Mike Ward has been a radio news reporter and anchor for over 20 years, for a variety of stations in Ohio, Virginia, and California. For seven years, he was a news reporter and anchor for Sacramento's top-rated news/talk station, KFBK, and was also news director for WFIR in Roanoke, Virginia. He's also been heard on Cleveland stations. Mike has a special interest in technology, and was a regular on the nationally syndicated radio show "On Computers with Gina Smith". Despite his out-of-area experience, Mike is an Akron native. He was born at Akron City Hospital, and grew up in Cuyahoga Falls. He's been with AkronNewsNow since 2009. You can reach Mike through the newsroom at 330-864-6397, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The "majority" of runners who signed up for the Towpath Marathon are on board for the race's rescheduled date of November 3rd.
But Tim Donovan, director of Ohio Canal Corridor, says it's understandable if some can't make it - the race was all set to go until the 16-day government shutdown closed Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
"But obviously, given the fact that we had a cloud of uncertainty if you will, that hovered over us for the final three weeks going into race date," Donovan tells AkronNewsNow.com, "which is the time when most people sign up, I'm not surprised by that."
He says even those who had to cancel are supporting the race.
"There have been obviously some people who actually had their vacations planned to come and run our race who won't be able to join us, and we're treating them as they should be treated," Donovan says. "Some of them are deferring to next year, some of them are taking refunds, some are taking partial refunds and giving us a donation."
Donovan says because of last minute signups, he's not sure how many will actually be running next Sunday.
A link to the Towpath Marathon sign up page is on AkronNewsNow.com.
He says runners delivered a clear message after the race was shut down by the government shutdown.
"Don't cancel this race," Donovan says they heard from runners. "Do whatever you can to continue to race. They love it, and the majority of them have stayed with us and we really appreciate that. It was an unfortunate 16 days of shutdown and we hope that never happens again."
Donovan hopes the race will put a positive spotlight on the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
The race's slogan this year is "Can't Shut a Good Run Down".
Hundreds of University of Akron students "made a difference" around the community this weekend.
Students taking part in UA's ninth annual "Make A Difference Day" helped non-profit organizations fix up homes and churches, including helping with cleaning, landscaping and painting.
That's what happened at Redeemer North Hill United Methodist Church...where Bob Gibbons, husband of pastor Rev. Debbie Gibbons, says a special room at the church got special attention.
"It's been probably 10 to 15 years that it's been painted," Gibbons tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and we serve a meal here every Friday for the needy, and so it's great to have a chance to spruce it up."
Freshman Brian Foust, involved in the "Emerging Leaders" program, says giving back comes naturally.
"I've gone on multiple mission trips with my personal church," Foust explained while painting the reception hall at Redeemer, "and I've always had a drive to try to help and give back to people."
Senior Jessica Smith says she was painting, instead of party planning.
"I have a party tonight that I'm actually planning for, but I took out time to come and do this," Smith explains. "Because it's more important."
The two dozen students painting at Redeemer were joined by hundreds of others at other sites all around Akron on Saturday.
Over three million take part in "Make A Difference Day" nationwide.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating two fatal crashes on Saturday, one in Hartville, the other in Holmes County involving a Rittman woman.
The first crash happened at about 12:15 on Saturday afternoon on State Route 83 just north of Millersburg.
The Patrol's Wooster post says 68 year-old Elaine Nelson of Rittman was driving southbound on Route 83 when her vehicle went left of center, striking two cars.
The crash killed 25 year-old Delmer Lainez of Millersburg, and critically injured two year old Kimberly De Alvarado. Those in the other car were not injured.
Later Saturday in Hartville, a two car crash on State Route 43 at just before 10 PM killed a driver.
The Patrol says 24 year-old Mark Conti of Hartville was driving his car south on Route 43 when he went left of center and was struck by another car traveling northbound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The other driver, 21 year-old Anna Miller of Hartville, was sent to a local hospital, and then lifeflighted to Akron City Hospital with injuries.
Both crashes are still under investigation.
A sobriety checkpoint in Stow Saturday night resulted in a single OVI arrest, but a number of others were charged.
The Summit County OVI task force says 580 vehicles passed through two checkpoints at 4571 Kent Road in Stow, and 31 drivers were pulled aside for a closer look.
The driver arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence had a blood alcohol level of .129.
Officers working on the task force also arrested drivers for having open containers of alcohol, and underage consumption of alcohol.
Two were arrested for felony drug trafficking. along with arrests for drug paraphenalia.
A total of eight vehicles were impounded at the OVI checkpoint.
Wadsworth police say there's been a rash of theft from vehicles in the past few days.
Police say that break-ins have particularly happened in the neighborhoods of Highland Avenue, Ohio Avenue, and North Pardee Streets.
Sgt. Melissa Bluebaugh with Wadsworth police says that break-ins usually happen in warmer weather.
"Usually more in the summer months when the weather is nicer," Sgt. Bluebaugh tells AkronNewsNow.com, "we get quite a few vehicle break-ins. And I would say almost all of them are from unlocked vehicles."
Sgt. Bluebaugh says things are rarely stolen from vehicles that are locked...and if there is a theft, it's because things can be seen.
"Once in a blue moon, it's so rare that anybody eve breaks into a vehicle by breaking into a window or anything," Sgt. Bluebaugh says. "And when they do, it's because there's been a purse or something valuable left right on the seat."
Police say that preventing theft can be as simple as keeping your car locked and your valuables out of site.
Anyone with information on the vehicle break-ins in Wadsworth is being asked to call the Wadsworth Police Department.
An Akron man called police about a burglary in his home, but kind of forgot something before cops arrived..
Police dropped in on 45 year-old Darren Portis at his Hart Street home...and made an arrest, but not of any burglary suspect.
Officers say they found a line of cocaine on top of Portis' microwave.
That brought out the cuffs, and police say Portis also had marijuana in his pants pocket.
They also saw a digital scale, easily seen in his bedroom.
Portis faces a number of drug-related charges.
It's that time of year for Akron Metro Regional Transit, where the agency looks at changing some of its bus routes and stops.
Some of the proposed changes in January would end buses pulling off-route to buildings such as Kiwanis Towers in the Portage Lakes, Sutliff Towers in Cuyahoga Falls and all but two daily trips to Center Towers in West Akron.
Metro communications specialist Jessica Dreschel says that they're looking to make bus performance more efficient.
"We're looking at the efficiency of routes," Dreschel tells AkronNewsNow.com. "So, we may be taking trips out of certain locations, but we also try to build back routes in other locations."
Other proposed changes include starting the local route to Brecksville at Summit Mall, and changing the current "express" route to Stow to a local route starting at Chapel Hill Mall. Both buses go to Metro's RKP Transit Center now.
The Brecksville route would still serve the James Fisher Park and Ride north of Summit Mall, as well as Bath and Richfield. It would once again meet Cleveland's GCRTA at a new location at the end of its route. The transit systems formerly met at the Brecksville VA Hospital, which closed.
Changes in Northern Summit County would include changing the Northfield route to serve the new "rocksino", and adding service to the Creekside Park and Ride in Twinsburg.
Possible changes for later in 2014 include a rerouting of a route through Green to better serve employment centers. That'd end Metro's service to Akron-Canton Airport, which is also served by hourly buses from Stark County's SARTA from both Akron and Canton.
Metro is holding a series of public meetings, to provide input into the proposed changes - which would still need approval from the Metro board before taking effect next year.
A list of the proposed changes can be found on Metro's website here, and a list of public meetings can be found here.
On the Web: Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority, www.akronmetro.org
Supporters of a Medicaid expansion are defending the move by the State Controlling Board to extend coverage to hundreds of thousands of Ohioans while opponents of the decision are looking to derail it in court.
State Sen. Tom Sawyer of Akron tells AkronNewsNow that he doesn't know the upcoming legal timeline, though he doesn't expect it to drag on.
"It's not into the uncertain future," he said. "There will be a limit on how long this is going to take, and then it will go into effect."
Sawyer says the Ohio Controlling Board is empowered under the Ohio Revised Code to act.
"It's been done many times before over the last number of decades," he said. "The only difference was the scale of the request that was done this time."
The Controlling Board consists of six members of the Legislature and an employee of the Office of Budget and Management.
A new statewide survey by AAA shows that parents overwhelmingly support driving restrictions for new teen drivers.
The survey shows 90 percent of parents support restricting newly licensed 16 and 17 year old drivers from driving starting at 10 p.m.
Kevin Thomas of the AAA Akron Auto Club says the numbers were quite overwhelming...
"We were encouraged to learn that parents are very, very supportive and understanding of the need to make some of these changes in an effort to protect their children," he said.
81 percent of parents surveyed support extending passenger limit restrictions to new 17 year old drivers, something Thomas said will make teen drivers safer.
"What we've really come to understand is that additional passenger or passengers in the vehicle significantly increase the risk of serious or fatal crashes, especially when those passengers are under the age of 21," he said.
The survey comes out during Teen Driver Safety Week.
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