Beer and live music invaded downtown Akron, as the 2015 Blues & Brews Festival kicked off its annual event at Lock 3 on Saturday.

One of the largest beer festivals in Northeast Ohio, the Blues & Brews festival featured over 70 plus breweries, and more than 200 craft beers.

Mike Kelly and his friend John Calvaruso have been attending the Blues & Brews festival for many years now. Kelly said the festival gives him an opportunity to try beer that would normally not be available in Akron.

"What we get to do here is, we get to try a lot of beers, because you get the brewers from not just the local area," Kelley said. "So, you get to try beers you wouldn't have access to here."

John McGroarty is the brew master at The Canton Brewering Company and was one of the many vendors at Lock 3, showcasing its wide variety of beers. McGroarty said Canton is not a beer city, so a festival like this can help them attract more customers.

"This allows us to get our name back out there," McGroarty said. "People can see we are still very traditional, but we also have some pretty cutting edge things."

Tracy Burke attended the festival for the first time. Burke said even though it is an event for beer, she's also able to see some of her good friends.

"Everybody is so friendly. It's fun hearing the music," Burke said. "Akron is just a small town, you come to these kinds of things and see so many people you know and it's a lot of fun."

An Akron man was shot by police, after he shot a man in the forehead, nearly piercing his skull, at a Circle K Saturday morning, police said.

33-year-old Darwain Rouse was treated at an area hospital for injuries after being shot in the ear by an Akron police officer at the Circle K located on Arlington and Wilbeth.

The officer is now on administrative leave, while the shooting is investigated.

Rouse allegedly tried to rob a man at the gas station. After the man refused to cooperate, Rouse went to a car and got a gun. The victim then ran and that's when Rouse shot him in the forehead.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

UPDATE: Akron police are investigating a shootout at a local Circle K gas station early Saturday morning that left one man dead.

 James Creighton Tyler, 27, was found on Peerless Street, several blocks away from the gas station on Copley Rd between Orlando and Roslyn where the shootings occured.

The Beacon Journal reports, more than two dozen shots were fired between a black Chrysler 300 and a 2004 black Infinity.

The police also found Travon Robinson, 21, wounded in the Chrysler. He was taken to an area hospital.

Officals found the Inifity in Richland abandoned about two hours after the shootout.

Police are still trying to determine who was involved and what was behind the shootings.

Previous Coverage

Akron police still trying to piece together what happened early this morning at the Circle K on Copley Road between Orlando and Roslyn with one man dead by gunfire.

The body is at the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office with no ID at this time; Northeast Ohio Media Group reports a vehicle remains parked at the convenience store with police markers at homes next to the Circle K.

 

Saturday, 01 August 2015 10:42

Massillon Woman Dead In Turnpike Pileup

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An Ohio Turnpike wreck near Austintown killed a Massillon woman and left eight others injured Friday.

Six vehicles were involved in the pile-up according to Channel 3 News. All were heading westbound near the I-76 split. Dead is 44-year old Stacey Gardner, of Massillon. She was a passenger in the car. Her husband Michael is in serious condition after being life-flighted to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. Two children in the vehicle with them were treated for minor injuries.

The mini-van the Gardners were in was pinned against a retaining wall underneath a trailer another vehicle was pulling near a bridge; the Dodge Caravan was in flames when police arrived just before 3:00 Friday afternoon.

Other drivers and passengers in the remaining vehicles were from Philadelphia, Warren and British Columbia, Canada. Traffic on the Turnpike was shut down for eight hours.

One phase of budget cuts at the University of Akron is over, at least as far as a statement from University President Dr. Scott Scarborough is concerned. He acknowledges the pain caused but has noted the situation was dire with a massive $60 million dollar defecit first identified. The furor over belt-tightening, however, is getting more fuel to the fire over costs renovating the President's residence.

By contract, the University President is required to live in the home at 465 Burning Tree Drive, purchased in 1999 at a cost of $850,000 in a neighborhood marked by large homes and wealthy neighbors. The University maintained the home needed repairs and renovations left behind after Dr. Luis Proenza's departure after 15 years in the home, and also cited allergies suffered by Scarborough's family that prevented them from fully moving in. The family had been staying at a local hotel at a reported cost of $25,000 while repairs and renovations were being made. The Scarborough's moved into the home in January, according to the report.

The family provided their own furniture for their living quarters on the second floor of the home; the first floor is used for entertaining and meetings and more public use.

The new report from Northeast Ohio Media Group shows the costs of repairing the home -- with a property valuation now listed at just over $733,000 dollars -- is actually $950,000, more than the home is worth. The report notes some of the work includes renovations and repairs from University of Akron construction employees who were part of layoffs proposed by the Administration and approved by the Board of Trustees earlier this week in decisions that sidelined 161 employees and abolished 213 positions from the University's budget.  

Among the items going into renovations: a modernized first floor bathroom at a cost of $40,000 and more than $141.000 for furnishings and decorations including window treatments.

In contrast, a report by student media at Kent State University in November 2014 compared the various perks other colleges and universities provided their Presidents. Kent State's Beverly Warren lives in a home built by her predecessor, Dr. Lester Lefton, and KSU pays an annual lease of $56,000 annually on a deal extending to 2033. Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel, who was a finalist for the Akron job but criticized by faculty for not having a doctorate, lives in Pollock House, an 1863 mansion gifted to the University in 1950. 

Source: Google Maps

 

 

Saturday, 01 August 2015 09:10

Welcome Back The Champions!

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The field looks set at 75 with golfers returning to the South Course at Firestone Country Club for the World Golf Championships, but shy a stunning finish this weekend at the Quicken Loans National we won't see Tiger Woods prowling a course he's owned.

Then again, at the start of Round 3 today Woods was only three shots off the leader. He needs a win to qualify for next week's play and the fact he's still in contention in Gainesville, Virginia is a plus.

FOLLOW the leaders from PGATour.com

The fun begins with practice rounds as early as Monday with Wednesday set for charity while match play runs Thursday through Sunday. 1590 WAKR coverage includes live broadcasts Wednesday of The Jasen Sokol Show (10a-2p) and both The Sam Bourquin Show (2p-5p) and The Average Sports Show with Brad Russell (5p-8p) on Thursday and Friday. WAKR will have hourly updates from the course Thursday through Sunday during match play.

- - -

The 2015 WGC Bridgestone Invitational Field

Byeong-Hun An
Sangmoon Bae
Thomas Bjorn
Steven Bowditch
Keegan Bradley
Paul Casey
Nick Cullen
Jason Day
Andrew Dodt
Jamie Donaldson
Victor Dubuisson
Matt Every
Rickie Fowler
Jim Furyk
Stephen Gallacher
Sergio Garcia
Fabian Gomez
Branden Grace
Bill Haas
James Hahn
Padraig Harrington
Russell Henley
Charley Hoffman
J.B. Holmes
Billy Horschel
Mikko Ilonen
Thongchai Jaidee
Dustin Johnson
Zach Johnson
Martin Kaymer
Kevin Kisner
Soren Kjeldsen
Brooks Koepka
Matt Kuchar
Anirban Lahiri
Pablo Larrazabal
Danny Lee
Marc Leishman
WC Liang
David Lingmerth
David Lipsky
Shane Lowry
Joost Luiten
Hunter Mahan
Ben Martin
Hideki Matsuyama
Graeme McDowell
Phil Mickelson
Francesco Molinari
Ryan Moore
Kevin Na
Koumei Oda
Louis Oosthuizen
Ryan Palmer
Ian Poulter
Patrick Reed
Justin Rose
Charl Schwartzel
Adam Scott
Marcel Siem
Webb Simpson
Brandt Snedeker
Jordan Spieth
Gary Stal
Henrik Stenson
Robert Streb
Brendon Todd
Camilo Villegas
Jimmy Walker
Bubba Watson
Lee Westwood
Bernd Wiesberger
Danny Willett
Oliver Wilson
Gary Woodland

World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational


 

Saturday, 01 August 2015 07:39

Two Fatals Start Weekend

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Two fatals to mark the start of the weekend on the highways.

A 21-year old woman killed when the car she was a passenger in went off-road into a ravine and hit a tree on Canyon Brook Drive in Cuyahoga Falls; police think alcohol was a factor with a 22-year old driver also injured. No names released at this point. The driver was transported to Akron General.

Police say the 2011 Kia Soul went off the right-hand berm and slid sideways.

In Sandy Township, Stark County, a 40-year old Beloit man was killed when his Ford Ranger bounced off a Kenworth semi-truck and hit a tree. Bryan Baker was pronounced dead at the scene last night. The accident happened around 9:30 Friday night on State Route 43 near the intersection of Indian Run.

The driver was not injured; both were wearing seat belts.

Saturday, 01 August 2015 07:18

Akron Touts New Algae Testing

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That time of year and algae blooms are spreading green across the western basin on Lake Erie -- but Akron says it's developing tests for our drinking water supply to identify threats in Lake Rockwell by reviewing the DNA of the algae's toxins.

Last year Toledo area water systems were under a "do not drink" advisory due to the blooms. Akron is the first system in the country to use the test for water treatment.

- - -

(City of Akron) Furthering international relationships developed during the Akron Global Water Alliance (AGWA) International Algal Toxin Conference, a two day conference that was hosted by Akron in April of 2015, The City of Akron Water Bureau has recently partnered with an Australian company, Diagnostic Technology.

This partnership has been developed to test a product at Lake Rockwell Reservoir, the drinking water supply for the nearly 300,000 residents of the City of Akron and surrounding neighborhoods, which looks at the genetic makeup of potentially harmful algal blooms (HAB).

This product, called Phytoxigene (http://www.phytoxigene.com), uses DNA analysis to determine if the algae present in the lake has the genetic ability to create the harmful toxins that caused a Do Not Drink advisory for drinking water to be issued for two days to nearly 500,000 people in the Toledo area. 

The City of Akron will be the first water system in the United States to use Phytoxigene as a prescreening tool to help make decisions for reservoir management and water treatment.

Knowing ahead of time if the algae in the lake poses the threat to create toxins gives the leadership team at Akron Water Supply the time and confidence to make decisions to prevent harmful algal blooms and to prevent toxins from contaminating the drinking water.

Akron Mayor Jeff Fusco said “This is another example of Akron’s continued efforts to capitalize
on global opportunities to take advantage of the latest technology to improve Akron’s water
quality.”

Friday, 31 July 2015 05:32

Who -- Or What -- Is Trust Navigator?

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As the University of Akron eliminated more than 213 jobs this week including over 50 jobs in its Department of Student Success, board of trustees also approved a move to spend $843,000 on a company that would provide "success coaches" for students.

But details on the company delivering those "coaches" remains limited with the exception of a single article on the website FreshWaterCleveland.com published last month or the company's own website. Trust Navigator searches respond with links directly to the company's website or background on some of the key staff listed by the company.

On Monday, board of trustees approved plans to enter an agreement with Trust Navigator, LLC, a not-for-profit organization based out of Mayfield Heights, to provide coaches to work "closely with this fall’s incoming freshman class." The package of layoffs approved by Trustees included deep cuts in the existing "student success" bureaucracy at the University.

According to Trust Navigator's website, the coaches are "assigned to a student until graduation" focusing on "academic success and retention." While those goals are in line with UA's mission to focus on student success, there is little known about Trust Navigator's prior clients or experience in the educational field. In examining the Trust Navigator website there are no references to existing clients or events. WAKR.net reached out to UA officials for comment, but our request was acknowledged by a University spokesperson who noted key individuals who could answer any inquiry were on vacation and would not be available until next week. WAKR has requested copies of documents presented to the University of Akron Board of Trustees outlining the student success agreement and the contact between the firm and University as well as other documents which may provide other information about Trust Navigator's experience.

TrustNavigatorPostcardTrust Navigator's website does include some information regarding the past experience of those directly involved in the organization, including Trust Navigator's Chief Ambassador, Tom Roulston. He's listed as the “ideas man” behind the company with "30 years of entrepreneurial experience." Roulston currently runs two companies, Roulston Buyside Research and Thomas Roulston Investment Partners.

Rob Reho, Chief Operations Ambassador, has more than 32 years of "experience in marketing and operations management." According to the company's website, Reho graduated from the University of Akron with a bachelor’s degree in Business and Organizational Communications and completed his MBA at Kent State University. He serves as the interim General Manager for Flohr Machine and is the owner of Executive Marketing Plus.Reho returned our calls but was unable to provide additional information, explaining he was also on vacation this week but would be in a position to provide more background next week.

In the position of Communications and Curriculum Ambassador, the first staffer recognized on the website, Grace Roulston, is listed as a graduate from Ohio University with a Major in Communications and a Minor in Film Studies. According to the website, she worked in marketing for Save Local Now, a startup company where she gained "experience working with entrepreneurs and getting to learn about a variety of small businesses." The website was revised Thursday afternoon to list Anna Zeller instead of Roulston in the position of "Chief Envoy Ambassador" with a qualification listing her college career at Allegheny College and the University of Akron where she also played on the women's soccer team. A graduate Summa Cum Laude with a Major in History and a Minor in Art history, Zeller "...accepted the opportunity to work at Trust Navigator and help other college students maximize their educational experience' according to the website.

Details in regards to Trust Navigator's history is limited, but a quick search revealed that in a 2005 revised disclosure form, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) listed Trust Navigator, LLC as an investment adviser --- but is now listed as "NOT currently registered and is NOT filing reports with the SEC or any state." Kenneth A. Louard, former director of operations and chief counsel with the Cleveland Browns, and Tom Roulston were listed in the SEC filing as managing partners.

Louard is currently the director of business development at Grain Management, LLC in Sarasota, Florida.WAKR.net searched for more information on Louard; there were three LinkedIn profiles for a Ken or Kenneth Louard and all appear to be of the same person with business interests in northeast Ohio and affiliation with an investment and equity firm in Sarasota, Florida. In one, the Harvard Business School educated Louard is listed as the owner of Trust Navigator, LLC. A more comprehensive listing shows Louard as a Director of Grain Management LLC of Sarasota since August 2012. Grain Management is listed as a private equity firm specializing in media and communications sectors with two flagship funds managing "...a number of the country’s leading academic institutions, endowments, and public pension funds." Louard's LinkedIn resume also includes more than seven years with the Cleveland Browns serving as Director of Operations and Chief Counsel and as partner for more than three years with the Cleveland-based law firm of Gonzalez, Saggio and Harlan.

Earnings at Akron-based FirstEnergy nearly tripled in the second quarter over last year, according to its earnings report.

The increase was from 64-million dollars in last year's second quarter to 187-million dollars in the second quarter of 2015.

In a news release, FirstEnergy president/CEO Charles Jones says the results exceed the company's expectations.

Jones cited the company's Cash Flow Improvement project, which are expected to result in cash savings of 240-million dollars by 2017...higher than FirstEnergy had expected.

(FirstEnergy, news release) FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) today reported second quarter 2015 operating (non-GAAP) earnings* of $0.53 per basic share of common stock. These results exclude the impact of the special items listed below, and compare to 2014 second quarter operating (non-GAAP) earnings of $0.49 per basic share of common stock.

GAAP earnings for the second quarter of 2015 were $187 million, or $0.44 per basic and diluted share of common stock, on revenue of $3.5 billion. For the second quarter of 2014, GAAP earnings were $64 million, or $0.16 per basic share of common stock ($0.15 diluted), on revenue of $3.5 billion.

FirstEnergy also reaffirmed its full-year 2015 operating (non-GAAP) earnings guidance of $2.40 to $2.70 per basic share, and provided a third quarter 2015 operating earnings guidance range of $0.82 to $0.92 per basic share.

"Our strong second quarter results are better than our expectations, and at this time we are comfortable at the top end of our 2015 guidance range," said Charles E. Jones, FirstEnergy president and chief executive officer. "We remain focused on implementing our regulated growth initiatives and our Cash Flow Improvement Project, which was launched in April. I'm pleased that the opportunities we have identified as part of that project are expected to result in cash savings of $240 million by 2017, exceeding our original targets."

In FirstEnergy's Regulated Distribution business, second quarter 2015 operating earnings were flat compared to the same period in 2014, as the benefit of higher distribution revenues and the impact of approved rate cases, net of incremental expenses, were offset by higher regulated generation operating expenses and a higher effective income tax rate.

Total second quarter distribution deliveries decreased less than 1 percent compared to the second quarter of 2014, primarily reflecting lower usage by customers resulting, in part, from energy efficiency mandates. Commercial deliveries increased 1 percent, while sales decreased 1 percent in both the residential and industrial sectors.

In the Regulated Transmission business, second quarter 2015 operating earnings increased due to higher transmission revenues related to the company's Energizing the Future transmission program, and incremental rate base recovery at ATSI associated with its "forward-looking" rate structure that began in January 2015. This was slightly offset by increased depreciation and property taxes resulting from a higher asset base as well as increased interest expense.

Operating earnings in the company's Competitive Energy Services segment increased compared to the second quarter of 2014 as a result of lower operating expenses and slightly higher commodity margin. Commodity margin benefited primarily from higher capacity revenues and increased wholesale sales, partially offset by lower contract sales, which decreased 8.1 million megawatt hours, consistent with the company's efforts to reposition its retail sales portfolio.

Operating (non-GAAP) earnings in the first half of 2015 were $1.15 per basic share of common stock. On a GAAP basis, the company reported earnings of $409 million, or $0.97 per basic and diluted share of common stock, on revenue of $7.4 billion for the period. In the first half of 2014, operating (non-GAAP) earnings were $0.87 per basic share of common stock, and GAAP earnings were $272 million, or $0.65 per basic and diluted share of common stock, on revenue of $7.7 billion.

Operating earnings drivers in the first half of the year include stronger results from the company's Regulated Transmission business primarily due to incremental cost of service and rate base recovery at ATSI, and higher commodity margin at Competitive Energy Services due to higher capacity revenue and the absence of extreme market conditions experienced in January 2014 that increased the cost to serve contract sales. Operating results at the company's Regulated Distribution business were flat, as higher sales and the impact of approved rate cases were offset by increased operating expenses. Additionally, the first half of 2015 was impacted by a higher effective tax rate as compared to the same period in 2014.

Consolidated GAAP EPS to Operating (Non-GAAP) EPS* Reconciliation

Second Quarter

Year-To-Date

2015 Estimates

2015

2014

2015

2014

Full Year

Third Quarter

Basic Earnings Per Share (GAAP)

$0.44

$0.16

$0.97

$0.65

$2.13 - $2.43

$0.76 - $0.86

Excluding Special Items*:

Mark-to-market adjustments

(0.01)

0.10

(0.01)

0.07

(0.01)

Regulatory charges

0.02

0.02

0.04

0.03

0.07

0.02

Trust securities impairment

0.02

0.03

0.01

0.03

Impact of non-core asset sales/impairments

0.02

0.01

0.03

(0.17)

0.04

0.01

Plant deactivation costs

0.01

0.12

0.03

0.17

0.03

Merger accounting – commodity contracts

0.02

0.01

0.04

0.03

0.07

0.02

Retail repositioning charges

0.01

0.07

0.02

0.07

0.04

0.01

Loss on debt redemptions

0.01

Total Special Items*

0.09

0.33

0.18

0.22

0.27

0.06

Basic EPS - Operating (Non-GAAP)

$0.53

$0.49

$1.15

$0.87

$2.40 - $2.70

$0.82 - $0.92

Non-GAAP financial measures
*Operating earnings exclude special items as described herein, and is a non-GAAP financial measure. Management uses operating earnings and operating earnings by segment to evaluate the company's performance and manage its operations and frequently references these non-GAAP financial measures in its decision making, using them to facilitate historical and ongoing performance comparisons. Management believes that the non-GAAP financial measure of "operating earnings" provides a consistent and comparable measure of performance of its business to help shareholders understand performance trends. Generally, a non-GAAP financial measure is a numerical measure of a company's historical or future financial performance, financial position, or cash flows that either excludes or includes amounts that are not normally excluded or included in the most directly comparable measure calculated and presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP). This non-GAAP financial measure is intended to complement, and is not considered as an alternative to, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure. Also, this non-GAAP financial measure may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other entities. Per share amounts for the special items above are based on the after tax effect of each item divided by the weighted average shares outstanding for the period.

Consolidated Report and Teleconference

FirstEnergy's Consolidated Report to the Financial Community, which provides highlights on company developments and financial results for the second quarter and first half of the year, is posted on the company's Investor Information website – www.firstenergycorp.com/ir. To access the report, click on Second Quarter 2015 Consolidated Report to the Financial Community. The company's investor FactBook is also posted to its Investor Information website.

The company invites investors, customers and other interested parties to listen to a live Internet webcast of its teleconference for financial analysts at 10:00 a.m. EDT tomorrow. FirstEnergy management will present an overview of the company's financial results and discuss 2015 earnings guidance, followed by a question-and-answer session. The teleconference can be accessed on the company's website by selecting the Q2 2015 Earnings Conference Call link. The webcast will be archived on the website.

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