Thursday, 05 March 2015 12:36

AUDIO: Akron Out Of Fiscal Caution

Written by

The city of Akron is no longer under Fiscal Caution by the state auditor's office. 

Auditor Dave Yost says the city has now corrected some accounting problems, including deficit fund balances in certain line items that popped up a few years ago.  Mayor Don Plusquellic says terms like "negative fund balances" can be misleading.

"This is not criminal," said Plusquellic. "This is not missing money. This was not that somebody did something in a criminal way wrong that somebody had to investigate and figure out, 'where's the missing money.'  It was in the way we kept track of various projects."

Plusquellic points to several transportation projects that required the city to front the money, then obtain reimbursement from state or federal agencies. The line item would be in the red until the money came in, something Plusquellic defended because it provided more transparency; however, the mayor says state law changed which made the practice unacceptable.

Part of the problem identified by the state was that the city had 740 different funds, partially for the reason explained by Plusquellic.  There are now 101.

"That has put more money in each one of these larger bowls, if you will, instead of many separate bowls," said Plusquellic.

The "fiscal caution" designation is relatively new in Ohio. It's meant to give public entities an earlier indication that the books need to be cleaned up and avoid a fiscal watch or fiscal emergency.

Thursday, 05 March 2015 12:30

Human Trafficking: Identifying The Vulnerable

Written by

With a renewed focus on human trafficking after a recent state grant, how do local court officials find out who's vulnerable?

Summit County Juvenile Court officials give screening tests to young people to identify who could be at risk...

Juvenile Court judge Linda Tucci Teodosio says young women are most vulnerable. The screening test asks some key questions.

"Do they have an older boyfriend? Have they ever been asked to have sex with someone they didn't want to have sex with? Have they ever had trauma in the past?" are some of the questions Judge Teodosio says young people, particularly young women, are asked to try to determine if they're at risk of being a victim of human trafficking.

Judge Teodosio says other questions cover possible history of drug abuse or running away.

It also asks about gifts the young person may be getting...that they or their families can't afford otherwise.

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 22:46

Coming Attractions: More Banking Woes

Written by

Banking woes just aren't ending for Anna Younker, the owner of Akron's Coming Attractions bridal shop...who was already forced to put the building up for sale and had her business accounts frozen.

Younker says that Akron-based FirstMerit Bank has now taken money out of her family's personal accounts with no warning

"My husband (Wednesday) went to make a deposit today in our personal account, and it showed we had $80 when we got the statement," Younker tells WAKR.net. "He then realized they swiped our personal account also."

She recognizes that those accounts were linked to her business line of credit, which she has not been behind in paying.

Younker says the bank has moved quickly to get its money...and hasn't worked with her to get the credit line fully paid off.

She says she's shocked about how FirstMerit is handling their situation.

"A bank that we've been banking with for over 20 years, would not take any consideration to what we're doing, how we're trying to handle things, yet we're still paying them. We haven't been one day late," Younker says.

Younker says she and her husband have refinanced their home and gotten help from family members to make things whole with FirstMerit, but that the bank apparently doesn't want to wait past a two week deadline.

She says despite meeting with FirstMerit executive vice president David Goodall, who said he was concerned, the bank continues its hard line and Goodall hasn't returned their calls since.

WAKR.net repeatedly reached out to Goodall and FirstMerit's Media Relations department, and neither returned our calls.

Wednesday, 04 March 2015 18:50

Woman Carrying Weapons Arrested In Canton

Written by

Canton police arrested a woman outside of a hospital after discovering she was heavily armed--with knives and throwing stars.

WKYC Channel 3 reports 51 year-old Regina Lynn Bollerud of Columbiana showed up to Mercy Medical Center around 7:15 Tuesday morning with two concealed knives on her right wrist, plus two more knives and and four martial arts throwing stars on her waist.

Officers later found four more knives, a car window breaking tool, and a bottle of pills in her purse.

Police say she ways waiting for an employee of the hospital who had a domestic violence protection order against her.

Bollerud was charged with violating the protection order, carrying concealed weapons, and possession of drugs.

Tuesday, 03 March 2015 18:10

Record Number Of Frozen Water Lines

Written by

The ongoing cold and winter weather has set more than just temperature records.

The Akron Water Department has been responding to an "historic number" of customers with frozen meters and frozen underground house lines.

Jeff Bronowski, the City of Akron's water supply manager, says in the past month, the deep freeze has gotten lower.

"Over the last month, due to the extreme cold weather, the frost line has gone much lower than it normally has this time of year," Bronowski tells WAKR.net, "causing these water services, these house lines to freeze."

Bronowski says water crews are "diligently" working to unfreeze the lines, though some installations are much more difficult to unfreeze.

The city says water customers who have experienced freezing in the past to run a "pencil of water" around the clock from a faucet near your water meter...that'll help stop freezing from happening.

Warmer temperatures later this week will start thawing freezing lines. But then, crews will have to watch out for things like water main breaks.

Tuesday, 03 March 2015 10:54

Indians Home Opener Sells Out In 11 Minutes

Written by

The home opener for the Indians on April 10th -- has sold out.

The game against the Detroit Tigers sold out in 11 minutes, making it the 23rd consecutive home opener sellout.

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

(Press Release - Cleveland Indians) The Cleveland Indians announced on Tuesday morning that the team's Home Opener, on April 10 vs. the Detroit Tigers, has sold out.

The game sold out in 11 minutes, marking the 23rd consecutive home opener sellout and the 22nd at Progressive Field, which opened in 1994.

Since the Indians in 2009 moved the initial on-sale date to Spring, Opening Day sellouts have become official on March 30 (2009), April 8 (2010), March 24 (2011), March 15 (2012), February 25 (2013) and March 3 (2014).

Fans wishing to attend 2015 Opening Day – marking the club's 115th as a charter member of the American League – still can secure tickets a couple of ways.

· By purchasing a full Season Ticket package. Season Ticket Holders once again will save over 40% on average of Single-Game ticket purchasers in 2014. Only those purchasing a full Season Ticket package will receive Opening Day tickets.

· By attending one of the team's Spring Training Opener Watch Parties later today. The Indians will host Watch Parties at 3PM at Melt Lakewood, Barrio Downtown and Sweet Moses, to celebrate those restaurants' presence in the new Right Field District at Progressive Field in 2015.

Monday, 02 March 2015 18:39

VIDEO: KSU Sorority Raises $77,000 For Charity

Written by

A Kent State sorority raked in big bucks for charity this weekend, and had a lot of fun at the same time.

The Delta Zeta sorority hosted a lip sync contest on Saturday to benefit the speech and hearing impaired. Their goal was to to earn the same as last year's event, which brought in $44,000. Instead, they nearly doubled it raising an impressive $77,000, the best student-event fundraiser in years.

"All of the Greek chapters prepare a four minute skit that involves dancing and sign language and facts about Delta Zeta too, and also facts about the speech and hearing impaired community," explains Taylor Ridenour, Delta Zeta Lip Sync Chair. "They come together on that day and they perform them all."

Six sororities and 16 fraternities participated in the event this year, which also included a performance from the St. Augustine Signing Choir in Cleveland. The choir is made up of people who are deaf or have family members who are deaf.

"They actually signed two songs for us, and that was really cool", says Ridenour.

All of the money raised was given to the Delta Zeta Foundation, which was then split between The Starkey Hearing Foundation, Gallaudet University and The Painted Turtle Camp.

"We were just utterly amazed and so thankful for the Greek community as well as the Kent community", says Ridenour.

Summit County prosecutors say the former president of the Nordonia Hills school board has pleaded guilty to a number of child pornography counts, and could get a lengthy prison sentence.

53 year-old Steven Bittel of Sagamore Hills held police at bay at his home for five hours in early September, and threatened police officers with a handgun.

That day, Sagamore Hills police and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force were carrying out a search warrant after Bittel's computer IP address was linked with a child porn file sharing network.

He resigned from the school board.

Bittel faces up to 31 years in prison at his sentencing on April 22nd.

-----

(Summit County Prosecutor's Office) Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that Steven Bittel, 53, of Ballantrae Drive in Sagamore Hills, pleaded guilty to:

Pandering Obscenity Involving a Minor, a felony of the second degree;
Pandering, Four counts, felonies of the fourth degree;
Illegal Use of a Minor in Nudity, Ten counts, felonies of the fifth degree;
Obstructing Official Business, Four counts, felonies of the fifth degree.

On September 5, 2014, Bittel, who at the time was the President of Nordonia Hills Board of Education, was arrested after a five-hour standoff with police at his home, during which Bittel threatened police officers with a handgun during the incident. Sagamore Hills Police, working with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, were executing a search warrant issued by Stow Municipal Court after discovering Bittel's IP address was involved in a file sharing network involving child pornography.

Bittel has since resigned his position with the Board of Education. Visiting Judge Richard Reinbold will sentence Bittel on April 22, 2015 at 11:00a.m. Bittel faces a sentence of up to 31 years in prison.

Akron police are looking into the robbery of a dollar store in South Akron over the weekend.

It happen at just after 9 PM Saturday at the Family Dollar on South Arlington Street.

Employees tell police the suspect came in, walked in the store and left...then came back about 10 minutes later.

Police say the man then brought a package of "Sour Patch Kids" candy to the register...but he wanted more than a sweet treat. The robber pulled out a short-barrelled shotgun, and demanded money from the register.

The man then racked the shotgun after complaining that the clerk wasn't moving fast enough...then took some cash out of the register and fled.

Police say the robber is a white male, 25 to 31 years old, 5'5" to 6'1, with red or auburn hair, a beard, wearing a black dew rag, black hooded sweatshirt and dark colored jeans.

UPDATE 3:56 PM 3/3/15: The Endangered Missing Child Advisory has been cancelled. An update says Terejyah Green "has been recovered".

(Earlier coverage)

Police in the Youngstown area are calling for help to find a 17 year-old girl.

Terejyah Green was last seen at her residence in Youngstown on Sunday, and an Endangered Missing Child Advisory has been issued for a number of Northeast Ohio counties.

Though the alert is not an "AMBER ALERT", authorities believe her to be in danger.

-----

Endangered Missing Child
Advisory
(This is NOT an AMBER Alert)

AN ENDANGERED MISSING CHILD ADVISORY HAS BEEN ISSUED BY YOUNGSTOWN PD FOR THE FOLLOWING REGIONS: CENTRAL & EAST LAKESHORE: ASHTABULA, CUYAHOGA, ERIE, GEAUGA, HURON, LAKE, LORAIN, AND MEDINA COUNTIES. YOUNGSTOWN: COLUMBIANA, MAHONING, AND TRUMBULL COUNTIES.
WHILE THIS IS NOT AN AMBER ALERT, THE CHILD IS BELIEVED TO BE IN DANGER.
TEREJYAH WAS LAST SEEN AT HER RESIDENCE ON MARCH 1, 2015 IN YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO. THERE IS NO CLOTHING DESCRIPTION AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR A MISSING OR ABDUCTED CHILD FROM MAHONING COUNTY, OH. LAST SEEN ON SOUTH HAZELWOOD IN THE CITY OF YOUNGSTOWN AT 3/1/2015 8:00:00 PM.
INFORMATION AS OF 03/02/2015 02:32 PM.

CHILD: TEREJYAH GREEN
NICKNAME/ALIAS:
DOB: 7/7/1997 17 Yrs old
SEX: Female
RACE: Black
HEIGHT: 5'9" WEIGHT: 115 lbs
HAIR: Brown
EYES: Brown
LAST SEEN DATE: 03/01/2015 08:00 PM

Page 1 of 610