Ryan Lang

Ryan Lang

The Goodyear Blimp will represent Akron, and provide stunning live aerial coverage, during this year's Canada Day celebration in Ottowa. 

This year marks the country's 150th Canada Day celebration, marking the country's birthday. The celebration is Saturday, July 1st, and will feature a parade, fireworks, and more, all covered by the Wingfoot Two. 

It's the second trip to Canada for the Wingfoot Two; last year the blimp flew to Toronto to cover the World Cup of Hockey. 

See more from Goodyear in the press release below: 

(Goodyear) The Goodyear Blimp is returning to Canada this summer to take part in Canada Day celebrations in the nation’s capital on July 1. As the country celebrates its 150th birthday, the blimp will provide live aerial coverage of Ottawa’s festivities and fireworks, offering breathtaking views of the city below. The Goodyear Blimp is returning to Canada after two visits in 2016. The now-retired Spirit of Innovation blimp traveled from California to Abbotsford, B.C. in July, and Wingfoot Two, Goodyear’s newest and largest airship, spent two weeks in the Toronto area in September providing aerial coverage of the World Cup of Hockey.

“From the Olympic Games to World Series and Super Bowls, the Goodyear Blimps have a long tradition of being part of the most watched sports and entertainment events in North America and around the world,” said Paul Fitzhenry, Goodyear’s senior vice president and chief communications officer. “Canada 150 marks an important milestone in the country’s history and we are honored to be part of the celebration, working with our Canadian broadcast partners to deliver captivating aerial coverage to Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”

“Having the iconic Goodyear Blimp fly above Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation will add yet another notable moment to the year-long celebrations we are enjoying in 2017,” said Michael Crockatt, president and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “The views from the blimp on Canada Day—July 1—of the hundreds of thousands of revelers in our streets will be spectacular!” 

Wingfoot Two will fly over Ottawa on July 1 and those who spot it are encouraged to share photos on social media using the hashtag #TrueNorthBlimp. As part of the visit, the airship will fly customers and media, as well as the two lucky winners of Goodyear’s recent blimp ride sweepstakes. The blimp will cross the border into Canada near Watertown, N.Y. and travel to Carp Airport, west of Ottawa, arriving on June 29. It will remain in the Ottawa area until July 2 when it returns to its base in Akron, Ohio.

Wingfoot Two is one of the largest and most technologically advanced airships in the world. Nearly the length of a football field and capable of flying more than 110 km/h, it builds on Goodyear’s legacy as the world’s leading builder and operator of airships. Wingfoot Two will spend the remainder of the summer in Akron before relocating to southern California where it will be permanently stationed to make room for the next blimp being built in Akron. 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 10:25

Grab And Go Thieves Caught on Camera

Akron Police are asking the public to help identify three suspects who brazenly walked into a Victoria's Secret store and ran off with thousands of dollars worth of clothes. 

The "grab and go" heist happened back on June 4 at Chapel Hill Mall. Surveillance video (below) shows the teens casually walk in the store and then load up with yoga pants, T-shirts, and other clothing items that were on display on a table in the store, and then run out. 

 

Akron Police are asking anyone who may recognize the robbers to contact Detective Rhodaback at 330-375-2490. 

 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017 05:43

Akron Public Schools Announces Layoffs

The Akron Board of Education approved layoffs at their meeting Monday night, in the wake of the closures of Kenmore High School, Kent Middle School, and Bettes Elementary.

Those staff reductions consist of three admin positions, 31 teachers, 35 tutors, five office support staff, and more. Superintendent David James, says of the cuts, "In the end, this is what necessitates (being fiscally responsible with taxpayer money) for Akron Public Schools."

See the full statement from Akron Public Schools below: 

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Due to three building closures (Kenmore High School, Kent Middle School and Bettes Elementary) and the district’s continued efforts to operate in a fiscally responsible manner, the Akron Board of Education approved staff reductions for the 2017-18 school year at its regularly scheduled board meeting tonight, Monday, June 26, 2017.

The areas of reduction include:

- Three administrative positions

- Thirty-one teaching positions

- Thirty-five tutor positions

- Five office support positions

- Thirteen custodial services positions

- Three full-time, hearing impaired interpreter positions

- Three part time, hearing impaired interpreter positions

APS has already made numerous reductions through attrition (e.g., retirements, promotions and resignations). As additional openings occur, staff will be eligible for recall per their collective bargaining agreements and board policy. Superintendent David W. James said, after (Monday's) vote, “We must continue to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars. In the end, that is what necessitates this eventuality for Akron Public Schools. It is most unfortunate that we must let go of outstanding educators and staff due to our economic position. My hope is that staff will be recalled to vacancies that occur to enable them to continue their service to our students and families.”

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine made the announcement that the entire state was expecting over the weekend: he's running for Governor in 2018. 

DeWine made the announcement during his annual Ice Cream Social at his family's home in Cedarville, Ohio.  

"I think I'm very well prepared and will be ready to go from Day 1 to make the decisions that a governor has to make," DeWine told the Jasen Sokol Show on 1590 WAKR during an interview Monday. 

Of the challenges facing the state that DeWine said he'd be ready to face, the opioid crisis was tops on his list. He says he'll advocate for prevention programs in all Ohio schools, for students K through 12, to help nip addiction or even first-time drug use in the bud. DeWine says it's not necessarily about drug education, but really healthy life choices and decision making skills. 

Speaking of education, the Attorney General says that there needs to be more accountability among Ohio's charter schools and all public schools in the state. He says he's not for more testing, but definitely for accountability. 

You can see more on DeWine's campaign at his website

DeWine joined The Jasen Sokol Show Monday to talk about his decision to run for Governor.

In a memo sent to Summa Health employees Monday morning, interim President and CEO Dr. Cliff Deveny announced that the health system would be eliminating 300 positions and consolidating or otherwise eliminating some services going forward. 

The Akron Beacon Journal reported earlier Monday that Dr. Deveny cited a $60 Million operating loss for 2017 as the reason for the layoffs and cuts in services. In that memo, Dr. Deveny says Summa will continue to reevaluate the company's ongoing capital needs, and that all new projects must be evaluated against their critical strategic goals. That said, Dr. Deveny acknowledged that the $350 Million West Tower project at the Summa main campus in Akron will continue as planned. During a ceremony in May, the company broke ground just last month on the new West Tower. Construction is scheduled to be finished by Spring of 2019.

Summa Health currently employs 8,000 people throughout the area, making it Akron's largest employer. Of the 300 jobs that will be eliminated, Dr. Deveny mentioned in his memo that about half of them are currently filled within the system.  

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan responded to the news, saying, "A successful, independently-owned Summa Health is key to the ongoing economic and physical wellbeing of our city and the region. Just as our community depends on the care and services Summa provides for its health and welfare; Summa cannot succeed without the support and trust of the community. I have pledged to continue to work with Dr. Deveny and the Summa leadership team to do everything necessary to ensure the organization remains a strong and independent pillar for years to come."

Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro also released a statement on the Summa layoffs, saying, "Summa has been an anchor in our community for 125 years, and during that time Summa has provided care at the highest level to hundreds of thousands of Summit County and Northeast Ohio residents. However, the current climate in the health care industry is leading many organizations to re-evaluate their financial and operational models and make difficult decisions to maintain quality care." 

An Akron man behind his own "scared straight" program is facing dozens more charges now, according to Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh. 

In addition to impersonating an officer, Christopher Hendon, 26, is now facing 47 more charges, including kidnapping, abduction, assault, and endangering children.

The charges are all related to a a series of events that happened between March 29 and April 6 of this year. Hendon is said to have brought children into the Summit County Court several times within that timeframe while he posed as a resource officer as part of a "Scared Straight" program. He was seen in full tactical gear, and entered the court with kids handcuffs. 

Hendon is not an officer of the law. 

An Akron man died after crashing his motorcycle along Route 8 in Cuyahoga Falls Tuesday afternoon. 

Cuyahoga Falls Police say Richard O. Hopkins, 19, was speeding before the crash near Graham Road. The posted speed limit in the area is 55 mph; police say Hopkins was doing an estimated 95 mph when he crashed. The report indicates that an improper lane change by Hopkins also contributed to the crash. 

Traffic was backed up for about 4 hours along Route 8 Tuesday due to the accident. 

Hopkins was wearing a helmet. 

Getting a ticket from the police typically isn't a good thing. But this summer, for Akron youths, a slip of paper from an officer could actually be a sign that they're doing something right! 

On Friday, the Akron Police Department is kicking off their second annual "Positive Ticketing" campaign in an effort to connect with kids and young adults in the Akron area. 

Officers on patrol who notice kids in the city doing good deeds, such as using the crosswalks, helping others, making efforts to help curb violent or illegal behavior or activities, etc., reserve the right to write up a "special" ticket to recognize that good behavior. The "tickets" are actually coupons for one free McDonald's ice cream cone at any Summit County location. 

Akron Police Lieutenant Rick Edwards says last year's inaugural campaign was a huge success and the department got a lot of positive feedback because of it. "We encourage officers to talk to kids at the park, in their yards... Anywhere in the community where they're doing good things," Lt. Edwards said, and added that it's about building a positive relationship between the city's youngsters and Akron officers. Lt. Edwards says by developing these relationships, kids are more likely to approach an officer when they actually need help in the future. 

Once an Akron kid receives a "Positive Ticket" his or her name is thrown into the hopper for a chance to win a bike that's been donated by Elves and More of Northeast Ohio. The group has donated several bikes for the campaign that runs through Labor Day weekend. 

Thursday, 22 June 2017 12:03

APD Charge Teen in Perkins Park Brawl

Akron Police say they've charged a teenager in connection to the brawl and riot that was caught on camera Sunday night at Perkins Park in West Akron. 

According to reports, the 16-year-old was arrested Wednesday evening. He tried to run from police when they attempted to detain him. 

The teen is the first to be charged in the fight that was recorded by a neighborhood resident. That resident told News 5 that the park has been a problem for some time now, saying there's always fighting, drinking, partying, and even drug dealing going on. 

Police say they monitor the park and respond to the calls they get regarding illegal activity at the park. 

The teen's name has not been released. Witnesses reportedly told police he was one of the instigators of the fight. He's been charged with obstructing official business and instigating a fight. 

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, during a speech at Akron's Fire Station #2 Thursday morning, announced that he is proposing a quarter-percent income tax increase to be put on the November ballot. 

Mayor Horrigan cited several reasons for the "necessary increase," including deteriorating roads and Akron Police Department and Fire Department needs. "The City of Akron continues to lose about $15 Million every year from the elimination of fair tax sharing in the state of Ohio," the Mayor said. Since the Recession of 2008, Horrigan added, the city has lost a total of $80 Million in unrealized income tax revenue. 

If approved by City Council, the issue would be placed on the November ballot for Akron residents to vote on. The proposed increase would raise the current income tax rate of 2.25% to 2.5%. 

The City of Akron hasn't had a general income tax increase (see next paragraph) since 1981 for "essential city services", Horrigan said in a prepared release. He says the city desperately needs this proposed increase for new, updated police cruisers and fire trucks; to support the APD body camera database; and to improve roughly 45 miles worth of Akron roadways, just to name a few things.

Akron voters approved a boost in the municipal income tax by .25 percent in 2003 dedicated to fund an $800 million dollar, 15 year plan to rebuild local schools as Community Learning Centers by the Akron Public School district. That project has been underway but has been scaled back with the loss of student enrollment across the district. State funds are used as well as local funding generated by the Akron income tax percentage taken for the school rebuilding project.

Mayor Horrigan touted his adminstration's efforts to continually do "more with less," but says the increase is necessary to maintain safety efforts and keep up with regular road maintenance and repaving efforts. Akron Police Chief James Nice and Fire Chief Clarence Tucker were on hand for the Mayor's announcement Thursday, and they both expressed their full support for the tax increase.  

The Mayor will officially present his proposal to Akron City Council this coming Monday, June 26th. 

Below is the press release from the Mayor's office regarding the proposed increase: 

Akron, Ohio, June 22, 2017– Today, Mayor Horrigan announced his proposal for a ¼% earned income tax increase to fund capital and operating needs for police, fire/EMS, public service and roads in the City of Akron. The income tax proposal, if passed by City Council, would be placed on the November 7, 2017 ballot for approval by Akron voters.

“Over the last several years, the City of Akron has continued to do more with less. We have made cuts across the board, reduced personnel, and consolidated services to reflect the City’s revenue challenges. However, we simply cannot cut our way to prosperity,” Mayor Horrigan said of the proposal. “It has been 36 years since our last income tax increase for essential city services, and as we seek to grow our population and revitalize our neighborhoods, our city needs and deserves this funding. The time is now.”

On average, the funds would be spent between police (1/3), fire/EMS (1/3), and streets (1/3). “It is essential that we provide our police and fire/EMS personnel with the equipment and facilities they need to protect our neighborhoods and keep us safe. And, we simply cannot allow our roads to deteriorate further if we expect our neighborhoods and business districts to thrive,” Mayor Horrigan said.

The City of Akron has lost $15 million per year in fair tax-sharing from the State of Ohio and lost an estimated $80 million in unrealized income tax revenue since 2008, as a result of the recession. Without replacement funding, the City would be forced to make difficult budgeting decisions that would impact City services across the board.

“As promised, I’ve listened closely to the Akron community over the past two years, and the feedback I’ve received is clear—we must invest in the long-term vitality of our neighborhoods. This fair and reasonable increase will allow us to significantly improve streets across the city by paving an average of 43 more miles of roadway each year. It will provide the funding needed to maintain current public safety staffing levels and replace deteriorating equipment and facilities for our Police and Fire Departments.”

Police Chief James Nice and Fire Chief Clarence Tucker joined Mayor Horrigan to express their full support for the proposal and detail the dire needs of their departments—including the need to launch a body-worn camera data storage program, replace two aging fire stations, at least one pumper truck, and 63 police cruisers in poor condition.

The additional ¼% income tax only applies to income earned at a job and will not affect retirement/pension income, social security, or other government benefits. Two-thirds of the funding raised through income tax collection is paid by commuters who work in Akron but live in other communities. If successful, this proposal would raise Akron’s income tax to 2.5% – consistent with cities like Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton. The cost of the additional ¼% tax is $1.68/week, for a resident earning Akron’s median income of $35,000.

Council President Marilyn Keith joined the Mayor in making today’s announcement. “I am proud to stand with Mayor Horrigan in support of this reasonable and much-needed income tax proposal,” President Keith said. “These funds will support the core services we provide as a City, and address the issues most important to our residents – public safety, the quality of our roads and neighborhoods.”

The Mayor concluded by renewing his commitment to continue to control spending. “Even with an income tax increase, we must continue to explore ways to spend smarter, and prioritize funds where they’re needed most.” The legislation authorizing the ¼% income tax increase will be introduced to City Council on Monday, June 26th .

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