron” across the front, in tire black letters with orange and electric blue trimming. The jersey and pant legs have electric blue trim and the left sleeve shows the primary duck head logo. The RubberDucks plan to wear this uniform during all but one of the 11 Sunday home games in 2014.
 
Tommy Bruno, general manager of 91.3 The Summit, modeled the electric blue alternate jersey. The RubberDucks are the only team in Minor League Baseball to feature an electric blue jersey, which was designed by Brandiose and produced by Rawlings. It features white piping on the sleeves and around the neck. Like the home jersey, across the front reads “RubberDucks” marked in tire black with orange and electric blue trimming. It is the only jersey with tire black numerals, trimmed with white and electric blue highlights. The primary duck head logo is on the left sleeve. This uniform is paired with either the home or road uniform pants and uses the home black hat. The alternate is scheduled to appear 24 times at Canal Park in 2014, the first time on Fri., April 11, the first Friday Fireworks night.
 
All five uniforms were designed by San Diego-based design company Brandiose, along with input from the Akron RubberDucks management team. Rawlings is the manufacturer and New Era is the official on-and-off field hat maker of Minor League Baseball.
 
The Akron RubberDucks are the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The 2014 season will be its 18th since moving to Canal Park and its first since becoming the RubberDucks. The team begins its season on April 3 at Binghamton and the home opener at Canal Park is scheduled for Thursday, April 10 at 6:35 p.m. against the Bowie Baysox.