Mike Ward

Mike Ward

Mike Ward 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 AkronNewsNow since 2009. You can  reach Mike through the newsroom at 330-864-6397, or by email mward@rcrg.net.

The rollercoaster of weather continues this week in the Akron area, with the National Weather Service calling for a Winter Storm Watch for much of Northeast Ohio on Wednesday.

The Weather Service calls for four to six inches of snow along with the possibility of a "glaze of ice" early Wednesday morning through Wednesday night for the Akron area. The watch includes Summit, Portage, Medina, Wayne and other area counties, but as of yet, doesn't include Stark County.

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CLEVELAND OH
350 PM EDT MON MAR 10 2014


.LOW PRESSURE WILL MOVE THROUGH THE LOWER OHIO VALLEY TUESDAY
NIGHT AND EARLY WEDNESDAY. RAIN WILL MOVE INTO THE AREA AHEAD OF
THE LOW TUESDAY NIGHT BUT THE RAIN WILL CHANGE TO SNOW OVERNIGHT
AND WEDNESDAY ACROSS THE AREA AS COLDER AIR MOVES IN BEHIND THE
LOW. A PERIOD OF FREEZING RAIN IS ALSO POSSIBLE BEFORE CHANGING TO
ALL SNOW. BASED ON THE CURRENT TRACK OF THE STORM...SNOWFALL
SHOULD BE HIGHEST ACROSS NORTHERN OHIO INTO NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA
WITH DECREASING AMOUNTS FURTHER SOUTH. A GLAZE OF ICE HOWEVER WILL
ALSO BE POSSIBLE.


OHZ020>023-029>031-110400-
/O.NEW.KCLE.WS.A.0005.140312T1000Z-140313T0600Z/
MEDINA-SUMMIT-PORTAGE-TRUMBULL-RICHLAND-ASHLAND-WAYNE-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...MEDINA...AKRON...RAVENNA...WARREN...
MANSFIELD...ASHLAND...WOOSTER
350 PM EDT MON MAR 10 2014

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY MORNING THROUGH
LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CLEVELAND HAS ISSUED A WINTER
STORM WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY MORNING THROUGH
LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

* ACCUMULATIONS...4 TO 6 INCHES OF SNOW ALONG WITH A GLAZE OF ICE.

* TIMING...EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING INTO WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

* WINDS...NORTH 15 TO 25 MPH.

* IMPACTS...ACCUMULATING SNOW ALONG WITH A GLAZE OF ICE WILL SLOW
  TRAVEL ACROSS THE REGION AND MAKE ANY UNTREATED SURFACES SLICK.


PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THAT HEAVY SNOW IS POSSIBLE. IF YOU
ARE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...REMAIN ALERT TO RAPIDLY CHANGING
WEATHER CONDITIONS. STAY TUNED TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OR
THE LOCAL NEWS MEDIA FOR THE LATEST UPDATES AND POSSIBLE
WARNINGS.
Monday, 10 March 2014 06:49

Potholes Worsen As Winter Lingers

More permanent fixes for all those potholes around town will have to wait, due to the weather.

It's too cold and wet to lay down asphalt to fill those potholes.

Kim Hengle with Akron's Perrin Asphalt says the weather has made the potholes even bigger, before they can get more than temporary patches.

"Because of the freeze thaw, you get the ice in there, and then it thaws out, then the asphalt starts popping," Hengle tells AkronNewsNow.com. "Once it starts going, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. And the water's sitting there, it's not going to help it, it's going to make it worse."

Hengle says it's not just the cold that gets in the way of laying asphalt in this kind of weather

"The cold affects it, more so the moisture...because everything's wet and muddy," Hengle says. "Anything you do will not firm up. The ground is still thawing. There's not a whole lot anybody can do."

Hengle says asphalt plans generally don't open until about the first week of April.

"At that point, as long as the ground is not frozen, we can put the asphalt down," Hengle says. "But to put it down now, it won't hold up."

Construction projects hoping to open earlier have to convince plants to open early, but it's too cold and wet to lay down the asphalt anyway.

Ohio officials are being asked to approve spending $21.9 million on new gambling machines that will help raise money for veterans' posts and fraternal organizations.

The machines would replace video raffle machines that were deemed to be illegal by the state. But the veterans organizations have obtained a temporary restraining order allowing them to continue operating their current video raffle machines while state lawmakers debate a bill which would allow the machines to continue operating under new rules.

Bill Seagraves, Executive Director of VFW Ohio Charities tells AkronNewsNow " We have House Bill 325 which would make our raffle machines legal. They would be controlled by the Attorney General's office. He would make sure that everything is on the up and up."

Seagraves and George Fisher, one of the commanders of the Acker-Moore VFW and American Legion Post in Stow, both reject the new state gambling machines, because they claim the state would take 60-percent of the profits leaving the fraternal organizations only 40-percent. 60-percent of the revenue from the video raffle machines goes to the veterans organizations now.

Seagraves says the decision on the future of the video raffle machines is up to a judge. " The only ones that can deem them to be illegal is the courts. And the courts have given us an injunction to where we can continue to run. We got a temporary order from the courts," says Seagraves.

Fisher says his post doesn't want the new state supplied machines. " We're still not going to go with it.We have this House bill 325 going through the House down there which is supposed to clarify that machines that we have. "

The State Controlling Board must approve the spending for the new state gambling machines.

Ohio Lottery spokeswoman Danielle Frizzi-Babb says 188 posts and lodges have committed to take 555 of the 1,200 machines the agency plans to buy.

Sunday, 09 March 2014 12:48

UPDATE Car Into Cuyahoga River

A man was arrested on OVI charges after he crashed his car into the Cuyahoga River on Saturday night.

The Akron Fire Department tells AkronNewsNow that a witness called in the crash at just after 7 PM, and said the car struck a guardrail before going into the river near East Cuyahoga Falls Avenue and the end of Front Street near Gorge Metro Park.

Akron police say they caught up with the driver after he fled on foot. Police say they found 45 year-old Bradley Zaryki of Cuyahoga Falls in a drainage pipe near the scene.

He faces not only OVI charges, but charges of failure to stop after an accident, and failure to control.

(Original ANN report) A car crashed and went into the Cuyahoga River on Saturday night.

The Akron Fire Department tells AkronNewsNow.com that a witness called in the crash at just after 7 PM, and said the car struck a guardrail before going into the river near East Cuyahoga Falls Avenue and the end of Front Street near Gorge Metro Park.

The Northeast Ohio Media Group says Akron police questioned the car's driver, who got out of the car and fled on foot, before officers caught up with him.

Dive crews went into the water to search for any passengers, but no one was found. It's not believed that there was anyone else in the car.

---

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

Both the St. Vincent-St. Mary boys and girls basketball teams are forging ahead in the OHSAA state basketball playoffs.

The Fighting Irish boys beat Alliance 60 to 51 in Canton on Saturday night to win the district finals. They'll play Thursday night in the regional semifinals, also in Canton.

The Fighting Irish girls basketball team is heading for Columbus.

They beat Beloit West Branch in the Division 2 regional finals in Barberton on Saturday afternoon by a score of 42 to 36. They'll play West Holmes in the state semifinals Thursday at 3 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

Both games will be heard on the radio in Akron on 1590 WAKR.

The Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy boys team lost to Cleveland Central Catholic in the Division 2 district finals at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, in a game you heard here on 1590 WAKR.

CVCA fell short by a score of 54 to 49.

Saturday, 08 March 2014 14:49

Death In Stark Single Car Crash

One person is dead after a single-car crash in Stark County on Friday night.

The Stark County Sheriff's Office says the car was traveling northbound on Middlebranch Avenue NE at about 11:15 p.m. Friday, then went off the east side of the road and hit a ditch and a culvert.

The car then rolled over onto its top and then went across 46th St. NE, then struck a utility pole.

A passenger in the car, 18 year-old Alexander Steven O'Neal of Plain Township, died in the crash.

The car's driver and two other passengers were treated at area hospitals.

The crash is still under investigation.

Stark County Sheriff George Maier will appear on the May primary election ballot.

After county elections board members split 2-2 on a protest aimed at removing him from the ballot, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted broke the tie by allowing Maier to appear.

In a Friday letter to the Stark County Board of Elections, Husted says the protest - aimed at Maier's professional qualifications - doesn't have "clear and convincing evidence" supporting it. He says he isn't confident Maier meets the legal qualifications, but can't clearly conclude that he does not meet them.

Husted said he chose to "err on the side of ballot access".

He notes in the letter that the decision doesn't "close the door" on the issue of determining qualifications, and says courts and Stark County voters may further evaluate Maier's qualifications.

Six University of Akron students charged with a possible hazing incident at a campus fraternity had their first day in court on Friday.

The six members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault and hazing charges in Akron Municipal Court.

Police say a pledge candidate at the fraternity told investigators that he was admitted to the hospital after being padded in a hazing incident.

The University of Akron suspended the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and the fraternity's national offices say they'll help UA with the probe.

The students have their next court appearance, a pre-trial hearing, on March 24th.

PREVIOUS ANN COVERAGE

2/27: UA Hazing Investigation Leads To Six Arrest Warrants

2/28: AUDIO Hazing: Prevalent Despite Laws

3/1: National Fraternity To Assist UA Hazing Investigation

Tuesday, 04 March 2014 03:25

APD Officer Lauded For Choking Save

He says he was just doing his job, but city officials say quick thinking and reaction by an Akron police officer was par for the course.

30 year APD vet Officer Lloyd Ford was at the Akron Family Restaurant on West Market Street when a man started coughing, and Ford realized he had to move quickly.

"I kind of listened for a little while, and then I heard him cough again, then I heard the waitress started screaming and I was like, 'this guy is choking'," Officer Ford says. "And then I turned around and grabbed him."

Ford says the man who was choking didn't realize what had happened.

"When I grabbed him, he was already out," Ford says, "and when he came to, he was kind of surprised, he was kind of like 'what were you doing?', and I said, 'you were choking'."

Officer Ford didn't know the man he saved with his actions. He was at the restaurant for a meeting of the "First Tee" youth development golf program.

City council honored him on Monday night. They note he's brought his level head and quick thinking to council, helping to diffuse many situations in the past.

Otherwise, city council's meeting this Monday was fairly uneventful.

Council is using tax help to help fuel expansion of a business off South Main Street.

Snack maker Hickory Harvest built a $2 million facility in 2008.

At large council member Jeff Fusco says that brought in 30 workers, and 10 more new workers than promised - for a total of 50 employees.

Fusco says the deal approved Monday would help an expansion in size and in jobs.

"Approximately a million dollars (for the expansion), this is going to be 17,000 square feet of space for them for their expansion," Fusco tells AkronNewsNow.com. "And hopefully, eventually, that will result in 10 more new jobs here in the city of Akron."

So-called "tax increment financing" allows Hickory Harvest to pay what would be tax money to the city, to reimburse the city for its help surrounding the expansion.

A long-time manufacturing plant in Stow is closing, with a loss of about 115 jobs.

Bemis Company operates the MACtac Pressure Sensitive Materials plant in Stow. The company says 160 workers will remain, as the Stow location will continue to be the headquarters for that division.

Stow Mayor Sara Drew says that the city will work to help the affected workers, including coordinating with Summit County Jobs and Family Services to provide education on available benefits and services.

She also says the city "welcomes the opportunity" to partner with Bemis to repurpose the vacated portions of the site.

In a release, Bemis says the MACtac manufacturing plant will "wind down operations" by May of this year.

------------

(News release, City of Stow) Stow, OH: The City of Stow was informed this morning that Bemis Company, Inc. intends to close the manufacturing portion of its plant in Stow. Approximately 115 manufacturing positions will be affected by this closure. Bemis has indicated transition services will be offered to these employees to aid in their search for new employment.

Although the manufacturing division will be leaving the City, Bemis has noted in conversations with the Mayor's office that the approximately 160 positions at the headquarters of the Pressure Sensitive Materials business will remain in Stow.

Stow Mayor Sara Drew stated, "the City of Stow will assist the impacted workers in any way possible, including coordinating with Summit County Jobs and Family Services to provide education on available benefits and services. Additionally, the City welcomes the opportunity, if asked, to partner with Bemis Company, Inc. to repurpose portions of the property that will be vacated. "

(News release, Bemis Companies) NEENAH, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar. 3, 2014-- Bemis Company, Inc. (NYSE:BMS) announced today that it will close its plant in Stow, Ohio, one of its Pressure Sensitive Materials manufacturing facilities. The Company expects this plant closure to improve its market competitiveness and to better position its Pressure Sensitive Materials business for long-term growth. Management expects to discontinue operations at this location in May 2014. The headquarters of the Pressure Sensitive Materials business will remain in Stow, Ohio. The manufacturing facility recorded 2013 annual net sales of approximately $45 million. The facility, started in 1959, primarily manufactures solvent-based pressure sensitive materials.

The Stow plant workforce includes approximately 115 employees. The Company recognizes that these changes will have a significant impact on employees and their families and intends to offer transition services to affected employees to aid in their search for new employment.

In 2014, the Company will record a pre-tax charge related to the plant closure of approximately $30 million which includes estimated costs related to the settlement of a multi-employer pension liability, employee severance and benefit costs, and fixed asset related costs.