Amani Abraham

Amani Abraham

Amani Abraham is the morning web editor and also tracks morning drive traffic for 1590 WAKR, 97.5 WONE and 94.9 WQMX during weekday mornings and is a reporter/anchor. She's no stranger to AkronNewsNow.com, having worked as an intern with Rubber City Radio Group as a producer for the Daily Vodcast and other video projects.. Amani is a 2011 graduate with a Communications degree from the University of Akron, where she excelled in her work on the student radio station WZIP-FM and Z-TV, the University's television program. You can reach Amani through the newsroom 330-864-6397 or by email aabraham@rcrg.net

Security and training are the topics of discussion for local law enforcement following the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday.

Akron Police Chief James Nice says the police department and the Summit County Sheriff's Office train regularly for similar events.

"Just this year for our in-service, we had active shooter training, which had to do with responding to live incidents like that," said Nice. "We have a team of people that have been specifically trained, even more in-depth." 

Nice says the department trains with many different agencies in Summit County including fire, EMS and federal law enforcement.

Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry says there's extensive training that goes into training a bomb squad.

"Our bomb squad is trained through federal means when they first join the team and their training is continuous ," said Barry. "And our guys are exceptionally trained and they do a terrific job."

Barry says it can be a difficult job trying to piece together events following an explosive, especially in a crowded area .

"It'll take a lot of time for it to be safely done and, like I said, they would have to utilize their resources," said Barry.

Akron Police Chief James Nice says federal and local law enforcement will use every tool they have to try and piece together critical information.

"{Law enforcement } will be using every tool in the box," said Nice. "Whether it's tire track marks, satellite information, camera information, they'll be brining every tool in humanly possible ," said Nice.

The city of Akron will invest about $3.2 million in the reconstruction of the outdated Cascade Plaza after news that FirstMerit will be keeping its headquarters in Akron.

City Council approved legislation Monday to improve the building and parking deck following the announcement of a merger between FirstMerit and Citizens Republic Bankcorp of Michigan.

"During this merger process, there was the potential we were getting ready to lose 2,000 full-time jobs," said Gary Moneypenny, president of Akron City Council.

City officials say the improvements are an incentive for FirstMerit to remain in Akron and create an additional 150 jobs in the city.

The city says Cascade Plaza, which also acts as the roof of the underground parking facility, has deteriorated over time. It was built in the 1970's.

Moneypenny says renovations made to Cascade Plaza will include improvements to the parking deck.

"We're going to reseal that parking deck. Also, turn that parking deck into more of a 'park-like' atmosphere and that's also along with part of our 'going green' downtown," said Moneypenny.

The city will also provide a Job Creation Incentive in the form of income tax credits to FirstMerit that will provide the company with help towards the cost of their relocation, expansion and new employee training.

A Cuyahoga Falls man was sentenced to 18 months in prison after he was convicted of trafficking in more than $180,000 worth of counterfeit merchandise.

Authorities say Ronald Jason Azar, 34, of Cuyahoga Falls, was involved in trafficking or attempting to traffic 104 counterfeit handbags. If you're into labels - it included Gucci, Coach, Louis Vuitton and Versace.

Azar pleaded guilty in October to a one-count indictment charging him with trafficking in merchandise containing counterfeit trademarks, logos or labels.

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News Release: United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio:

Ronald Jason Azar, age 34, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in connection with his recent conviction for trafficking in more than $180,000 worth of counterfeit merchandise, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Azar pleaded guilty in October to a one-count indictment charging him with trafficking in merchandise containing counterfeit trademarks, logos or labels.

On or about April 27, 2011, Azar intentionally trafficked and attempted to traffic in approximately 104 counterfeit designer handbags which, if genuine, were valued at approximately $183,488, according to court documents.

The handbags included 12 Gucci, 23 Coach, 17 Louis Vuitton, five Versace, five Chanel, two Marc Jacobs, three Dooney & Burke, six Prada, eight Fendi, seven Chloe, seven Jimmy Choo and nine Dolce & Gabbana handbags, which contained counterfeit marks, logos, labels, hang tags, patches, stickers, emblems, holograms and packaging. The marks on the merchandise were identical to and substantially indistinguishable from marks used on genuine merchandise, and were in use and registered for such goods on the principle register of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, according to court documents.

The use of such counterfeit and spurious marks was likely to cause confusion, mistake or to deceive, according to court documents.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Kern, Cybercrime Coordinator for the Cleveland U.S. Attorney’s Office, following an investigation by the Cleveland Office of the Department of Homeland Security, Office Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Friday, 12 April 2013 12:12

Q & A: Trying A Juvenile As An Adult

The Summit County Prosecutor's Office is working to clarify and answer questions surrounding how and why juveniles can be tried as an adult in court. It's a discussion that's popping up not only locally, but across the country.

The office put together a list of questions and answers to help break down the process and requirements of trying a juvenile as an adult. Depending on the severity of a crime and the age of an offender, the State may look to try a juvenile in the Court of Common Pleas instead of Juvenile Court.

If a juvenile is convicted in adult court, the teen could receive an adult prison sentence. The death penalty remains off the table for juveniles.

A number of high profile cases in Summit County have involved juveniles who are accused of serious crimes. Recently, Shawn Ford Jr. and a 14-year-old boy were charged in connection with the murder of Jeffrey and his wife, Maragert Shobert, of New Franklin.

Previous Coverage:

Below is the full list of questions and answers from the Summit County Prosecutor's Office.

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Why would the State want to try a juvenile as an adult?

Depending on the severity of a crime and the age of an offender, the State may seek to try a juvenile in the Court of Common Pleas instead of Juvenile Court. Certain crimes are so heinous that the State feels an adult prison sentence would be more appropriate.

Can any juvenile be tried as an adult?

Only juveniles age 14 and older may be tried as an adult.

For what crimes can a juvenile be tried as an adult?

Any felony committed by a juvenile who is at least 14 can be tried in the Court of Common Pleas. Depending on the specific charge, it is either mandatory or discretionary for the Juvenile Court judge to allow the State to try the juvenile offender as an adult.

How does the State try a juvenile as an adult?

In order to try a juvenile as an adult, the State must file a motion for a transfer of jurisdiction from the Juvenile Court to the Court of Common Pleas. This is called a “bindover.” Bindovers are either mandatory or discretionary, depending on the age of the juvenile and the type of crime.

For a mandatory bindover, the juvenile’s case is automatically transferred to the Court of Common Pleas if the judge finds probable cause of the juvenile’s guilt.

For a discretionary bindover, the judge must also find that the juvenile is mature enough to stand trial as an adult and is not likely to be successfully rehabilitated before turning 21.

What crimes are eligible for a mandatory bindover?

A mandatory bindover means the Juvenile Court judge must transfer the juvenile’s case to the Court of Common Pleas if the judge determines there is enough probable cause to charge the juvenile. The age of the juvenile at the time the crime was committed and the type of crime determine whether a bindover is mandatory.

If the juvenile was 14 or 15 at the time the crime was committed:

If the juvenile was 14 or 15 at the time the crime was committed, the bindover is mandatory if one of the charges is Aggravated Murder, Attempted Aggravated Murder, Murder or Attempted Murder and the juvenile was previously adjudicated delinquent (found guilty) of one or more of the following charges and sent to the Department of Youth Services (DYS):

Aggravated Murder

Murder

Attempted Aggravated Murder

Attempted Murder

Voluntary Manslaughter

Kidnapping

Rape

Aggravated Arson

Aggravated Robbery

Aggravated Burglary

Involuntary Manslaughter (if charged as an F1)

If the juvenile was 16 or 17 at the time the crime was committed:

If the juvenile was 16 or 17 at the time the crime was committed, there are three different sets of circumstances for which the bindover is mandatory.

Charges of Aggravated Murder, Attempted Aggravated Murder, Murder and Attempted Murder require a mandatory bindover for juveniles who were 16 or 17 at the time the crime was committed.

A bindover is mandatory for juveniles who are charged with:

Voluntary Manslaughter

Rape

Aggravated Arson

Aggravated Robbery

Aggravated Burglary

Involuntary Manslaughter (if charged as an F1)

And meets one or both of the following criteria:

Used or had a gun on him during the commission of the crime

Was previously adjudicated delinquent and sent to DYS for any of the following charges:

Aggravated Murder

Murder

Attempted Aggravated Murder

Attempted Murder

Voluntary Manslaughter

Kidnapping

Rape

Aggravated Arson

Aggravated Robbery

Aggravated Burglary

Involuntary Manslaughter (if charged as an F1)

Finally, a bindover is mandatory if the juvenile is charged with a crime that falls into the discretionary bindover category and the juvenile was previously convicted of a felony in the Court of Common Pleas.

What is a discretionary bindover?

A discretionary bindover means it is the judge’s decision to either transfer the case to the Court of Common Pleas or keep the case in Juvenile Court. The bindover is discretionary when the offender was at least 14 at the time the offense was committed and the charge is a felony, but the bindover does not meet the mandatory threshold. When considering a discretionary bindover, the judge must first hold a probable cause hearing and then an amenability hearing.

What is a probable cause hearing?

A probable cause hearing must be held before a juvenile can be bound over, regardless of whether the bindover is mandatory or discretionary. As a result of this hearing, the judge decides whether enough probable cause exists to charge the juvenile with a felony. This is similar to an adult grand jury proceeding in the Court of Common Pleas, although in Juvenile Court the judge takes the place of the grand jurors. The juvenile can waive this hearing by stipulating to probable cause (agreeing that this exists).

What is an amenability hearing?

The second step in a discretionary bindover is an amenability hearing. The purpose of this hearing is for the judge to determine whether, if convicted, an adult or juvenile sentence would be more appropriate. Like probable cause, the juvenile can waive amenability.

There are a number of questions the court must consider in deciding amenability. These questions include:

Did the victim suffer physical, psychological or serious economic harm?

Did the juvenile commit the crime as part of a gang?

Was a gun used?

Does the juvenile’s prior experience with rehabilitative efforts (if any) demonstrate he is not likely to be rehabilitated by Juvenile Court sanctions?

Is the juvenile emotionally, physically and psychologically mature enough to be bound over?

Is there sufficient time to rehabilitate the juvenile before he becomes an adult?

Was the juvenile provoked into committing the crime?

Was the juvenile the principal actor in the crime?

Was the juvenile coerced into committing the crime?

Is the juvenile suffering from a mental illness or a mentally handicapped person?

What happens if the judge finds that the juvenile is amenable to rehabilitation?

If the judge finds that the juvenile is amenable, the case remains in Juvenile Court. If the judge finds he is not amenable, the case is transferred to the Court of Common Pleas.

What sort of sentence can a juvenile receive when treated as an adult?

When a juvenile is bound over to the Court of Common Pleas and convicted on adult felony charges, he is given whatever sentence would be appropriate for an adult who committed that same crime, unless the sentence would be a capital (death) sentence. Juveniles cannot be sentenced to death.

However, a juvenile can receive what is called a “blended sentence” if he either pleads to or is found guilty of only misdemeanor or low-level felony charges in the Court of Common Pleas or if the bindover motion fails and the Juvenile Court retains jurisdiction. In either case, the juvenile is disposed (sentenced) in Juvenile Court. A blended sentence consists of an adult sentence to be served at an Ohio prison and a juvenile sentence to be served at the Department of Youth Services. The adult portion of the sentence is stayed, provided that the juvenile successfully completes his sentence at DYS. If the juvenile does not commit a felony or violent misdemeanor of the first degree while at DYS, he will be released when he completes his sentence or he turns 21, whichever is first. If the juvenile commits a felony or violent misdemeanor of the first degree while at DYS, his adult sentence can be imposed.

Can a juvenile receive the death penalty?

Juveniles cannot receive the death penalty.

If a juvenile is sent to prison, is he housed with all of the other adult criminals?

No, juveniles are separated from adult prisoners until they turn 18.

United Way of Summit County held their annual meeting Thursday honoring several local individuals who have made an impact on the community.

The Distinguished Service Award was given to Dr. Cynthia Capers, former Dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Akron and Thom Mandel, president of Rubber City Radio.

Rubber City Radio owns four stations - 94.9 WQMX, 97.5 WONE, 1590 WAKR and 107.3 WNWV - and AkronNewsNow.com.

Both were recognized for the impact they've made on the community through personal dedication and volunteering.

The Spirit of Caring award was given to the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company to honor their contribution and community involvement. They are named as one of the largest contributors in Summit County.

Click here to view a full list of the award recipients.

Friday, 12 April 2013 09:08

DIY Drink Holder

I've been searching for outdoor patio ideas for my home and this idea/craft is perfect and practical.
Make your own drink holder by using a used (and clean) soup can. Drill a hole in the bottom and attach a long rod with two washers and bolts on each side.
DIY Drink Holder
Source: http://www.positivelysplendid.com/2012/06/outdoor-drink-holder-tutorial.html

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Friday, 12 April 2013 08:58

Turn a Chandelier Into a Dessert Display

If you love taking a vintage item and making it your own - this next project is perfect for you. Take and old chandelier and place it on a table. Attach plates to the top of the stems that are used to hold the light bulb.
Be safe when creating this vintage loo - make sure the light is not plugged in!
Turn a Chandelier Into a Dessert Display
Source: http://2plushuedesigns.wordpress.com/

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Friday, 12 April 2013 08:52

DIY - Fabric on Wall

Fabric can give a room a special feeling and even add a unique flare for any wall in your home.
An easy way to attach and remove fabric from a wall is using liquid starch! Who knew?!
Click here to find the full list of directions. 
DIY - Fabric on Wall

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Friday, 12 April 2013 08:44

Recipes On Hand - Literally!

Turn your handwritten family recipes into dish towels! Awesome gift or a way to decorate your kitchen,

Full instructions - click here. 
Recipes On Hand - Literally!
Source: blog.spoonflower.com

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Construction of a new critical care tower at Akron Children's Hospital is set to bring some changes for patients.

The changes will begin on April 22 when crews start building the new $200 million expansion project, which includes a new critical care tower on Locust Street. But those plans will require a permanent closure of the road.

The emergency department at Akron Children's Hospital will remain open, but drivers will have to get around construction by paying attention to street signs - not their GPS.

Hospital officials say free valet parking will also be provided to patients.

The critical care tower will include a new emergency department, neonatal intensive care unit and outpatient surgical suites.

Click here to find updated traffic conditions and maps for Akron Children's Hospital.

*Editor's note: The total cost of the expansion project stands at $200 million. The story previously suggested that the number was for construction on the new critical care tower.

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Press Release: Beginning April 22, patient families, visitors and others coming to Akron Children’s Hospital can expect traffic interruptions as construction of the hospital’s new critical care tower begins.

The new tower will be built on Locust Street, and the plans call for a permanent closing of Locust Street between Exchange Street and Buchtel Avenue.

Here are some key points regarding changes in traffic flow and access to the hospital.

Akron Children’s Emergency Department, which fronts Locust Street, will remain open at all times during the construction. The hospital offers a free valet parking service for ER patients.

Visitors should disregard their GPS instructions once they near Akron Children’s and pay attention to street signs.

Street signs directing patients to the Emergency Department will feature large red directional arrows and will say “Emergency.”

Signs with black arrows will direct people to the hospital’s Bowery and Locust Street parking decks and the hospital’s main entrance.

Patients and visitors to the Locust Professional Building will still be able to access the Locust Street Parking Deck from Locust Street by way of West State Street.

With increased traffic on Bowery Street and other surrounding streets, patients, staff and visitors are encouraged to use the walkways connecting the hospital and its professional buildings rather than attempting to cross the streets.

Maps and updated traffic conditions can be found online at akronchildrens.org/traffic.