Thursday, 22 June 2017 11:12

Mayor Horrigan Proposes Income Tax Increase

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Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, during a speech at Akron's Fire Station #2 Thursday morning, announced that he is proposing a quarter-percent income tax increase to be put on the November ballot. 

Mayor Horrigan cited several reasons for the "necessary increase," including deteriorating roads and Akron Police Department and Fire Department needs. "The City of Akron continues to lose about $15 Million every year from the elimination of fair tax sharing in the state of Ohio," the Mayor said. Since the Recession of 2008, Horrigan added, the city has lost a total of $80 Million in unrealized income tax revenue. 

If approved by City Council, the issue would be placed on the November ballot for Akron residents to vote on. The proposed increase would raise the current income tax rate of 2.25% to 2.5%. 

The City of Akron hasn't had a general income tax increase (see next paragraph) since 1981 for "essential city services", Horrigan said in a prepared release. He says the city desperately needs this proposed increase for new, updated police cruisers and fire trucks; to support the APD body camera database; and to improve roughly 45 miles worth of Akron roadways, just to name a few things.

Akron voters approved a boost in the municipal income tax by .25 percent in 2003 dedicated to fund an $800 million dollar, 15 year plan to rebuild local schools as Community Learning Centers by the Akron Public School district. That project has been underway but has been scaled back with the loss of student enrollment across the district. State funds are used as well as local funding generated by the Akron income tax percentage taken for the school rebuilding project.

Mayor Horrigan touted his adminstration's efforts to continually do "more with less," but says the increase is necessary to maintain safety efforts and keep up with regular road maintenance and repaving efforts. Akron Police Chief James Nice and Fire Chief Clarence Tucker were on hand for the Mayor's announcement Thursday, and they both expressed their full support for the tax increase.  

The Mayor will officially present his proposal to Akron City Council this coming Monday, June 26th. 

Below is the press release from the Mayor's office regarding the proposed increase: 

Akron, Ohio, June 22, 2017– Today, Mayor Horrigan announced his proposal for a ¼% earned income tax increase to fund capital and operating needs for police, fire/EMS, public service and roads in the City of Akron. The income tax proposal, if passed by City Council, would be placed on the November 7, 2017 ballot for approval by Akron voters.

“Over the last several years, the City of Akron has continued to do more with less. We have made cuts across the board, reduced personnel, and consolidated services to reflect the City’s revenue challenges. However, we simply cannot cut our way to prosperity,” Mayor Horrigan said of the proposal. “It has been 36 years since our last income tax increase for essential city services, and as we seek to grow our population and revitalize our neighborhoods, our city needs and deserves this funding. The time is now.”

On average, the funds would be spent between police (1/3), fire/EMS (1/3), and streets (1/3). “It is essential that we provide our police and fire/EMS personnel with the equipment and facilities they need to protect our neighborhoods and keep us safe. And, we simply cannot allow our roads to deteriorate further if we expect our neighborhoods and business districts to thrive,” Mayor Horrigan said.

The City of Akron has lost $15 million per year in fair tax-sharing from the State of Ohio and lost an estimated $80 million in unrealized income tax revenue since 2008, as a result of the recession. Without replacement funding, the City would be forced to make difficult budgeting decisions that would impact City services across the board.

“As promised, I’ve listened closely to the Akron community over the past two years, and the feedback I’ve received is clear—we must invest in the long-term vitality of our neighborhoods. This fair and reasonable increase will allow us to significantly improve streets across the city by paving an average of 43 more miles of roadway each year. It will provide the funding needed to maintain current public safety staffing levels and replace deteriorating equipment and facilities for our Police and Fire Departments.”

Police Chief James Nice and Fire Chief Clarence Tucker joined Mayor Horrigan to express their full support for the proposal and detail the dire needs of their departments—including the need to launch a body-worn camera data storage program, replace two aging fire stations, at least one pumper truck, and 63 police cruisers in poor condition.

The additional ¼% income tax only applies to income earned at a job and will not affect retirement/pension income, social security, or other government benefits. Two-thirds of the funding raised through income tax collection is paid by commuters who work in Akron but live in other communities. If successful, this proposal would raise Akron’s income tax to 2.5% – consistent with cities like Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton. The cost of the additional ¼% tax is $1.68/week, for a resident earning Akron’s median income of $35,000.

Council President Marilyn Keith joined the Mayor in making today’s announcement. “I am proud to stand with Mayor Horrigan in support of this reasonable and much-needed income tax proposal,” President Keith said. “These funds will support the core services we provide as a City, and address the issues most important to our residents – public safety, the quality of our roads and neighborhoods.”

The Mayor concluded by renewing his commitment to continue to control spending. “Even with an income tax increase, we must continue to explore ways to spend smarter, and prioritize funds where they’re needed most.” The legislation authorizing the ¼% income tax increase will be introduced to City Council on Monday, June 26th .

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 11:16

Sheriff: Coventry Twp. Woman Abused Friend's Baby

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Summit County Sheriff's Deputies have arrested a Coventry Township woman who allegedly abused her friend's baby while she was watching her. 

The incident occured back in May, when Audrey D. Hunt, 35, offered to watch her friend's 10-month-old child on May 2nd. The mother agreed, willfully allowing Hunt to take the baby to her Coventry Township home. Hours later, the mother called Hunt so that she could have her baby brought back home. Hunt refused, saying she would bring the baby back the next day. 

On May 3rd, the mother got a ride to Hunt's home. That's when she noticed injuries to the baby's face and arms. She took the baby to Akron Children's Hospital, where hospital staff determined that the baby's injuries were consistant with abuse. The Summit County Sheriff's Department Detectives began their investigation. 

On Tuesday, June 20, Hunt was arrested and charged with Felony Interference with Custody, Misdemeanor Child Endangering, and Misdemeanor Assault. She's currently being held in Summit County Jail. 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 09:44

Pope Meets Hall Of Famers

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Here's something you normally don't see at a football game: lots of guys wearing black and white around a guy who's wearing an all-white robe and cap.

Seven members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame including Franco Harris, Ronnie Lott and Floyd Little met with Pope Francis at the Vatican today. The Pope even blessed their Gold Jackets; Hall of Fame officials invited the Pope to visit Canton in 2020 during the Hall's Centennial Celebration.

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(Pro Football HOF) Led by seven Gold Jackets – CURTIS MARTIN, CHRIS DOLEMAN, FRANCO HARRIS, JIM TAYLOR, RONNIE LOTT, FLOYD LITTLE and 2017 Enshrinee JERRY JONES – along with Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Trustees Chairman Randy Hunt, and trip organizers Hall of Fame Board Member Stephen Schott and Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl A. Anderson, Pope Francis greeted and addressed this historic occasion at 8:57 a.m. local time at the Vatican today.

"I am pleased to greet you, the members and directors of the American Pro Football Hall of Fame and welcome you to the Vatican. Teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence are the values — in the religious sense, we can say virtues that have guided your commitment, on and off the field" said the Pope, the first ever Pontiff from South America and the first ever Jesuit Pontiff. "These values meet the needs of our brothers and sisters and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family".

His Holiness then personally greeted and blessed the Gold Jackets, their wives, Hall of Fame board members and their wives, Hall staff members, as well as dignitaries from the Knights of Columbus.

Hunt offered the Pontiff the Hall's support of a worldwide conference on sports and invited His Holiness to attend the Centennial Celebration in Canton, Ohio on September 17, 2020.

Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman hasn't been charged in the New Years Eve assault that took place in the lobby of his downtown Cleveland condo, but a probable cause affidavit filed with the indictment Tuesday says Coleman likely took part in the attack. 

The indictment filed in Cuyahoga County charges Coleman's brother, Jonathan, and Jared Floyd, both residents of Dallas, Texas, with felonious assault. They're alleged to have attacked Adam Sapp of Mayfield Heights, leaving him with a ruptured ear drum, a concussion, and several bruises.

Sapp says he doesn't remember the Browns second-year receiver attacking him, but the Prosecutor's Office says the investigation is ongoing. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 12:15

Armed Suspect Shot by Akron Police Officers

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Just before 5 p.m. Monday, Akron Police attempted to pull over a Kia on Chittenden Street in Akron after they noticed the driver make several traffic violations. The driver refused to pull over and continued onto McKinley Street, eventually pulling into a driveway. Then, the driver fled on foot through backyards. 

Officers chased the suspect on foot and noticed he was carrying a gun. During the chase, officers repeatedly told the man to drop the weapon. He did not and continued to run.

Eventually, the suspect was cornered by police in a driveway in the 600 block of Roscoe Avenue. Again, officers commanded the man to drop his weapon. He did not and an officer fired one shot, striking the suspect in the torso. 

The suspect, identified as Delon J. McGill of Akron, was secured in handcuffs and taken to Akron City Hospital where he was listed in stable condition.  

The officer involved in the shooting, a four year veteran of the department, has been placed on paid administrative leave, per departmental procedure. McGill has been charged with carrying a concealed weapon and weapons under disability. He is still in the hospital under observation. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 08:04

NOVFTF Gets A Two-Fer

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The U.S. Marshal's office reporting a two-fer on this Tuesday. Among the fugitives corraled was a Garfield heights man wanted for attempted murder and rape, tracked down to a home on Prange Avenue in Cuyahoga Falls where 38-year old John Eskridge was found hiding in a bedroom. Northern Ohio Fugitive Task Force members also picked up 23-year old Damon Chapman; he was wanted in connection with a Cleveland gas station murder in April.

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(US Marshal) Yesterday afternoon and into the evening, members of the U.S. Marshal’s Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force arrested Damon Chapman, 23 and John Eskridge, 38. Chapman was wanted for homicide by the Cleveland Police Department and Eskridge was wanted by the Garfield Heights Police Department for aggravated assault, domestic violence, and gross sexual imposition. He is also wanted by the Adult Parole Authority for parole violations, with an underlying offense of attempted murder and rape. Eskridge has also failed to report his change of address with the
Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department for his requirements to register as a sex offender causing a warrant to be issued for his arrest.

It is alleged that on April 9th, Chapman shot and killed a man walking out of a gas station in Cleveland’s Broadway-Slavic Village neighborhood. Members of the task force gathered information that Chapman was staying at a home near the 2100 block of E. 85th St. in Cleveland. Task force officers made entry into the home and located Chapman hiding in the attic. Chapman was transported to the Cleveland Police Department.

Eskridge allegedly violently assaulted his girlfriend and two of her teenage children and attempted to sexually assault one as well. These crimes occurred on January 10th, 2017. Eskridge was featured as the Fugitive of the Week at the end of February and though several tips came in the task force was unable to locate Eskridge. After four months, hard work and perseverance paid off. Task force members discovered that Eskridge was staying at a residence around the 3400 block of Prange Ave. in Cuyahoga Falls.

Officers entered the home and found Eskridge hiding in an upstairs bedroom. Eskridge was transported to the Cuyahoga Co. Jail. U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said, “We were two for two tonight. Anytime you take a murderer and a rapist off the street is a great night for law enforcement and a great night for the community."

Monday, 19 June 2017 11:51

Man Orders Pizza to Home, Robs Delivery Driver

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Just before 7 p.m. Sunday, Stow Police were called about the robbery of a pizza driver. 

According to the report, the driver arrived at a home on Hibbard Drive and said a man came at him with a large kitchen knife, demanding all his money. After he took the money, the suspect hopped in the driver's Hyundai Sonata and took off. 

The suspect was later identified as 45-year-old Matthew Robert Guzik (pictured) of Stow. Police caught up with him the next day, Monday, in Sagamore Hills.

The report indicates that Guzik used a fake name when placing the pizza order, but had the food delivered to his home. The driver told police that Guzik said he was robbing him because of marital problems and that he was "feeling very angry."

Guzik was being held in Summit County Jail and due for arraignment Monday. 

Thursday, 15 June 2017 11:20

Huntington Bank Adding Akron Jobs

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Columbus-based Huntington Bank is adding more jobs to the footprint it took over with the addition of the former First Merit Bank. The addition of 100 more jobs to the already-existing Akron workforce of 1,100 will bring to 1,200 the Huntington employment based around the company's downtown headquarters off Cascade Plaza. The announcement was made by Huntington CEO Steve Steinour, local regional President Nick Browning and Mayor Dan Horrigan and includes more details of the package the City is using to not only help spur more investment by Huntington, but also to help improve the infrastructure around the bank. That includes improvements to Cascade Plaza and continued support by Huntington of it's operations center and work on the Cascade Hotel project, 

The State of Ohio is also kicking in $225,000 to be used for employee training. Hiring is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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(Huntington Bank) Huntington Bank today renewed its commitment to Akron announcing plans for workforce employment of 1,200 by the end of 2017 and a path to sustained and new local employment through 2022. 

Akron’s Mayor, Daniel Horrigan joined Huntington’s CEO, Steve Steinour, and Akron Regional President, Nick Browning, today at Huntington’s downtown office complex at Cascade Plaza for the company’s announcement of its local employment plans. As part of the merger with FirstMerit in 2016, Huntington committed to prioritize sustained levels of Akron employment. In doing so, Huntington has retained a current Akron workforce of more than 1,100 employees, will increase overall employment within the city to 1,200 by the end of the year, and is incentivized to continue employment expansion in Akron.

“From day one, the city of Akron provided a warm welcome to Huntington. We couldn’t succeed here without the community’s trust and support, and we’re proud to meet our commitment to grow jobs in Akron,” said Steinour. “The Mayor, the city and JobsOhio are outstanding partners who helped us deliver job growth in an important operations hub for Huntington. As we continue to grow, we remain committed to finding meaningful ways to demonstrate our passion for helping people and making lives better in Northeast Ohio.” 

“Today marks a key milestone in our partnership with Huntington. With this agreement, Huntington has proven its commitment to the ongoing stability and economic success of the Akron community, and has demonstrated that Akron plays a key role in its future,” Mayor Horrigan said of the announcement. “By growing jobs here, Huntington will support our citywide goals of increasing our population and ensuring robust employment opportunities for our residents. I thank Huntington for being a valued corporate citizen and look forward to working together toward our shared growth and success.”

As further support for Huntington’s employment growth in Akron, JobsOhio is also providing $225,000 in grant funding in support of new employee training and onboarding costs. “Huntington had many options on where to place a new regional headquarters, and Huntington chose Akron,” said Valentina Isakina, JobsOhio managing director for financial services. “This commitment demonstrates the growing recognition of the talent quality in Northeast Ohio, and JobsOhio is pleased to support another project that helps grow this talent in the state.”  

Building improvements 

As part of the agreement, Huntington and the city have undertaken and plan many improvements to Cascade Plaza and its buildings complex. The city will replace and upgrade Cascade Plaza parking deck lighting and improve directional parking signage. The city also will restore Cascade Plaza’s back stairs overlooking Quaker Street as part of overall restoration plans for Cascade Plaza Hotel, which also may include construction of an access road from Bowery Street to the hotel. 

Huntington has invested more than $5 million in completed or ongoing improvements at its operations center at 295 FirstMerit Circle, 3 Cascade Plaza and Huntington Tower. Improvements include temporary call center expansion at 3 Cascade Plaza and long-term call center expansion at 295 FirstMerit Circle. Huntington also installed building signage atop Huntington Tower and on 3 Cascade Plaza in May. 

”Partnering with local government, supporting a robust and talented local workforce and maintaining vibrant buildings where we our colleagues and customers live and work are among the many ways Huntington invests in our local Akron community,” said Browning.  

 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017 09:24

KSU Freshman Dies After Football Practice

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The Kent State community is mourning the loss of a freshman football player who died after practice Tuesday morning.

Tyler Heintz, 19, was transported to a local hospital after morning conditioning drills at Dix Stadium. There's no word on what symptoms he had, and the cause of death is still being investigated.

Late Tuesday evening, KSU released a statement: 

"Today, the Kent State University family mourns the tragic loss of one of our student-athletes, freshman football player Tyler Heintz. Tyler was transported to a local hospital by paramedics this morning following football conditioning drills at Dix Stadium. The cause of death is not yet known.Tyler was from Kenton, Ohio, and planned to study marketing and entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration. Tyler was recruited as a rising star on our offensive line. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Tyler’s family and friends, as well as Coach Haynes and the team, our athletics staff and our student-athletes."

Tyler attended Kenton High School and many of his friends and classmates took to social media to express their condolences and their praise for Tyler, saying that he was a hard worker.

Tuesday was just his second practice with Kent State Football after being highly recruited out of Kenton for the KSU offensive line. 

In 2014, Kent State University football player Jason Bitsko died of natural causes just a few days before their season opener. 

 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 11:48

Suspect Linked to N. Canton, N. Royalton Murders

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Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier held a press conference regarding the double-homicide Monday in North Canton. 

Rogell John II and his wife, Roberta, were found dead inside their home on Mount Pleasant Street NW Monday afternoon around 4:20. Their son found them and call 911. Deputies responded and they were both dead on the scene. 

Since that time, detectives with the Stark County Sheriff's Office determined that their suspect was 45-year-old George C. Brinkman of Brunswick. Sheriff Maier said, in his press conference, that Brinkman has been watching the Johns' home while they were away on vacation. Whether he was staying in the home or just checking in, and for how long, have not been determined yet, according to the Sheriff. 

On Tuesday, a warrant was issued for two counts of murder for Brinkman. 

Prior to the warrants being issued, Brinkman was the subject of a police standoff outside a Brunswick home on Valley Forge Drive. It started around 9 Monday night and lasted through the early morning hours Tuesday. It ended, without incident, and with Brinkman in handcuffs. 

During the press conference Tuesday, Sheriff Maier said that his office received a call from North Royalton Police on Sunday afternoon regarding Brinkman. At that point, North Royalton PD had established Brinkman as a person of interest in connection to the triple-homicide on Ridge Road near Wallings Road over the weekend. Suzanne Taylor and her daughters, 21-year-old Taylor Pifer and 18-year-old Kylie Pifer, were found dead inside that home on Ridge Rd. Saturday, but weren't found until the next day. Sheriff Maier says that North Royalton PD called his office because it was reported to them that Brinkman had sometimes stayed at a home in Stark County.

While charges have been filed out of Stark County, it appears no charges have been filed in North Royalton as of Tuesday afternoon, though Brinkman is being held in North Royalton Jail.

Stick with WAKR.net for details.  

 

 

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