There are some changes in the works at Portage County's Emergency Management Agency.
The county says the Portage County Sheriff's Office will handle emergency management through next Tuesday.
Portage County Commissioner Kathleen Chandler says that a change in the agency has been considered since assistant director John Mason passed away.
"And we've had much deliberation and discussion and an in-depth analysis," Chandler tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and we've decided that we should move in a new direction."
She says though the county has been very happy with the response provided by EMA director Jon Barber, "often the first to arrive and the last to leave", says Chandler, the agency has to do more than respond to emergencies.
"We have to do critical planning, and we have to train people for the emergencies," Chandler tells AkronNewsNow.com. "Budgeting is a big part of it, and also most important perhaps is the collaboration of all political entities and first responders."
Chandler says more details about the new structure of the Portage County Emergency Management Agency will be released next week
Yogi Bear was a brown bear; his cousin Smokey is sometimes portrayed a black bear.
Ohio's seeing plenty of Smokey just ahead of a new bear-sighting season.
Northeast Ohio seems to be a favorite among black bears; ODNR reports Portage County led all 88 Ohio counties with 36 of the reported 224 statewide, with Trumbull County the highest number of confirmed sightings in 2012.
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(Ohio Department of Natural Resources) The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) received 224 sightings reported from an estimated 93 black bears in 2012. Sixty-five of the 224 sightings reported were confirmed by ODNR Division of Wildlife personnel.
The number of total sightings in 2012 increased from 152 in 2011. Five black bears accounted for 62 sightings in 2012, although a majority of these were unconfirmed. The number of confirmed sightings is similar to recent years; 60 were confirmed in 2011 and 64 in 2010.
Twenty-one counties had confirmed sightings in 2012 from an estimated 35 bears. Northeast Ohio had the most sightings: Portage County had the most total sightings (36) and Trumbull County had the highest confirmed sightings (10). Portage County had six confirmed sightings, while Ashtabula, Geauga and Mahoning counties had five each.
There were 39 nuisance reports in 2012, and 17 were confirmed. Nuisance or destructive behavior includes damage to bird feeders, beehives and garbage containers.
Black bears were sighted during every month of 2012, and 80 percent of the sightings were reported from May to September. Three sightings of a sow with cubs were unconfirmed, and two sightings of lone cubs were also unconfirmed.
The black bear is native to Ohio and on the state’s endangered species list. All black bears in Ohio are protected by state law.
Black bears are usually fearful of people. Bears do not attack or kill children or pets as long as the bear is given its space and not cornered. Enjoy bears from a distance. People should remain calm if they see a bear, and they should not approach it. To report observations of black bears, contact the local county wildlife officer, district wildlife office or call 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543). Go to wildohio.com for more information about Ohio’s black bears.
Efforts to monitor black bears in Ohio are supported by the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund, which receives donations through the sale of Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamps, the state income tax checkoff program and the purchase of cardinal license plates. More information is available at wildohio.com.
Black bears were considered extirpated from Ohio in the 1850s. Occasional reports increased into the 1980s, when they were reported annually. The ODNR Division of Wildlife began keeping formal records of observations in 1993. Since that time, bears have been reported in 59 and confirmed in 50 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Brown County, in southwest Ohio, had an unconfirmed sighting for the first time in 2012.
It's only been around for one school year, but the Bio-Med Science Academy is gaining in popularity and recognition.
The school, on the campus of the Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, recently received the formal STEM designation from the state's controlling agency.
STEM (acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) allows for students to participate in extra-curricular activities at the home schools, and means the school does not need a sponsor to operate. Students come from other districts in Portage County.
Bio-Med actually has a special distinction, with an extra M for Medical,
Director Stephanie Lammlein says their teachers and staff work hard to answer the age-old question from students, "When will I ever use this?"
She notes their programs are problem-based and project-based to focus on real-life situations. Lammlein spoke to WAKR's Ray Horner on Monday.
The Academy is only a year old, but there's already a waiting list for students to attend the year-round program. Students can also only apply to join as they enter their freshman year of high school.
There are nearly 20 STEM schools across Ohio.
One of the first thunderstorms of the season that rolled through Northeast Ohio Wednesday night through Thursday morning, left it's mark on the Portage County Regional Airport.
Airport President, John Trew, got a call Thursday morning detailing the aftermath.
"There was debris scattered about the golf course and strewn about, and at that time they had told me we had a hanger collapse on the property" said Trew.
Trew says that the Portage County Building Department has shut down all four of the airport's hangers because they appear to be leaning about five inches off center.
"The hangers were blown completely off the foundation and then there are seven planes. I believe three ultra-light and four prop-planes, single engine" (That could be damaged).
A structural engineer needs to inspect the hangers before any of them can be repaired.
There's also significant clean up required before any plane owners can get to their personal items.
"At this time I don't think it will effect the airport itself as traffic, it's just the interim storage of any other planes if indeed they will need new planes where were going to put them at this time, we only have two hangers that are open" concluded Trew.
A carbon monoxide leak brought a large fire response to a Stow bowling alley...
Firefighters were called to Sto-Kent Lanes late Thursday morning after a report that someone fainted there, and then quickly evacuated the building.
Stow Fire officials say about 85 to 90 people were exposed to carbon monoxide, and say at least 27 people had to be sent to area hospitals. Others were treated at the scene.
NewsChannel 5 reports that all those treated will be OK, though one was taken to a hyperbaric chamber at Akron General Hospital.
Fire departments from nine other nearby communities responded to the situation.
(Earlier ANN coverage) Dozens of people have been taken to the hospital after a bowling Alley in Stow was evacuated due to carbon monoxide.
Channel 3 News reports emergency crews are at the Sto-Kent Bowling Alley were they are checking CO levels.
Further details have not been released.
On the web: WEWS NewsChannel 5, www.newsnet5.com
A woman injured in a Portage County crash nearly two weeks ago has died.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol says Joan Buchert, 76, of Mantua, wrecked her car while driving on State Route 44 on February 28th.
The vehicle struck a mailbox, a ditch, and a tree. Buchert was originally taken to Robinson Memorial Hospital before transferred to Akron City Hospital. She was wearing a seat belt, and the airbags deployed.
Buchert died on Tuesday from her injuries.
Portage County was one of the hot spots for black bear sightings in 2012.
The Ohio Department of Resources says 23 bears accounted for 37 confirmed sightings in the fourteen counties in the Division of Wildlife's District Three.
Six of the sightings were in Portage County, the second most in the district.
Dan McMillen with the Division of Wildlife says that's not normal.
"Portage County was definitely a hot spot last year, and that's not typical," McMillen tells AkronNewsNow.com. "Not that we don't get bears through Portage County, but last year, it was definitely a lot more sightings there than we would have in a normal year, let's say."
McMillen says bear activity varies depending on the weather.
Black bears were spotted last year in Streetsboro and Kent, among other locations in Portage County.
"They were around for a good while," McMillen says, "all the way from Ravenna clear up into mid-Geauga and even, you know, kind of make it clear to the Cuyahoga County line."
Two or three bears are thought to be responsible for most of the sightings in Portage County and Geauga County.
Trumbull County had the most sightings in the region last year with ten.
McMillen says that area sees more bears because the animals are coming over from Pennsylvania to the the Mosquito Lake Reservoir area.
McMillen says if you see a bear - don't feed it. Wildlife officers say that helps domesticate them... something that isn't desired.
Crews are cleaning up a diesel fuel spill after a rollover semi-tanker truck accident near Ravenna.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol says it happened on State Route 5 at State Route 59 at about 6 AM Sunday morning. The patrol says the tanker truck was traveling westbound on Route 5 when it overturned while rounding a curve.
The tanker was carrying about 7,800 gallons of "off road diesel fuel" which has been leaking into a nearby stream. Firefighters have contained the spill area, and no evaucations have been made.
It's not known yet how much of the fuel has spilled.
Patrol dispatchers tell AkronNewsNow.com that westbound traffic is now moving again at the Route 5 - Route 59 intersection, and eastbound traffic is still being detoured.
The driver of the tanker truck was taken to Robinson Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.
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The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal crash along Interstate 76 in Portage County on Saturday afternoon, at a rest area..
Troopers say the crash happened at just after 2 PM Saturday at the eastbound rest area of I-76 in Edinburg Township.
The patrol says 57 year-old Frank Shackelford of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was pinned against another semi-tractor trailer by his own truck, which had been parked behind the other semi and then rolled forward.
The preliminary investigation revealed that the emergency brakes in Shackelford's truck had not been engaged.
The driver of the other truck wasn't injured, and wasn't in his cab at the time of the crash.
The full investigation continues.
Troopers are investigating a fatal crash in Portage County that claimed the life of a 68-year-old man Tuesday afternoon.
The Ravenna Post of the State Highway Patrol reports Dominic A. Bulone, 68, of Garrettsville, was driving on State Route 88 in Nelson Township when he struck a gaurdrail after a deer ran out in front of his car.
Troopers say Bulone was not wearing a seat belt. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
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