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.

Thursday, 23 April 2015 16:32

Monsters, Blue Jackets Team Up

It's official - yet another Ohio pro sports team is staying in state, and affiliating with a team just down the freeway.

The NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets and the AHL's Cleveland-based Lake Erie Monsters unveiled their affiliation agreement in Cleveland on Thursday.

"This truly a great day," says Len Komoroski, Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena CEO. "We're thrilled with this partnership in welcoming our newest partner with the Monsters, in a multi-year affiliation agreement with the Blue Jackets."

Komoroski says the teams joining together will help strengthen all kinds of hockey in Ohio.

"It's really a fortuitous time here, we think in terms of hockey and the future of hockey in the state of Ohio," says Komoroski. "This really sets the table for some really special things."

John Davidson, president of Hockey Operations for the Blue Jackets, thinks young hockey players in Ohio will benefit.

"And that's another part of this whole thing, to have our people in the communities in both cities to help grow what youth hockey can be," Davidson adds, "and to let the young people understand how great a sport it is, and a team sport, and the goodness of what the game brings."

Until now, the Lake Erie Monsters team has been affiliated with the NHL's Colorado Avalanche.

The new deal mirrors minor league affiliations of other Ohio teams.

The Cleveland Indians have many affiliates in Ohio, including the Akron RubberDucks, the Columbus Clippers, the Lake County Captains and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers own their NBDL affiliate, the Canton Charge.

The Akron police officer accused of stalking his former girlfriend has been indicted by a Summit County grand jury.

The indictment against Sgt. Eric Paull totals 13 counts, including felonious assault and menacing by stalking charges.

Northeast Ohio Media Group reports that Paull's 29-year-old ex-girlfriend told police that Paull threatened to kill her and made constant threats through text messages, phone calls and Facebook messages from November through last week.

Paull is also accused of threatening the woman's current boyfriend and of following her.

The grand jury indictment against Paul is attached to this story.

The former president of the Nordonia Hills Board of Education will get 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to a number of child pornography counts.

53 year-old Steven Bittel was sentenced by a visiting judge on Wednesday, after entering guilty pleas to 19 counts, including child porn charges and charges linked to the standoff in his home when authorities served a search warrant to check his home computer.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force linked that computer to child porn activity.

Bittel received a lot of support from family members and friends, many of whom offered letters in his support to the court before sentencing.

Bittel will serve a mandatory three years on gun charges, and will have to register as a Tier 2 sex offender.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015 17:43

Man Gets 17 Years In Home Burglaries

An Akron man will spend over 17 years in prison in four home burglaries.

35 year-old Alex Garcia was found guilty by a jury in March of breaking into four homes in Copley and Coventry Township in 2014.

He was sentenced Tuesday to 17-and-a-half years in prison by Summit County Common Pleas judge Todd McKenney.

Prosecutors say Garcia broke into all the homes when the victims were not there or at work.

He was caught after Copley police found he used a victim's credit card at a gas station.

It's not often a robbery suspect takes a "selfie" cell phone picture in the course of a robbery, but that's exactly what Canton Police say he did today.

Police say the suspect was getting away with the victim's cell phone when he took the "selfie"...from the angle of the picture, the picture may have been accidential. He then dropped the phone and ran.

Police say the suspect was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black sweats and carrying a black duffel bag.

He's considered dangerous, and if you see him, don't approach him...call Canton police instead.

The public address announcer of the Akron RubberDucks is no longer working there, after reports that he had been convicted of being a sex offender.

The Beacon Journal reports that Scott Foster was a 30 year-old teacher convicted in 2004 of sending unwanted sexually explicit content to two 13 year-old girls who attended Medina's A.I. Root Middle School.

The newspaper investigated after fans were upset over Foster announcing a high school game at Canal Park over the weekend.

The Beacon reports that Foster was required to register as a sexually oriented offender, a requirement that expired 10 years later.

The RubberDucks would only confirm that Foster no longer works for the team.


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



Monday, 20 April 2015 14:41

Ellet Bank Robbed At Lunchtime

Akron police are looking for someone who robbed an Ellet bank late Monday morning.

Employees say the man entered the U.S. Bank on South Canton Road at around 11:30 AM wearing camouflage clothing and a full face mask, and came to the teller counter.

He placed a bag on the counter and demanded money.

The robber got away with an unreported amount of cash, and police say no gun was seen during the robbery.

In addition to surveillance photos seen here, police describe the suspect as a white male, 50 – 55 years old, around 5'07", 200 lbs., with facial hair and was wearing a green camouflage full face mask, olive green coat and pants, and brown boots.

The 2015 Masters winner could be in Akron this August.

Bridgestone Invitational officials say Jordan Spieth is "expected" to compete at Firestone Country Club in this year's tournament starting August 5th.

Spieth is 21 and moved to number 2 overall in the Official World Golf Ranking after winning at the Masters this past weekend, posting a final round 70 to claim the fifth wire-to-wire victory in tournament history.


(Bridgestone Invitational, news release) AKRON, Ohio – As plans for the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational start to come together, Jordan Spieth is expected to compete at Firestone Country Club, August 5-9 in Akron, Ohio. The 21-year-old moved to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking having secured an impressive victory at The Masters this past weekend. Following behind world No. 1, Rory McIlory, this makes this the first time in history that the world's top two players are 25 years of age or under.

Spieth led by four shots over Rose entering the final round at The Masters and posted a final-round 70 to win by four shots over Rose and Mickelson to claim the fifth wire-to-wire victory in tournament history.

In his last four starts, he has two victories (Masters Tournament and Valspar Championship) and two runners-up (Valero Texas Open and Shell Houston Open). With the win, Spieth (21 years, 8 months, 16 days) became the second-youngest winner of the Green Jacket in the tournament's 79-year history behind Tiger Woods (21 years, 3 months, 14 days) and his 18-under-par 270 total matched Woods' record-setting 1997 performance.

The Bridgestone Invitational is now offering tickets on sale with limited-time promotional gifts. Fans planning on attending when the best players from across the globe come to Firestone Country Club have the opportunity to enjoy an added bonus with all ticket purchases. Each ticket includes a $20 online PGA TOUR Superstore gift card and a special dining or comedy club offering at the Hard Rock at Northfield Park. The promotion ends on May 31 and is available on worldgolfchampionships.com.

In addition, the tournament will again offer tickets to the upgraded 16th hole Championship Club where fans can find great views of golf on Firestone's Signature Green Monster, as well as access to upgraded menus, a cash bar featuring Heineken and GREY GOOSE, live TV feeds and seated views of the 16th and 17th holes.

New for 2015, tournament officials have also announced the all-new 18th green Reserved Bleacher Section. Weekly tickets are currently available for $410 and this ticket includes week-long access to the 16th hole Championship Club as well as the 18th green Bleacher Section.

Last year, the Bridgestone Invitational enhanced the on-site fan experience with an all-new Fan Village area that included local restaurants and food trucks, and on the course, fans could grab a seat close the action at the Heineken Beer Garden or the GREY GOOSE 19th Hole Lounge. After play ended on Friday, ticket holders were treated to a complimentary Music After Play concert with national recording artist, Eric Hutchinson. The tournament is bringing back even more exciting initiatives this year, as well as the return of some of these fan favorites from 2014.

In continuation of tournament tradition, fans can take advantage of watching one of golf's greatest legends be inducted as a Bridgestone Invitational Ambassador of Golf on Wednesday. Past inductees have included Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, President George W. Bush and more of golf's elite. This year, the Bridgestone Invitational will honor 26-time LPGA winner and World Golf Hall of Fame Member, Judy Rankin, and continue to open the ceremony to ticketholders after play ends on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Fans are reminded that each year, youths 18 and younger are admitted free of charge to the Bridgestone Invitational grounds when accompanied by a ticketed adult. There is no limit to the number of youths 18 and younger who can attend with a ticketed adult.

Tickets are on sale for the Bridgestone Invitational on worldgolfchampionships.com, or by calling 844-868-7465 for upgraded options.

The Akron Beacon Journal is losing a veteran reporter to Cleveland TV.

Phil Trexler is leaving the Beacon to become an investigative producer for Cleveland NBC afflilate WKYC Channel 3.

He'll join WKYC on May 4th, and will work with WKYC investigative reporter Tom Meyer.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015 12:57

Could Akron Pay For Keeping Traffic Cameras?

Cities like Akron could lose state funding if they don't follow a new law that puts the clamp on traffic cameras.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that state Republican lawmakers have added a clause to the pending state budget - that would withhold local government funds from cities that keep operating red light and speeding cameras.

Akron and other cities have pointed to successful court challenges to the new law that cite home-rule powers, saying they can still operate the cameras as a result.

The plan would require communities to total up fine revenues to the state, and that amount of money would be taken from their local government fund allocations.

In an E-mail response to WAKR, Akron communications director Stephanie York says that "it is incredible for legislators to strong-arm cities to stop using speed cameras and follow the speed camera law it passed, when that law cannot legally be enforced due to the fact that three courts have found significant portions of that law to be unconstitutional. Under no circumstance has Akron used its school zone speed cameras to raise money. In Akron, speed zone cameras are used only in school zones and only during the hours that the children are actually walking to and from school."

Northeast Ohio Media Group reports that Akron collected about $1.2 million in camera-related fines last year. That's money York says is collected for a "special fund for safety items and safety programs, such as paying for our school crossing guards and bike helmets for kids. If our legislators want to stick up for speeders in school zones, then shame on them."

The law that took effect in March requires police officers to be placed near traffic cameras, something cities say just isn't financially feasible.