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

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 16:48

Akron Cops Looking For Suspected Shooter

Akron police have issued an arrested warrant for a 29-year old man in connection with one of a pair of shootings today.

In the first incident, two men were shot at while leaving a business on 13th Street SW at Clearview. Stephon Allen, 20, was hit in the leg and treated at Akron General. His injuries do not appear to be life threatening, according to police. The second man, Cedric Weatherspoon Jr., 20, was not hit in the drive by shooting.

Police say two men were in a silver LTZ Chevy Impala with Florida plates and fired the shots at the two men. Police are looking for Thomas Blankenship, 29, of Lakemont Street as one of the suspects.

In the second incident, shots were fired in the Cole Avenue and Moore Street area and several homes were hit by bullets. No one was injured.

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(APD) Shortly before 11:00am this morning, officers responded to a shooting in the 800 block of Lakewood Boulevard.

Officers located two males, Stephon Allen, 20, of Rentar Lane and Cedric Weatherspoon Jr., 20, of Greenwood Avenue. Allen and Weatherspoon reported they were leaving a business, on 13th Street SW at Clearview Avenue, when two black male in a silver LTZ Chevy Impala with Florida plates fired several shots at them.

Allen was struck in the leg several times and was transported to Akron General Medical Center where his injuries do not appear to be life threatening.  Weatherspoon was not struck.

One suspect has been identified, and warrants for felonious assault, carrying a concealed weapon and having weapons while under disability were issued.

Detectives need the public’s help in locating Thomas M. Blankenship, 29, of Lakemont Street in Akron. Blankenship is a black male, 5’11” and 155 lbs. He should be considered armed and extremely dangerous. The second suspect has not been identified.

Also today, shortly before noon, officers responded to several shots fired calls in the area of Cole Avenue and Moore Street. Several homes in the 1300 block of Moore Street were struck. No injuries were reported. The suspects were possibly in a black, 2013 Dodge Dart.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 15:55

VIDEO Slugging RTA Driver Pleads Guilty

Remember the Cleveland RTA bus driver who punched out a rider caught on video? Artis Hughes changed his plea to guilty, even with wide support when viewers saw the altercation start with the woman who started the fight with him, grabbed his neck and spit in his face.

It cost him his job; now he'll likely spend a few days in jail for the punch in addition to paying a $1,000 fine and agreeing to take part in an anger management program.. The driver's union is still trying to get his job back.

New video shows Hughes, a 59-year old veteran driver, attacked by Shi'dea Lane, 25, starting the fight. She's already pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct charges and will be sentenced later this month.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 11:42

KSU Beats Geno In Court

A big win for Kent State's basketball program -- and they didn't even need to tipoff at the MAC Center to do it. Portage County Judge John Enlow siding with KSU in it's lawsuit against former head coach Geno Ford for breach of contract after he skipped out on a contract with Kent to go to Bradley University.

The ruling awarded the University $1.2 million dollars. Kent State is still pursuing it's lawsuit against Bradley, with that trial scheduled for October.

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(Kent State University, Attorney General's Office) A Portage County judge has awarded Kent State University $1.2 million after its former head men’s basketball coach breached his contract by leaving to become the head coach at Bradley University, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the university announced today.

“Ohio’s public colleges and universities have a duty to students and taxpayers to be wise stewards of tuition and taxpayer moneys,” Attorney General DeWine said. “When coaches and high-profile employees leave public universities in breach of their contracts, the state of Ohio has an obligation to seek the compensation to which it is entitled. I am pleased that the Court has awarded the damages due to Kent State."

On July 12, Portage County Common Pleas Judge John A. Enlow granted Attorney General DeWine’s and Kent State’s request for judgment against former men’s basketball coach Gene A. Ford for breach of his employment contract and damages in the amount of $1.2 million to Kent State. Pursuant to the court order, Ford will pay Kent State the $1.2 million in damages as calculated in the liquidated damages provision in his employment contract with Kent State. The liquidated damages provision stated that if Ford resigned or terminated his employment with Kent State, the university would be entitled to liquidated damages totaling the balance of Ford’s annual salary due for the remaining amount of his contract term.

In April 2008, Kent State hired Ford as their head men’s basketball coach for a five (5) year term at an annual salary of $200,000. In April 2010, Kent State and Ford agreed to a new contract extending his employment through the end of the 2014-2015 season and increasing Ford’s annual salary to $300,000, making Ford the highest-paid basketball coach in the Mid-American Conference. In March 2011, Ford agreed to become the head basketball coach for Bradley University, located in Peoria, Illinois, in breach of the terms of his employment contract with Kent State.

Kent State filed suit against Ford and Bradley University on April 26, 2011. Kent State continues to pursue claims against Bradley University for its tortious interference with Kent State’s contractual relationship with Coach Ford. The case against Bradley University is set for trial on October 7, 2013.

The Akron law firm Roderick Linton Belfance, LLP was appointed by the Ohio Attorney General as special counsel to represent Kent State in the cases against Coach Ford and Bradley University.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 08:02

Akron General Gets Ranking Nod

Akron General is doing some chest-thumping with the latest listings of Best Hospitals in America as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

The hospital ranks on the top of the list in Summit County and fifth best in Ohio, up from seventh a year ago.

"It's not just the fact that your doing the work because we are always doing the work well, but it's how you do the work and how the patient perceives the work you do," said Thomas L. “Tim” Stover, president and CEO of Akron General Health System.

Akron General was also honored as “High-Performing” in 10 medical specialties including the addition of the cancer speciality from the care provided at the hospital's McDowell Cancer Center.

Stover said he's looking forward to the his next goal to surpass the current accomplishments set in this year's report.

"We have a whole group of people that have the same goals, so when you get that happening, it's pretty amazing to watch it."

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(Akron General) Once again, Akron General Medical Center has been named to the prestigious list of hospitals - - -honored as the best in America by U.S. News and World Report in their annual listing of Best Hospitals 2013-14. Akron General was nationally ranked (39) in otolaryngology (Ear, Nose & Throat – ENT) and in pulmonology (43). In addition, Akron General was named as the 5th best hospital in Ohio, up from 7th in 2012. Akron General also maintained its claim as the best hospital in Summit County.


Akron General was also honored by U.S. News and World Report as “High-Performing” in 10 medical specialties: Cancer, Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, and Urology. The quality of the cancer care provided at Akron General’s McDowell Cancer Center lead to the addition of the cancer specialty to Akron General’s “High-Performing” rankings this year.


"We are honored to be included again this year in this most impressive list of America’s Best Hospitals,” says Thomas L. “Tim” Stover, MD, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer, Akron General Health System. “These rankings are indicative of the superb, high-quality care provided by our dedicated physicians, nurses, allied health professionals and our entire staff every day. They have my sincere gratitude for making Akron General the premier provider of outstanding healthcare in our area.” 


On the nationally ranked list, Akron General garnered strong gains from last year. Akron General improved this year with the addition of pulmonary care to the nationally ranked list (43). 


"The designation as being among the best in the nation for pulmonary care is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire Akron General pulmonary team," says Timothy C. Murray, MD, Chief of Pulmonary Services at Akron General. "We are pleased to receive this high recognition."


Akron General also moved up in its national ranking in otolaryngology, up to 39th from 49. 


"It is quite an honor to be listed as among the best in the nation in the field of otolaryngology,” says Bruce M. Sterman, MD, Chief of Otolaryngology at Akron General. "We're pleased to be ranking nationally again this year." 

In addition to treating conditions of the ears, nose and throat, the Akron General program overseen by Dr. Sterman provides treatment for head and neck cancers. 


Akron General’s commitment to wellness is the lead subject in a major feature article in U.S. News & World Report. 

Monday, 15 July 2013 16:41

Wife Killed In Domestic Violence Crash

Domestic violence charges against an Akron man could see an upgrade after his actions led to her death in a weekend auto crash.
26-year old Kyndall Tucker was taken by her husband, 28-years old Robert Tucker the third, from a 2nd Street SW Kenmore (corrects earlier version address) home owned by her relatives and forced her into his car at gunpoint. He punched her, drove off with her in the front seat then crashed into a tree later on Manchester Road. He was able to flee on foot but not before punching his wife in the head several more times, according to witnesses. They were able to identify him as he was standing in a crowd of bystanders at the accident scene Saturday night.
She died Sunday at Akron General; an autopsy will determine the cause of death.
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(Akron PD) Around 11:00pm Saturday night, Robert H. Tucker III, 28, of Baird Street in Akron, was charged with kidnapping, aggravated burglary, domestic violence and weapons under disability.
Tucker went over to his wife’s relative’s house, located on 2nd Street SW, where his wife was visiting and demanded that she leave with him.  Tucker then entered the relatives’ home, armed with a handgun, and pulled his wife out by her hair.  Tucker punched her in the face several times and tried to force her into the trunk of his car, a 2013 Ford Taurus.  Tucker was eventually able to get his wife in the front seat and drove off.  Tucker drove his vehicle into a tree in the 1600 block of Manchester Road, where he then jumped out of the car and fled on foot.  Before fleeing the vehicle Tucker punched her in the head several times. Tucker’s wife was critically injured.
When responding officers arrived on Manchester Road, Tucker was identified by witnesses as standing in the crowd of bystanders.  Tucker was taken into custody, charged and booked into the Summit County Jail. 
Tucker’s wife, Kyndall D. Tucker, 26, of 2nd Street in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was transported to Akron General Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on Sunday, July 14, at 11:20am. 
The Summit County Medical Examiner’s will conduct an autopsy. Additional charges are expected.
Monday, 15 July 2013 16:27

Coughlin Clerk Bid Denied

Another battle royale brewing in Summit County, this time between Republican factions but Democrats also have their fingers in the pie. The County's Board of Elections today dumped former State Senator Kevin Coughlin's petitions for Stow Municipal Court Clerk, because he was running non-partisan. The Board is allowing incumbent Judge Kim Hoover to run as non-partisan, saying there's a difference between judge and clerk positions. Coughlin's promising a court fight.

In a statement, Coughlin said "...both local political parties banded together to deny my legal right to run for Clerk of Courts. They may be afraid to face me on Election Day, but they cannot deny my basic rights. In voting to reject my petitions to run, the members of the Summit County Board of Elections abused their power and disregarded the law."

"This issue is far from over. I will immediately seek a court order forcing the Board of Elections to certify my petitions," Coughlin said. "In addition, those who abused their power and ignored the law will be held to account. My campaign for Clerk of Courts will continue on without interruption while this matter is resolved."

Monday, 15 July 2013 15:55

Aeros Make Good On Dorn Snow Globes

The Akron Aeros have their snow globes in the house -- and those with vouchers from Saturday's Roger Dorn Night who couldn't get their prize because of a shipping delay can now pick them up. That includes tonight's game or anytime during regular business hours at the team's Canal Park offices.

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(Akron Aeros) The Akron Aeros today announced updated information for the Roger Dorn Snow Globe giveaway pickup. The snow globe pickup started Sunday and remaining fans who obtained a special-numbered voucher at Saturday’s game can pick up their snow globes at Canal Park during tonight’s 7:05 p.m. game vs. Erie.

They can also visit the Akron Aeros administrative offices, located at 300 S. Main St., over the next two weeks through Friday, July 26, normal weekday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. business hours.

Only fans with numbered vouchers will receive a snow globe, however, fans holding multiple vouchers can pick up a snow globe per each voucher all at once.

The Roger Dorn Snow Globes were originally scheduled for distribution for the Saturday, July 13 game, but due to a shipping delay they did not arrive on time. Special numbered vouchers were distributed to the first 1,000 fans that night, which serve as the official document needed to pick up a snow globe at tonight’s game or at the Aeros offices over the next two weeks. 

Barberton is taking an unusual step in helping residents hit by flooding after Wednesday's massive rains: YouTube.

Barberton Assistant Planning Director Joe Stefan announces city programs for flood relief, July 12.program priorities include replacement of furnaces, residences and hot water heaters; trash pickup starting today with curbside pickup at "some point in time" with no extra charge for any debris that won't fit in the normal trash containers. There's also a "sanitization" program where the City will deliver free containers of sanitizing chemicals for use in basements or any other areas.

In addition, assistance centers are open for those displaced or in need; the Lake Anna YMCA is the center of donation activity and collection of goods and services in a central location. Items dealing with personal hygiene, in particular, are in short supply and Stefan says new toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and other items are in sore supply.


Thursday, 11 July 2013 19:30

Canal Fulton: High Waters Continue

The Olde Canal Days Festival is still scheduled as floodwaters recede but it's taken a toll on visitors and users of the park alike, including the St. Helena III canal boat.

For a second straight day, the boat will be docked and rides not offered because of flooding from the Tuscarawas River and the Ohio and Erie Canal. 

The Canal Fulton Canalway Center reopened today and will be open during this weekend's Canal Days Festival.

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(City of Canal Fulton) St. Helena III canal boat rides, which were set to resume Friday, July 12, 2013, have been cancelled again. Both the Tuscarawas River & The Ohio and Erie Canal have risen significantly in Canal Fulton. St. Helena Heritage Park in Canal Fulton is currently underwater and sections of the Towpath Trail have been closed in the area due to flooding. It is unclear at this time when the St. Helena III canal boat rides will resume.

The Canal Fulton Canalway Center was able to reopen this afternoon and will be open extended hours (10am – 8pm) Friday & Saturday during the Olde Canal Days Festival.

The St. Helena III, a replica canal boat, is pulled by two Percheron horses and departs from St. Helena Heritage Park for a one hour ride down the historic Ohio & Erie Canal. The canal boat typically runs mid-May through mid-October. During the summer months, public rides are offered Tuesday through Sunday at 1:00pm & 2:30pm. Canal boat rides have been offered in Canal Fulton since 1970.

The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force needs help finding a 32-year old Massillon man on the run as a convicted sex offender. 

Willard Wigfield was convicted in Lake County, Ohio for raping a child under the age of 15; he pleaded guilty to the charge and skipped his sentencing earlier this week. When police checked the location of the ankle bracelet he was required to wear while on bond, they found was sending signals from the Tuscarawas River near New Philadelphia. Neither Wigfield nor the ankle device were found.

Police tracked him to a Florida hotel and have since arrested Wigfield's sister and a family friend for helping him evade apprehension.

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(U.S. Marshals Office) The U.S. Marshals led Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force is requesting the public’s help to locate a convicted sex offender currently on the run.

Massillon, OH resident Willard Wigfield, 32, had previously pled guilty in the Lake County Common Pleas Court to a charge of Rape of a child under the age of 15. Wigfield was charged following an investigation conducted by the Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Department. Wigfield was on bond and scheduled to appear for his sentencing on Monday, July 8th, 2013. Wigfield failed to appear for his sentencing and a warrant was issued for his arrest. As part of his conditions of bond, Wigfield had been wearing an electronic monitoring device around is ankle. When Wigfield did not show up for court, authorities checked the location of the ankle monitor. The device was sending signals from the Tuscarawas River near New Philadelphia, OH. An extensive search of the river by local authorities failed to locate Wigfield or the device.

The Marshals Service, along with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Mentor-on-the-Lake Police, immediately launched an investigation and quickly developed evidence that Wigfield had cut off his bracelet and was on the run.

During the late night hours of July 9th, 2013 investigators developed information that Wigfield had traveled to Orlando, FL and Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a hotel in an attempt to arrest him. When deputies arrived Wigfield was no longer in the room, however they did locate 33 year old Robert Mahaffey of New Philadelphia, OH. Florida authorities arrested Mahaffey for his involvement in Wigfield’s flight from Ohio. Mahaffey, who had been identified as a close family friend of Wigfield, is being held in the Osceola County Jail on the first degree felony charge of accessory after the fact to the crime of rape.

Task force investigators then discovered that on Friday, July 5th, 2013 Wigfield made known his plans to flee and enlisted the help of one of his sisters. The sister, identified as 28 year old Stephanie Smith of Coshocton, OH rented a vehicle for her brother, and that vehicle was recovered by police at the Florida hotel. On Wednesday, July 10th members of the task force traveled to Coshocton, and with the help of the Coshocton County Sheriff and Prosecutor, obtained an arrest warrant charging Smith with Obstructing Justice, a third degree felony. Smith was arrested on the warrant is currently being held in the Coshocton County Jail.

Investigators have developed solid information that other subjects aided Wigfield and lied to cover his tracks when confronted by law enforcement. U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott stated, “Although the primary focus at this point is getting this dangerous sexual predator off the streets, investigators anticipate charging several other individuals for their roles in aiding his flight.”

Wigfield is described as a white male, standing 5’07”, weighing approximately 190 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. Wigfield is known to spend almost all of his free times at locations frequented by juveniles such skating rinks, playgrounds, and swimming pools. When Wigfield fled his residence he was with his dog, a brown and black Pomeranian-Poodle mix.