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.

One of the petitions proposing legalized marijuana use in Ohio has been rejected by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

The Attorney General's office says there were problems with the summary language in the proposed state constitutional amendment called "Medical Marijuana and Personal Use Amendment", submitted with 1,000 valid signatures by the group Responsible Ohio.

DeWine says that means he can't certify the summary as being "fair and truthful".

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(Ohio Attorney General's office, news release) Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today rejected the petition for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution which would attempt to legalize marijuana use in the state.

On February 13th, the Ohio Attorney General's Office received a written petition to amend the Ohio Constitution, entitled "Medical Marijuana and Personal Use Amendment," from the group Responsible Ohio. 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters were submitted. However, Attorney General DeWine found at least two defects with the summary language:

The summary language omits that the proposed amendment permits the sharing of specified amounts of marijuana between adults 21 years old and older.
The summary language does not accurately reflect the manner in which proposed taxes would be distributed.
Additionally, DeWine noted that at least one marijuana establishment proposed in the amendment may be within 1,000 feet of a "house of worship and/or a public playground," which would also conflict with claims made in the summary language. However, due to the other deficiencies with the summary petition, the Attorney General's Office did not attempt to validate the claims regarding locations.

"After reviewing the submission, I conclude that I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful statement of the proposed amendment," DeWine stated in a letter to the petitioners.

The full text of today's letter and of the amendment petitions submitted can be found at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/BallotInitiatives.

A local TV news anchor is getting a lot of flak for a comment on her station's morning show Monday morning.

Fox 8 News co-anchor Kristi Capel was talking about Sunday night's Oscars with anchor Wayne Dawson, when she commented on singer Lady Gaga.

"It's hard to really hear her voice," Capel told Dawson, "with all the (censored) music that she does, whatever you want to call it."

The censored word is a old racial slur, that resulted in a firestorm of response on social media.

Capel apologized on Twitter for the comments:

Her boss, Fox 8 news director Andy Fishman, tells the Plain Dealer that the station has spoken with her about it, that she won't use the term again and they'll handle the case "internally."

Capel is expected to return to "Fox 8 News" on Tuesday morning.

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On the Web: WJW Fox 8 News, www.fox8.com

Cleveland Plain Dealer/Northeast Ohio Media Group, www.cleveland.com

 

A busy night of high school basketball included the Akron City Series Championship.

Ellet defeated Buchtel 73 to 59 to take the Akron City Series crown.

Other scores from Friday:

Brush 80, Stow 74
Copley 67, Wadsworth 62
Green 59, Revere 51
Highland 75, Cloverleaf 66
Jackson 79, Northwest 49
Lake Center Christian 91, Ravenna 65
Louisville 62, Marlington 55
Mogadore 69, Waterloo 39
Norton 80, Springfield 47
Shaker Heights 51, Medina 48
Tallmadge 34, Nordonia 31
Woodridge 56, Rootstown 44

Saturday, 21 February 2015 07:30

UPDATE Here We Go Again, Into The Snow

UPDATED 7 AM SATURDAY: Northern Ohio mainly from Akron to the north is still in that Winter Weather Advisory until 10 PM, with 4 to 6 inches expected by the storm's end later tonight.

From Canton mainly to the south, there's still a Winter Storm Warning, with 4 to 8 inches of snow expected by tonight.

For those hoping for good news, there won't be an arctic chill along with the snow today...with highs expected in the lower 30s.

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URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
353 AM EST SAT FEB 21 2015

...ANOTHER FAST MOVING STORM WILL SPREAD SNOW ACROSS THE REGION...

OHZ009>014-017>023-027-028-089-PAZ001>003-211700-
/O.CON.KCLE.WW.Y.0013.000000T0000Z-150222T0300Z/
ERIE OH-LORAIN-CUYAHOGA-LAKE-GEAUGA-ASHTABULA INLAND-HANCOCK-
SENECA-HURON-MEDINA-SUMMIT-PORTAGE-TRUMBULL-WYANDOT-CRAWFORD-
ASHTABULA LAKESHORE-NORTHERN ERIE-SOUTHERN ERIE-CRAWFORD PA-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...SANDUSKY...LORAIN...CLEVELAND...
MENTOR...CHARDON...JEFFERSON...FINDLAY...TIFFIN...NORWALK...
MEDINA...AKRON...RAVENNA...WARREN...UPPER SANDUSKY...CAREY...
BUCYRUS...ASHTABULA...ERIE...EDINBORO...MEADVILLE
353 AM EST SAT FEB 21 2015

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 PM EST THIS
EVENING...

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...4 TO 6 INCHES.

* SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE DAY TODAY.

* HEAVIEST SNOW WILL FALL AROUND MIDDAY.

* SNOW WILL END IN THE EVENING.

* IMPACTS...HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED DUE TO SNOW
  COVERED ROADS.

* WINDS...SOUTHWEST 10 TO 15 MPH.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

IF YOU MUST TRAVEL IN THE ADVISORY AREA USE CAUTION AND ALLOW
EXTRA TIME TO REACH YOU DESTINATION. STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER
RADIO FOR FURTHER DETAILS OR UPDATES.
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
353 AM EST SAT FEB 21 2015

...ANOTHER FAST MOVING STORM WILL SPREAD SNOW ACROSS THE REGION...

OHZ029>033-036>038-047-211700-
/O.CON.KCLE.WS.W.0003.000000T0000Z-150222T0300Z/
RICHLAND-ASHLAND-WAYNE-STARK-MAHONING-MARION-MORROW-HOLMES-KNOX-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...MANSFIELD...ASHLAND...WOOSTER...
CANTON...YOUNGSTOWN...MARION...MOUNT GILEAD...MILLERSBURG...
MOUNT VERNON
353 AM EST SAT FEB 21 2015

...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 PM EST THIS
EVENING...

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...4 TO 8 INCHES.

* SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE DAY TODAY.

* HEAVIEST SNOW WILL FALL DURING THE MORNING INTO TO EARLY
  AFTERNOON.

* SNOW WILL END EARLY THIS EVENING.

* IMPACTS...HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED DUE TO
  REDUCED VISIBILITY AND SNOW ACCUMULATION.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

IF YOU WILL BE TRAVELING IN THE WARNING AREA YOU SHOULD USE
EXTREME CAUTION IF TRAVEL IS UNAVOIDABLE. STAY TUNED TO NOAA
WEATHER RADIO FOR FURTHER DETAILS OR UPDATES.
 
 
Thursday, 19 February 2015 16:39

Akron's Law Director Retiring

The City of Akron's Law Director is retiring in April.

Cheri Cunningham has been law director for the city since 2009 and has worked in some capacity for the city of Akron since 1981 in three stints.

In a statement, Mayor Plusquellic says she's been an "exemplary public servant" and Cunningham is a "first class employee" who will be "hard to replace".

The city says it'll announce a new law director at a later date.

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(City of Akron, news release) Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic announced today that veteran cabinet member, Law Director Cheri Cunningham, is retiring April 1, 2015. Cunningham, who has been Akron's Law Director since 2009, has served the City, its administration, and Council since 1981. Cunningham, who became the first woman to serve as Akron law director, joined the department in 1981 as a law clerk. Upon graduation from the University of Akron School of Law in 1982, she remained with the City as an attorney. In 1986, Cunningham served as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Anti-Trust Division in its Cleveland office. A year later, she returned to the Akron Law Department for six years, and then re-located out of state with her family.

In 1994, Cunningham returned to Akron to re-join the Law Department where she concentrated on economic development. In 2009, she was appointed Akron's Director of Law. As the City's Director of Law, Cunningham was responsible for the operations of the Civil and Criminal divisions. She also managed all litigation involving the City, and was the legal advisor for the City, its officers, and departments.

She is a member of the Akron Bar Association and has served on the Council of Delegates of the Ohio State Bar Association. Cunningham is a graduate of Leadership Akron class XIV.

"Cheri Cunningham has been an exemplary public servant in our Law Department since before I became Mayor, and I have had the privilege of having her as a member of my cabinet as Akron's Law Director," said Mayor Don Plusquellic. "She had the skill and knowledge to run our Law Department effectively and efficiently. I am losing a first-class employee and she will be hard to replace."

"I have served under Mayor Plusquellic's leadership for most of my entire career," said Cunningham. "I appreciate the Mayor's confidence in me through the years. I have enjoyed working with, and am thankful for, the talent and professionalism of the great attorneys and staff in the law department. I have also been fortunate to work with many council representatives, cabinet members, and city employees whose competence, enthusiasm, and dedication to the people of Akron made my job easier. I hope that my work at the City has, in some small way, added to Akron's successes over the last three decades."
A new Law Director will be announced at a later date.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015 16:28

Man Demands Drugs In Stow Drug Store Robbery

Stow police say they're looking for a man who robbed the CVS Pharmacy on Graham Road late this morning.

Witnesses say the man entered the story, walked around, then left the store.

They say he came back a few minutes later with different clothing, and then held up the pharmacy counter at gunpoint in the back of the store...demanding the drug oxymorphone.

Police say he was likely picked up at the store by an accomplice.

Bond has been set at $5 million for one of two men accused of killing Doyle and Lillian Chumney

Bond was set for Robert Clark, who was returned to Ohio this week after being arrested in Arizona after a string of robberies across the southern U.S.

Clark didn't have much to say, responding "yes, sir" to questions posed by Coshocton Municipal Court judge Timothy France.

Prosecutor Jason Given argued that the high bond was justified by Clark's actions and criminal history...including a prior robbery conviction and the multi-state manhunt for him where he's accused in robberies of a number of convenience stores along the way.

Clark asked for a public defender, and his next court date is February 27th. 21 year-old Jeffrey Stewart of New Philadelphia is also charged in the Chumney murders. He's behind bars in lieu of $2 million.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015 14:08

Browns Name O'Connell QB Coach

The Cleveland Browns have officially hired Kevin O'Connell as the team's new quarterbacks coach.

Former NFL quarterback Kevin O'Connell will replace Dowell Loggains, who was not kept on the Browns staff after the 2014 season.

O'Connell joined the New York Jets after playing for San Diego State, the New England Patriots and the Detroit Lions.

Coach Mike Pettine and new Browns' offensive coordinator John DeFlippo were on the Jets coaching staff.

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(Cleveland Browns, news release) Kevin O'Connell, a former NFL quarterback who has tutored numerous college prospects during their preparations for the draft, has been named the Browns' new quarterbacks coach, Mike Pettine announced Tuesday.

Pettine also announced the hiring of senior offensive assistant Kurt Roper, assistant wide receivers coach Frank Edgerly and offensive quality control coach Michael McCarthy.

O'Connell, 29, takes over for Dowell Loggains, who was not retained from last year's staff.

"Kevin has already shown a knack for individual teaching at a high level," Pettine said. "Our experience being around him makes us confident he will easily transition into being an extremely valuable member of our staff."

O'Connell became acquainted with both Pettine and Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo during the 2009 season, when they were coaches with the New York Jets. O'Connell, a third-round pick out of San Diego State, spent his first season with the New England Patriots and had a brief stint with the Detroit Lions before landing with the Jets.

Though O'Connell didn't throw a pass that season, he left a lasting impression on Pettine. It was reaffirmed during 2014 training camp, when O'Connell spent a few days with the Browns coaching staff.

"He displayed knowledge of football schematics far beyond your typical player – even for a quarterback," Pettine said. "The combination of personality and knowledge made it clear he would make an outstanding coach. He was outstanding in the interview and instantly fit in with our group of offensive coaches that sat in."

O'Connell finished his NFL career with a stint in Miami, a brief return to the Jets and some preseason time with the San Diego Chargers.

"Throughout my NFL career, I always tried to put in as much time as possible with not only my offensive coaches, but also coaches on the other side of the ball," O'Connell said. "I wanted to learn all the aspects of the game at the highest of levels. I was very fortunate to be around some outstanding coaches like Coach Pettine, who really helped me grow in my understanding of the game and what goes into being successful on Sundays."

After O'Connell stepped away from the NFL, he began a career as a private quarterbacks coach at Prolific Athletes in Carlsbad, California. O'Connell worked closely with Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel in the months leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft, focusing specifically on film study and the mental part of the game. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Logan Thomas and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans were also students in O'Connell's classroom.

Recently, he logged close to a month with top quarterback prospects Marcus Mariota and Bryce Petty. O'Connell said he was grateful of Pettine for allowing him to finish out the tutelage he promised to Mariota leading into the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine before being hired to his role as the Browns' new quarterbacks coach.

"I feel like we were able to accomplish a lot and he's going to be in a really good situation moving forward wherever that may be," O'Connell said. "I really was thankful to the organization for allowing me to do that. I made a commitment to Marcus and it wouldn't have felt right not following through with him knowing that he trusted me for this important time preparing to start his NFL Career."

Pettine said O'Connell and DeFilippo, whose coaching background largely centers on the quarterback position, will work "very closely" together to guide the Browns' quarterbacks. O'Connell called the importance of the relationship "huge" and said he'd rely heavily on DeFilippo's insight because of his years of experience coaching quarterbacks of all ages.

"Flip has an outstanding blueprint for developing quarterbacks that they will implement together," Pettine said. "Regardless of the situation, the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator must be in lockstep, with the quarterbacks coach largely in charge of fundamentals while the offensive coordinator can focus more on scheme."

At San Diego State, O'Connell, who hails from Knoxville, Tennessee served as a team captain all four seasons. He thrived as a dual threat quarterback throwing for 3,063 yards and 15 touchdowns while adding 408 yards and 11 more scores on the ground during his final year. He finished with numerous program records, including rushing yards for a quarterback (1,312) and was second in program history with 9,001 yards of total offense.

Roper, 42, comes to Cleveland after one season as the offensive coordinator at the University of Florida. A former college quarterback and defensive back at Rice, Roper served as David Cutcliffe's offensive coordinator at Duke from 2008-2013 and spent several years as an offensive assistant in the Southeastern Conference.

Edgerly joined the Browns' player personnel staff in June 2013. A former quarterback at Rutgers, Edgerly was the head coach of Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic High School for 10 seasons before joining the New England Patriots in 2009 as a scout. He'll work alongside the Browns' new wide receivers coach, Joker Phillips.

McCarthy, 29, was the tight ends coach at North Carolina Central University in 2014. He was a scouting and coaching intern with the Jets in 2008 before holding graduate assistant coaching positions at Western Michigan and Tulane. McCarthy replaces Richard Hightower who left the Browns last month to become the San Francisco 49ers assistant special teams coach.

A $1 million cash bond has been set for the father of a 3-month-old baby in Cuyahoga Falls.

29 year-old Matthew Anthony Scott is now facing murder charges. The infant died Monday after being found unresponsive earlier this month.

Police say they arrested Scott after tracking him to Akron. The investigation and evaluation by hospital personnel showed that the infant was injured from an assault.

A preliminary hearing for Scott was scheduled for next Tuesday in Stow Municipal Court.

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(Earlier coverage) The 3 month old baby found unresponsive in Cuyahoga Falls earlier this month has died, and the infant's father is now facing murder charges.

Cuyahoga Falls police say that the child died of its injuries Monday, and they arrested 29 year-old Matthew Anthony Scott after tracking him to Akron.

Police say their investigation and evaluation by hospital personnel showed that the infant was injured from an assault...police were called to the home on East Broadway Street in the Falls on February 5th.

Scott will be arraigned in Stow Municipal Court on Tuesday.

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(Cuyahoga Falls Police Department, news release) On 2/5/15 at approximately 4:30 PM Cuyahoga Falls Fire and Police units responded to the 1000 block of East Broadway St. Upon arrival, they found a 3 month old baby that was unresponsive. The infant was immediately transported to Akron Children's Hospital by EMS personnel. The infant was under the care of its father MATTHEW ANTHONY SCOTT at the time of the EMS response.

After treatment and evaluation by hospital personnel and a police investigation, it was determined that the infant was injured as the result of an assault.

As a result of its injuries, the 3 month old infant passed away at Akron Children's Hospital on 2/16/15.

On 2/16/15 Cuyahoga Falls Detectives acquired an arrest warrant for MATTHEW ANTHONY SCOTT. Detectives were able to track SCOTT to a location in the city of Akron and took him into custody without incident. SCOTT was transported back to Cuyahoga Falls and charged with the following:

MATTHEW ANTHONY SCOTT
Cuyahoga Falls Ohio
Age 29

CHARGES
Murder 2903.02 Felony 1
Felonious Assault 2903.11 Felony 2
Endangering Children 2919.22 Felony 2

After booking SCOTT will be transported to the Summit County Jail pending his arraignment on 2/17/15 in the Stow Municipal Court.

Sgt. James J Singleton
Detective Bureau
Cuyahoga Falls Police

The idea that the City of Akron could start its own construction company to build its massive sewer project is getting some reaction.

Mayor Don Plusquellic has talked about the idea to council members like council president Gary Moneypenny.

Moneypenny says that the fact the sewer project doesn't come with federal money attached....means the city can pay attention to giving Akron residents jobs.

"This is our taxpayers' money," Moneypenny tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol. "You can't restrict us, or nobody can tell us who can work these jobs. We're going to make sure mandate, at least within here, to make as many of these jobs possible strictly for Akron residents".

Chris Runyon, president of the Ohio Contractors' Association, thinks a much better idea for workers would be to lead them to jobs in the construction industry.

"I think the city's funds, that are available to them," Runyon says, "would work a whole lot better if they were teaching people or introducing people, making them aware of pathways into the construction industry."

He says otherwise, it's a "shortsighted" attempt to put people on a path to a construction career.

Moneypenny points out that about 50 Akron residents have already taken part in the city's apprenticeship program.