Mike Ward

Mike Ward

Mike Ward is the afternoon anchor/reporter for 1590 WAKR. He has been a radio news reporter and anchor for over 20 years, for a variety of stations in Ohio, Virginia, and California. For seven years, he was a news reporter and anchor for Sacramento's top-rated news/talk station, KFBK, and was also news director for WFIR in Roanoke, Virginia. He's also been heard on Cleveland stations. Mike has a special interest in technology, and was a regular on the nationally syndicated radio show "On Computers with Gina Smith". Despite his out-of-area experience, Mike is an Akron native. He was born at Akron City Hospital, and grew up in Cuyahoga Falls. He's been with WAKR since 2009. You can reach Mike through the newsroom at 330-864-6397, or by email at mward@rcrg.net.

Wednesday, 07 January 2015 18:25

Haven Of Rest Packed, But Not Turning Away

As you might expect, the cold weather affects traffic at places like Akron's Haven of Rest Shelter.

But despite being "overcapacity", the shelter's Rose Rose says that the Haven of Rest isn't turning away anyone who needs shelter from the bitter cold..

"We don't want to see them out there freezing, this weather, no one should be out in," Rose tells WAKR.net. "We just want people to know that you don't have to be out there in the cold."

Rose says that Haven of Rest "expands from within" when demand for shelter gets this high.

"We have been over capacity but we are able to help others," she says. "We will expand as much as we need to, and have people come in and just get the warmth and the bedding and everything they need."

Haven of Rest also offers hot meals and hot coffee for those who need to warm up.

Tuesday, 06 January 2015 18:11

Winter Hits With A Vengeance

If you enjoyed those temperatures in the 50s recently...they are a memory now.

Snow and cold will continue for much of the week.

The National Weather Service has put much of Northeast Ohio under a Lake Effect Snow Advisory in effect now from 3 AM until 9 PM on Wednesday. The heaviest amounts are predicted to be 4 to 6 inches in the snowbelt...northern Summit County and north. But everyone will see snow.

And we'll all feel the cold.

The National Weather Service has already put up Wind Chill Advisories for counties including Stark and Wayne County from 10 PM tonight through 1 PM Thursday. NWS forecasters say wind chills there and to the south and west could hit 10 to 15 below zero tonight and 10 to 20 below zero tomorrow night.

Everyone in Northern Ohio will see bitter cold and below zero windchills for much of this week.

 -----

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
414 PM EST TUE JAN 6 2015

...HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW EXPECTED IN THE SNOW BELT TONIGHT
THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT ACCOMPANIED BY BITTERLY COLD WIND CHILLS
INTO THURSDAY...

HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW WILL DEVELOP ALONG THE SHORELINE TONIGHT.
SNOW WILL SHIFT INLAND WITH THE PASSAGE OF AN ARCTIC FRONT
OVERNIGHT. SNOW ON WEDNESDAY MAY BE ENHANCED AS UPSTREAM MOISTURE
FROM LAKE HURON MOVES OVER LAKE ERIE INTO EXTREME NORTHEAST OHIO
AND NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA. BRISK NORTHWEST WINDS WILL CONTRIBUTE
TO BLOWING AND DRIFTING OF SNOW.

WIND CHILLS VALUES WILL FALL TO 10 TO 15 DEGREES BELOW ZERO LATE
TONIGHT ACROSS NORTHWEST AND NORTH CENTRAL OHIO. WIND CHILLS WILL
RECOVER FOR A BRIEF WINDOW WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON THEN DROP TO 10 TO
20 BELOW LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT INTO THURSDAY. PORTIONS OF NORTHWEST
OHIO COULD SEE WIND CHILL VALUES DROP TO 25 BELOW ON WEDNESDAY
NIGHT INTO THURSDAY MORNING.

OHZ010-011-020>023-070600-
/O.EXT.KCLE.LE.Y.0002.150107T0800Z-150108T0200Z/
LORAIN-CUYAHOGA-MEDINA-SUMMIT-PORTAGE-TRUMBULL-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...LORAIN...CLEVELAND...MEDINA...AKRON...
RAVENNA...WARREN
414 PM EST TUE JAN 6 2015

...LAKE EFFECT SNOW ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM TO 9 PM EST
WEDNESDAY...

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...GENERALLY IN THE 4 TO 6 INCH RANGE.
HOWEVER LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS WILL BE POSSIBLE.

* SNOW BEGINNING...SNOW SHOWERS WILL DEVELOP WITH THE PASSAGE OF
AN ARCTIC COLD FRONT OVERNIGHT. AS THE FRONT PASSES OVERNIGHT
BANDS OF LAKE EFFECT SNOW WILL SHIFT INLAND AND BECOME HEAVY AT
TIMES INTO WEDNESDAY MORNING.

* PERIOD OF MOST INTENSE SNOW...THE WEDNESDAY MORNING COMMUTE
MAY BE GREATLY IMPACTED BY A BURST OF HEAVY SNOWFALL.

* IMPACTS...SNOW WILL ACCUMULATE RAPIDLY WHERE LAKE EFFECT SNOW
BANDS PERSIST. VISIBILITY WILL BE SHARPLY REDUCED AND
UNTREATED SURFACES WILL QUICKLY BECOME SNOW COVERED AND
SLIPPERY.URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
414 PM EST TUE JAN 6 2015

...HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW EXPECTED IN THE SNOW BELT TONIGHT
THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT ACCOMPANIED BY BITTERLY COLD WIND CHILLS
INTO THURSDAY...

HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW WILL DEVELOP ALONG THE SHORELINE TONIGHT.
SNOW WILL SHIFT INLAND WITH THE PASSAGE OF AN ARCTIC FRONT
OVERNIGHT. SNOW ON WEDNESDAY MAY BE ENHANCED AS UPSTREAM MOISTURE
FROM LAKE HURON MOVES OVER LAKE ERIE INTO EXTREME NORTHEAST OHIO
AND NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA. BRISK NORTHWEST WINDS WILL CONTRIBUTE
TO BLOWING AND DRIFTING OF SNOW.

WIND CHILLS VALUES WILL FALL TO 10 TO 15 DEGREES BELOW ZERO LATE
TONIGHT ACROSS NORTHWEST AND NORTH CENTRAL OHIO. WIND CHILLS WILL
RECOVER FOR A BRIEF WINDOW WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON THEN DROP TO 10 TO
20 BELOW LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT INTO THURSDAY. PORTIONS OF NORTHWEST
OHIO COULD SEE WIND CHILL VALUES DROP TO 25 BELOW ON WEDNESDAY
NIGHT INTO THURSDAY MORNING.

-----

OHZ003-006>009-018-019-031>033-038-070600-
/O.NEW.KCLE.WC.Y.0001.150107T0300Z-150108T1800Z/
LUCAS-WOOD-OTTAWA-SANDUSKY-ERIE OH-SENECA-HURON-WAYNE-STARK-
MAHONING-HOLMES-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...TOLEDO...BOWLING GREEN...PORT CLINTON...
FREMONT...SANDUSKY...TIFFIN...NORWALK...WOOSTER...CANTON...
YOUNGSTOWN...MILLERSBURG
414 PM EST TUE JAN 6 2015

...WIND CHILL ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 1 PM
EST THURSDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CLEVELAND HAS ISSUED A WIND CHILL
ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 1 PM EST
THURSDAY.

* WIND CHILL...WILL FALL TO 10 TO 15 DEGREES BELOW ZERO LATE
TONIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY MORNING. WIND CHILL VALUES WILL IMPROVE
SLIGHTLY WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON...THEN FALL TO 10 TO 20 BELOW WEDNESDAY
NIGHT.

* TIMING...BITTERLY COLD WIND CHILLS DEVELOPING OVERNIGHT AND
CONTINUING INTO THURSDAY. THE COLDEST PERIOD WILL BE LATE
WEDNESDAY NIGHT INTO THURSDAY MORNING.

* IMPACTS...FROST BITE AND HYPOTHERMIA ARE POSSIBLE IF PRECAUTIONS
ARE NOT TAKEN.

* WINDS...WEST 10 TO 20 MPH.

* TEMPERATURES...IN THE SINGLE DIGITS TONIGHT...DROPPING TO NEAR 5 BELOW
ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WIND CHILL ADVISORY IS ISSUED WHEN STRONG WIND WILL COMBINE
WITH COLD TEMPERATURES TO CREATE DANGEROUSLY COLD CONDITIONS FOR
EXPOSED SKIN. THE WIND WILL MAKE IT FEEL LIKE IT IS 10 DEGREES
BELOW ZERO OR COLDER FOR A PERIOD OF SEVERAL HOURS. IF YOU WILL
BE OUTDOORS USE COMMON SENSE AND DRESS WARMLY...MAKING SURE THAT
ALL EXPOSED SKIN IS COVERED. IF POSSIBLE...AVOID PROLONGED
EXPOSURE TO THE COLD TO PREVENT FROSTBITE AND HYPOTHERMIA. STAY
TUNED TO WEATHER RADIO FOR FURTHER DETAILS OR UPDATES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

IN LAKE EFFECT SNOW THE WEATHER CAN VARY FROM LOCALLY HEAVY SNOW
IN NARROW BANDS TO CLEAR SKIES JUST A FEW MILES AWAY. IF YOU WILL
BE TRAVELING ACROSS THE REGION BE PREPARED FOR RAPID CHANGES IN
ROAD AND VISIBILITY CONDITIONS. STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO
FOR FURTHER DETAILS OR UPDATES.

----

 

 

The search for a 13 year old Wayne County girl last seen on December 30th has now moved to Kentucky.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Department says that it's believed 13 year-old Kaitlin Walters is in Kentucky, with someone she communicated with online.

Wayne County sheriff's Capt. Doug Hunter tells WAKR.net that he's 27 year-old Walter Lee Dunn of Richmond, Kentucky. He also goes by the name Lee Dunn.

He says it's believed that Kaitlin Walters went to Kentucky after communicating with him on the "Kik" online messaging service, and the FBI and law enforcement can't locate either of them in that area.

Dunn is said to be driving a green 2002 Kia Sorento with Kentucky plate 412PNR.

Capt. Hunter says though the FBI and local law enforcement in Kentucky are helping with the search, Dunn and Kaitlin Walters could have gone anywhere.

Anyone with information should contact the Wayne County Sheriff's Office at 330-287-5701

Below zero windchills didn't stop crowds from attending First Night Akron this past New Years'.

Organizers say the 19th edition of First Night brought between 14,000 and 15,000 people downtown on New Years' Eve. That's pretty much what was expected.

Metro buses kept people warm while shuttling them from venue to venue. More than 80 artists and groups took part this year.

-------

(Downtown Akron Partnership, news release) Despite temperatures that dipped to -2 degrees with the wind chill, the 19th annual First Night Akron brought between 14,000-15,000 revelers to Downtown Akron to enjoy New Year's Eve in a safe, clean and family-friendly environment.

"Together we inspired, entertained, amused and delighted our audience with artists and groups showcasing their craft in some of Downtown Akron's best venues for a safe, welcoming and wonderful start to 2015," said Suzie Graham, Downtown Akron Partnership president. "Thank you to our venues, to METRO RTA for continued support as a venue and transportation between sites, to over 300 volunteers, and to our incredible partners for the financial support that brings this event to our community."

Twelve downtown sites were filled with more than 80 artists and groups showcasing music, dance, theater, and interactive and visual arts.

The program director of Akron's Knight Foundation is leaving after five months for a new role in Detroit.

Josh McManus is heading back to Detroit for an unspecified role at Rock Ventures, the Detroit companies headed by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

Kyle Kutuchief has been named as interim program director.

The Knight Foundation has announced more than $1.8 million in new funding for 13 projects it says is "aimed at attracting and keeping talented people" in Akron, and expanding economic opportunity.

-----

(Knight Foundation, news release) AKRON, Ohio — Jan. 5, 2015 —The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced more than $1.8 million in new funding to 13 projects aimed at attracting and keeping talented people in the city and expanding economic opportunity.

The foundation also announced that Kyle Kutuchief, an Akron native and talent and community engagement specialist, will join Knight as interim program director in Akron effective immediately. Current Akron program director Josh McManus will be leaving to join Rock Ventures, the Detroit-based family of companies headed by Quicken Loans founder and chairman, and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

"The projects receiving funding will help strengthen Akron's future; each carries with it a vital ingredient for city success," said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. "They will strengthen Akron's community of civic innovators, who are creating incentives for young talent to stay and build roots in Akron and providing people of diverse backgrounds the opportunity to pursue their ideas and contribute."

Led by a range of community development organizations, many of the projects focus on supporting emerging leaders and entrepreneurs, while creating more options for residents to connect. They address a growing need to reverse the city's steady population decline by focusing on quality of life improvements intended to attract and retain talent, and providing opportunities for entrepreneurs and individuals to pursue fresh ideas.

"I've known and lived in this community most of my life and know that Akron is poised to regain population and improve its quality of life," said Kutuchief. "These grants support strong Akron leadership. The projects we're supporting lay the path for a strategic focus on problem-solving, engaging many leaders in our community and presenting opportunities for meaningful partnerships. I'm thrilled for the opportunity to serve my hometown in this capacity."

The organizations receiving support include:

* Akron Development Corp. ($25,000): To support planning and research at the new Bits and Atoms Innovation Center, a maker and product commercialization space in the heart of downtown.

* Akron-Summit County Public Library ($190,000): To create a multiuse space at the library to support emerging entrepreneurs, maker activities, digital media creation and community meetings.

* Asian Services in Action ($100,000): To facilitate innovative lending programs, including peer lending circles and micro-loans for entrepreneurs in the city's Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.

* Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway ($150,000): To restore a baggage car to expand the Bike Aboard program at Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway.

* Downtown Akron Partnership ($249,000): To improve the capacity and impact of Downtown Akron Partnership, an organization that promotes the building of a vibrant downtown Akron.

* Economic and Community Development Institute ($250,000): To accelerate the institute's small loan lending and technical assistance programs within the city to support entrepreneurs and neighborhood businesses.

* Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park ($249,000): For construction of trails, including the park's first mountain biking trail.

* Greater Akron Amenities ($75,000): To study and assess Akron's potential and challenges for growth and develop strategies to attract and retain young talent.

* Hunter Franks ($96,200): To continue work by Hunter Franks that began last year, supporting public art and creative placemaking projects that contribute to city vibrancy.

* Ohio & Erie Canalway ($249,900): To support a planning process to increase public use of the Ohio & Erie Canalway (towpath trail) in downtown Akron; the process will be led by the design firm Alta and engage the public in building ideas.

* Team Better Block ($52,083): To continue work by Team Better Block in Akron, engaging leaders, residents and recent immigrants to improve their neighborhoods through immediate redevelopment and placemaking projects.

* Torchbearers ($65,000): To take members of Torchbearers, which supports young emerging leaders, on field trips to two cities that are taking action to transform their communities; based on lessons learned, members will then have the opportunity to apply for mini grants to build out ideas to improve Akron.

* Urban League ($50,000): To introduce teenagers and young adults to entrepreneurial skills and thinking by expanding existing programs.

Kutuchief's appointment as Knight's interim program director is effective immediately. He will oversee current and new grants, and will work with local leaders and other community members to find and invest in ideas that contribute to Akron's success. Kutuchief has worked with Knight Foundation as a consultant on talent strategy and community engagement since September.

Civic engagement in Akron has been a primary focus of Kutuchief's career. In 2014, he served as president of Torchbearers, a young professionals organization aimed at leadership development, community service and talent attraction and retention. Under his leadership, the organization created and implemented new talent development initiatives including Intern Edge, Connect2Akron and Akron2Detroit.

Previously Kutuchief worked as director of development for the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. He also worked at Collaborent Group's Sourcing Office, a government organization that supports group purchasing programs in the public sector, and the University of Akron.

Kutuchief earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Ohio State University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Akron.

McManus will take on his new role in Detroit, where he previously founded the D:hive, a place-based talent retention and attraction storefront in Detroit; and helped reshape the strategy for the city's New Economy Initiative, a $100 million entrepreneurship and innovation effort.

"The unexpected opportunity to return to work in Detroit at this particular moment in the city's history was too meaningful to me, personally, to turn down, though the decision was made difficult by my growing appreciation for Akron's potential and future," McManus said.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. KnightFoundation.org

 

The investigation into the fatal shooting of 12 year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police has been transferred to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department.

Northeast Ohio Media Group reports that the transfer was announced Friday by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

Cuyahoga County officials say the probe will be handled by the sheriff's department's second highest ranking officer, Chief Clifford Pinkney, the department's first black chief.

Meanwhile, an Akron attorney helping Tamir Rice's family - Walter Madison - has asked to sign onto a federal lawsuit against Cleveland police.

The lawsuit was originally filed by two other attorneys, who now say they haven't heard from Tamir's mother Samaria Rice in several weeks.

---

On the Web: Northeast Ohio Media Group, www.cleveland.com

 

Thursday, 01 January 2015 09:12

Flu Advice: Self Diagnose First

As local hospitals are seeing high volumes of flu patients, those who aren't feeling well are getting some help - should you go to the emergency room, call your doctor or stay home?

Sarah Metzger of the Akron Regional Hospital Association says all Akron area hospitals are seeing a lot more patients this flu season. She says that if your symptoms are mild...assess your own condition before heading to an emergency room.

"If their symptoms are mild, fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, they maybe should stay home and avoid contact with other people," Metzger tells WAKR.net. "Just self-assessing their need for care is very important." Metzger says those in high risk groups should call their doctor.

"This includes children, people 65 and older, people with certain medical conditions, maybe it's time for a call to their physician," Metzger says, "and the physician can help them determine what kind of treatment and testing is needed before presenting to an emergency department." She says despite the higher volume of flu patients, all area hospitals are more than ready if you do need to visit the emergency room.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 17:36

Summit Sheriff Puts Off Jail Inmate Releases

Inmates will be released from the Summit County Jail a week later than expected.

The new target date for the release will be January 11th, after a meeting between Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry and county common pleas judges today.

Sheriff Barry says that for one, inmate numbers are currently down.

The sheriff says that they're working on guidelines on what to do with some inmates, including alternative places to house them.

"We went through some different criteria, as far as, who could be placed in Glenwood (Jail) and different programs," Sheriff Barry tells WAKR.net. "And we're trying to find more programs, rather than release more to the street."

Barry says that how many will be released or rejected will depend on jail numbers at the time. Some non-violent offenders will be released, and Sheriff Barry says he hopes some low-level felons won't have to be let go.

County budget shortfalls mean Sheriff Barry has to close one wing of the jail, after Summit County voters rejected a sales tax increase.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014 14:43

VIDEO Akron Home Burglary Caught On Video

Akron police say someone took items from a Homestead Street home on Christmas Eve...but he did it while a camera was watching.

APD has released home surveillance video of the burglary on December 24th, with the burglar walking back and forth through the living room.

Police say he stole "numerous items".

(Akron Police Department YouTube channel)

Anyone with information on the burglary on Homestead Street is being asked to call the Akron Police Detective bureau at 330-375-2490.

An Orrville man faces charges after police in Norton say they found him passed out in his car with drugs, and his 4 month-old infant son in the back seat.

The Beacon Journal reports it happened at Eastern Road and Wooster Road West on Sunday afternoon. A Canton couple driving by Elias Lizarraga's car found him passed out in the driver's seat.

Norton police say he was holding a syringe containing a substance suspected to be heroin.

The Canton couple broke out the car's back window to rescue the infant. The baby was returned to his mother. Lizarraga has pleaded not guilty to OVI, drug and child endangering charges.

Police in Barberton are charging Lizarraga with the assault of a paramedic, who told him he couldn't leave the hospital.

He's free on bond now, and is back in court for a pre-trial hearing on February 24th.

(WAKR.net update) Elias Lizarraga's name has been corrected. It was improperly reported by an earlier published report cited here, which has also been corrected.