Edward L. Esposito

Edward L. Esposito

Edward "Ed" Esposito is vice-president, information media for the Rubber City Radio Group. He oversees news and public affairs programs for www.AkronNewsNow.com, 1590 WAKR, 97.5 WONE and 94.9 WQMX. He is Secretary-Treasurer of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation; a former chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association and Foundation and a former president of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Association. He's also served as a member of the Akron Press Club , Kent State University Student Media Advisory Board, Ohio Open Government Coalition, Northeast Ohio AMBER Task Force. He's lectured on broadcasting and journalism for the University of Missouri in China, as well as across the country for RTDNA and RTDNF. You can reach Ed through the newsroom at 330-864-6397 or by email eesposito@rcrg.net

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 08:44

Deputies Look For Subway Thief

Summit County deputies looking for a man who claimed he had a weapon when he stuck up the Subway restaurant on Massillon Road in Green. He got away with cash; witnesses and surveillance photos showed him wearing a cap with a "John Deere" patch and a white Ford F-150 pickup.

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(Summit Sheriff) On Monday, September 25, at approximately 8:22 p.m., a man entered the Subway restaurant located at 3471 Massillon Road in the City of Green and handed the cashier a note. The note indicated the man had a weapon and it went on to instruct the employees to give him cash or they would be harmed.

The suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. One of the employees subsequently called 911 and the Summit County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene. The suspect is described as a white male in his early 20's, bewteen 5'10 and 6'0. The suspect had long red sideburns. He was wearing flip flop style shoes, blue jeans, a gray long-sleeved hooded pull-over shirt, and a baseball hat (dark colored hat with green/yellow "John Deere" patch). The suspect may have fled in a white Ford F-150 truck with a white cap.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 16:06

Dumke Suspended Pending Charges

Summit County IT employee and former WAKR News Director Rob Dumke has been suspended with pay pending rape charges. Sources tell WAKR Dumke would turn himself in to custody tomorrow. County officials say should Dumke be indicted, he would remain on suspension but without pay.
 
Sheriff's deputies reportedly investigated a domestic incident at his home in Uniontown. The incident report was not released by the Summit County Sheriff because it was still considered an active investigation. The Sheriff's Department had no comment on the incident or the investigation. 1590 WAKR was told Dumke would report to police tomorrow and would be charged with a class one felony and would likely face other counts depending on presentation of the case to a Grand Jury.
 
Dumke was a familiar face and voice for Akron broadcast followers with stints at both Channel 23 and WAKR Radio; until 1998, he was news director for the Rubber City Radio Group, which owns WAKR, and also anchored the morning news program. He joined the county and oversaw the public website and remained with Summit County, most recently in the Information Technology (IT) department handling computer and Internet issues.
 
County Executive Ilene Shapiro issued this statement this afternoon:
 
"Yesterday, upon receiving notification that Mr. Dumke would be charged criminally as a result of an incident reported to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, he was immediately placed on paid administrative leave. It is the practice of the County for an employee charged with a serious off-duty criminal offense to place the employee on paid administrative leave until such time as the employee is indicted on serious criminal charges.
 
At that time, the County’s practice is to place the employee on unpaid leave during the course of the criminal proceedings. I have spoken to the other members of the Information Technology Board, and, in the event Mr. Dumke is indicted, we will follow the County’s prior practice and place him on unpaid administrative leave until the resolution of the criminal proceedings.
 
We will not have any further comment during the pendency of the investigation and the criminal matter."
 
**Ilene Shapiro is the Chair of the Summit County Information Technology Board, which is the appointing authority for employees of the Summit County Office of Information Technology.**
Monday, 04 September 2017 08:43

One Dead, Stow Officer Injured

Details are emerging from a fatal shooting in a parking lot behind Akron's Haven of Rest Ministries involving a Stow police officer and an unnamed suspect.

The suspect was killed, the officer was injured but treated and released from a local hospital.

In a news release from Stow police, the suspect was reportedly knocking on the door of a residence on Meadowbrook Boulevard at 10:46 p.m. Sunday night asking for cigarettes. He fled the area, but officers located him nearby and decided to transport him to the Haven of Rest Shelter.

While in the parking lot behind the shelter, police say the suspect became aggressive and the officer requested backup from Akron police; before they arrived, the officer called in "shots fired" on his radio.

The subject was taken to a local hospital where he died.

The incident is being investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

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(Stow PD) At 2246 hours on Sunday, 09/03/17, officers of the Stow Police Department responded to the area of Meadowbrook Boulevard to locate a male subject who had approached a residence, beat on the door, and, when the occupants answered, asked for cigarettes. He then fled the area.

The subject was located on an adjacent street and it was determined he would be transported to Haven of Rest in Akron, Ohio. Following the arrival in the parking lot of Haven of Rest, the officer requested back up from the Akron Police Department as the subject had become aggressive. Before they arrived, the officer reported shots had been fired and the subject was injured. The officer also was injured.

The subject, who will not be identified at this time pending notification of next of kin, succumbed to his wounds at an Akron hospital. The officer was treated for his injuries and released.

The incident occurred in Akron and will be investigated by Ohio BCI. All questions or inquiries should be referred to BCI.

A New Franklin man's arrest turned into a two-fer with drug and stolen property charges filed. Summit County deputies picked up 35-year old Timothy Williams after an address on Buddy Street and a nearby storage unit where they found stolen ATV's, tools, firearms, cash and several ouces of methamphetaime. The VIN numbers identifying the vehicles had been scrubbed clean. Williams was taken to the Summit County Jail.

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(Summit County Sheriff) On August 28, 2017, the Summit County Sheriff's Detective Bureau received information regarding the whereabouts of 3 stolen ATVs. The ATVs were located at a New Franklin residence. The VIN numbers had been obliterated. Additional information led to a search warrant at a residence on Buddy Street in New Franklin. During the search, several items were recovered including, but not limited to, tools, several ounces of methamphetamine, 7 firearms, and approximately $6,000 in cash.

Another search warrant was executed at a nearby storage unit. During the search, several items were recovered, including (2) 4X4 utility vehicles, (3) golf carts, and a trailer generator.

Timothy Williams, age 35, of New Franklin was arrested and charged with Trafficking in Methamphetamines (F-1) and Receiving Stolen Property (F-5). He was transported to the Summit County Jail.

Anyone with information regarding the stolen property that was recovered should call the Summit County Sheriff's Detective Bureau at 330-643-5404.

Thursday, 31 August 2017 07:45

More Deaths From Opioids

The latest numbers from the state are out on opioid overdose deaths in Ohio -- and increase of more than one thousand dead by drug OD from 2015 to 2016. Breaking it down by county, Summit County had 25.5 deaths per 100,000 population to lead the greater Akron area, followed by Portage, Stark, Wayne and Medina County in the teens. The worst in our ara was Trumbull County with 34.2 deaths per 100,000. The deadliest county in Ohio is Montgomery -- the Dayton area -- with 42.5 deaths per hundred thousand.

The deadliest drug mixture comes from Fentanyl-related overdoses, nearly two thirds of the total.

READ the entire report at the .pdf link at the bottom

Local Counties

Stark 16.0 per hundred thousand population

Wayne 15.0

Portage 17.1

Medina 13.8

Cuyahoga/Cleveland 23.4

Mahoning/Youngstown 25.1

Trumbull/Warren 34.2

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(Ohio Department of Health) Ohio's opioid epidemic continued to evolve in 2016 with stronger drugs driving an increase in unintentional overdose deaths, according to a new report released by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The report shows a sharp rise in overdose deaths involving the opioid fentanyl, the emergence of more deadly fentanyl-related drugs like carfentanil, and indications that cocaine is now being used with fentanyl and other opiates. The report also contains some promising news – the fewest prescription opioid overdose deaths since 2009.

"The continued increase in opioid-related deaths reaffirms that we still have much work to do, but Ohio is seeing important progress in reducing the number of prescription opioids available for abuse and prescription-related overdose deaths," said Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and interim medical director of ODH. "This progress is significant because prescription opioid abuse is frequently a gateway to heroin and fentanyl use later on."

Overdose deaths increased from 3,050 in 2015 to 4,050 last year, and fentanyl and related drugs were involved in 58.2 percent of them. By comparison, fentanyl was involved in 37.9 percent of overdose deaths in 2015, 19.9 percent in 2014, 4 percent in 2013 and 3.9 percent 2012. Illegally produced fentanyl can be hundreds of times stronger than heroin, and carfentanil and other related drugs can be even stronger.

With the emergence of carfentanil in 2016, the fentanyl-related drug was involved in 340 overdose deaths, most of them during the second half of the year. The number of cocaine-related overdose deaths increased from 685 in 2015 to 1,109 in 2016 – a 61.9 percent increase. Of cocaine-related overdose deaths, 80.2 percent also involved an opiate, and 55.8 percent involved fentanyl and related opiates in particular.

Of all unintentional drug overdose deaths, the percentage of prescription opioid-related deaths declined for the fifth straight year in 2016, and the number of such deaths declined 15.4 percent from 667 in 2015 to 564 in 2016, the fewest since 2009. Opioid prescribing in Ohio declined for a fourth consecutive year in 2016, according to the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy. Between 2012 and 2016, the total number of opioids dispensed to Ohio patients decreased by 162 million doses or 20.4 percent. There was a 78.2 percent decrease in the number of people engaged in the practice of "doctor shopping" for controlled substances since 2012.

This progress corresponds with efforts to reduce the prescription opioid supply available for diversion and abuse by stepping up law enforcement efforts, working with medical professionals to establish opioid prescribing guidelines, and empowering prescribers and pharmacists to prevent opioid abuse using Ohio's prescription drug monitoring system, the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS).

Ohio is investing about $1 billion each year to help communities battle the scourge of drug abuse and addiction at the local level, including significant funding to help address treatment, prevention and law enforcement.

those resources include:

-Helping communities purchase the life-saving drug naloxone
- Investing in specialized drug courts that link offenders with treatment
- Providing safe, stable housing to help drug-addicted Ohioans recover
- Increasing funding for individuals needing addiction and behavioral health treatment
- Enforcing Ohio's drug laws to prevent the illegal distribution of powerful synthetic opioids

Ohio's new two-year state budget includes an additional $170 million to support local and state efforts to combat opioid abuse and overdose deaths. At this year's State of the State Address, Gov. John R. Kasich asked the Third Frontier Commission to provide up to $20 million to help bring new scientific breakthroughs to the battle against drug abuse and addiction. The Third Frontier Commission approved this request in May and will announce the first funded projects in December.

The state also is surging resources into communities hardest hit by Ohio's opioid epidemic.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will receive up to $26 million a year during the next two years through the federal 21st Century Cures Act to help fight Ohio's opioid epidemic at the state and local levels. The funding will help support medication-assisted treatment; prevention; screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment; recovery supports; workforce devel­opment; and addressing secondary trauma among first responders (EMS personnel, firefighters, law enforcement, etc.).

ODH has been awarded a four-year federal grant totaling $6.6 million to combat prescription drug overdoses. ODH has awarded grants to 14 high-burden counties to implement comprehensive prescription drug overdose prevention programs focusing on coalition development, healthcare prescriber education and healthcare system changes for safer opioid prescribing practices, and increasing access to the opiate overdose reversal drug naloxone.

In addition, members of the Governor's Opiate Action Team have met with local leaders in 20 Ohio communities that have the highest burden of drug overdoses to ensure that communities are mounting a coordinated response and taking advantage of the tools and resources that the state has made available. Promising local practices were identified during these visits and have helped inform the development of an updated Action Guide to Address Opioid Abuse as a resource for Ohio's communities.

Thursday, 31 August 2017 07:18

Nice Probe Goes Out of Town

The investigations surrounding former Akron police chief James Nice will be handled by folks outside of Akron. Both Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh and Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan taking the steps for a special prosecutor and team of investigators from Cuyahoga County to take over the case.

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(Prosecutor Walsh / Mayor Horrigan) Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh today requested the appointment of a special prosecutor from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley's Office to oversee the pending criminal matter concerning Joseph Nice and further evaluate any evidence that may be obtained in the investigation of former Akron Police Chief James Nice.

Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh stated that "a special prosecutor is requested when we have a realistic concern that there may be a conflict in handling a criminal case or investigation. Based on the working relationship between the prosecutor's office and the largest police department in the county, this appointment removes any concerns or appearances that could lead to questions of fairness or bias, either way, in the handling of either the Joseph Nice or former Chief Nice investigations and/or prosecutions."

In addition, pursuant to Section 58 of the Akron City Charter, Mayor Dan Horrigan today appointed special investigators from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office who will be authorized to investigate the allegations concerning former Akron Police Chief James Nice and will furnish information to the Special Prosecutor.

"I am committed to a full and complete investigation of these matters," said Mayor Dan Horrigan. "I believe it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority to appoint special investigators to ensure the special prosecutor has sufficient resources to execute a fair and timely examination of the facts. The residents of Akron, and the men and women of the Akron Police Department, deserve no less than that."

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan says it's a criminal investigation that led to his surprise call Sunday to Chief of Police James Nice to resign -- and not the death of a teenager Friday in the backseat of a police cruiser of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Nice delivered a terse 30 word resignation letter around 4:00 yesterday afternoon. Mayor Horrigan told reporters this afternoon he had been informed by police higher-ups that the Chief was part of an investigation involving his nephew, Joseph Nice of Uniontown, who is under indictment relating to his auto sales business. The case involved possible criminal misconduct by Nice, city officials said, including making derogatory comments and inappropriate conduct with city employees.

The City says it will turn the information over to the Summit County Prosecutor, but wouldn't provide more information or a timeline.

 

Joseph Nice of Uniontown was indicted for grand theft and forgery in March of this year. His criminal case is being heard by Judge Jason Wells in Summit County Common Pleas Court. The nephew Nice is also listed in numerous civil lawsuits in Summit County, including lawsuits alleging fraud and breach of contract for the sale of automobiles through Metro ACC Car Sales on Waterloo Road. 

Below is the statement released from the Office of Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan regarding the resignation of former Chief James Nice: 

Akron, Ohio, August 28, 2017 – Mayor Horrigan formally asked for, and accepted, the resignation of City of Akron Police Chief James Nice effective Sunday, August 27th, 2017. Evidence of conduct unbecoming of an officer, inappropriate contact with a city employee and potential criminal misconduct led him to make this immediate decision. The City will be referring any and all information regarding potential criminal conduct to the County Prosecutor.

Mayor Horrigan stated, “These actions violate the mission, vision and values of the Akron Police Department and the City of Akron and they will not be tolerated. All of us who serve the public must hold ourselves to the highest standards of ethics and integrity. It is clear to me, that in this instance, Jim Nice’s conduct violated that standard, and he lost his ability to lead the department. I will not let anyone impugn the integrity and confidence of our City organization, and I will fiercely uphold that standard as long as I am Mayor of this City.”

Mayor added, “What is also clear to me, is that the men and women of the Akron Police Department acted appropriately and swiftly upon receiving information of misconduct. At every step of the way, investigators put what was right above all else. I have full faith and confidence in the department going forward.”

Mayor Horrigan appointed Major Kenneth Ball as acting Chief of the Akron Police Department, effective August 27th. Ball, an Akron resident, has more than 26 years of service to the Akron Police Department. He joined the Akron Police Department in 1991, was promoted to sergeant in 1997; lieutenant in 2000; captain in 2006; and major in March of 2015. He graduated from the Police Executive Leadership College in 2001, and from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 2013.

Mayor Horrigan will work closely with Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Charles Brown and Director of Human Resources Don Rice to select a permanent police chief, in accordance with the Charter of the City of Akron.

 

 

Thursday, 24 August 2017 09:23

Stow Truck-Train Wreck Detailed

Stow police releasing more details of a collision between a train and a dump truck on Monday.

64-year old Darodd Duncan was seriously injured when his Skios Trucking rig was hit while trying to cross the tracks near Middlebury Road by an eastbound CSX train. The impact came on the passenger side. Duncan was transported to Akron General with his injuries.

Multiple tow trucks had to be called in to pull the truck wreckage from the tracks; the locomotive sustained damages as well but was still operating. It took five to six hours for cleanup crews to restore rail service at the scene.

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(Stow PD) On August 21, at 2:53 p.m., Tallmadge Police responded to a train versus dump truck accident on a private road near Middlebury Road. At 4:15 p.m., it was determined the accident actually occurred within the boundaries of the City of Stow. Both the Stow Police Department and Stow Fire Department responded.

The driver of the dump truck, Darodd Duncan, age 64, of Akron, Ohio, was transported to Akron General Hospital (downtown Akron) with serious injuries. No one on the train was injured. The driver of the Skios Trucking vehicle was southbound attempting to cross the tracks when it was struck by an eastbound CSX train on the passenger side. The accident will be investigated by Stow Police and CSX will conduct their own internal investigation.

The locomotive sustained damage to the front of the engine but remained operable. The dump truck had moderate, disabling damage to the cab and sustained damage to the entire vehicle until finally coming to rest. Multiple heavy rescue tow trucks were used to remove the truck from the tracks to avoid damage to the rails.

The Summit County Hazardous Materials Team was notified and responded to provide initial control and cleanup of a fuel and oil leak from the dump truck. The Summit County HazMat truck arrived at 4:41 p.m. and began cleanup operations. Continued cleanup of the site was performed by Sunpro and the EPA was also notified. Stow Fire and Summit County Hazmat Teams cleared the scene at 8:35 p.m. after the truck had been removed from the tracks and towed from the scene

The tracks were closed for approximately 5-6 hours. This crossing has no gates but does have warning signs and is on a private road. 

Monday, 21 August 2017 09:04

Rare Bat Found In Twinsburg

Summit Metro Parks reporting a rare discovery -- a northern long-eared bat discovered in Twinsburg, the first time they've seen the endangered animal in five years. The northern long-eared bat has been hit hard by white nose disease, a fungus that claimed 90% of the bat population. Biologists attached a small transmitter and let her fly back to a colony she shares with brown bats.

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(Summit Metro Parks) Summit Metro Parks biologists captured a rare northern long-eared bat in Twinsburg earlier this month – the first sighting of the species by park staff in five years – and learned that it's living with a different species of winged mammal.

Biologist Marlo Perdicas said the federally endangered bat was found near Liberty Park. Summit Metro Parks manages 3,000 acres of the park that spans northeast Summit and northwest Portage counties. Much of it is in Twinsburg and Twinsburg Township.

"We have not seen a northern long-eared bat since 2012 due to the effects of white-nose syndrome," Perdicas said, referring to a disease that wakes up bats in winter, when there are no insects to consume. The fatal fungus has devastated bat populations across the eastern United States, including Northeast Ohio. "We have about 10 percent of the bats we used to have," Perdicas added.

The northern long-eared bat captured August 10, an adult female, was fitted with a transmitter and tracked back to her roost. "To our surprise, she is roosting with a colony of little brown bats," said Perdicas.

Perdicas explained that sort of grouping is unusual in summer as bats are roosting, but more common during hibernation. Bats hibernate in groups, and summer is coming to a close.

Hibernation for both species begins between September and October and can last as long as May.

The northern long-eared bat's range is the eastern United States and Canada, while the little brown bat's range includes most of North America. Northern long-eared bats, on average, tend to be slightly smaller than little brown bats.

Eight different bat species have been recorded in Summit County: northern long-eared, little brown, Indiana (another federally endangered species), big brown, tri-colored, silver-haired, hoary and red.

Friday, 18 August 2017 10:07

Akron Zoo Loses Leo

Liver disease the reason the Akron Zoo euthanized their Sumatran tiger "Leo" earlier this week. The Zoo had been home for the past couple of years; he was born at the Oklahoma City Zoo in 2011. The tiger exhibit will remain closed for the time being; the Zoo's other tiger Sanjiv is at the Topeka Zoo on a "breeding recommendation." 

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(AkronZoo.org) he Akron Zoo is mourning the loss of their male Sumatran tiger, Leonidas, “Leo,” who was humanely euthanized on August 13, 2017. The zoo’s professional Animal Care staff recently observed a change in Leo’s appetite, leading to a comprehensive veterinary medical exam on Thursday, August 10. During his annual physical on June 27, 2017, Leo showed no signs of illness and all his lab work came back normal. However on the August 10 exam, their Veterinary Staff discovered that he had significant liver disease. Leo immediately underwent an aggressive treatment regimen, however he did not respond to therapy and continued to rapidly decline. The difficult decision was then made to humanely euthanize Leo.Leo was born on July 9, 2011, at the Oklahoma City Zoo. He arrived in Akron on March 3, 2015. The Akron Zoo is actively working with the Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) and is expecting a placement recommendation soon, but until that time the tiger exhibit will remain closed. The zoo’s other male tiger, Sanjiv, was recently relocated to the Topeka Zoo on a breeding recommendation from the Tiger SSP.“Leo was a great cat and a wonderful ambassador for his species,” commented Eric Albers, Animal Curator. “He was very much like a typically finicky cat and would only do what Leo wanted to do and when Leo wanted to do it. However, the staff appreciated him and enjoyed having him in Akron to educate and inspire our community.”

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