Friday, 11 December 2015 17:18

NEOMED Aims For Biggest Fundraiser Ever

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The biggest fundraiser ever at Northeast Ohio Medical University is already on the way to its goal.

NEOMED has unveiled its "Shine On" fundraiser, which focuses on three major campaign priorities - Advancing Students, Advancing Innovation and Research, and Advancing Community Health. Through the fundraiser, the university is hoping to raise some 40-million dollars.

But NEOMED says "Shine On" has already raised over 28 million dollars in its "quiet phase".

They say their goal is more than 10 times the biggest fundraising campaign they have ever had.


(NEOMED, news release) Northeast Ohio Medical University announced the University’s largest and most comprehensive fundraising effort ever, at a public phase event held in the NEOMED Education and Wellness (NEW) Center, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015.

Called Shine On: The Campaign for Northeast Ohio Medical University, the Campaign has a $40 million goal. With nearly 200 from the campus community in attendance, J. David Heller, CPA, board of trustees chair and co-chair of Shine On gave the board’s endorsement. (Heller and Campaign co-chairs Dr. Tom Boniface, Judith Barnes Lancaster and Charles “Chuck” Jones, also received the NEOMED Foundation’s approval in a previous meeting.)

Shine On addresses three major campaign priorities - Advancing Students, Advancing Innovation and Research, and Advancing Community Health. While many were already thrilled to know that the University future would shine brighter than ever, they were treated to a surprise as Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., president of Northeast Ohio Medical University, cued students standing above the NEW Center’s atrium, to reveal (one number at time), the $28.3 million raised already during the Campaign’s quiet phase.
“NEOMED has been providing education, research and service for more than 40 years to Northeast Ohio,” noted Dr. Gershen. “So, it’s miraculous to think that we’ve never had a campaign for more than $4 million. But things are changing, and we are finding more ways to keep education affordable, to advance science and to deliver population-based health to our communities.”

Nationally, while student debt for a public school medical education shows an average increase of 3 percent, NEOMED’s first year medical student debt is down considerably, by 14.4 percent.

“It’s a testament to our campaign leadership and community of givers,” said Daniel Blain, vice president for advancement and president of the Northeast Ohio Medical University Foundation. “Reaching 70 percent of our goal before even going public is outstanding and would not have been possible without our campaign chairs and leadership team, our university board of trustees, and our foundation board.”

The brief ceremony included speakers such as Elizabeth Looney, a fourth year medicine student and 2015 Pisacano Scholar, who grew up in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood. Looney talked passionately about why she chose to serve the underserved. As her story represented hundreds of other students who have similarly compelling reasons, it also represented the thousands in need who would benefit from the care provided by these future health care professionals.

As the last student revealed the final number to showcase the funds raised “to date,” Dr. Gershen concluded with, “this is a reason to celebrate,” prompting the Rootstown High School marching band to enter from the opposite side of the atrium and make a surprise appearance to close the ceremony with a few songs before everyone was treated to a campus-wide lunch.

For more about the Shine On, go to

An investigation into Planned Parenthood by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine did not find any indication that fetal tissue was sold by its affiliates in Ohio, but the probe did reveal that aborted fetal remains were disposed of in landfills.

According to the report, the investigation did show that the disposal methods of Planned Parenthood affiliates in Bedford Heights, Cincinnati and Columbus violated Ohio code that requires that a "fetus shall be disposed of in a humane manner."

"Disposing of fetuses, first cooking fetuses and then disposing of them in a landfill," DeWine said Friday at a news conference, "is not humane."

All three facilities have reportedly sent fetal remains to companies which disposed of fetuses in landfills. But DeWine says it can't be determined where the fetuses taken from the Bedford Heights facility ended up.

He says the legal remedy in this case is an injunction against the three Planned Parenthood affiliates, the three that perform abortions in Ohio.

Reaction has poured in, both in support of DeWine's investigation and against it.

Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman in a statement: "Disposing aborted fetuses into landfills is inhumane and reprehensible and should be stopped. I support legislative action at the state level and have begun to look at next steps at the federal level to ban this practice."

Democratic State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, in another statement: "This harassment of Planned Parenthood and its patients is inexcusable. The attempt to paint the women's healthcare provider as a lawbreaker is sad and deeply troubling."

Friday, 11 December 2015 11:10

Zak Husein: A Life By Example

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It's been more than three days since the shooting death of 21-year-old Zakaeria (Zak) Husein who was shot in the chest during a robbery at his brother's pizza shop in Akron.

Family and friends have used social media as an outlet to share stories and remember the University of Akron student as a kind individual who was devoted to his faith as a Muslim.

It was clear to see the impact he had on friends and family members. Hundreds attended a prayer service for Zak at the Islamic Center of Akron and Kent this week and his Facebook page is flooded with with messages, describing the young man as a thoughtful, kind, accepting and genuine individual who had a bright future ahead.

"Zak is one of, if not the, nicest guys I have ever met," said Amal Almahd, Zak's cousin and president of the Muslim Student Association at the University of Akron.

But in the midst of many positive comments, one specific remark stood out to Zak's cousin and Muslim Student Association (MSA) President Amal Almahd. She said the comment, attached to a picture of Zak, referenced the young man as a Muslim "waiting to be radicalized."

"It just hurt me so much to see that the person went and even took his picture to make such a hateful comment."

While the comment was hurtful, Almahd believes the memories shared of Zak's life has been able to counteract the verbal attacks targeting Muslims.

"Through Zak's actions, I think everyone could see that whatever hateful comments, or whatever Donald Trump and anyone is saying, is completely wrong," said Almahd. "If anything, he (Zak) really was the best example of a Muslim."

Zak was studying international business at UA and was an active member of MSA. He was shot and killed during a robbery at Premium New York Style Pizza on Glenwood Avenue Monday night.

Akron police released surveillance video of the robbery to help track down the gunman who was wearing all black and a mask. Husein can clearly be seen handing over the money to the robbery suspect. Originally , the suspect was described as a black male, but police later confirmed that they were not ruling out the possibility that the suspect was a woman.

Zak's family has offered a $50,000 reward for anyone with information that would lead to the conviction of the person responsible in the fatal shooting.

More than $3,000 has been raised in a GoFundMe account that has been set up to help Zak's family pay for funeral expenses.

Previous Coverage: 

VIDEO 21-Year-Old Shot, Killed In Akron



Friday, 11 December 2015 06:43

Hoover Senior Scores TimkenSteel Scholarship

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Hats off to TimkenSteel after a North Canton Hoover High School senior got an oversized check from the company, part of a $140,000 scholarship promise to senior Logan Stahl. First installment is $35,000 and he will be getting that the next three years too for college. It's a scholarship the company has for children of it's workers.

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(North Canton Schools) "This is one of the best parts of my job," said Ward J. "Tim" Timken, chairman, CEO and president of TimkenSteel Corp., as he waited in anticipation for Logan Stahl to arrive at the Guidance Office in North Canton Hoover High School.

Stahl, a senior at Hoover, was soon to find out that he won a TimkenSteel Charitable Fund Awards Scholarship worth $140,000.

As Stahl came into the room, he was greeted by Timken who shook his hand and presented him with an oversized check for $35,000, renewable for up to three years. As he congratulated Stahl, Timken explained this contest was extremely competitive, with children of TimkenSteel employees from all over the world applying.

"It's amazing," said Stahl later as he recounted the experience. "I am so grateful."

Timken had arranged for Stahl's parents, Duane and Trish Stahl, to be there for the surprise. Duane Stahl works as a steel purchasing controller for TimkenSteel.

Later that morning, Elaine Russell Reolfi, vice president of communications and community relations of TimkenSteel, also visited Hoover to present a $5000 scholarship to senior Makayla Sutter. Sutter called her father, Daniel Sutter, director of marketing, automotive at TimkenSteel to share the good news.

"Thank you for all your help Dad," Sutter said through tears of happiness.

In all, eight high school seniors, all children of TimkenSteel Corp. employees, were awarded $245,000 in scholarship funds throughout the morning. Scholarships were awarded based on academic and extracurricular achievement. Stahl won the largest of the scholarships awarded.

"These students are all standouts in what they do both inside and outside of the classroom," said Reolfi. "And we're proud to support their academic development as they follow in the footsteps of their talented parents."

Stahl plans to attend Grove City College, Case Western Reserve or Carnegie Mellon University and study computer science. Sutter plans to pursue a degree in nursing and play tennis for Otterbein Universit

Thursday, 10 December 2015 17:38

Former Council Member: Other Shoe To Drop?

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Former Summit County Council member Bill Roemer sat next to Tamela Lee when he was on council.

He says though the indictments handed down Thursday were no surprise, given the raid of her home earlier and other news about the FBI probe that came out earlier.

But reading the indictment, Roemer wonders if another shoe is going to drop in the case against Lee.

"I see there are mentions of a Judge 2 in the indictments and things like that," Roemer tells "Are there other people that are associated with this, or is this the final situation. Is this the tip of the iceberg, or are these the final indictments."

Roemer says it's difficult to see how Lee can serve on council after this.

"I would expect that Ms. Lee would resign or in some manner step down," Roemer says. "because it would be very hard for her to meet her duties on county council, given the extensive indictments against her."

Roemer says he didn't see anything at council directly, because the indictments involve Lee's personal relationships.

He says with news of public corruption, other officials have to work "above and beyond" to overcome such things.

Thursday, 10 December 2015 14:42

Browns Extend Barnidge Contract

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Browns tight end Gary Barnidge will stay a Browns player for some time.

The team announced today that Barnidge, who is a receiving leader in the 2015 season, has had his contract extended.

The team hasn't disclosed further details.

Barnidge tweeted a picture of himself signing the new deal.

(Cleveland Browns) Tight end Gary Barnidge, Cleveland's leader in multiple receiving categories who is in the midst of a career season, signed a contract extension with the Browns on Thursday.

Barnidge, 30, long surpassed his career-best totals in all receiving categories and still has four games to play in 2015. The seventh-year veteran enters Cleveland's Week 14 matchup against the 49ers with a team-high 60 receptions and seven touchdowns. He's second behind Travis Benjamin with 817 receiving yards.

"It's a tremendous honor that Cleveland has the faith in me. I want to be here whenever we turn this thing around. I know we haven't had the season we wanted this year but I'm looking forward to the future and getting everything turned around."

After years of playing behind Pro Bowl tight ends -- first with Greg Olsen in Carolina and then with Jordan Cameron during his first two seasons with the Browns -- Barnidge has flourished as Cleveland's top pass-catching tight end. He's caught at least five passes in eight of the past 10 games and ranks third among NFL tight ends in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He's notched three 100-yard games, topping off with 139 in a Week 5 overtime win at Baltimore, and is tied for first in the league among tight ends in third-down receptions (19).

Barnidge is one, 100-yard game away from tying the Browns franchise record for most in a season (Milt Morin, 1968). He's two touchdowns away from tying Ozzie Newsome's franchise record of nine.

"This is good news for both Gary and the Cleveland Browns," Browns General Manager Ray Farmer said. "Gary is someone that does things the right way, both on and off the field. He's a true professional and we are excited to have him remain a Cleveland Brown."

Earlier this month, Barnidge was recognized for his on- and off-the-field work when he was named the Cleveland Browns 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Barnidge helped establish American Football Without Barriers (AFWB,, a simple concept with a global impact that brings football to underprivileged kids across the world. Co-founded in 2011 by Barnidge, New York Jets RT Breno Giacomini and college roommate Ahmed Awadallah, the international non-profit aims to develop American football in underprivileged countries. Barnidge is an advocate for OhioGuidestone, a local non-profit organization that aids children and families in Cleveland as it relates to residential care, foster care and community-based services. A movie aficionado who hopes to one day be a movie critic, Barnidge also gives back to Browns fans with a weekly movie giveaway.

"The way Gary goes about his business every single day sets a great example for all of our players," Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine said. "He is a testament of hard work, professionalism and a team-first mentality. I can't say enough positive things about Gary Barnidge."

Thursday, 10 December 2015 11:19

AUDIO Tamela Lee: Indicted Party Leader

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Tamela Lee is not just a member of Summit County Council.

She's also the first vice president of the Summit County Democratic Party, a position that the acting party chair, Sandra Kurt, says does not need to immediately change.

"I have not had a discussion with any of the other officers but at this point she has been indicted but she has not been proven innocent or guilty of anything at this point, so I don't believe any action will be taken at this point," said Kurt.

Kurt described Lee as a member of council who truly works for the people she represents, and she does it without judgment.

"I've seen her as a public official do what is right for her constituency and  what's right for the public, so this does surprise me."

Kurt says that even if Lee is guilty of bribery and other charges, it hardly gives a collective black eye to all local Democrats.

"There are a lot of things being said about Donald Trump right now based on his recent comments but I don't think even the most die hard Democrats are saying that all Republicans are like Donald Trump, so I don't think that in general people make broad-brushed statements about en entire party based on the actions of one individual," said Kurt.

Lee's role with the party allows her to have a more active roll in fundraising, candidate recruitment and other activities.

Thursday, 10 December 2015 09:52

Council's Tamela Lee Indicted

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The shoe dropping for Summit Council Ward 4 Councilwoman Tamela Lee, under investigation the past year by the feds that includes a raid on her home, subpoenaes for public records and even notification to other politicians their conversations with her may have been recorded.

All four were arrested this morning and are scheduled to appear before Judge Vecchiarelli in Cleveland this afternoon.

Lee was named in an 11 count indictment announced today by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Cleveland office.

They charge her and three others with a bribery scheme and conspiracy that rewarded her for support of a liquor license application and a continued pattern of corruption. Also indicted was Omar Abdelqader of North Canton, Abdelrahman Abdelqader of Canton and Samir Abdelqader of Fairlawn.

In addition to her position representing Ward 5 (Copley, West Akron, Bath Township and Fairlawn), Lee's biography also notes she is the second vice-chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and was a founding member of the Summit County Progressive Democrats. 

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(USDOJ) A Summit County councilwoman was named in an 11-count federal indictment, charged with taking cash bribes and other things of value in exchange for official actions, including help with court cases, impeding a pending IRS investigation and assistance obtaining a liquor license, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Cleveland office.

Tamela Lee, 57, of Akron, was indicted on six counts: conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud, honest services mail fraud, Hobbs Act conspiracy, violating the Hobbs Act, obstruction of justice and making false statements to law enforcement.

"The charges in this case are extremely serious, because our public officials owe the community the highest level of integrity and honesty," Dettelbach said. "Working with the FBI, we will continue to pursue corruption allegations so that the public can trust its elected officials."

"Ms. Lee and the three other defendants must be held accountable for their crimes," Anthony said. "She was supposed to lawfully represent the people that elected her, but rather, was motivated by her own self interests. The FBI will continue to root out public corruption, whether it is elected officials that violate their oath and the law or citizens that bribe them to do so."

Three others were also indicted.

- Omar Abdelqader, 49, of North Canton, was indicted on seven counts: conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire fraud, honest services mail fraud, Hobbs Act conspiracy, violating the Hobbs Act, obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements to law enforcement.

- Abdelrahman Abdelqader, 42, of Canton, was indicted on two counts: obstruction of justice and making false statements to law enforcement.

- Samir Abdelqader, 19, of Fairlawn, was indicted on one count of making false statements to law enforcement.

Omar Abdelqader was affiliated with several convenience stores and other businesses in the Akron area, including the Bi-Rite on Diagnonal Road. Abdelrahman Abdelqader is his brother and Samir Abdelqader is his nephew, according to the indictment.

Lee solicited and accepted things from Omar Abdelqader, including money, loans, campaign contributions, home improvements, home maintenance and consumer goods. These were provided directly by Omar Abdelqader, or through Bi-Rite, according to the indictment.

In return, Lee performed and promised to perform official acts for Omar Abdelqader and other businesses in Akron for which he served as a conduit to Lee. These actions included helping Omar Abdelqader and his designees navigate government bureaucracy, achieve favorable outcomes in judicial and administrative proceedings and obtain streamlined access to information, according to the indictment.

For example, on July 5, 2013, Lee caused to be sent a letter to the State of Ohio Liquor Control Commission on behalf of Person 7's store, recommending approval of a liquor license application.

On June 8, 2014, Omar and Samir Abdelqader discussed Samir obtaining a bond regarding criminal charges he was facing. About 40 minutes later, Omar and Lee discussed the councilwoman emailing or calling the judge. On June 12, Lee called Judge 2's chambers several times. The next day Lee asked Omar for money, and he directed her to the Bi-Rite to collect the money, according to the indictment.

On June 14, 2014, Lee sent a text message to Omar informing him that the judge and bailiff returned her call. She then sent a text message to Omar stating: "I am going to bed, I am angry and frustrated and broke...bye," according to the indictment.

Later that day, Omar instructed Lee to send her daughter to the Bi-Rite to pick up cash. Three days later, Lee spoke to Judge 2 and told the judge she was related to Samir Abdelqader, according to the indictment.

In July 2014, Lee and Omar spoke repeatedly about fundraising for her campaign. Omar told Person 9 that he had collected $800 in donations for Lee. Omar explained the Lee provided service. "In other words, I am keeping her because we need her, man," Omar told Person 9, who responded: "She is better than an attorney to us!" according to the indictment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Antoinette T. Bacon and Linda Barr following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Akron Police Department.

If convicted, the defendants' sentences will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant's prior criminal record (if any), the defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.

An indictment is only charge and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Wednesday, 09 December 2015 15:29

Falls High Commotion Results In Teen Arrest

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A combination of problems led Cuyahoga Falls High School to keep students in classes for about an hour earlier this morning, but one of those problems was not an actual gun.

Cuyahoga Falls superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols says despite what was rumored on social media, it wasn't a real gun spotted among other situations at Cuyahoga Falls High School.

Cuyahoga Falls police say they were called to the high school for a "disorderly student" at just before 9:30 AM, but learned from the school of the 16 year-old student with a weapon "believed to be a gun".

Police say that device found in a backpack turned out to be pruning shears wrapped in electrical tape, with a Swiss army knife taped to the outside.

Dr. Nichols sent out a call to parents this afternoon, saying students were kept in their classes for a while, but that no one was hurt, or in danger.

Police say the student faces felony charges of Illegal Possession of a Weapon in a School, and misdemeanor Inducing Panic, and was taken to the Summit County Juvenile Detention Center.

Wednesday, 09 December 2015 11:19

Akron Man Accused Of Hiding Gun In Homicide Investigation

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An Akron man is accused of trying to hide or destroy evidence in a homicide investigation.

Police said Robert Leemar Lewis Jr., 21, of Mull Avenue, lied to officers about his identity by giving false information and removed a 9mm pistol from a Storer Avenue house and then tried to hide it under a car.

Authorities said Tyshawn Vaughn, 21, was shot and killed at the Storer Avenue home last Friday.

Lewis has been charged with obstructing official business, tampering with evidence and weapons under disability.

According to police, Lewis is a convicted felon who is unable to possess a firearm.

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