Garry Moneypenny's move to the Akron mayor's office will be made official on Sunday, in front of a crowd.

A city news release says the current Akron City Council president will be sworn in as Akron's 60th mayor on Sunday afternoon, in a public ceremony at East High School's auditorium at 4 PM.

Doors will be open at 3:15 PM.

Sunday is the same day that current mayor Don Plusquellic set for his resignation and retirement after 28 years leading Akron, and 41 years in city politics.

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(City of Akron, news release) On Sunday, May 31, 2015, Garry L. Moneypenny will be sworn in as Akron's 60th Mayor at 4:00 PM in the East High School auditorium, 80 Brittain Road, Akron, Ohio 44305. The public is invited to share in this historic occasion. Doors open at 3:15 PM, and the ceremony will begin promptly at 4:00 PM.

WHAT: Mayoral Oath of Office Ceremony for Garry L. Moneypenny

WHEN: Sunday, May 31, 2015, 4:00 PM; Doors open at 3:15 PM

WHERE: East High School, 80 Brittain Road, Akron, 44305

Tuesday, 26 May 2015 12:24

Students Dig Up Pig Remains

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A group of forensic archaeology students will be spending the next few weeks uncovering a mystery that lies beneath a pair of shallow graves in a wooded area in Bath Township.

It's a crime scene -- but it's not what you think. It's not real.

Everything has been set up -- including the remains of two pigs purchased from a local butcher. The animals were buried about a year ago in shallow graves in a wooded area staged as a mock crime scene.

"One of the reasons we developed this is it gives [students] practice mapping something very complicated," said KSU Assistant Anthropology Professor Dr. Linda Spurlock.

Archaeologist and UA professor Linda Whitman is one of the instructors in the three-week course designed to introduce students to forensic work and hands-on experience in the field.

"We take the bones back to the lab where they get washed and reconstructed and they look for the manner and cause of death," said Whitman.

While the story behind the pig's death is made up, the process is real -- including the smell left behind as students slowly uncover the decomposing fat, bones and clothing.

"This is what I like to do. I like to dig up bones," said UA Anthropology student Paige Dobbins. "It's kind of exciting to go from learning about it in the classroom to actually getting to dig to it."

Although it may appear to have some of the same qualities as a recent episode of Law and Order, there are still plenty of differences when compared to the real-life, forensic process.

"It's not quite as sexy as it is on television," said Dobbins. "It's a lot of dirt and decomposed fat."

 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015 11:00

New Effort To Boost Ohio Tourism

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TourismOhio is launching a new campaign designed to bring more tourists - and their dollars - into the Buckeye State. 

Ohio is already a destination for travelers but state officials want to make it even more significant.

'In 2013, tourism was a $30 billion industry and that's just direct spending, " said TourismOhio's Tamara Brown.  "If you add in the indirect, it's a $38 billion industry and employs more than 400,000 people."

The goal is to increase direct and non-direct tourism spending to $42 billiion by 2018. 

Brown says they market Ohio's tourist attractions to prospective visitors all over the country but also to people who already live here that might be looking for things to do without driving too far from home. One tool that's being unveiled this year is a new phone app.

"It essentially takes the Ohio Travel Guide and puts it in a digital format which is very interactive," said Brown. "It has video, more photos and extended stories."

Brown says the app will help people find restaurants, hotels, entertainment and other attractions.

The new marketing plan is being developed and executed by a couple of different firms.

Monday, 25 May 2015 08:53

Summit Memorial Day Observances

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On this day the reason flags fly at half-staff until noon, and a moment of silence observed nationwide at 3:00 p.m.

The swimming, boating, gardening and cookouts to the contrary, Memorial Day marks the anniversary of end of the Civil War and honors all in service, those wounded in action and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in fighting for our freedoms.

There are suggestions Memorial Day observances have strayed from the original reason for the holiday, and some pushback to restore Memorial Day to it's traditional May 30th date and not fix the holiday to a three-day weekend.

Communities across northeast Ohio celebrate Memorial Day with flags, marching bands, parades and ceremonies.

Summit County Memorial Day Observances:

Akron will hold its Memorial Day Observance at 11 a.m. at Greenlawn Cemetery.

Bath Township Memorial Day Observance will take place at noon at Bath Veterans Memorial Park.

Clinton Memorial Day Parade will begin at 11 a.m. at Highpoint Christian Church on Comet Road.

Copley Township Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. from Copley Middle School to Copley Veterans Cemetery, 3788 Copley Road.

Cuyahoga Falls Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. at Lillis Drive and Portage Trail. Ceremony will commence at 11 a.m. in the Veterans Section of Oakwood Cemetery.

Green Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade at noon at the Green Veterans Memorial Park, 1900 Steese Rd. Activities include a pancake breakfast, parade, community picnic and car show.

Hudson Memorial Day Parade will start at 10 a.m. at Milford Road and Veterans Way.

Mogadore Memorial Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. at James Street and South Cleveland, ending at Greenwood Cemetery. There will be a ceremony following the parade. A pancake breakfast will also be held from 8-11 a.m. at Mogadore Christian Church.

New Franklin Memorial Day Parade will begin at 9 a.m. at Grace Bible Church parking lot. A remembrance service will follow the parade at the gazebo at Manchester Cemetery.

Northfield & Sagamore Hills Memorial Day Parade will start at St. Barnabas School at 10 a.m. and end at the Northfield-Macedonia Cemetery. A memorial service will follow at 11 a.m.

Richfield Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast is hosted by Kiwanis at the Richfield Senior Center until 1:00 p.m. 

Peninsula and Boston Township Parade will start 11 a.m. from Boston Township Hall to Cedar Grove Cemetery. Another ceremony will be held at Boston Cemetery.

Stow Memorial Day Ceremony will be held at Stow Cemetery at 10:15 a.m. There will be a march to the Veterans monument. The high school symphonic band will also perform.

Tallmadge Memorial Day Parade and Service will form in the Our Lady of Victory Church parking lot at 9:30 a.m. and march to Tallmadge Cemetery. A ceremony will take place at the cemetery.

 

Monday, 25 May 2015 08:42

Summit OVI Checkpoint Report

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Memorial Day weekend checkpoints by the Summit County OVI Task Force proved to be bad news for six but good news at one checkpoint that ended the night with a clean bill of health -- except for one person who absolutely had to go.

The two checkpoints in Boston Township led to a handful of arrests on Akron-Cleveland Road, including one OVI arrest and the others for driving under suspension, driving without a license, riding a motorcycle without an endorsement and riding a motorcycle in violation of license restrictions.

The second checkpoint yielded the good news leading into the weekend on Everett Road diverted 15 vehicles; no OVI arrests were made although police noted some had been drinking but wisely made arrangements for a designated driver. One person was cited for Public Indecency for urinating in public.

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(Summit County OVI Task Force) On Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 the Summit County OVI Task Force conducted two sobriety checkpoints in Boston Township.

The first checkpoint was conducted at 5162 Akron-Cleveland:

407- Vehicles passed through the checkpoint in total
24- Vehicles were directed into the diversion area for further investigation or violations
01- Person was arrested for OVI
01- Person was arrested for driving under suspension
01- Person was cited for operating a motor vehicle without a license
01- Person was arrested for riding a motorcycle without an endorsement
02- People were cited for riding outside their novice motorcycle license restrictions

The individual arrested for OVI attempted to drive the checkpoint, failing to heed officer’s commands to stop. Once stopped the driver was determined to be impaired and had two minor children in the vehicle at the time of arrest. The driver refused to provide a breath sample and was charged with OVI, failure to comply with the lawful order of a traffic officer and child endangering.

The second checkpoint was conducted at 2307 Everett Road:

521- Vehicles passed through the checkpoint in total
15- Vehicles were directed into the diversion area for further investigation or violations
01- Person was cited for Public Indecency for urinating in public

The OVI Task Force is pleased to announce no arrests for OVI were made at the second checkpoint. Although there were those who had been drinking… they had planned ahead and arranged other transportation.

Sunday, 24 May 2015 18:24

Calm In Akron After Brelo Verdict

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Akron police say it's better to be safe than sorry as they stood prepared for protests stemming from a high profile murder trial in Cleveland.

On Saturday, a judge found Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo not guilty in the murders of two unarmed people and not guilty on lesser charges of felonious assault.

Nearly 200 people reacted to the verdict by demonstrating peacefully by walking the streets of downtown Cleveland and nearby neighborhoods. Although most of the protests were peaceful, 71 people were arrested.

Akron police have been monitoring the verdict in Cleveland and possible fallout from members of the Akron community. 

Akron police Captain Dan Zampelli said the department worked with other governmental agencies and community organizations to prepare for potential protests in the Akron area.

"As a good agency you want to plan for that possibility so that you are not unprepared when and if the time comes," Captain Zampelli said about potential unrest in Akron.  

He said the Front Porch Church, Mount Zion Church and Mount Calvary Baptist Church opened their doors for people to talk and share their opinions.

Captain Zampelli said considering the national implications of a case of this magnitude, communities need to have their voices heard even if it's by the means of a protest.

"Communities need an opportunity to vent their concerns," Captain Zampelli noted. "It's a right for every person in the United States to protest peacefully."

There were no Brelo verdict related activities in Akron and no protest took place like anticipated, Captain Zampelli said.

Friday, 22 May 2015 16:21

LoveTheWall Is A Go

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Akron area Internet users apparently did "#LoveTheWall".

The Kickstarter campaign to raise $14,000 - to redecorate an unsightly wall on South Broadway Street heading into downtown Akron - has officially met its goal before tonight's deadline. Though the Knight Foundation offered a matching backup, the campaign crossed the finish line anyway.

Pete Nitsch, part of Downtown Akron Partnership's Emerging Leaders young professionals group which started the campaign, says that they can start spreading that wall love.

"We're gonna move forward with this project, it's the main southern entry point to downtown," Nitsch "and we're gonna put a big colorful mural there, and we're gonna work in some really cool mirrored stainless steel, and it's going to be beautiful."

Nitsch [says they'll start organizing next week, and hope to have the wall completely redone by July.

He says South Broadway between the METRO Transit Center and the Depot apartment complex sees about 10,000 cars a day, and it's important as a first impression for those coming into downtown.

Community members and radio industry continue to reflect on the life and legacy of Chuck Collins, who passed away late Thursday at the age of 62 following a long battle with brain cancer.

While many across Northeast Ohio remember Chuck as a radio personality, those who knew him personally through his community service reflect on his warm heart, open acceptance of people. The Collins legacy most notably on WKDD and WAKR in Akron was found in his embrace of the community; in particular his mentoring of those battling alcoholism and substance abuse but also his work supporting the Akron Symphony Orchestra; where "Gospel Meets Symphony" also ranked high on his list of annual "to do" appearances.

The service was more than complying with a directive to be involved in the community; Chuck Collins was proud of doing the right thing by his community service, and supporting efforts to address the challenges found in Greater Akron as well as celebrating the best the community offered. 

Don Finn, Executive Director of the Interval Brotherhood Home, talked about Chuck's time as a board member there. He said Chuck was able to use his own struggle with addiction to benefit others who were going through the same thing.

One of the people who benefitted from Chuck's support was Matt Patrick, the former WKDD morning show host who now works at a station in Houston. He said when he hit bottom, Chuck was the first person he called.

Patrick also remembers Chuck as a person of warmth and humanity.

One of Chuck's favorite annual events was the Akron Symphony's "Gospel Meets Symphony" concert, which he emceed for many years. Brenda Justice recalled a moment from the 2014 concert, the last Chuck was able to attend. "He stood up during one particular song, Hallelujah He Is Worthy," Justice said. "I had never seen him do this before. He stood up backstage and he was totally into it, he was clapping."

Dr. Terry Gordon became a close friend of Chuck through their shared experience as authors, and that bond only deepened through Chuck's battle with cancer.

Kevin Mason was the Operations Manager for WAKR and Rubber City Radio Group when Chuck Collins was hired by the company. He remembers a man, and a friend, who wore his heart on his sleeve and was an example of humanity sometimes hard to find in the rough-and-tumble business of radio.

 Rubber City Radio Group VP of Programming Nick Anthony worked with Chuck for many years both at WONE-WQMX-WAKR and at WKDD. He recalled that even after he stepped away from his duties at the Akron Radio Center, he was still interested in what was going on at the stations. "He always would ask me how things were going, how the senior lunch went or how the sports luncheon went." Anthony said. "He really connected with our listeners at WAKR."

WKDD morning show host and program director Keith Kennedy was one of Chuck's closest friends. He recalled Chuck's loving nature. "He loved everybody that he came in contact with," Kennedy said. "And it was the most genuine thing I've ever seen."

 

Friday, 22 May 2015 05:47

VIDEO Remembering Chuck

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We mourn the loss of Chuck Collins, who passed away last night following a courageous battle with brain cancer. He was 62.While today our hearts are heavy, as we look back we celebrate a remarkable individual, colleague and friend. He truly stood as a brother to all.

During one of his visits to WAKR in June 2013, Chuck spoke about his experiences following his first surgery for the cancer and in typical fashion found humor and grace in a situation few others would. A TV crew from NewsChannel 5 was in the studio with him.

 

In addition to his success as a broadcaster working on WWWE and M105 in Cleveland, and then WKDD in Akron before joining WAKR-WONE-WQMX, Chuck was also an author specializing in mysteries. His most personal writing, however, came in a digest of his emotions and thoughts in "Robbing Mind" which helped serve as a diary of his experiences as a cancer patient. Amazon.com has electronic editions of the book at this link

Statement from RCRG President and General Manager Thom Mandel:

"Chuck Collins joined our Rubber City Radio Group family about 15-years ago. It's pretty incredible that we didn't know each other sooner. Yes, he had worked across town, at another radio station, and I knew who he was by then. But, as we got to know one another, we discovered a lot of common experience.

ThomChuckWhen I was at WKSW (now WGAR), he was nearby, at M-105 (now Majic 105.7). We both grew up in near east side suburbs of Cleveland. Today, we would call them inner ring suburbs. He, Warrensville Heights. Me, Shaker. As we compared notes, we discovered that we both had been to many of the same concerts at the old Musicarnival. A cool old tent, near Thistledown Race Track, that was one of Cleveland's early rock concert venues. We should have run across each other, but we never did. So, we finally met around 2000, when Chuck joined WAKR. He embraced the oldies music we played at that time, and even convinced one of the jingle companies to re-license the jingles WAKR once used in the 1960s, so we could make the station sound like it did when those records were all new.

Chuck became WAKR's most popular DJ.Chuck embraced new technologies, and was one of our key players in developing the company's corporate social media style. He became our staff photographer. Whenever a new project came along, Chuck raised his hand and said: "Let me do it!"Chuck retired from the station a bit over a year ago. It was important that he use the time he had left to take care of Chuck. And so, he did that. He kept in touch, though, and was always asking what was going on, and could he help. I last saw him at the hospital, when he was briefly hospitalized. What's going on at the station? He wanted to know. He still wanted to be of help.

Chuck will be remembered fondly by everyone who ever knew him. It was impossible not to like him. He was kind. He was loyal. He was intelligent. He was funny. He was a good friend." 

God bless Chuck, his beloved Monika and family. Arrangements are forthcoming.

Thursday, 21 May 2015 18:03

Akron Heroin Suppliers Get Prison Terms

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Two Akron men will spend years in prison for their role in funneling heroin to Akron and Ravenna from Chicago, and for using illegal guns.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Northern Ohio says 30 year-old Rashid Carter got a 15 year prison sentence, and 40 year-old Laverne Fortson got a 9 year prison sentence.

U.S. Attorney Steve Dettlebach says the men used guns to "protect their pipeline of heroin, and used drug houses to spread that heroin throughout Akron."

Prosecutors say Carter and Fortson got heroin shipments in 2013 and 2014, then supplied a number of Akron area dealers.

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(U.S. Attorney's Office Northern Ohio, news release) Two Akron men were sentenced to prison for their roles in a conspiracy that brought heroin from Chicago to be sold around Ravenna and Akron, law enforcement officials said.

Rashid Carter, 30 was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Laverne Fortson, 40, was sentenced to nine years in prison.

"These two used guns to protect their pipeline of heroin, and used drug houses to spread that heroin throughout Akron," said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

"ATF's primary mission is to reduce violent crime," said Donald Soranno, Special Agent in Charge for ATF's Columbus Field Division. "The sentencing of these individuals, who brought guns and drugs into their community, sends the strong message that ATF, with our federal, state, and local partners, will not accept violence as the status quo."

"These individuals collaborated to deliver poison to our streets and we collaborated to bring them to jail," said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Cleveland office. "This case was another outstanding example of what can be accomplished when local, state and federal agencies work together to protect our community."

Fortson and Carter received heroin shipments in 2013 and 2014. In turn, they provided the heroin to another dealer distribution in and around Akron and Ravenna, according to court documents.

Carter also purchased heroin from a supplier in the Chicago area for distribution in and around Akron. He and Fortson supplied heroin to several dealers in Akron, some of whom in turn distributed the drug to other dealers. Carter played a role in transporting the heroin and drug proceeds between Chicago and Akron. Fortson provided cash to facilitate the Chicago drug transactions, according to court documents.

Fortson and Carter owned and rented properties in Akron that they used to store, process, and distribute heroin, according to court documents.

It was part of the conspiracy that Fortson and Carter illegally use firearms to protect themselves and their drug proceeds, according to court documents.

Carter illegally possessed a Firestar, .45-caliber pistol, a Taurus, model 85, .38 special revolver and ammunition on June 6, 2014, despite previous convictions for possession of cocaine in Portage County and failure to comply with a police officer in Summit County.

Fortson illegally possessed a Harrington and Richardson 16-gauge shotgun and ammunition on June 18, 2014, despite a previous conviction for aggravated trafficking in Portage County.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Summit County Drug Unit, the Akron Police Department and the Portage County Drug Unit, with assistance from the U.S. Marshal's Service, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Portage County Prosecutor's Office. The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David M. Toepfer and M. Kendra Klump.

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