Cuyahoga Falls is about to open a new main road while preparing to make major changes to another.
Front Street in Downtown Cuyahoga Falls will open to traffic for the first time on February 3 after decades as a pedestrian mall. Mayor Don Walters says the first vehicles on the new road will be school buses from Cuyahoga Falls and Woodridge followed by a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am and a new Tesla to signify the years the street was closed and re-opened to traffic. A formal grand opening will be held in June.
While it will be easier to get around the Downtown area this year, it will get much more difficult to navigate the Chapel Hill area beginning next year.
Howe Avenue will be completely repaved beginning in April 2019. According to the plan unveiled recently, Howe Ave. will be one-way westbound (toward Route 8) from Main St./Home Ave. to Bucholzer Blvd. until the project is completed in the fall of 2020. That will allow shoppers who want to get to the plazas along Howe to use the entrances along Main/Home. Drivers who need to get to Chapel Hill Mall will need to detour down Main/Home to Independence Ave.
Walters joined The Jasen Sokol Show to talk about both projects and what they mean for Cuyahoga Falls.
A Beacon Journal report about the hiring of Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters' 2013 campaign manager to a job her supervisor says she isn't qualified for.
Parks and Recreation Assistant Superintendent Megan Moreland collects a $90,000 annual salary, and it's reported that her benefits package pushes her total compensation to nearly $130,000. But according to the Beacon Journal, Parks and Recretation Director Ed Stewart says he didn't want to hire her and that she isn't qualified for the job.
Cuyahoga Falls City Councilmen Adam Miller and Vic Palotta discussed their concerns on The Jasen Sokol Show on Tuesday. Walters joined the show Wednesday to respond.
Cuyahoga Falls Police are investigating the second murder in the city within the past two months.
The Medical Examiner's Office and Police say a 27-year-old woman was found stabbed inside an apartment in the Falls in the 1000 block of Howe Avenue about 7:15 p.m. Saturday. The victim suffered multiple stab wounds, according to the ME's report. She died about 30 minutes later, according to the report.
Positive identification of the victim has not been released, pending an autopsy and notification of next-of-kin.
Prior to the shooting death of Kevin Tiearney back in early August, the last murder recorded in the Falls was the 2014 stabbing death of Amanda Russell outside her home on Eighth Street. Her former boyfriend, Jeffrey Conrad, is serving a life sentence for her murder.
Police have made an arrest in the murder of a 32-year-old Cuyahoga Falls man.
Edward Piechowiak Jr., 65, of Maple Heights, was arrested Thursday on aggravated murder and tampering with evidence charges, with other charges possibly pending.
According to police, they've also recovered the weapon used in the shooting.
Police were called to the Water's Edge Apartments near Wyoga Lake that Kevin Tiearney shared with his fiance on reports of gunshots fired on August 2nd. Tiearney was found unresponsive, transported to a local hospital, and was pronounced dead later. Piechowiak Jr. is listed as the maternal grandfather of Tiearney's child.
This is the first homicide in Cuyahoga Falls since the 2014 stabbing death of Amanda Russell who was found outside her Eigth Street home. Her former boyfriend, Jeffrey Conrad, is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of her murder.
Piechowaik Jr. is being held in Summit County Jail.
William Jobe, 29, was sentenced to five years in prison today Summit County Common Pleas Court, after pleading guilty back in August to a second degree felony charge of Endangering Children.
In August of 2015, Jobe violently shook his girlfriend's 8-month-old child, temporarily paralyzing the baby. He was the only one home at the time of the incident, called 9-1-1 and admitted to shaking the child during an interview with police.
The baby suffered severe brain injuries, and according to the prosecutor's office has a lengthy recovery.
Below is the press release from the Summit County Prosecutor's Office:
AKRON, Ohio () – Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Paul Gallagher sentenced William Jobe, 29, of Second Street in Cuyahoga Falls, to five years in prison for violently shaking his girlfriend’s baby.
On August 4, 2016, Jobe pled guilty to the following charge:
According to Cuyahoga Falls police, emergency crews responded to the Second Street home on August 19, 2015 after a call to 9-1-1 to report an 8-month-old who was having difficulty breathing. The 8-month-old was transported to the hospital with serious injuries. During a police interview, Jobe, who was the live-in boyfriend of the baby’s mother and was home alone at the time of the incident, admitted to shaking the infant. The shaking was so severe, the infant suffered temporary paralysis.
The city of Cuyahoga Falls says the promoter is cancelling the last five concerts in this year's Riverfront Concert series.
The non-profit IROK group that operates the series blamed dwindling attendance and lower sales, saying the costs of producing concerts were greater than the money coming in.
Cuyahoga Falls mayor Don Walters tells WAKR.net that one reason revenue has been down was a change in the nature of the concert series.
"This is more family friendly than in the past, that's a great thing," Walters tells WAKR.net, "but the amount of beer purchased per person is down when it's family friendly, as you know, so that's a big driver of their revenue, and that's been on the decline for the past few years as well."
Walters says IROK raised nearly $70,000 for local charities in the past two years.
Walters says the city hopes to bring in more family friendly events citywide...and that the Front Street Mall is about to undergo changes that'll open it to traffic again.
He says that during the construction phase, they'll work with Front Street businesses and festivals on accessibilty, but there isn't anything "totally in place" yet as far as any replacement for the concert series.
(City of Cuyahoga Falls, news release) For the past two summers, IROK has taken great pride in organizing the Friday night Riverfront Concert Series while donating nearly $70,000 to local charities that serve the community. Due to dwindling attendance and lower sales, the IROK committee has informed the city that they must regretfully cancel the remainder of the 2016 Friday night concert series, effective immediately.
During a meeting that was held late on Wednesday, IROK sincerely apologized for the short notice regarding the cancellation of the Friday night concert series. They explained that while they continued to meet their monetary obligations to charities, vendors and the city, their costs to produce a concert each week were greater than funds generated. They further explained that they had explored countless solutions but inevitably determined that the risk of further monetary losses was too great.
During IROK's tenure running the Riverfront Concert Series, volunteers donated countless hours of their time ensuring that patrons enjoyed free music in a family friendly environment while vendors provided great food choices.
They stated that they did everything within their power to hold weekly concerts as long as possible with the hope that they would experience a financial upswing. When this did not occur, they made a fiscally responsible decision to not incur further financial liability.
"I am thankful to IROK and their volunteers for providing family friendly entertainment to our community," stated Mayor Don Walters. "We will take this opportunity to explore new and exciting events to bring entertainment to our community while benefitting our local charities that do so much good."
The city of Cuyahoga Falls is looking for a new city logo -- and they're asking community members to help pick it out.
The city teamed up with a design company to develop the new logo, along with local art and graphic design students from Woodridge and Cuyahoga Falls high schools. City officials even enlisted the help of longtime residents to find out what Cuyahoga Falls means to them.
"I think the important part is the process," said Mayor Don Walters. "It's not my logo. I'm one vote. But it's the logo of the city and the residents actually get to pick that."
They've narrowed it down to three possible logos and have now put it in the hands of community members to pick out the favorite. The logo with the majority of votes wins, but officials say it will not replace the city seal.
"The city seal will still appear on a lot of the governemetn documents, however, the logo can still appear on the website, it can appear on letterheads and a lot of things that we do," said Walters. "So we'll deplete our existing supplies on some of the materials and then add the new logo when it's finalized."
Residents have until June 29th to vote. The new city logo will be unveiled on Friday, July 1, during the Riverfront Concert Series.
On the web: http://www.cityofcf.com/mycflogo
A little piece of Cuyahoga Falls will be part of a traveling Smithsonian exhibit.
Mayor Don Walters says the three-minute, time-lapse video of the removal of the two dams on the Cuyahoga River will be featured in the exhibit.
The exhibition opens in five states this year starting in May.
(News Release - Cuyahoga Falls)Mayor Don Walters is pleased to announce that the removal of two dams on the Cuyahoga River in the City of Cuyahoga Falls will be featured in an upcoming Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit. The "Dam Cam" video features a three-minute time lapse of the removal of two dams in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
The Smithsonian Institution exhibit, titled "Water/Ways," is a Museum on Main Street Project which engages local audiences by bringing quality exhibitions to their local museums, historical societies, and other area venues. One story within this traveling exhibit will feature the Cuyahoga River and its restoration journey.
"The City of Cuyahoga Falls is extremely excited that the Cuyahoga River dam removal video will be part of the Smithsonian Water/Ways Project," stated Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters.
"We are proud of this valuable resource that is creating a cleaner environment for generations to The dams, known as the Sheraton Mill Dam and the LeFever Powerhouse Dam, were removed in July and August of 2013 to improve fish passage, water quality, and overall river health and function. Funding for the dam removal projects was provided by the Ohio EPA through the Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance under the Water Resource Restoration
Sponsor Program (WRRSP).
The Smithsonian exhibition opens in five states this year starting in May and is planned to travel through 2022. To see the video, visit the City of Cuyahoga Falls YouTube page at https://youtu.be/EdrClOtpKq0. For more information on the "Water/Ways" exhibit, go to http://www.museumonmainstreet.org/water.
Cuyahoga Falls firefighters spent the morning battling four house fires in an area where three homes were under construction.
Fire officials report that the initial blaze was reported around 6 a.m. on Lake Forest Drive. Four homes were on fire when crews arrived on scene, including two homes that were under construction.
One of the homes under construction was occupied, but no one was in the home at the time of the blaze. The other completed home was vacant.
Officials say the vacant home was unstable and had to be taken down with an excavator. The two other homes under construction have been torn down.
According to the fire department, Deputy Fire Marshal Tom Carano, who also serves as a firefighter, was able to save a cat that was hiding under a couch. No injuries were reported
A 29-year-old Cuyahoga Falls man is facing drug trafficking charges after detectives followed up on a search warrant and found psychedelic mushrooms in a Stone Street house.
Summit County Sheriff's deputies found a Psilocybin Mushroom grow operation, including about a pound of the controlled substance, three handguns and a loaded shotgun.
Jack Kennedy, 29, of Cuyahoga Falls, has been charged with drug trafficking and possession. He was booked into the Summit County Jail.
Additional charges are pending the outcome of the investigation.
The city of Cuyahoga Falls is offering a safer alternative for those who want to sell or purchase an item through Craigslist or other online sites.
Mayor Don Walters recently announced a new "safe zone" available for residents to meet up to complete online purchases inside the lobby of the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department.
The "safe zone" is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offers recorded video and audio surveillance.
Walters hopes the safe zone will reduce the number of crime-related reports associated with face-to-face transactions.
"It's more visible than being somewhere in a parking lot, said Walters. "And if it was a stolen product, I think people would be more reluctant to meet at the police station and sell it."
Those interested in meeting at the "safe zone" don't need an appointment, but Walters does suggest people call the department ahead of time to alert officers on duty.
Sales involving alcohol, drugs, weapons, vehicles, boats or other large equipment are not permitted in the "Safe Zone."
Jeffrey Conrad has been found guilty of all counts against him in the murder of Amanda Russell, his former girlfriend, in Cuyahoga Falls.
A Summit County Common Pleas Court jury returned guilty verdicts Monday against Conrad on two aggravated murder counts, one murder count, and other counts including felonious assault, violating a protection order and domestic violence.
Russell was found stabbed to death by her teenage daughter outside her home on 8th Street in August 2014. Russell had taken out a protection order against Conrad in 2012.
It didn't take long to find Conrad, once his arrest was imminent. He'd been in police custody, charged with assaulting a park ranger in Cleveland.
The Summit County Prosecutor's Office says Conrad was not in court Monday when the verdict was read.
His sentencing date is still pending.