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

Thursday, 16 February 2017 09:39

Tallmadge Company Takes Huge Hit

A Tallmadge company that provides health services owes more than $951 thousand dollars in reimbursements for overpayments of state Medicaid payments, including interest.

State auditors reports G. S. Burton Development was overpaid $895 thousand dollars between 2012 and 2014, at a time when the company received nearly $1.3 million dollars in payments for transportation and home care services.

Auditors also reported some services were performed for ineligible employees, iincluding two drivers who either didn't have a current license or were under license suspension.

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(State Auditor) Examinations of four northeast Ohio Medicaid providers identified more than $1 million in overpayments this week, according to reports released by Auditor of State Dave Yost.

Auditors uncovered much of that amount at G.S. Burton Development, LLP in Summit County, where they calculated $895,617 in overpayments stemming from 860 service errors that occurred from 2012 through 2014.

During that time, the provider received nearly $1.3 million in reimbursements from the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) for 22,357 services, mostly non-medical transportation and homemaker/personal care aide services.

Auditors determined 283 services were provided by 11 employees who were ineligible during the entire period and 17 employees who were temporarily ineligible. Reasons for those determinations included a lack of criminal background checks and drug tests, missing personnel files, no first aid and/or CPR certification, and failure to complete required annual training hours.

“These requirements are pure commonsense,” Auditor Yost said. “It’s disturbing to know that some Ohioans risk being in the care of individuals who lack basic but essential medical training and who haven’t even been properly vetted for the job."

”Additionally, two drivers went periods of time without having a valid driver’s license, one temporarily had a suspended license and another driver had a driving record with six points,“Yost said.

These standards are in place to protect people and are not optional,” Yost said.

Auditors discovered 297 errors in the provider’s service documentation, including 177 instances where the units billed exceeded those documented and 86 services with no supporting documentation. With the current amount of interest, the provider owes ODM $951,525.

Thursday, 26 January 2017 14:35

Phillips Execution On Hold - Again

Once again, Akron's Ronald Phillips breathes easier because a judge has stepped in to halt his last breath.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Merz ruled Ohio's plans to use a new three-drug cocktail to deliver the lethal injection that would kill Phillips is unconstitutional, a victory for opponents of capital punishment who've successfully out-maneuvered states where lethal injection is the form of execution by denying access to lethal drugs previously used because pharmaceutical and chemical companies won't sell them for the purposes of executions.

Phillips has been on Death Row for over a generation for raping his then-girlfriend's three year old daughter; Sheila Marie Evans died weeks later from the severe injuries. He had been scheduled for execution in the Death Chamber at the Ohio Correctional Insitution in Lucasville in January, but appeals put that schedule on hold until a scheduled February 15th date. Now that schedule is also on hold.

Ironically, the ruling by Judge Merz came almost to the day of the anniversday of the death of Evans on January 18, 1993.

Lawyers for Phillips and two other inmates argued before Merz that the use of a sedative, midazolam, couldn't meet a U.S. Supreme Court threshold of not causing "serious harm." Merz also barred the use of the two other drugs, rocuronium bromide and potassium chloride, ruling the State was not consistent in his offerings in the past on the new lethal cocktail as an alternative. The first two chemicals sedate and paralyze the inmate, while the potassium chloride stops the heart. 

Thursday, 26 January 2017 09:04

Portage Cops Seek Drive-Thru Thief

UPDATE Portage County law enforcement now say they have an ID on the suspect.

 

Previous: Apparently "drive thru" doesn't mean 24/7. Portage County deputies are looking for a man thought to be 40 to 50 years old who forced his way into Mike's Drive Thru in Deerfield Township; the same individual may have also broken into a Sebring convenience store a day later. Video images taken from that robbery show him as a white male, balding and wearing glasses wearing a sweatshirt with "Timberland" on the front. A photo taken from the heist at Mike's Drive Thru is displayed above.

 

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(Portage County Sheriff) Portage County Sheriff David W. Doak is requesting the public’s assistance in identifying a subject who is a person of interest in a recent Breaking and Entering incident that had occurred in Portage County on January 13, 2017.  During the early morning hours of this date, forced entry was made to Mike’s Drive Thru located at 9458 SR 224 in Deerfield Township. 

 

On January 14, 2017 a subject was observed at a convenience store in Sebring, Ohio in possession of some of the items taken during the Breaking and Entering.  The subject is described as a white male, wearing glasses.  He is seen wearing a white sweatshirt that has the word TIMBERLAND on the front.  This subject has a goatee and is partially balding.  He is approximately 40 to 50 years of age. 

 

This subject was seen to be driving a full size Chevy SUV, maroon in color. Anyone with information as to the identity of this subject is urged to contact the Portage County Sheriff’s Office at 330-296-5100

Thursday, 26 January 2017 08:51

Stow Arrest Fugitive For Fentanyl Deaths

A 28 year old Akron man wanted in connection with the deaths of two women  last June, has been charged with Involuntary Manslaughter and drug trafficking.

Vernell Lavon Curry was arrested by officers from the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, who have been looking for him since 22 year old Abigail Hackett, and 25 year old Sara White--both from Stow--were found dead in his apartment from overdosing on fentanyl.

He's being held now in the Summit county jail.

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(Stow PD/Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force) Force, located and arrested Vernell Lavon Curry, age 28, of Akron, Ohio, on charges of involuntary manslaughter and drug trafficking in connection with the June, 2016, deaths of two Stow women. The investigation by the Stow Police Department began on June 21, 2016, when Abigail Hackett, age 22, and Sara White, age 25, were found deceasedin Hackett’s apartment. At that time, indications were present that the women had died within moments of each other from a suspected drug overdose. On October 24, 2016,the Medical Examiner for Summit County released their Report of Investigation for both victims. The cause of death for both women was listed as acute fentanyl toxicity. ATM receipts helped to develop a timeline of victim activities leading up to their deaths.

Further investigation developed a suspect who was eventually identified as Vernell L.Curry and charges were authorized.Curry was arrested, booked at the Stow Police Department, and transported to Summit County Jail.

Charges: Involuntary Manslaughter, O.R.C., 2903.04(A), felony of the first degree, x2;
Drug Trafficking, O.R.C., 2925.03(A) (2), felony of the fifth degree.
Arrested: Vernell Lavon Curry
280 Grand Ave.
Akron Ohio 44302
DOB: 03/21/1988

Thursday, 26 January 2017 08:40

Ohio Opioid Scripts Down

Local doctors and pharmacists have been paying attention to the explosion of heroin and other opioid abuse. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy reports prescriptions of opioids are down for a fourth consecutive year, with 2016 numbers showing a decline of more than 20% the past four years.

At it's peak, Ohioans were prescribed opiates with 793 million doses; the latest number shows that dropped to 631 million doses.

The latest report from the State has a 78.2 percent drop in cases of "doctor shopping", where patients move from one doctor to another to score drugs. The State uses an automated reporting system to track prescriptions.

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(Ohio Board of Pharmacy) Opioid prescribing in Ohio declined for the fourth consecutive year in 2016, according to a newly released report from the State Board of Pharmacy’s Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS).

Between 2012 and 2016, the total number of opioids dispensed to Ohio patients decreased by 162 million doses or 20.4 percent, from a peak of 793 million doses to 631 million doses. The number of opioid prescriptions provided to Ohio patients decreased by
20 percent during the same period. The report finds a 78.2 percent decrease in the amount of people engaged in the practice of doctor shopping since 2012. Additionally, the use of OARRS continued to increase, reaching an all-time high of 24.11 million requests in
2016.

“This report highlights the state’s continued efforts to promote best practices when treating patients with prescription opioids” said State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Steven W. Schierholt. “I am confident that such best practices, including the use of OARRS, will further decrease opioid prescribing and expose fewer Ohioans to these potentially addictive medications.”

Established in 2006, OARRS is the only statewide database that collects information on all prescriptions for controlled substances that are dispensed by pharmacies and personally furnished by licensed prescribers in Ohio. OARRS data is available to prescribers when they treat patients, pharmacists when presented with prescriptions from patients and law enforcement officers during active drug-related investigations.

“Ohio has one of the most comprehensive approaches to address the responsible prescribing of opioid pain relievers. The progress shown in these data illustrate that our partnership with prescribers is helping to reduce opportunities for prescription opioid misuse and addiction,” said Tracy Plouck, Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

It's official -- the Ohio state high school football championships are coming back to the birthplace of football. The board of directors of the Ohio High School Athletic Association approved taking the games back to Canton at the remodeled Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium for 2017 and 2018.

The intention is to return the games to Ohio Stadium in Columbus in 2018, but the board hasn't voted on that issue. This year's championship games will be played the week after Thanksgiving.

 

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(OHSAA) The Ohio High School Athletic Association football state championship games will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton in 2017 and 2018 following approval from the OHSAA Board of Directors at its January meeting Thursday. The OHSAA staff had previously confirmed its intent to return to Canton in 2017 and 2018 and the 9-0 vote by the board of directors Thursday makes the move official.

After a 24-year stay in Stark County from 1990-2013, the football state championship games were held at Ohio Stadium in Columbus in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“We had great hosts in Stark County before, and I know we will again,” said Dr. Dan Ross, OHSAA Commissioner. “We are blessed in Ohio to have so many outstanding playoff venues like Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton and Ohio Stadium here in Columbus, and our intent all along has been to rotate the finals between the two sites. The last three years in Columbus have been great, and the timing worked out well because Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame had major stadium renovations underway at the same time.”

The 2017 OHSAA football state championships weekend is Thursday, Nov. 30, through Sunday, Dec. 3. The exact dates and times of the games will be finalized this spring. All seven state championship games will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.

“Visit Canton is excited to see the tradition of the OHSAA High School Football Championships return to Stark County, and we are so eager to showcase the world-class Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium,” said Allyson Bussey, President of Visit Canton. “Our team at the Convention & Visitors’ Bureau is working hand-in-hand with OHSAA and the Pro Football Hall of Fame to plan an experience of excellence for the athletes, coaches, parents, students and everyone involved in this prestigious event.

”The stadium complex, which is next to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will include Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, featuring hotels, shopping, a conference center and parking decks. The world-class stadium and entertainment complex, adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is one of nine major components of Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, a $600 million development project under way to transform the Hall of Fame’s campus.

“We look forward to the OHSAA High School Championships returning to Canton,” shared David Baker, President & CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village that includes the spectacular, state-of-the-art Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium will provide a rich experience for the many players, coaches, families, and fans attending the games. The excellence in competition among the best football players in the state will be celebrated by the Hall of Fame and our community.”

No details for the football state championship games after 2018 have been finalized, but the OHSAA intends to return to Ohio Stadium in Columbus for the 2019 state championship games.

Friday, 20 January 2017 06:07

Top Wanted Terry Picked Up

Finess Terry didn't go far on the lam from charges he pulled the trigger in a March 2016 street gunfight that sent a bullet into a house and injured a man sitting in his home. Terry was picked up on Triplett Avenue after spending time on the Most Wanted list for the U.S. Marshal's Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.

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(NOVFTF) The Fugitive of the Week, Finess Terry, was arrested this afternoon by members of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force. Terry has been wanted since March of 2016 for felonious assault and discharging a firearm into an occupied structure in the Akron area. Members of the task force arrested Terry in the 1300 block of Triplett Blvd in Akron.Terry’s arrest was a direct result of information provided through the tip line. As always, thank you for your partnership with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Fugitive of the Week program.

Thursday, 19 January 2017 08:52

More Heroin Hijinks At Green Super 8

Summit Deputies arrested three people out of a Green motel fight that had it all -- sex, drugs and duking it out. Two of those arrrested a pimp and prostitute; she'd called her dad for help after a fight, then the two men got into a fight. Cops say they also found heroin.

The fight is just the latest episode at the same hotel where 16-year old Andrew Frye died last year of a heroin overdose from a supply provided by family members, including his grandmother and mother.

Arrested where 23-year old Brandon Roberts, who was injured in the fight in the lobby of the Super 8 Motel on Corporate Woods Parkway. Roberts is charged with promoting prostitution and possession of heroin. He's been booked into the Summit County Jail after being treated for injuries after a fight with 45-year old David Jones of Akron, who'd been called to the motel by his daughter, 20-year old Katie Jones.

The elder Jones was charged with felonious assault while she was charged with heroin possession. They were also booked into the Summit County Jail.

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(Summit Sheriff) On January 16, 2017, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office responded to a motel in the city of Green in response to a fight that was occurring in the lobby. When the deputies arrived, a 23 year old man, identified as Brandon P. Roberts, had been injured in the altercation. Roberts was transported to Akron City Hospital by the Green Fire Department. The Summit County Sheriff’s Detective Bureau responded to investigate the incident.

Detectives found that prior to the fight, patrons of the motel, Brandon Roberts and Katie Jones, had been involved in a verbal altercation. Jones contacted her father, David Jones to come pick her up from the motel. When her father arrived, David Jones and Brandon Roberts got into a physical altercation. The investigation further revealed that Katie Jones and had been engaging in prostitution at the motel with the assistance of Brandon Roberts. They were also found to be in possession of heroin.

On January 16, 2017, David J. Jones, age 45 of Akron was arrested and charged with Felonious Assault (F-2) and Katie M. Jones, age 20 of Akron was arrested and charged with Possession of Drugs – Heroin (F-5). They were booked into the Summit County Jail.

On January 19, 2017, Brandon P. Roberts, age 23 of Akron was arrested and charged with Promoting Prostitution (F-3) and Possession of Drugs – Heroin (F-5). He was booked into the Summit County Jail.

Thursday, 19 January 2017 08:42

Tallmadge Fatal Fire Blamed On Cooking

Akron's Fire Department releasing results of it's investigation into the fatal Tallmadge Avenue fire that killed four members of a family and left two survivors.

"Unattended cooking" on the gas stove is the ruling; even though the stove itself was burned, at least one the burners was in the "on" position and the blaze originated in the kitchen. Despite no evidence of working fire detectors in the home, the Fire Department says it was unable to determine conclusively whether detectors were in the home.

Parents Omar Riley and Shirley Wallis died in the blaze, along with their daughters nine year old Aniyla and eight-year old Shanice Riley. A 12-year old daughter, Shaniya Wallis, was burned in the blaze. Family friend Jennifer Grubbs was able to escape from an attic bedroom by crawling out a window.

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(AFD Release) – The investigation by the Akron Fire Department (AFD) into the December 3, 2016, fatal fire at 266 East Tallmadge Avenue has been completed. In the course of the investigation, AFD companies forced entry to all doors of the structure with exception of the east door.

The structure was examined using a systematic approach starting with the areas least damaged to most damaged. Inspection of the interior revealed heavy damage to the first floor kitchen area at and near the gas stove. The knobs of the stove were completely burned off, and evidence shows one burner was in the “on” position. Materials on the first floor show evidence of reaching their ignition temperatures.

Evidence shows the fire traveled upwards in a chimney effect reaching the second floor. The occupant of the attic stated that after smelling smoke, she went to the second floor landing and opened the attic door. Being immediately overcome with smoke, she ran upstairs to get away from it and was able to escape from a third floor window.

While firefighters did not see any smoke detectors, fire investigators were unable to conclusively determine whether or not they were present. After processing the fire scene and interviewing witnesses, the Akron Fire Investigator determined that the origin of this fire was in the first floor kitchen area at or near the gas stove. The cause of this fire was determined to be unattended cooking. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 08:08

Pair In Court For Barberton Murder

Barberton police are putting a man and woman behind bars for a weekend shooting that left a Cleveland man dead at the scene. Justin Randle was found in the grass and died a short time later; witnesses fingered the shooters taking off in an SUV outside a home on Michigan Place; police stopped the vehicle, found a gun and shell casings in the vehicle.25-year old Akria Taylor and 26-year old Antonio Parra, both of the Cleveland area, arrested. Parra's facing murder, Taylor obstruction charges.

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(Barberton PD) On January 15, 2017 at 1:51 a.m., Barberton Police were called to 341 Michigan Place for a person who had been shot. Arriving officers found the victim lying in the grass. The victim was identified as Justin R. Randle, DOB 5/31/1989 from East 74th Street, Cleveland, Ohio. Randle had been shot and witnesses stated that the suspect had left the scene in a Saturn SUV. Randle was transported to Summa Akron City Hospital where he was operated on. Randle died from his injuries early Sunday morning.

Shortly after the shooting call went out, Barberton Officers spotted a Saturn SUV that matched the suspect vhicle heading out of the City on Wooster Road North. Officers conducted a traffic stop. A loaded gun and two fired shell cashings were recovered from the vehicle.

The driver of the vehicle was Akiria Taylor, DOB 2/21/1991 from Griffing Avenue in Cleveland. The passenger of the vehicle was Antonio Deon Parra, DOB 2/20/1990 from Walford Road in Warrensville Heights. Both Taylor and Parra were arrested and booked into the Barberton City Jail.

Parra is charged with Murder and Taylor is charged of Obstructing Justice. Both will have their initial appearance in Barberton Municipal Court on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.

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