It's no surprise to Summit County's consumer watchdogs that the home improvement field netted the most complaints in 2012.
The Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs says home improvement complaints topped the agency's top 10 list for last year, ahead of such topics as magazines, telemarketers and foreclosure prevention.
Director Cynthia Sich says the agency got 84 complaints last year in the category.
"The contractor that they hired starts the job, but never finishes the job," Sich tells AkronNewsNow.com, "or if he or she does the job, very poor workmanship. So, that you end up paying for something that wasn't worth what you got to begin with."
Sich says after a complaint comes in, an investigator looks into it.
"We collect all the documents that are available," Sich says, "then, we turn around and contract the supplier and provide him a copy of what you've complained of...you, the consumer".
Sich says that mediation and intervention gets resoluts.
The office says it got nearly 16-thousand dollars of adjustments or refunds for consumers in Summit County last year.
The top 10 consumer complaint categories in 2012 by the Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs:
1. Home Improvements (84, including furnace or a/c replacement, tree trimming)
2. Magazines (33)
3. Telemarketing (21)
4. Foreclosure Prevention, Mortgage Problems (16)
5. Motor Vehicles (11, includes sale new or use vehicles and repairs)
6. Debt Collection, Credit (9)
7. Health Care Products (8)
8. Furniture, Home Furnishing (6)
9. General Services (6)
10. Alarms, Home Security, Locks (3)
With the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational just a couple months away, 2011 champion Adam Scott is getting himself ready to defend his title at the Firestone Country Club South Course.
In a conference call with the media, Scott says last year's victory was one of the memorable moments in his career.
"It was certainly one of the biggest wins of my career, and it's something I'll remember for a long time."
Last year the Australia native beat Luke Donald and Rickie Fowler earning his first World Golf Championship win since turning pro in 2000.
Scott says playing in the WGC against a tough field with the likes of Tiger Woods and others is a great challenge and thrill for him as a competitor.
It's a great concept with the World Golf Championships to bring in the best players from around the world," Scott says.
"We only get to play all of the best players only a few times a year,so this is truly a great experience."
The 31-year old was in Northeast Ohio Wednesday for the First Tee of Cleveland program at Cleveland Browns Stadium to help local charities.
He will then travel to Dublin, Ohio for the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club from May 30- June3.
Scott by his own admission has had an up and down year so far on the links, but he says now is as good a time as any to fine-tune his game in preperation for the Bridgestone Invitational.
"It's a great time of year to start playing well and I'd like to build up my confidence throughout the summer and be able to defend my Bridgestone Invitational title."
This year's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be held on Firestone's South Course August 1-5.
Last year's event generated over $870,000 that was distributed to charities throughout the Northeast Ohio area.
More Ohio workers will notice the bump in minimum wages earned than in any other state this year.
Those earning a minimum wage in the state, will see an additional 30 cents bringing the hourly wage to $7.70.
The National Employment Law Project is a non-profit organization that anaylzes the impact on minimum wage workers in the United States. The latest research from the organization shows that close to 347,000 low-wage workers will benefit from this increase.
What does this mean for paychecks? An added $624 each year in wages on average.
Washington, DC – On January 1st, Ohio’s minimum wage will increase 30 cents to $7.70 an hour, raising wages for 347,000 low-wage workers in the state. Ohio’s minimum wage increase means an extra $624 per year in wages for a full-time minimum wage worker. The increase is the result of a state constitutional amendment approved by Ohio voters in 2006 that provides for annual rate adjustments that keep pace with the rising cost of living. Ohio is joined by seven states— Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Vermont—that will also raise state minimum wage rates on New Year’s Day, boosting wages for more than 1.4 million workers nationwide. More Ohio workers will be directly affected by this increase than in any of the other states seeing a boost this week.
The increased consumer spending generated by the raises will lead to an additional $366 million in GDP and create the equivalent of more than 3,000 full-time jobs, according to an analysisby the Economic Policy Institute released locally by Policy Matters Ohio. While weak consumer demand is holding back business expansion, raising the minimum wage puts more money in the pockets of low-wage workers who have little choice but to spend that money immediately on goods and services.
The National Employment Law Project hailed the upcoming increases for spurring recovery for families and the economy and called on Congress to follow suit.“These minimum wage increases represent bright spots on an otherwise bleak economic horizon,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project. “Workers’ buying power is the secret weapon in the fight to get our economy back on track. Ohio is taking action to protect that critical buying power. Congress should follow Ohio’s example to realize these benefits for the national economy.”
An estimated 291,000 workers in Ohio will be directly impacted as the new minimum wage rate will exceed their current hourly pay, and 56,000 more will see a raise as pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage, according to an analysis of government data by the Economic Policy Institute. Seventy-three percent of these low-wage workers are over age 20; 71 percent work 20 hours per week or more. [See chartfor complete demographic breakdown.]
Strengthening the buying power of low-wage workers is especially critical in the current economic climate. A recent NELP studyfinds that the majority of new jobs created in the wake of the recession are in low- and mid-wage occupations. And while the share of the workforce comprised of low-paid workers is growing, the wages for this group are declining: workers in lower-wage occupations (with median wages under $13.52) have seen a 2.3 percent decline in real wages since the recession began. The proliferation of lower-wage jobs in the economy means the impact of the minimum wage will be even greater in setting wage scales for growing industries in which millions of workers will spend their careers. Wages and salaries are now the lowest share of GDP since 1955, while corporate profits are the largest share of GDP since 1950.
“The increase in the minimum wage will help Ohio’s lowest wage workers have a bit more in their pockets, which will in turn boost Ohio’s struggling economy,” said Amy Hanauer, executive director of Policy Matters Ohio, which released the EPI analysis in Ohio. “Although it’s a modest change, this small boost is in the right direction for Ohio workers, Ohio communities and the Ohio economy.”
Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia have minimum wage rates above the federal level of $7.25 per hour, which is just over $15,000 per year for a full-time minimum wage earner. Unlike the federal rate – which loses value every year it is not increased by an act of Congress – 10 states increase their minimum wage rates annually to ensure that real wages for the lowest-paid workers do not fall even further behind: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Nevada indexes its minimum wage in July; Missouri announced that the state minimum wage remains below the federal minimum wage, and that the federal rate will continue to apply this year.
A large body of research shows that raising the minimum wage effectively boosts low-wage workers’ incomes without reducing the number of low-wage jobs or hours. A groundbreaking 1994 studyby David Card and Alan Krueger, who now heads President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, found that an increase in New Jersey’s minimum wage did not reduce employment among fast-food restaurants. These findings have been confirmed by 15 years of economic research, including a 2010 study, published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, which found that minimum wage increases did not cost jobs. Another recent study, published in April 2011 in the journal Industrial Relations found that even during times of high unemployment, minimum wage increases did not lead to job loss.
The following data reflect the impact of the 30 cent increase in the Ohio minimum wage to $7.70 an hour on January 1, 2012. Source: Economic Policy Institute analysis of Current Population Survey data.
Estimated total number of Ohio workers affected by increase: 347,000
Directly affected workers: 291,000
Indirectly affected workers: 56,000
Percentage of total Ohio workers: 7.2%
Characteristics of those Affected by Increase
Percentage over age 20 years of age: 72.9%
Percentage working 20 hours per week or more: 71.4%
The table below lists the following: states with increases; amount of increase; the new wage on January 1, 2012 wage; and increase in annual earnings for a full-time worker:
Arizona $0.30; $7.65; $624
Colorado, $0.28; $7.64; $582
Florida, $0.36; $7.67; $749
Montana, $0.30, $7.65; $624
Ohio, $0.30; $7.70; $624
Oregon, $0.30; $8.80; $624
Washington, $0.37; $9.04; $770
Vermont, $0.31; $8.46; $645
Policy Matters Ohio is a non-profit, non-partisan policy research institute dedicated to a more prosperous, equitable, sustainable and inclusive Ohio, online at policymattersohio.org.
The National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers, online at nelp
From two possible challengers to unopposed in the March primary.
That's the situation for 17th district congressman Tim Ryan, who is running in the newly reconfigured 13th district.
Two expected Democratic challengers won't appear on the ballot against Ryan, despite filing for the earlier December 7th deadline.
"The December 7th filings were null and void," Summit County elections board president Ron Koehler tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and we received word from one of (the potential candidates) that they were not going to refile, and the other one just did not refile."
The two non-filing candidates were John Stephen Luchansky of Boardman and Lisa Regula of Kent.
The deadline changed due to the passage of House Bill 389 in Columbus. That law, signed by Governor John Kasich set Ohio's only primary date for March 6th...and Koehler says candidates had to refile their petitions after that law took effect.
Republican Marisha Agana [[ mar-ISH-uh ah-GONE-uh]] of Warren did file, and as the only Republican candidate, she'll face Ryan in December.
As the new year is fast approaching, Akron City Council will be taking a new shape as four new members were introduced Monday night.
Donnie Kammer (Ward 7), Marilyn Keith (Ward 8), Bob Hoch (Ward 6), and Garry Moneypenny (Ward 10) will be representing Akron in 2012.
In addition, incumbents Jim Hurley III, Bruce Kilby, Russel Neal Jr, Ken Jones, Mike Freeman and Marco Sommerville were all sworn in as Council Members by Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer.
New Ward 7 representative Donnie Kammer says he plans on focusing on the crime issues within the city.
"Personally, the last few years I've been very vocal on crime prevention, and I want to expand that," he explained.
"I want all of the Council members to branch out, besides going to their monthly ward meetings, create block watches, etc."
Kammer, who has a law enforcement background says that it's important not only for the council members, but the public to get involved when it comes to keeping their cities safe.
Bob Hoch, who will be serving Ward 6, says it will be a team effort to keep Akron going during these tough economic times.
"There's a lot of quality people that work for the city of Akron and by pooling our resources together we can work as best as we possibly can to make this city as efficient as possible."
Hoch said his focus was to make sure the police and fire departments were adequately funded and had the access to state-of-the art equipment to do their job the best they can.
Ward 10 Councilman Garry Moneypenny, who's making his return to Council Chambers says the number 1 priority is bringing jobs to Akron.
"I want to assist in the economic development by bringing jobs to Akron, and helping out our unemployed base locally."
As for Ward 8's Marilyn Keith, she says her approach to Council will be a simple one.
"I'm going to show up fully, I'm going to pay attention, I'm going to tell the truth, and let God have the outcome."
Also, I want to help us keep our heads above water compared to a lot of the other cities around us such as the Youngstowns, the Detroits, the Pittsburghs around us."
Marco Sommerville, who was sworn in as President, said that 2012 will bring some challenges to the new Council body, but says that it's a challenge that they will all embrace.
"We have to work with some tough issues," he says.
"The budget restraints, funding police and fire, crime prevention, and the other things we are facing will be some of the biggest challenges in the history of this city, but I feel we have the right people in place to do what's best in moving the city forward."
Ward 9's Mike Freeman was elected Vice President of City Council, along with At-large councilman Jeff Fusco elected as President Pro-Tem.
The new council's term starts Jan 1 and their first meeting will be held Jan 9, 2012.
The process of finalizing the 2012 Summit County budget got underway Monday night.
The first five of 24 county agencies talked about their appropriations and needs at council's committee meeting. The department of Consumer Affairs, the Human Resources Commission, the Soil and Water Conservation District, the Veterans Services Commission and the Internal Audit department were first up.
"Those offices will come in between now and December 12th, to talk about their budget requests for next year," Brian Nelsen, county director of finance and budget, tells AkronNewsNow, "and also to talk about the operations, the things, the issues they're dealing with, in particular with staffing size and caseloads."
County executive Russ Pry's spending plan totals $488 million - a seven percent drop from last year's $524 million budget.
Though sales taxes are still up, and property conveyance revenues are still strong, Summit County faces reduced state help. It also faces lower property evaluation, like many other governments in Ohio.
"Property values have been reduced, the state government has reduced revenue sharing to political subdivisions," Nelsen says. "How does that affect the day to day operations of the officeholders, and how does that affect the services citizens receive?"
The budget is expected to be approved at the last Summit County Council meeting this year, December 12th.
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