The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank announced Monday morning that they will merge with Community Harvest out of Stark County. Foodbank CEO Dan Flowers tells 1590 WAKR that the two nonprofits had been in talks since 2014, and they're very excited for it to finally take effect January 1, 2017. 

Flowers says the eight-county region that the Foodbank services is only going to be better serviced and eventually expand with the added services provided by the two-company merger. He says, "Initially, we hope that donors and recipients of Community Harvest don't notice really any change, to be honest, from the beginning," referring to the continued level of service the Foodbank plans to provide for those who need it. 

See more in the press release from the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank below: 

FOODBANK AND COMMUNITY HARVEST TO MERGE TO EXPAND HUNGER-RELIEF EFFORTS IN STARK COUNTY

 

Akron, OH – (Nov. 21, 2016) – The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and Community Harvest, a food rescue organization, are merging into one organization with a greater capacity of serving those struggling with hunger in Stark County. The boards of both nonprofits have signed letters of intent and expect the merger to take effect January 1, 2017

 

The merger will expand the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank’s abilities to reach further into the Stark County community served by Community Harvest’s food rescue program. Food rescue is the process of safely recovering a surplus food from the supply chain and distributing it to people in need. Not only does food rescue help ensure that millions of Americans have access to quality meals, it is also key to helping combat food waste.

 

“The Foodbank and Community Harvest share the same goal, so formally teaming up is a natural step,” said Dan Flowers, president & CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. “While the Foodbank’s operations won’t change, we’re confident this merger will drive efficiencies while creating new energy and innovation centered on unique ways of solving hunger in our community.”

 

Community Harvest was one of the first nonprofit groups in the country to establish an innovative food rescue program. Community Harvest collects excess prepared and perishable food and donates it to community groups that serve families struggling with hunger. This simple concept that began with a goal of preventing food waste while helping hungry people has evolved into a collaboration of numerous resources and agencies dedicated to providing more than 80,000 meals a month for those in need in Stark County.

 

“Community Harvest is tremendously grateful for the Foodbank’s and our community’s support through the years,” said Faith Barbato, executive director of Community Harvest. “We think daily about the one in four children in our community who live in households that experience hunger. By joining forces, our combined organization will provide more food than ever before. Together, our programs at Community Harvest will continue as before, but as part of the incredible work of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.”

 

Grant funding received from the W. Henry Hoover Fund at Stark Community Foundation, The Paul & Carol David Foundation, and Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton will support the implementation of the merger.  The grant was awarded as a result of the Stark Community Foundation’s Future of Food Security county assessment and future framework for change in a second round of funding to address food security. 

U.S. Senator Rob Portman from Ohio is excited about the new report from the U.S. Surgeon General on addiciton that was released on Thursday. 

In the report, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy designated addiciton as a disease. 

Watch the full comments from Senator Rob Portman below: 

 

Friday, 18 November 2016 09:07

Akron Couple Charged With $600,000 Theft

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An Akron couple face theft charges in what police say was the ripoff of more than $600,000 from an elederly victim over the past year.

Summit County Sheriff's Deputies say the thefts began on a 77-year old man's accounts in January of this year. 42-year old Kevin Story and 41-year old Crystal Jennacy Story were arrested and face felony charges. Police say the couple used the looted funs to buy a house, several vehicles and guns.

Both were booked into the Summit County Jail.

It has been reported that the victim was Kevin Story's father. 

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(Summit County Sheriff) In August of 2016, the Summit County Adult Protective Services received information regarding a 77 year old male that had allegedly been financially exploited by two individuals.

It was alleged that two suspects with access to the victim's bank account had been utilizing the victim's funds for their own personal gain since January of 2016. A representative from Adult Protective Services responded along with a Detective from the Summit County Sheriff's Office. An investigation was initiated by the Sheriff's detective assigned to Adult Protective Services. The investigation revealed that Kevin J. Story and Crystal J. Hennacy Story had been withdrawing funds from the victim's bank account for their own personal use.

To date, investigators estimate that the suspects have stolen over $600,000 from the victim. It was determined that the some of the stolen funds were used to purchase a house, several vehicles, including a motorcycle, and numerous guns.

On November 18, 2016, Kevin J. Story, age 42 of Akron and Crystal J Hennacy Story, age 41 of Akron were arrested and charged with Theft from the Elderly (F- 1). They were booked into the Summit County Jail. Additional charges are pending the outcome of the investigation.

Friday, 18 November 2016 07:14

UPDATE: Missing Canton Teen Found Safe

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Update: Canton Police reporting that missing Cameron Scott Shipley, 13, has been found safe Friday morning. No details are available regarding where he was, but they say he is safe at home now.

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Canton Police say 13-year-old Cameron Scott Shipley has been missing since Wednesday, November 16. He was last seen at the 4700 block of Cleveland Ave. NW. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Canton Police or 911. 

Thursday, 17 November 2016 12:26

Sentence In Suspect Shooting

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David Hillis,22, will spend a year in Summit County Jail for the shooting death of Marcus Glover after a robbery attempt back in August of 2015.

Court documents show Hillis fired shots at Glover and his accomplice, Terry Tart, as they ran from his home on Hilbish Avenue after an attempted robbery last year. Tart, was sentenced to 9 years in prison for his involvement. Hillis was facing 11 years in prison, but charge was reduced to voluntary manslaughter and a plea deal tossed out the gun specification which would have held with it a mandatory 3 years in prison. He plead guilty to the charge of voluntary manslaughter back in August.

Visiting Judge Richard Reinbold sentenced Hillis to six years on Wednesday, but suspended five years of the sentence and ordered that he serve one year in the Summit County Jail rather than prison. Glover's family is upset about the sentence and say Hillis was given preferential treatment because of family "connections." 

Thursday, 17 November 2016 12:11

Bridgestone Names Honorary 2017 Chairman

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World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational has an honorary chairman for the 2017 tournament. Officials announced on Thursday that Tony Zenty, CEO of University Hospitals, will chair the tournament next summer. 

Bridgestone Invitational Executive Director Don Padgett III said in a statement, "Tom Zenty is a well respected, inspirational leader; as CEO of UH, he unwaveringly displays dedication to serve his community and passion for helping people every day. In his 14 years at UH, Zenty has made an undeniable impact on the lives of those in Northeastern Ohio." 

The 2017 Bridgestone Invitational run August 2 through August 4 at Firestone Country Club in Akron. 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016 09:18

STEM Schools Fighting Addiction With Ideas

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STEM school students are tackling a non-traditional project this school year, and they're doing so per the order of the State Superintendent. 

Aimee Kennedy, Vice President of Education Philanthropy at Battelle out of Columbus, OH, says they've partnered with STEM schools in Ohio and across the United States, to help bring attention to and help fight against opioid abuse and addiction. Strategies That Engage Minds, is a more appropriate acronym (opposed to Science Technology Engineering Math), Kennedy says, because students are encouraged to take a different approach to a long-time problem that is, especially in Summit County as of late, affecting so many households, some of which are made up of students their age. She says it's about for Battelle, it's about STEM solving real-world problems, and "using your content knowledge and applying it in very much the same way that professionals do in a work environment." 

Hear the entire interview with Aimee below and explore all that ways Battelle is partnering with STEM schools to better their students and student experience here

 

 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016 05:16

Trump Protests Invade Akron, Remain Peaceful

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Roughly 750 protesters, according to organizer Stephen Kaledecker, gathered at the Chipotle on W. Market Street Tuesday night, voicing their displeasure with the results of the 2016 Presidential Election. 

"Trump Protest, Akron" was the name of the Facebook group that organized the rally just about a week in advance. As protests have been organized across the nation, a group of friens with aligning political views got together and created the public event. Before they knew it more than 2,000 people replied with either an RSVP or a "maybe." With numbers like that, Kaledecker says they had no idea what to expect. 

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The event officially began just after 11 p.m. Tuesday night as the group rallied and then set off on a march down W. Market St. The inital plan, according to the Facebook page, was to march to the University of Akron campus. Plans changed, however, as Kaledecker said they did not want to disrupt the residents of the area. When asked why they scheduled the event from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on a Tuesday night, he said, "Our voices and our feelings don't stop at 8 o'clock at night." He went on to say, "We're not going to rest until our voices are heard." 

The collective voice of the "Trump Protest, Akron" group was heard down W. Market to S. Valley and then back to Chipotle from just after 11 p.m. Tuesday until about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. The best part of the protest: Everyone remained peaceful. Akron Police, while present, stayed relatively quiet and let the protesters say their piece; as long as they stayed on the sidewalks of W. Market. The reason the group did not need a permit was because they planned to stay on the sidewalks, and they did. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016 08:37

Akron Eyes Downtown Redevelopment

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Akron's focusing on a new plan to freshen up downtown -- and much centers on Lock 3 and 4 as well as Main and Exchange Streets. Planners hope to have the new blueprints for their redevelopment program fleshed out more over the next year.

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(City of Akron) Today, Mayor Horrigan joined with DAP and Downtown stakeholders to announce the completion of Phase I of the Downtown Vision and Redevelopment Plan.

One of Mayor Horrigan's first long-term projects upon taking office this year was to partner with Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) to embark on the development of a plan for Downtown. Last year, both the Blue Ribbon Task Force and DAP's strategic planning process identified the development of a Downtown Plan as a primary recommendation. A multidisciplinary group of 37 representatives from small and corporate business, development, city and county government, health systems, non-profits, finance, education, housing, tourism, real estate and philanthropy was assembled to populate the steering committee that led the effort. 

DAP contracted with nationally-recognized consultants MKSK of Columbus to lead the planning process, which was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and GAR Foundation.

"To compete regionally and nationally, Akron must have a thriving and prosperous urban core. We have remarkable potential for growth in Akron, but we need a long-term vision for our Downtown and a deliberate, realistic plan to create conditions that will spur catalytic private sector investment," Mayor Horrigan said.

He adds, "Today we celebrate the completion of the first phase of the plan – a comprehensive review of the current conditions and the recognition of broad-based planning principles and key opportunity sites – and we look forward to the next phase, which will engage the community in setting priorities for fostering a revitalized Downtown that belongs to, serves, and connects all of Akron."

Phase I of the Downtown Vision and Redevelopment Plan involved key stakeholder interviews and evaluating existing conditions as well as plans and processes that have been undertaken that intersect with the Downtown neighborhood. Phase II of the plan, which will involve further market studies, policy and implementation strategies and a broad community engagement effort to involve all Akron citizens, is already being discussed, with hopes to begin this process early in 2017.

Through the Phase I process, ten planning principles were identified to be prioritized and integrated into new public or private developments. Some of the key principles include: focusing development on Main Street, prioritizing residential development, addressing business vacancy, creating a coordinated incentive package for development, expanding on successful nodes of activity, focusing on accessible, livable street design and prioritizing connecting downtown with Akron neighborhoods and institutions. Five key opportunity sites for development were identified as well as recommendations for each to activate growth. Of the five sites identified, The Lock 3 & 4 area and Main & Exchange were prioritized as the most critical and catalytic areas to focus development.

Suzie Graham, President of DAP adds, "Downtown Akron Partnership is thrilled to see the fruition of this important first phase of work. The Downtown Akron Vision and Redevelopment Plan – Phase 1 sets the trajectory for Akron's next stage of growth as a competitive, beautiful, balanced, right-sized city. This work will strengthen the performance of the downtown
neighborhood as a place to attract businesses, talent, visitors and residents and as a resource to benefit all of the residents of Akron. We are honored to have the trust of city leadership, downtown stakeholders and our philanthropic partners as we continue this partnership into its next phase and look forward to building our future together."

Tuesday, 15 November 2016 12:45

Akron Early College H.S. Honored

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Akron Early College High School is making strides to provide a better, more well-rounded high school, and even college experience for student in the Akron area. 

The Ohio Department of Education has taken notice, and has named Akron Early College one of four "Schools of Honor" in the state. 

Akron Early College Principal Cheryl Connolly, who started at the school as a classroom teacher when it first opened on University of Akron campus 10 years ago, says, "We have all worked very hard to make this school a success, so we're very proud of the kids and very proud of all of our graduates who... are doing great things for themselves and their communities." 

See the full press release on the School of Honor distinction for Akron Early College High School below: 

APS Akron Early College is 'Honored'

One of four Schools of Honor in Ohio

Ohio is recognizing four schools today for maintaining high academic achievement among their students, including many from economically disadvantaged circumstances that can make learning difficult.

The Ohio Department of Education named four High Performing Schools of Honor. Akron Early College High School (AECHS) is among the elite group.

You can find a complete list of Schools of Honor by clicking here.

Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James said today, "This award is important for our students and faculty, most certainly.  But, we want our community to know how valuable it is we recognize achievement by our students who face difficult odds every day, not of their choosing.  Poverty creates unique educational challenges."

“All children can learn and achieve, and these schools have shown that circumstances don’t define them,” said Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction. “Congratulations to these teachers and administrators for making a real difference in the lives of students."

The U.S. Department of Education approved Schools of Honor as part of Ohio’s flexibility waiver request for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 2012.

To be a High Performing School of Honor, a school must:

  • Be Title 1 served or eligible and serve 40 percent or more economically disadvantaged students.
  • Have 90 percent or more of all students score Proficient or higher in reading and math on statewide assessments (i.e., Ohio Achievement Assessments, Ohio Graduation Tests, and Ohio’s State Tests) over the last five years.
  • Have 80 percent of all subgroups, including racial and ethnic, economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities and English language learners who are Proficient.
  • Score an Ohio School Report Card grade of A, B or C on its Annual Measurable Objective, to narrow performance gaps between student groups.
  • Receive an A or B on student learning progress through the school year and a combined five-year graduation rate of 93 percent or higher, if it is a high school.