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.

Akron General Health System and Cleveland Clinic have finalized a deal that turns the Cleveland-based health system into a minority owner of the Akron system.

And the Cleveland Clinic could take full ownership under an option in the $100 million deal, a goal both systems share.

Akron General president and CEO Dr. Tim Stover says that the changing financial picture in healthcare meant the local hospital system needed a strong partnership to survive into its next 100 years.

"When we're facing what we're facing now with healthcare, all the changes that are going on today," Dr. Stover tells AkronNewsNow.com, "you have to have significant partnerships, and I just can't think of...there isn't a better one to partner with than the Cleveland Clinic."

You'll soon see signs marking Akron General as a "Cleveland Clinic affiliate". Dr. Stover says it'll help Akron General tap into the Clinic's resources to improve care, such as linking with the Clinic's Taussig Cancer Center.

He says the combination will improve efficiency while providing high quality care.

Dr. Stover says even if Cleveland Clinic takes the option to step into a full ownership role, Akron General will keep both its name and governance out of Akron.


(Earlier ANN coverage) Akron General Health System and Cleveland Clinic have finalized a deal that turns the Cleveland-based health system into a minority owner of the Akron system.

The two parties announced a letter of intent earlier this year.

The deal keeps control of the Akron General system in Akron, and will brand Akron General as an affiliate of Cleveland Clinic, with the Cleveland system making a "substantial capital investment" in Akron General.

The partnership between the two health care systems could expand even further in the future. Both call the deal a "long-term, mutually beneficial partnership that will grow over time". That could reportedly include a future full takeover of Akron General by Cleveland Clinic as soon as a year from now.


(Akron General - news release) Cleveland Clinic and Akron General Health System have agreed to terms in which Cleveland Clinic will become a minority owner of Akron General Health System, making Akron General its exclusive health system partner in Summit County. This transaction combines the clinical expertise and resources of Cleveland Clinic and Akron General to strengthen and improve access to high-quality, affordable healthcare services for patients in the region.

"For 100 years, Akron General has provided critical healthcare services to the people of Akron, Summit County and the surrounding region. Today, Cleveland Clinic is proud to welcome Akron General as a valued affiliate of our organization," said Toby Cosgrove, M.D., President and CEO, Cleveland Clinic. "Working together, we will enhance healthcare quality, access, and service in the region, ensuring Akron General's mission of improving community health."

Both organizations are committed to the development of a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership that will grow over time. Details of the agreement are not being released.

"Our lengthy efforts to find the absolute best partner have culminated in this historic agreement," said Thomas L. "Tim" Stover, MD, MBA, President and CEO, Akron General Health System. "This partnership brings the world-class expertise of Cleveland Clinic much closer to patients in Summit and surrounding counties. We are very pleased to be working very closely together with the Cleveland Clinic, the undisputed leader in healthcare delivery in Northeast Ohio." Cleveland Clinic is the best hospital in Ohio as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

A key part of the relationship will bring the opportunity for physicians in Akron to participate in Cleveland Clinic's Quality Alliance. The Quality Alliance enables collaboration between independent and employed physicians to improve quality of care, reduce costs and increase efficiency, and provide access to expertise, data and experience.

As a provision of the agreement, Cleveland Clinic will make a substantial capital investment in Akron General Health System. In addition, the organizations will have representation on the other's Board. It was important to both organizations that there continue to be Akron-based governance and management leadership.

The long-awaited Cleveland Cavaliers trade for Kevin Love is now official, paving the way for Love to join Akron's LeBron James on the court in Cleveland for the upcoming NBA season.

The team announced Saturday the completion of a multi-team deal that brings Love to the Cavaliers from the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Cavs give up the last two first-round draft picks, 2014's Andrew Wiggins and 2013's Anthony Bennett.


(Cleveland Cavaliers - news release)  The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired forward Kevin Love in a three-team trade that sends guard Andrew Wiggins and forward Anthony Bennett to Minnesota and a projected 2015 first round pick (via Miami) to Philadelphia, General Manager David Griffin announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts. As part of the three-team trade, Minnesota will also acquire forward Thaddeus Young from the 76ers, while Philadelphia receives forward Luc Mbah a Moute and guard Alexey Shved from the Timberwolves.

“Kevin joining the Cavaliers represents a very special and unique opportunity for our team. At only 25, Kevin has already firmly established himself as one the NBA’s elite players and his talent, versatility and fit are major parts of our team’s vision for success,” said Griffin. “We want to also wish Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett the best as they will continue the start of their careers in Minnesota. They are both outstanding young men that have great potential on the court and long, very successful careers ahead of them.”

Voted as a starter for the Western Conference in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, Love appeared in 77 games (all starts) for Minnesota last season and averaged a career-high 26.1 points on .457 shooting, including .376 from beyond the arc and .821 from the foul line, 12.5 rebounds and a career-high 4.4 assists in 36.3 minutes per game. Among NBA leaders, the 6-10, 243-pound forward ranked first in double-doubles (65), first in defensive rebounds per game (9.6), third in total rebounds per game (12.5), fourth in points per game (26.1), tied for fourth in triple-doubles (3) and tied for eighth in three-pointers made (190). In 2013-14, Love became the first player in NBA history to record 2,000 points, 900 rebounds and 100 three-pointers in a single season, while also setting Minnesota’s franchise record for three-pointers made in a season, points per game, and free throws made (520) and attempted (633).

Love is the first player to average 26/12/4 over a full season since the NBA/ABA merger as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bob McAdoo had most recently accomplished that feat in 1975-76. He also scored in double figures in all 77 games last season, which includes 57 games with at least 20 points, a Wolves’ franchise record 25 30-point games and six 40-point performances. He collected a league-leading 24 contests with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and possessed the third highest PER in the NBA at 26.97, behind only Kevin Durant (29.90) and LeBron James (29.40).

Over his six-year NBA career, Love has played in 364 games (282 starts) for the Timberwolves and owns career averages of 19.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 36.3 minutes per game. He is a three-time NBA All-Star (2011, 2012, 2014), two-time All-NBA Second Team selection (2012, 2014), Olympic gold medalist (2012) and winner of the league’s Most Improved Player award (2011) and Three-Point Shootout (2012). The UCLA product was selected to the All-Rookie Second Team in 2009 after being the 5th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies. He has averaged at least 14 points and 11 rebounds in five of his six NBA seasons and since entering the league, his 12.2 rebounds per game is the second-highest in the NBA (Dwight Howard, 13.3). Since 1980-81, Love is one of only three players to have at least two seasons with 26.0 points and 12.5 rebounds (2011-12, 2013-14), joining Shaquille O’Neal (4) and Moses Malone (2). Love will wear #0 with the Cavs.

Wiggins was the first overall pick by the Cavaliers in this year’s NBA Draft. An early entry candidate from Kansas University, Wiggins, 19, was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year and First-Team All-League in his only year at Kansas. In 35 contests with the Jayhawks last year, the 6-8, 194-pound guard averaged 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.0 block in 32.8 minutes per game. In four games during the 2014 NBA Summer League, Wiggins averaged 15.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks in 29.9 minutes per game.

Bennett was the Cavs’ No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, appearing in 52 games and averaging 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game in 2013-14. The 6-8, 243-pound forward out of UNLV also played in four contests for the Cavs’ summer league team with averages of 13.3 points and 7.8 rebounds in 29.8 minutes per game.

The Cavs will send Philadelphia a protected first round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. The pick was originally acquired from the Miami Heat and is pick 1-10 protected in 2015 and 2016. The pick becomes unprotected in 2017.

The search continues for a missing woman whose car was found in a parking lot at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The car of 30 year-old Hillary Sharma of Eastlake was found early Friday morning at the park's Boston Store Visitor Center, after she was reported missing earlier Thursday. Crews have been searching from the ground, along the river and from the air since.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park says the search for Sharma continues today with crews from the National Park Service, the Valley Fire Department and the Brecksville Fire Department. They are staging from the Boston Store Visitor Center.

The visitor center is open, but the parking lot is closed. Those coming to the center will be directed to park in a nearby grass lot.


(Cuyahoga Valley National Park - news release) The search for Hillary K. Sharma continues in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Sharma, age 30, is a resident of Eastlake, Ohio. She is 5'3" tall, weighs 120 pounds, and has brown hair and eyes.

Sharma's vehicle was found at Boston Store Visitor Center around midnight on Friday, August 22, after Eastlake Police Department issued an alert reporting her missing. A search started at that time and continued throughout the day with many participating agencies. The search included ground teams with search dogs, horse patrol, boats on the Cuyahoga River, and a helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft.

The search is continuing Saturday, led by a joint incident command including the National Park Service, Valley Fire Department, and Brecksville Fire Department. The search is staging from Boston Store Visitor Center. The parking lot is closed, but the visitor center is open. Visitors coming to the center will be directed to a grass lot at the corner of Riverview and Boston Mills roads.

People who may have information about Sharma are asked to call the National Park dispatch office at (440) 546-5945.


(Earlier ANN coverage) Searchers in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park spent much of Friday trying to find a missing Bedford woman.

NewsChannel 5 reports that some belongings of 30 year-old Hillary Sharma of Eastlake were found a couple of miles away from her car, which was found at a parking lot near the Boston Store visitor center in Boston Township late Thursday.

The search has taken place from the water to the air, with Summit County Search and Rescue teams, and police aircraft looking for Sharma.

Hikers and bikers in the park are being shown her picture in hopes someone has seen her.


On the Web: WEWS NewsChannel 5, www.newsnet5.com


The second of two letters claiming to have anthrax inside cleared a Summit County office Friday, but no harmful substance was found.

The letter was discovered at just before 10 AM at the Summit County Clerk of Courts.

Summit County sheriff's inspector Bill Holland says that crews found the substance in the letter was harmless.

"The office was evacuated, hazmat went in and tested the substance," Holland tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and it was found to be artificial sweetener."

He says a similar letter was found at another Summit County office on Thursday.

"We've been communicating with the prosecutor's office in regards to an envelope, a similar envelope they received," Holland says, "so we will process that envelope and initiate the investigation at this point."

Holland says the envelope sent to the Summit County Prosecutor's Office was also found to have artificial sweetener.

He says both letters are being investigated by the crime lab, and very well could be related.

You've seen all those "Unclaimed Funds" ads in the newspaper, hoping to match long lost money with those who long forgot old bank accounts, rent deposits and the like.

Summit County Council is considering a plan that would let it claim the money for those people who owe back child support.

It's still early, and council just got a first look Monday night.

But County Council president Ilene Shapiro says it sounds like a good idea to her.

"In general, my response that it's great. It's not going to any use now, it's sitting probably at the state level doing nothing," Shapiro tells AkronNewsNow.com. "So, why shouldn't we put it to some good use, especially for the families that it can benefit."

The proposal still has to be scrutinized by council. Shapiro says she'd like to see how such an idea can be implemented legally.

County Council also got an update on the recently concluded Gay Games event in Akron and Cleveland.

Tourism officials are calling it a both a financial and non-financial success.

Gregg Mervis, president of the Akron-Summit County Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the visitors to the area kept the money flowing.

"8,000 athletes that were welcomed to the community, approximately 25,000 guests that came in with them," Mervis told County Council, "tens of millions of dollars working the cash registers here in Northeast Ohio."

Mervis says an economic impact study still needs to be done, but that figure should be around $25 million to $35 million.

Mervis says it wasn't just the cash influx that made "Gay Games 9" a success in Akron.

"We proudly delivered authentic hospitality," Mervis told County Council, "and celebrated equality, and dignity for all."

One other effect of "Gay Games 9": the popularity of the rodeo at the Summit County Fairgrounds could lead to more such events in the future, and both the rodeo and the fairgrounds are talking about it.

Some early state report card results are in for Akron Public Schools, and changing state standards have APS officials frustrated.

Assistant superintendent Ellen McWilliams says the preliminary report card results from the Ohio Department of Education show some good early signs, such as a market improvement in third grade reading results.

"We had 600 students that were at risk for retention at the beginning of the year, and we have that down to 11 students as of today," McWilliams tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and we're still waiting for the summer state testing results back, so that might even go smaller."

But the Akron district fell short of many more rigorous state benchmarks, including in math scores. That means, for example, although the Akron schools' graduation rate actually improved to over 78 percent, the state report card grades that an "F".

Akron school board president Lisa Mansfield says it's tough to explain a state report card "F", which doesn't mean what you might think an "F" means.

"We know what an 'F' is. An 'F' means 50 percent or lower," Mansfield says. "And that's not what an 'F' means on the state report card. An 'F' can mean all kinds of different things depending on what the scale is for any given number."

McWilliams says the Akron district has been practicing for the reality of online testing for math and language arts. She says that'll help when the more rigorous online assessments take hold in the coming school year.

The final 2013-2014 state report card will be issued next month.

If you were in Streetsboro this weekend and saw a police officer helping a man with his groceries across Route 14, you weren't seeing things.

Streetsboro Police got a number of calls about a man on a motorized wheel chair attempting to cross the busy highway on Saturday.

Officer Tom Ondecker responded, and went into action...getting the man to the nearby Maplewood Care Facility safely

"Officer Ondecker took it upon himself to walk with the male from Strickland's, across 14, and all the way back to the care facility, just to make sure that he made it back there safely," Streetsboro police Lt. Darin Powers tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and in doing so, also carrying his groceries for him."

 Lt. Powers says it's the kind of thing police do more often than you would expect.

Another person got a pictures....one of which you see here, which were shared with Streetsboro police.

Saturday, 16 August 2014 16:27

Summit County Official Stopped For OVI

A Summit County official faces charges of suspicion of drunken driving.

The Beacon Journal reports that Jason Dodson, chief of staff for Summit County executive Russ Pry, was pulled over by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Friday night near a sobriety checkpoint in Green.

The newspaper reports that Dodson was pulled over for speeding at South Main Street and Killian Road and submitted to a field sobriety test, but not a breathalyzer text.

Dodson had no comment, and Pry said he wouldn't comment on any pending case.


On the Web: Akron Beacon Journal, www.ohio.com

An Akron man is dead after his motorcycle crashed on Friday afternoon in Springfield Township.

The Summit County Medical Examiner's office says 56 year-old David Lemmon of Congo Street in Akron was riding a motorcycle near the intersection of East Waterloo Road and Oriole Street at about 4:30 on Friday afternoon, when he lost control and crashed.

Lemmon was taken to Akron City Hospital, and was pronounced dead at 10:41 PM Friday evening.

The Medical Examiner's Office and Springfield Township police are looking into the crash.

Friday, 15 August 2014 19:43

Akron NAACP Holding Peace Rally

The past week's events near St. Louis, a police involved shooting and nights of protests, have prompted a number of events around the country.

The Akron NAACP is holding a "peace rally" Saturday afternoon on Akron's West Side.

Akron NAACP president Ophelia Averitt says that one thing that's made a difference in Akron...is police officers spending time in the community, not just when it's time to make an arrest.

"If we can get that going on, and keep that going on, especially with our block clubs," Averitt tells AkronNewsNow.com, "we can just come together and this will never happened, what happened in St. Louis."

Averitt credits Akron police auditor Phillip Young for helping to keep a dialogue open, and says such moves would benefit departments like those in Ferguson, Missouri.

The rally starts at 4 PM at Kerr Park, off of Copley Road and Frederick Boulevard in West Akron.