Thursday, 21 January 2016 10:58

Neighborhood Transformation Planned

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Akron and Summit County officials have plans in place to make a major difference in a very specific part of the city.

Ward 3 Akron City Council representative Margo Sommerville says the Summit County Land Bank has purchased 55 blighted houses, all of them in Ward 3, precinct K.

"They (Summit County Land Bank) actually found out that this particular precinct in Ward 3 has the most blighted homes and need the most attention  and that's why they were able to get involved and help us out," said Sommerville.

The precinct includes parts of W. Bowery, Manchester, Princeton, Oberlin and other neighborhoods. Sommerville says the people who live there are frustrated with the appearance of the area as well as the problems it invites.

"Neighbors have been calling, complaining about these homes because we know what these homes attract," said Sommerville. "They attract trash, litter, animals and also people staying inside of these homes."

Sommerville says people will be able to purchase the lots where they can be sites of new homes or kept as green space.

Sommerville will talk more about it at a Ward 3 meeting tonight at 6:00 at the library on Vernon Odom Boulevard.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 15:25

U.S. Attorney Dettelbach Stepping Down

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Northern Ohio's highest ranking federal attorney is stepping down.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Northern Ohio says Steven Dettelbach has submitted his resignation effective on February 5th, saying he will then return to private practice.

In a statement, Dettlebach says serving as U.S. Attorney has been "the single greatest honor" of his professional life. The statement says he focused on issues like corruption, violent crime and fraud...and on new priorities like civil rights and cybercrime.

He was appointed to the post of U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in 2009.

(U.S. Attorney's Office Northern Ohio, news release) United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven M. Dettelbach has announced that he had submitted his resignation to President Obama and Attorney General Lynch effective on Feb. 5, 2016.

Dettelbach, 50, stated that he plans to reenter private practice.

"Serving as the United States Attorney, and leading and working with the incredible men and women of this office and so many law enforcement agencies, has been the single greatest honor of my professional life," Dettelbach said. "I want to thank President Obama for affording me that rare opportunity. I hope that in the future I can both serve my clients well and remain an active part of this incredible community through public service."

As U.S. Attorney, Dettelbach continued to focus on corruption, violent crime and fraud while also making civil rights and cybercrime new priorities. He made efforts in each of those areas to not only ramp up enforcement, but to prevent crime by engaging the community through outreach and creative programming.

Dettelbach emphasized transparency, publicly issuing releases on nearly every case charged. He also took steps to enhance the internal review of cases, requiring for the first time prosecution memoranda and indictment review committees in significant cases. He created a dedicated unit to focus on civil rights violations, both criminal and civil, and dedicated two prosecutors to cyber enforcement and formation of the Northern Ohio Cyber Security Consortium with leading businesses in the area. He created a new position of outreach coordinator to better understand community needs, and successfully managed the office through unprecedented Washington-based budget crises, including a federal government shutdown and sequestration cuts, while continuing to bring significant and impactful cases and collect in each and every year several times the office budget in fines, civil judgments and forfeitures from crime proceeds.

Under his leadership, the office negotiated an agreement to reform the Cleveland Division of Police, with emphasis on better use-of-force policies, more training, increased accountability, supervision and more robust community engagement. It also entered into voting rights agreements that for the first time ever resulted in bilingual ballots in Lorain and Cuyahoga Counties in order to comply with Section 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act.

He also brought together a diverse group of stakeholders – hospitals, doctors, law enforcement, treatment professionals, people in recovery and others – to attempt to find a comprehensive solution to the district's heroin and opioid epidemic. That approach has become a national model replicated throughout the country including Atlanta, Minneapolis, Maine and New Mexico.

Among the cases prosecuted under Dettelbach:

Human trafficking convictions against more than 40 defendants including Jeremy Mack, the Elyria man sentenced to life in prison for trafficking drug-addicted women and girls, and Jessica Hunt and Jordie Callahan, sentenced to 32 and 30 years in prison, respectively, for holding a woman with cognitive disabilities and her child against their will and forcing the woman to perform manual labor.

U.S. v. Antun Lewis, twice convicting the defendant now serving 35 years in federal prison for setting the deadliest house fire in Cleveland history, which killed eight children and one adult.

More than 1,000 firearms indictments filed against often violent felons during his time in office, one of the leading offices in the nation in that regard.

U.S. v. Randolph Linn, an Indiana man now serving 20 years in prison for driving to Ohio to set fire to the largest mosque in the Toledo area.

Five indictments using death-specification enhancements for people who sold heroin that directly contributed to a fatal overdose.

The indictments and convictions in U.S. v. Samuel Mullet et al. on charges of hate crimes based on five violent religiously based attacks on Amish victims, which were reversed based on a jury instruction error, and witness tampering which resulted in significant prison sentences for all 16 defendants.

Successfully prosecutions for fraud and bribery, one of which he personally tried, involving the collapse of the St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union failure in United States history.

U.S. v. Kevin Dye, another case personally tried by Dettelbach resulting in the conviction and 60-year prison sentence of a violent felon for firebombing the Mansfield Courthouse and City Hall.

U.S. v. Schatz: William B. Schatz, the general counsel of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, took bribes totaling approximately $682,130 from Robert J. Kassouf, a contractor on NEORSD's Mill Creek Tunnel project. Stanley Lojek was an intermediary for the bribes. Schatz also embezzled approximately $166,940 from the NEORSD. Schatz was sentenced to nearly six years in prison, Kassouf was sentenced nearly five years in prison and Lojek was sentenced to one year in prison.

U.S. v. Alatrash: Faisal Alatrash, a project superintendent for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, was sentenced to more than eight years in prison following his trial for taking bribes from contractors and steering work to his wife's cleaning company.

U.S. v. Ugochukwu: Christopher Ugochukwu is serving a 26-year prison sentence for leading an organization that brought heroin from Nigeria, Mexico, and Colombia and sold it throughout Greater Cleveland. Authorities seized more than 20 kilograms of heroin in 2010, believed to be the largest heroin seizure in Ohio history. Twenty-three people were convicted of crimes for their roles in the operation.

U.S. v. Ricks: Keith Ricks, the leader of a group that brought large shipments of heroin from Atlanta and Chicago and sold it around the East Side of Cleveland, was sentenced to life in prison. A jury found that Ricks led a conspiracy that included scores of people, robbed rival drug dealers and used violence to control the sale of heroin in the neighborhood around St. Clair Avenue and East 117th Street. Nearly 60 people were convicted in the case.

U.S. v. Wright, et al.: Douglas Wright, Brandon Baxter, Anthony Hayne, Connor Stevens, and Joshua Stafford convicted for the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction for their efforts to blow up the Route 82 bridge that spans the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Wright was sentenced to 11 years in prison, Baxter to nearly 10 years, Hayne to six years, Stevens to eight years and Stafford to 10 years in prison.

U.S. v. Akl, et al: Hor and Amela Akl, a married couple in Toledo, were caught attempting to send $200,000 in cash to Hizbollah in Lebanon that was to be concealed in the side panel of the door of a car that was to be shipped to Lebanon. Hor Akl was sentenced to more than six years in prison and Amera Akl was sentenced to more than three years in prison.

ISIL cases: Amir Al-Ghazi, of Sheffield Lake, was indicted on charges of providing material support to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as well as firearms and narcotics violations. Al-Ghazi is alleged to have pledged his support to ISIL via social media in 2014. From July 2014 to June 2015, Al-Ghazi made multiple statements trying to persuade others to join ISIL. He also expressed his own desire to perpetrate an attack on the U.S. and attempted to purchase an AK-47 assault rifle. Terrance McNeil, of Akron, was indicted for with soliciting the murder of members of the U.S. military. McNeil professed his support on social media on numerous occasions for ISIL and encouraged ISIL sympathizers to behead and stab members of the military in the U.S. Both cases are pending.

U.S. v. Persaud: Westlake cardiologist Dr. Henry Persaud was sentenced to 20 years in prison for performing unnecessary catheterizations, tests, stent insertions and causing unnecessary coronary artery bypass surgeries as part of a scheme to overbill Medicare and other insurers by $29 million.

U.S. v. Hazelwood, et al.: Nine people were convicted in one of the largest Internet pill diversion cases in the country and the first in the district. The case involved Hazelwoood and other doctors prescribing and dispensing hundreds of thousands of pills to people who contacted them via web sites Hazelwood controlled.

Dettelbach previously served for 12 years as a career federal prosecutor. During those years, he worked at the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section; U.S. Attorneys Offices in Maryland and Washington, D.C.; and from 2003 to 2006 in the Northern District of Ohio, as a member of the Organized Crime and Corruption Strike Force. As a line federal prosecutor, Dettelbach handled numerous high-profile cases, including public corruption and bribery cases such as U.S. v. Nate Gray and U.S. v. Emmanuel Onunwor, the prosecution of numerous corrupt officials and businesspeople involving the Cleveland Water Department, and U.S. v. Litten, a multimillion dollar bankruptcy fraud in Maryland. He also won convictions in what was, at the time, the largest human trafficking case ever brought in the United States, in which approximately 70 Thai women were held against their will and forced to work in El Monte, California.

Dettelbach is one of only five U.S. Attorneys to be appointed to the Attorney General's Advisory Council by both Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. Dettelbach chaired the subcommittee on Civil Rights during the entire length of his service as United States Attorney, tying him as the longest serving Subcommittee Chair of any United States Attorney in the Administration.

Dettelbach also was detailed to serve as Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary from 2001 to 2003. Dettelbach was previously a partner at the law firm of Baker & Hostetler, LLP.

Dettelbach graduated from Dartmouth College in 1988 and from Harvard Law School in 1991. He lives in Solon, Ohio with his wife and two children.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 11:32

Akron-Canton Foodbank Sends Bottled Water To Flint

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The Akron-Canton Foodbank is lending a helping hand to residents in Flint, Michigan with its water crisis after tests revealed the city's water supply contained elevated levels of lead. The foodbank has partnered with FirstMerit Bank to load and ship bottled water to those in need.

Akron-Canton Foodbank President and CEO Dan Flowers grew up in Michigan and started his career at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint. He says the crisis hits close to home.

 "When this crisis emerged, it just seemed like the right thing to do to share some of our water in our inventory," said Flowers.

A semi-trailer filled with 40-thousand pounds of bottled water left to eastern Michigan this morning. The water will be donated to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and will be distributed to hundreds of hunger-relief programs like food pantries, hot meal sites and shelters.

"It's representative of that spirit of generosity and sharing that I think has made this community great and we know that it's going to help the people of Flint," said Flowers. "If we have more water donations that come our way that we can share, we're happy to do that."


(Press Release: Akron-Canton Foodbank) The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank in collaboration with FirstMerit Bank, have assembled a quick response to support a partner food bank in Flint, MI that is currently experiencing a contaminated water crisis.

A public health emergency has been declared in Flint, MI, after tests showed the city's water supply caused elevated levels of lead in children, following months of complaints about the smell and taste.

Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank staff and volunteers loaded bottled water onto a semi-trailer for departure early Wednesday morning. The Foodbank’s trailer, carrying approximately 40,000 pounds of bottled water sourced from its Feeding America partnership, will travel to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and is scheduled to arrive later on Jan. 20, 2016.

"The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank has a long and great partnership with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint. I grew up and started my career at that Food Bank. We have shared food and ideas with one another for many years. Our hearts break for the good people of Flint that are met with this unfortunate water issue. As the Akron community has done many times before in times of crisis, we are glad to share a load of water with them during this time of need and will stand by to help more if we can," said Dan Flowers, President and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

The water donated to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan will be distributed to its network of more than 400 hunger-relief programs like food pantries, hot meal sites and shelters.

“FirstMerit has always been an active leader in disaster recovery relief, here in our hometown region and elsewhere, such as New York City after 9/11 and the East Coast following Hurricane Sandy. With so many FirstMerit employees and their families living and working in Flint, this disaster hits close to home. We are pleased to be able to help the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank by covering the transportation costs of getting all of this drinkable water to the good folks in Flint,” said Nicholas Browning, Akron Regional President at FirstMerit Bank.

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan are both members of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Feeding America is a nationwide network of food banks that provide food to virtually every community in the United States.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 17:50

Woman Sentenced In Akron Party Knife Attack

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An Akron woman who slashed another woman's face and neck in a party argument in 2014 will spend five years in prison.

53 year-old Jacqueline Ware of Beardsley Street was found guilty by a Summit County jury last month on two felonious assault charges.

Prosecutors say the argument broke out at a January 2014 party on Russell Avenue, when Ware took out a knife and cut the victim's face and neck.

The scars are now permanent, and prosecutors say if the wounds were deeper, they could have been deadly.

(Summit County Prosecutor's Office, news release) Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that Jacqueline Ware, 53 of Beardsley Street in Akron, was sentenced to five years in prison for slashing another person in the face and neck.

On December 4, 2015 a Summit County jury found Ware guilty of the following charges:

Two counts of Felonious Assault – felonies of the 2nd degree

On January 9, 2014 Ware and the victim attended a party on Russell Avenue in Akron. An argument broke out, which led to pushing and shoving. Eventually, Ware took out a knife and cut the victim's face and neck. The attack left permanent scars on the victim's face.

"To this day, the victim continues to suffer from what happened over two years ago," said Prosecutor Walsh. "The wound to her neck could have been deadly if it was any deeper. We are pleased knowing the defendant will spend significant time in prison and that justice was finally served for the victim."

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 17:49

Grove Street Body Found

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The Summit County Medical Examiner is looking into the death of a man found dead in a parking lot on Grove Street just after nine Tuesday morning.

Akron police found the man unresponsive, dead of an apparent gunshot wound.

The Medical Examiner says the shooting was a homicide.

No positive identification has been made, and none will be released pending notification of next-of-kin.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 13:04

Summit County Leaders Support Sittenfeld

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Local Democrats are putting their support behind a lesser-known candidate in the race for U.S. Senate. Summit County officials came together Tuesday morning to publicly endorse 31-year-old P.G. Sittenfeld, a Cincinnati councilman and candidate in the Senate race against Ted Strickland in the Democratic primary.

"I think that he understands what we go through," said Summit County Executive Russ Pry. "It's not just about passing bills. We have to figure out how to implement a lot of those different bills at the local level."

Summit County Executive Russ Pry, State Senator Tom Sawyer, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, President of Summit County Council Ilene Shapiro, and State Rep. Emilia Sykes were among those who publicly put their support behind Sittenfeld at Greystone Hall Tuesday morning.

But Sittenfeld said it's about more than just an endorsement .

"The people here today are saying this is why I support PG," said Sittenfeld. "We as a Democratic party should never be afraid of the democratic process, and that would be my main message here today."

State Rep. Emilia Sykes says Sittenfeld offers fresh ideas -- and can connect with the youth.

"We have an issue in the state of Ohio with brain drain," said Sykes. "We have to continue to make sure that we have young people who are willing and able and ready to take on the task in the state of Ohio."

Senator Tom Sawyer was one of five who applauded Sittenfeld's attention to local communities and new ideas -- and even encouraged a debate between Sittenfeld and Ted Strickland who is scheduled to speak at the Akron Press Club on Monday, Jan. 25. Sittenfeld accepted the invitation.

"I would be delighted to debate Ted Strickland at the Akron Press Club next Monday, should the invitation be issued and accepted on his end," said Sittenfeld. 

While some critics and recent polls suggest that Sittenfeld will not win in a race against Republican Senator Rob Portman based on name recognition, Sittenfeld responds with hope that voters will look beyond the name.

"What [polls] usually reflect, and what they absolutely reflect at this moment in this campaign is name recognition. And the reality is, 'I have high name ID' isn't a very inspiring campaign slogan.

While Summit County leaders announced their support Sittenfeld, Strickland received an early endorsement in April from the Ohio Democratic Party. 

Strickland released his list of endorsements Tuesday morning, which includes Portage County Democratic Party Chair Craig Stephens.

The winner in the Democratic primary in March will face off against Republican Sen. Rob Portman in the general election. 


Tuesday, 19 January 2016 11:46

Cops Charge Akron Man In Bowers Heist

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Police nabbed another man -- this time from Akron -- in their continued investigation of the theft of a front loader from a construction company as part of a heist that caused a million dollars in damages to J. Bowers Construction on Mogadore Road the week of Thanksgiving.
44-year old Ryan Benton of 13th Street Southwest faces theft and safecracking charges; police charge he and an accomplice drove the construction vehicle down railroad tracks that also included theft of a pickup truck from Gary's Car Kare, theft of two front-loaders and welding torches from Osbourne Stone used to crash into the Bowers Construction building to get a safe.
47-year old David Cogarill of Tennessee was named last week on warrants related to the theft. He remains at-large.
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(APD) Ryan K. Benton, 44, of 13th Street SW in Akron, was charged with four counts of breaking and entering, three counts of auto theft, vandalism and safecracking.   
Benton and another male entered Osbourne Stone on Darrow Road and took a front loader.  They drove the front loader down the railroad tracks and cause over a million dollars damage to J. Bowers Construction on Mogadore Road.  The 
incident occurred back on 11/21/15.
Tuesday, 19 January 2016 11:36

North Portage Path Crash Kills One

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Akron police say a 51-year old woman was killed when she lost control of her car early this morning on NOrth Portage Path near Marks Drive, then hit a tree. Her name was not released pending family notification. Police say she was not wearing a seat belt and airbags in the 2005 Dodge Neon did deploy. Speed "appears to be a factor."

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(APD) The Akron Police Department Traffic Bureau is investigating a traffic fatality that occurred sometime between 3:00am and 4:00am this morning in the 1100 block of North Portage Path. A 51 year old female, driving a 2005 Dodge Neon, was traveling southbound on North Portage Path when she lost control and drove up over the southeast corner at the intersection of Marks Drive. She then struck a tree in the yard at 1108 North Portage Path.

The victim was pronounced dead on scene. The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy. 

The airbags were deployed; however the driver was not wearing a seat belt. Speed does appear to be a factor in the accident. The victim's name is being withheld pending positive identification and family notifications.

Monday, 18 January 2016 16:37

APD: Assault Suspect Took Teen To Hospital

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Akron police have arrested a 23 year-old man for felonious assault, after they say he took the 16 year-old victim to Akron Children's Hospital on Saturday night.

Police say it didn't take long to determine that 23 year-old Ahamed Rasoul Abdum-Karim shot the teenage victim in the back on Arbutus Court, once detectives got to Children's Hospital.

The victim went into surgery after police say Abdul-Karim transported him to Children's Hospital, where they say he was listed in stable condition.

Monday, 18 January 2016 16:31

KSU, Faculty Union Reach Reported Three Year Pact

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Kent State University and its faculty union have reached a new tentative agreement.

That's according to a release from KSU, which says the new collective bargaining agreement with the American Association of University Professors' Kent State chapter runs for three years, and covers both tenured and tenure track faculty members.

The deal will be presented to both sides this week, and details will not be released until the pact is ratified.

(Kent State University, news release) Kent State University and the American Association of University Professors-KSU have reached tentative agreement on a new three-year collective bargaining agreement for tenured and tenure-track faculty.

The parties will present the tentative agreement for approval to their respective constituents this week. Details of the tentative contract will be released after ratification.

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