LeBron James is keeping busy on and off the court. The LeBron James Family Foundation just announced that the King has teamed up Little Tikes to make a line of sports toys, including a number of basketball hoops.
A donation will be made to the foundation with each product sold. It'll debut in Toys"R"Us stores nationwide in April.
(LeBron James Family Foundation: News Release) MGA Entertainment, the world's leading private toy company and parent company of Little Tikes, has partnered with the LeBron James Family Foundation (LJFF) to offer a new line of co-branded licensed sports toys. The first items from the line, the Mini Hoop basketball set and the Dream Big basketball set, are now available for presale exclusively at Toysrus.com, and will debut in Toys"R"Us® stores nationwide in April. A donation will be made to the Foundation with each product sold.
"To this day, I still have a Little Tikes hoop sitting in my house just because of all the days I spent playing on it as a kid. It's one of the first gifts you get when you are old enough to do that," said LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers forward and founder of the LeBron James Family Foundation. "That's where I honed my skills. If it wasn't for that Little Tikes hoop, I wouldn't be who I am today."
The LeBron James Family Foundation, based in Akron, Ohio, encourages kids to stay in school, promise to graduate and to give back to their community. Last August, the Foundation announced a partnership with The University of Akron to provide qualifying students who graduate through the program a full four-year scholarship. Covering all students currently enrolled in the program, as well as the next four incoming classes, an estimated 2300 Akron inner-city students can potentially benefit. To encourage parent engagement in their child's education, the Foundation also offers a program called "I PROMISE, Too," to help the parents of LJFF students earn their GEDs.
"Our Little Tikes factory is right outside Akron, just a stone's throw from where LeBron learned to dunk on a Little Tikes hoop as a child," said Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment. "When we heard about the amazing mission of LeBron and the Foundation, we knew right away we wanted to collaborate so that we too could give back to the families in the Akron community."
The Little Tikes team is dedicated to fostering active and imaginative play with values that align directly with those of the LeBron James Family Foundation.
"We are beyond excited to partner with MGA Entertainment's Little Tikes brand to offer the first ever LeBron James Family Foundation branded line of sports equipment for kids," said Michele Campbell, executive director, LeBron James Family Foundation. "We encourage the students in our program to dream big, to be active, and to have fun, and this partnership with Little Tikes exemplifies all of that."
Little Tikes LeBron James Family Foundation toys will be available exclusively at Toys"R"Us stores nationwide and online at Toysrus.com, as well as LittleTikes.com this spring, just in time for the NBA playoffs. Additionally, the assortment will become available at multiple retailers this fall.
Browns training camp could still move to Columbus, but it looks like state money won't be involved in moving it from Berea.
Cleveland.com reports that Columbus officials are dropping their request for 5-million-dollars in state funding for the project.
The head of the Columbus Partnership wrote in a Columbus Dispatch column calling the group's intents "misunderstood", saying the group never intended to use state money to poach from another region.
Talks about moving the Browns training camp still continue. The team announced that this year's camp will still be in Berea.
CBrent Larkin, former editorial director of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, originally reported on Cleveland.com on the request for state money to build a facility that would house Browns training camp and youth sports.
UPDATE: Summit County health officials have now confirmed a case of tuberculosis in Summit County -- specifically at the North High School community. The county's department of health is currently investigating, but they have not released details related to whether the victim is a student, teacher or staff member.
Officials say they'll be notifying potentially exposed contacts directly about the need for screening and intervention.
County health officials say that hundreds of people in Summit County carry a tuberculosis germ, but that it does not develop into tuberculosis disease in most cases.
(Summit County Health Department, news release) The TB case that was reported earlier today as suspect in a member of the North High School community has now been confirmed. Due to privacy and HIPAA laws regulating the use of Protected Health Information (PHI), the individual will not be identified.
Summit County Public Health is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify contacts most at risk of exposure to TB. SCPH will be notifying potentially exposed contacts directly about the need for screening and intervention. Identified individuals will be notified via mail within the next week.
Summit County Public Health will be staffing a TB information-line starting February 11, 2016 at 8:00 am. The TB information-line number is 330-926-5795. For additional information, please visit the Summit County Public Health website at www.scph.org.
(Summit County Health Department), news release) Akron, Ohio. Summit County Public Health is currently investigating a suspected case of tuberculosis in a member of the North High School community. Due to privacy and HIPAA laws regulating the use of Protected Health Information (PHI), the individual will not be identified. Summit County Public Health (SCPH) is conducting a thorough investigation of this incident to identify all potentially exposed individuals and provide guidance and evaluation as necessary.
Tuberculosis Disease (TB) is an uncommon and potentially serious illness that usually involves the lungs. In some cases, people with TB can spread the disease to others. TB is spread through the air by close prolonged contact when a person coughs, speaks, laughs, or sings. It is NOT spread by casual contact, for example, passing someone in the hallway, standing next to someone in the store, using the same bathroom, or contact with surfaces.
Almost all cases of TB are curable with proper treatment and medication.
Active cases of TB disease are uncommon after initial exposure. While TB is
contagious, it is not very easy for the disease to spread from person to person.
Therefore, there is minimal risk to the greater Summit County public. Summit County Public Health is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify contacts most at risk of exposure to TB.
SCPH will be notifying potentially exposed contacts directly about the need for screening and intervention. Identified individuals will be notified via mail.
Summit County Public Health will be staffing a TB information-line starting February 11, 2016 at 8:00 am. The TB information-line number is 330-926-5795. For additional information, please visit the Summit County Public Health website at www.scph.org
Kent police say they've arrested the second teen in connection with the murder of a Kent State University student.
NewsChannel 5 reports a 17-year-old was taken into custody last (Wednesday) night and booked into the Portage County Juvenile Justice Center. He's facing a delinquency by aggravated murder charge and is being held without bond.
Another 17-year-old Stow-Monroe Falls High School student was arrested earlier this week in connection with the shooting death of 18-year-old Nicholas Massa.
On the web: www.newsnet5.com
The North Canton City School district is looking for a new leader, and they're now asking for more public input on the choice.
The district has put together a survey with the help of the county Educational Survey Center.
The North Canton Board of Education says it's "critical" for the community to be able to provide input on what they're looking for in a superintendent...and says the survey will "play a role" in the selection process.
The survey is available online, and hard copies will be distributed in school district buildings and other public locations in North Canton.
The survey deadline is Februrary 26th.
(North Canton City Schools, news release) As the North Canton City Schools Board of Education works to recruit and hire a new superintendent of schools, board members would like direct input from the North Canton community. They have asked the Stark County Educational Service Center (ESC) to conduct a survey to collect input on their behalf.
"The school district is at the heart of the community. We are in this together, and the board felt it was critical to give North Canton an opportunity to provide input on what they value in a superintendent," said Board President Bruce Hunt. "The survey gives everyone a chance to have a voice and tell us what they think."
The survey is accessible online at ??https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/super-nccs. Additionally, hard copies of the survey are available at all school buildings as well as the district central office, North Canton City Hall, North Canton YMCA, North Canton Public Library and North Canton Chamber of Commerce.
The deadline to complete this survey is Friday, February 26, 2016. The ESC will compile the results, which will play a role in the selection of the district's next superintendent.
With calls for change echoing at the University of Akron, two dozen students and faculty members gathered outside Wednesday's board of trustees meeting in protest.
UA associate professor Kevin Kern says these protests wouldn't be happening...if the board would listen to the community.
"That's been the real tragedy of this whole thing," Kern tells WAKR.net, "I really don't think it would have come to this point if there had been real, open communication with the board trustee."
The protestors say that there is a lack of trust between the administration and the rest of the university, and there needs to be greater shared governance at the university.
Kern says one solution to the lack of trust is to create a shared governance.
"This is a central part of the American university system, it's something called shared governance," Kern says, "where the administration, the board of trustees, the faculty, the stakeholders actually jointly cooperate to make decisions."
In the meeting, the UA board of trustees did not publicly read the letter sent by the university's chairs and directors. Graduate Assistant Thomas Guarino says that decision adds to the lack of trust.
"To me, it just works along the lines of lack of transparency," Guarino tells WAKR.net, "like not taking the votes without more urgency."
Trustees said they would review that letter sent Tuesday night by university chairs and directors.
Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan held a round table discussion with Akron area community leaders to find a solution to the growing heroin epidemic.
Ryan says the big takeaway from the discussion is trying to find a way to give more money to local agencies.
"These communities need money," Ryan tell WAKR.net. "They need resources whether it is on the prosecution side, law enforcement side, drug court side, treatment side. They need help and there have been a lot of federal cuts in the last few years. "
In addition to low funds, Ryan says there is a need to remove current restrictions that prevent some people from getting proper treatment.
"Right now there is a limitation because the law only allows people a certain number of beds who are dealing with addiction issues," Ryan said. "We want to get rid of that barrier so that these folks that need a place to go have a place to go."
Ryan also says the federal government needs to crack down harder on penalties for selling and distributing fentanyl and heroin.
Three weeks after the Max and Erma's location in the Belden Village area closed, the restaurant's Montrose location has shut down.
The Beacon Journal reports that the Max and Erma's on Medina Road in Fairlawn closed abruptly Sunday evening.
The chain's restaurant locator shows the closest location is now in the Cleveland suburbs.
The Montrose closing comes after the Max and Erma's chain has a new owner out of Montana.
On the Web: Akron Beacon Journal, www.ohio.com
Kent State University and its former softball coach have been sued by a former player, who says the coach covered up a rape.
The Record Courier reports that the player names the son of former KSU softball coach Karen Linder, a former baseball player she claims was intoxicated and claims he raped her in her dorm room in December 2012.
The suit says Karen Linder and KSU athletic director Joel Neilsen didn't act according to university sexual harrassment policy, even after the former softball player filed a Title IX complaint.
KentWired.com reports the suit says that Kent State's Title IX coordinator and Nielsen had decided to conduct a "surprise interview" of Linder, instead of following that policy.
Kent State University has issued a brief statement:
"When we are formally served with the complaint, we will answer accordingly.
The University is strongly committed to Title IX and we take these matters very seriously. We follow all policies and procedures related to Title IX, taking measures above and beyond what is required to ensure all students, staff and faculty are aware of their rights and responsibilities."
UPDATE: The three boys have been found safe in Canton, and the Amber Alert has been cancelled.
(Previous coverage) There's an Amber Alert in effect for three boys in Canal Fulton. Lawrence Township police say Brayden, Carter and Colton Rooks, ages 10, 6 and 12 are believed to have been abducted from a Butterridge Road NW residence. They were last in the custody of their mother, 38-year old Tara Rooks, who police say has threatened suicide and made attempts. She drives a 2011 gray Kia Soul. The boys were last seen around 5:15 Monday evening.
An Amber Alert has been issued by the Lawrence Township PD for the following regions: East Central Ohio, which includes the following counties: Carroll, Coshocton, Guernsey, Holmes, Portage, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, and Wayne.
Information as of: February 9, 2016 at 12:01 PM
Be on the lookout for an abducted child. On February 8, 2016 at 5:15 PM, LAST IN THE CUSTODY OF MOTHER TARA ROOKS, DRIVING A GREY 2011 KIA SOUL OH LIC/FZH3275. SHE HAS ATTEMPTED SUICIDE IN THE PAST AND HAS
MADE THREATS OF SUICIDE POSSIBLY IN THE STARK COUNTY OHIO AREA.
The incident took place in Stark County, OH 5620 Butterridge road NW in the city of Canal Fulton 44614.
There are 3 victims:
Child #1's name is Brayden Rooks and the individual is missing. The child is a White male, age 10, is 409 tall, weighs 085, has blonde hair, and has green eyes.
Child #2's name is Carter Rooks and the individual is missing. The child is a White male, age 6, is 408 tall, weighs 070, and has brown hair.
Child #3's name is colton rooks and the individual is missing. The child is a White male, age 12, is 504 tall, weighs 100, has brown hair, and has brown eyes.
The suspect's name is tara rooks. The suspect is a White female, age 38, is 503 tall, weighs 175, has blonde hair, and has brown eyes.
The vehicle involved is a grey 2011 kia soul with OH plate number fzh3275.
Call or dial 911 if you see the child, the suspect or the vehicle. You can also call 1-877-AMBER-OH (1-877-262-3764) or 911 to be transferred directly to the investigating law enforcement agency or to hear the alert information.
To view photographs, visit the Ohio Amber Alert website at: http://OhioAmberPlan.org
UPDATE: State health officials say there's a second case of the Zika virus has been diagnosed in a Stark County man.
The Ohio Department of Health says the 21 year-old man returned to Ohio from Haiti, like the 30 year-old Cleveland woman first reported on Tuesday.
The ODH says the cases are not linked.
Earlier, the first case of the Zika virus has been reported in Cuyahoga County.
The Ohio Department of Health reports the Zika virus was discovered in a returning traveler from Haiti, a 30-year-old Cleveland woman.
Until the Ohio cases, There have been 35 cases reported in 12 states and D.C.
(News Release: The Ohio Department of Health) The Ohio Department of Health is reporting Ohio's first case of Zika virus in a returning traveler from Haiti, a 30-year-old Cuyahoga County woman, city of Cleveland. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was reporting 35 cases of Zika virus in 12 states and the District of Columbia prior to Ohio's case.
Zika virus is primarily transmitted through a mosquito bite, and there is no indication that it can spread from person to person through casual contact. CDC has confirmed a U.S. case of Zika virus infection in a non-traveler after the person's sexual partner returned from an affected country and developed symptoms.
Planning is underway for a Zika virus tabletop exercise to ensure Ohio's preparedness at the local and state levels prior to the 2016 mosquito season that runs from May to October.
Of people infected with the Zika virus, 80 percent do not have any symptoms. When symptoms occur, they are often mild, lasting from several days to a week, and include fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), and headache. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Due to the possible association between Zika virus infections in pregnant women and certain birth defects, CDC recommends that pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant consider postponing travel to areas with Zika virus transmission.
"There is no vaccine available for Zika virus so it's important for Ohioans traveling to affected areas to take steps to prevent mosquito bites," said Dr. Mary DiOrio, medical director of the Ohio Department of Health. "There have been no reported cases of Zika virus disease transmission through mosquito bites anywhere in the continental U.S."
To prevent potential transmission through sexual contact, CDC recommends men with a pregnant sex partner abstain from sexual activity or consistently and correctly use condoms during sex for the duration of the pregnancy. CDC also recommends that pregnant women without symptoms of Zika virus disease be offered testing 2 to 12 weeks after returning from areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission.
CDC has issued a travel alert for people traveling to the following regions and countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. territories; American Samoa; Barbados; Bolivia; Brazil; Cape Verde; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cura?ao; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Saint Martin; Samoa; Suriname; Tonga; and Venezuela. Zika virus disease has historically occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia and islands in the Pacific Ocean. In May 2015, Zika virus was found for the first time in the Western Hemisphere in northeastern Brazil. The virus has since spread throughout much of the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
The primary mosquito that transmits Zika virus is found in the tropics and southern U.S., but it is not established in Ohio. Another type of mosquito found in Ohio may potentially transmit Zika virus, although it has not yet been implicated in the transmission of human cases.
"Prevention of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission is the same as prevention of any other mosquito-borne diseases," Dr. DiOrio said. "This includes taking precautions to prevent mosquito bites – such as using insect repellents, limiting exposure where and when mosquitoes are most active, and removing breeding sources such as containers that collect standing water."
The city of Akron's Blue Ribbon panel report has gotten a lot of reaction since it landed on the desk of Akron mayor Dan Horrigan.
Most of the feedback has been positive, but one group has concerns about one recommendation, about possible privatization of the city's utilities.
Greg Coleridge, director of the Northeast Ohio Friends Service Committee, says Akron voters earlier rejected selling the city's sewer system, which was part of former mayor Don Plusquellic's "Sewers for Scholarships" plan.
He says the city would lose control and input with private utility companies based in other states or even countries...particularly water companies headquartered in other countries.
Overall, Coleridge agrees with other recommendations by the Blue Ribbon panel.
(Northeast Ohio Friends Servce Committee) Open Letter to Mayor Dan Horrigan and Akron City Council Regarding Blue Ribbon Task Force Report
February 8, 2016
We write in response to the February 1, 2016 Blue Ribbon Task Force report.
We understand and commend the desire and need to have an outside ad hoc group assess
the current conditions of the city and the present structure and policies of the city
government, as well as offer recommendations for improvement.
There is much in the report with which we agree. Many of the challenges Akron faces
are, as the report states, due to external political and economic conditions that are shared
by other cities — namely deindustrialization, federal and state budget cuts, and the recent
We would point out that each of these realities has been caused in no small degree by the
growing power and rights of business corporations and the super wealthy few. They've
exerted political and economic influence over public policies and the economy in support
of tax cuts, subsidies, perks, contracts and reductions of regulations which have further
consolidated their power and rights and increased their fortunes. The losers, of course,
have been programs, policies and people in urban, rural and suburban areas, including
Akron — specifically the poor, elderly, persons of color, working class and differently
Not all of Akron's current problems are due, however, to external factors. Some have
been self-inflicted. The past decision by the Administration to fight the EPA over the
city's combined sewer overflow resulted in substantial federal dollars left on the table
that now must come out of the pockets of Akron water and sewer customers.
The Task Force report asserts that, "[t]he single largest challenge facing the City is its
financial condition." We agree. It's appropriate, therefore, that many of its
recommendations address ways to reduce costs or increase income.
Prior to listing any specific recommendations, the report wisely declares, "some of them
will require further study; others will require additional resources (human and capital);
and still others just may not work at this time."
We respectfully offer that one of the recommendations in the later category, that "just
may not work at this time," that we believe should not work out ANY time, is selling,
leasing or transferring the city's water and sewer system – a suggestion referenced on
Public utilities should remain public by the mere fact that to be more effective and
efficient there should be one provider. Akron voters overwhelmingly approved in 2008 to
keep the city's public sewer system public – under the control of We the People. Voters
understood that to privatize/corporatize public utilities more often than not increases
costs, reduces services, and results in the lay off of public employees. And in every single
case, turning over a public asset to a for-profit corporation, especially if headquartered
outside the community, state, if not country, significantly reduces public control – i.e.
We believe former Mayor Tom Johnson, promoter of the public Cleveland electric power
system, said it best more than a century ago:
"I believe in the municipal ownership of all public service monopolies...for if you do not
own them they will, in time, own you. They will rule your politics, corrupt your
institutions, and finally destroy your liberties."
First Energy Corporation is a classic example of the perils of a private corporation
controlling what should be public provision of our electrical energy --ruling our state
politics via their lobbying and campaign contributions/investments and adversely
influencing (if not corrupting) the institution of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
(PUCO) – with the result of high rates to pay for antiquated and environmentally
destructive fossil fuel plants while opposing the movement toward renewable energy.
While ostensibly a public official, the Emergency Manager appointed by the Michigan
Governor to run the public water system in Flint, MI was unaccountable and unelected.
Running the public water system like a business is what led to the tragic poisoning of the
residents of that city.
Our concluding message is simple, as reinforced by over 60% of Akron voters in 2008:
Keep Public Utilities Public.
Thank you for your consideration.
Clerk, Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee
Director, Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee
Primary voters in New Hampshire are just hours away from casting their ballots in the first in the nation presidential primary. On the Republican side, it's believed to be a make-or-break primary for several candidates including Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Lindsay McCoy of WFMJ in Youngstown is following Kasich in the final days of his New Hampshire campaign. She joined Jasen to talk about the Kasich campaign and what it will take for him to stay in the race past Tuesday's primary.
Northeast Ohio Medical University will get $50,000 in state cash to help fund its gene therapy project.
The project is working on the ability to target specific cells with hopes of creating better treatment for diseases, including some cancers.
The money for NEOMED comes from the Third Frontier Fund that helps with collaboration between schools and local start-up companies.