The Mustard Seed Market is trying to help revive the bee and butterfly population in northeast Ohio.

The market is celebrating its 35th anniversary and Earth Day by passing out more than 7000 milkweed plants.

Second generation owner Abraham Nabors told WAKR.net the decision to give away milkweed this year is because of an alarming drop in bee and butterfly populations.

"We love giving away tress for a lot of reasons but we also wanted to include milkweekd to support those pollinators."

Why the pollinators' population is dropping is complex, but Nabors suggests its due to a combination of issues including climate change and pesticide chemicals.

"Diminished quality of their food source is also an issue, and it has to do with both the pesticides we are spraying as well as the genetic modification crops "

While at Ohio University Nabors majored in plant biology and worked in a greenhouse where he helped pollinate plants by hand.

He says out of personal experience says we need bees and other pollinators to be the ones pollinating plants.

"Bees are a lot more efficient at it and it is an important part of our ecosystem. Specifically related to us; No pollination, no food."

Mustard Seed Market teamed up with J.M. Smuckers Co., United Natural Foods Foundation and Friends of Metro Parks to giveaway the thousands of milkweed plants.

Doug Powley helped pass out the plants outside the Mustard Seed Market in highland Square and he says these plants will help specifically bring back monarch butterflies.

"We are hoping to have enough milkweed planted around Highland Square and the Akron area so the monarch can come back year after year."

Powley also says to be sure to plant the milkweed in a nice sunny area and give it plenty of space to grow so it can come back every year.

Published in Local
Saturday, 16 April 2016 11:53

Construction Around Akron

Folks driving I-76 East this weekend will be seeing plenty of orange construction barrels. 

On Saturday until about 2 p.m. the left lane is closed between the Kenmore Leg and the Central Interchange for sewer repairs.

Also on Saturday there will be lane restrictions on I-77 between US 224 and I-76 while crews work on overhead lighting repairs.

Construction crews are also working on I-76 East between Grant Street and Fuller Street through 6 a.m. Monday morning.

Traffic will be down to one lane wile crews work on bridge repairs.

Lastly the Arlington Street entrance ramp to I-76 East is closed through 6 a.m. Monday morning.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has a full list of on going construction projects and detours around Summit County.

Stay updated on the latest in Akron traffic by following us on Twitter @AkronTXWX

Published in Local
Wednesday, 13 April 2016 10:55

Tallmadge Man Charged In Fatal Easter Crash

A Tallmadge man is facing charges in a car crash that killed a 17-year-old Akron girl on Easter morning.

Police believe 63-year-old Charles Queer Jr. was driving drunk when he rear-ended Patricia Powell's car that was stopped on the shoulder at I-76 near the South Arlington Street exit in Akron.

Police said Powell was having car troubles and pulled over to the side of the road with her emergency flashers on. 

Authorities said Queer was intoxicated at the time of the crash, over two times the legal limit.

Queer has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, failure to control, OVI and OVI-BAC.

Previous Coverage:

Teen Girl Dies in Easter Morning Car Accident

Published in Local
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 12:07

Akron, Cleveland Among Laziest Cities?

Just how lazy are you?

Well, it turns out Ohioans are among the laziest. That's according to career website Zippia.com.

Dayton is at the top of the list with Toledo following directly behind, and Cleveland and Akron coming in at sixth and seventh place.

The survey took a look at things like the shortest commute time, unemployment rates, fewest workers per household and the fewest adults with a college degree. Those were the only factors identified by the survey.

As with any list you may come across, there can be some variables that turn up missing -- like the percentage of those over the age of 65 in each city.

On the web: www.zippia.com

Published in Local
Wednesday, 06 April 2016 06:50

Charity Event To Honor Zak Husein

Family, friends, and even strangers are preparing for the upcoming charity event to honor University of Akron student Zak Husein who was killed last December in a pizza shop robbery. Student organizer Justin Cohen is teaming up with StopHungerNow to package food for those in need in honor of Husein.

The event is on April 19th -- but they're still in need of donations to make the event happen. More than $7,000 in donations have been collected, but the goal is set at $14,500 in order to package 50,000 meals for those in need.

Click here for more information on the upcoming charity event.

Previous Coverage: 

Police Still Searching For Husein's Killer

Zak Husein: A Life By Example

UPDATE VIDEO 21-Year-Old Shot, Killed In Akron

 

 

Published in Local
Sunday, 03 April 2016 11:13

Two Dead in Separate Accidents in Akron

Police are looking into two seperate fatal accidents.

The first took place Friday night just before midnight when a Kentucky man drove left of center into a guardrail. The guardrail snapped and impaled the driver killing him instantly.

The crash happened on 22nd Street SW near Chandler Ave.

The driver's sister was in the passenger seat but walked away with a minor injury. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.

The second incident happened Saturday afternoon involving a motorcyclist .

Police say the man was driving fast on 76 East onto Rt 59 when he hit the median barrier causing him to fall off his bike, and off the bridge.

The names of the victims in each accident are being with held until the families are notified.

Published in Local
Friday, 01 April 2016 12:28

Akron Zoo Welcomes Snow Leopard Triplets

The Akron Zoo is welcoming a litter of three snow leopard cubs -- a first in the zoo's history. It's the third litter born to Snow Leopard Shanti, but it's her first set of triplets. The cubs and their mother are currently off exhibit. They were born on March 5th.

The zoo is planning a naming contest, which is expected to be announced in a few weeks.

 

 

 

For the first time in our history a litter of three snow leopard cubs have been born at the Akron Zoo. This is the third...

Posted by Akron Zoo on Friday, April 1, 2016
Published in Local
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 12:39

"You And The Law" Workshop Opens Dialogue

Confrontations between police and citizens have gained a lot of attention across the country -- including right here in Akron. That's why the city's peacemakers and police department are working to educate people on their rights and the law.

APD officer Lauri Natko is one of the instructors of the "You and the Law" program that educates citizens on their rights when stopped by police, but also focuses on the importance of open communication and respect.

She opened the workshop with a question to some of the young people in the audience -- asking them how police officers make them feel. One teen said he feels like there's a target on his back. 

"We find that when we do inform them of that information, they're better citizens," said Natko. "They're better equipped to deal with that law enforcement officer."

Natko said educating residents on their rights can help both parties involved in a confrontation. It can start with simply asking the officer why he or she has stopped you.

"Citizens have those types of rights and most of them don't know that you can do that. But if you present it to us in a respectful way, you're going to get a respectful answer."

Natko goes on to explain that challenging an officer in a respectful and professional manner can help break down some of the barriers between a police officer and citizen.

"It makes me a better officer because now I have to articulate to them what my reason was for the stop. It creates a legitimacy to it."

The next workshop is this Thursday at Valley View Apartments on Springdale Street at 1:30 p.m.

Here are the upcoming workshops available:

March 31, 1:30 p.m. Valley View Apartments, 943 Springdale Street, Akron 44310

April 5, 1:30 p.m. Van Buren Apartments, 410 Pasadena Place, Barberton

April 9, Noon Kenmore Branch Library, 969 Kenmore Boulevard, Akron 44314

May 19, 5:30 p.m. Edgewood Village, 491 Vernon Odom Boulevard, Akron 44307

June 14, 1:30 p.m. Honey Locust Gardens, 3299 Prange Drive, Cuyahoga Falls

 

Published in Local
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 09:14

Akron RubberDucks Adds Female Mascot

The Akron RubberDucks are adding a new mascot to their family.

"We saw how much our fans, especially the younger fans and kids at the ballpark, loved Webster so much ," said promotions coordinator Christina Urycki. "We just decided that it was time to bring on a girl and we wanted a little feminine flair to baseball."

Uyrcki says the three mascots currently on the team are not going anywhere. It just means they'll have four mascots this season.

Fans will get a chance to name the new mascot. They're taking suggestions on the team's website through April 1st and the five top finalists will compete in an online vote between April 4-7. The winner will be announced on April 8th.

Timeline of Events:

March 28 - April 1: Name submissions

April 4 - April 7: Top 5 Names Revealed

April 8: Winning Name Revealed

April 14: New Mascot Unveiled at Opening Night against Bowie

The new mascot will debut at the RubberDuck's home opener on April 14th.

 

Published in Local
Monday, 28 March 2016 07:43

Pedestrian Struck, Killed On SR 224

Akron police are investigating a fatal crash involving a pedestrian on State Route 224 early this morning.

Police say a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle near the Main St. off ramp shortly after 6 a.m. Crews blocked two lanes of traffic while police, EMS and the Summit County Medical Examiner were on scene.

Witnesses said they could see police and EMS administering CPR to the victim, reportedly hit by a truck. It's unknown why the man was on the controlled access highway on foot.

The two lanes are expected to be closed for several hours.

The identity of the victim will be released by the Medical Examiner's office once family members have been notified. Further details have not been released. 

Published in Local

An Akron teen died in a car accident on Interstate 76 early Easter morning.

Newchannel5 reports, the 17-year-old girl was on the eastbound shoulder near the Arlington-Kelly Avenue exit when a 63-year-old Tallmadge man slammed into her vehicle.

The girl was transported to Akron City Hospital and later died due to the injuries sustained in the crash. The other driver suffered non life-threatening injuries.

Alcohol is a factor in the crash, but charges have not been filed yet, police said.

Police are still investigating why the victim was on the side of the highway.

Published in Local

UPDATE Eight injured when a bus hit a curb and turned over in Akron Sunday.

Newschannel 5 reports the Baron Blue Lines bus could have a experienced a mechanical failure when it overturned at the intersection of South high and Selle streets.

The bus was taking students back to Ohio University, after spring break.UPDATE Eight injured when a bus hit a curb and turned over in Akron Sunday.

Police said the eight students were transported to the hospital for non life-threatening injuries.

 

----------------------------

Previous Coverage 

Police responded to the scene of a bus that overturned in Akron Sunday.

Newschannel 5 reports the bus was on its way to Ohio University.

The bus overturned at South high and Selle streets.

It's unclear at this time if there were any injuries. 

Published in Local
Friday, 18 March 2016 11:58

Akron Arts Community Growing

The arts community in Akron continues to grow -- and the Knight Arts Challenge is giving dozens of ideas a chance to create a lasting impression.

27 projects were named winners of the Knight Foundation challenge -- all sharing $1 million. Over 500 ideas were submitted into the challenge.

"Out of those, we got these 27 winners that we think, really, represent the true spirit of Akron, where it's going, ideas coming from unusual places and voices we don't hear from too often," said Arts Program Director Bahia Ramos.

Among the projects chosen this year: Turning a garage bay at the Akron Symphony into a stage for community jam sessions; helping Bhutanese women improve their traditional crafts; and creating a pop-up studio for glass making.

"The arts pieces are what allow people to identify with the neighborhood," said Kutuchief.

Click here to find the full list of winners.

Published in Local
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 12:31

FBI: Drug Bust In Massillon

Just under a dozen people are facing charges after the FBI and local law enforcement executed several search warrants in connection with a drug ring involving crystal meth in Massillon.

NewsChannel 5 reports Carlos Elias and his wife Lisa were arrested at a Lincoln Way NW home where five children were removed. The kids are now in the custody of a family member.

Authorities say Elias is the local distributor of the drugs -- importing about 2 to 5 pounds of crystal meth per month from California. The FBI says Elias purchases a pound of drugs for $2,400 and then sells it for $11,000 to $14,000. In total, 11 people will be charged. Other locations are being searched in Akron, Canton, Medina County, and Tuscarawas County.

On the web: www.newsnet5.com

Published in Local

Some were feeling the "Bern" -- and others were feeling the bipartisan love.

"We're out here, just spreading the love," said University of Akron student Dawson Mancabelli. "Trying to find some bi-partisanship between Bernie Sanders fans and Republicans who don't like Trump."

Mancabelli, dressed in khaki shorts and a blue blazer, managed to bring people together by simply carrying a sign that read "Hug a Republican" outside of the Bernie Sanders rally at the Akron Civic Theatre Monday afternoon.

416ecc2c-ec76-4c39-87f7-88b4cd972f17Dawson said it's about respect and support -- no matter which side of the political line you're on.

"I don't know if our message is going change anybody's mind, but it's good to show common ground between people who disagree."

Hundreds of people lined up outside of the Akron Civic Theatre for a chance to catch Sanders in their hometown. Mitchell Smith of Doylestown is an undecided voter who was looking to secure 

his decision before Tuesday's primary.

Kelsey McArdle of Kent came out to learn more about the candidate."I'm probably going to vote for [Hilllary Clinton], but I'm going to give Bernie a chance here today."

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"Going into this election a couple of months ago, initially I thought Clinton would be who I vote for, but I've kind of aligned myself more with Bernie and his thoughts and ideas with his campaign," said McCardle.

Jordan Davis, 17, has already made up his mind -- and is supporting Sanders for the Democatic presidential nomination.

"I think he has more enthusiasm than [Clinton] does," said Davis.

Davis is able to vote tomorrow thanks to a judge's ruling that says 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the general election can vote in Ohio's primary.

Published in Local

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is scheduled to make a campaign stop in Akron on Monday.

The U.S Senator from Vermont plans to hold a rally at the Akron Civic Theatre. Doors open at 10:30a.m.; the event is set to start at 1 p.m.

Before the event in Akron, Sanders will also hold a rally in Youngstown at the Covelli Centre. The rally is free for the public and doors open at 8 a.m.

The scheduled events come on the heels of the Ohio presidential primary--a key battleground state-- on Tuesday against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Published in Local

Former President Bill Clinton was welcomed by a boisterous applause when he entered the United Steelworkers local 2 building in Akron on Saturday.

Senator Sherrod Brown introduced former President Clinton, telling him no offense, but Hillary is the best qualified presidential candidate running in his lifetime.

Speaking to a crowd of about 100 people, Clinton told the group, the country cannot afford to vote a republican as president. He says to a roaring crowd, thanks to Ohio that won't happen.

Clinton was joined by Summit County Executive Russ Pry, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, Congressman Tim Ryan, and former Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, who Clinton joked with, saying he looks just as young as he did when he first came to Akron. He joked "it is a life after politics".

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was in Cleveland, speaking at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church.

Published in Local
Friday, 11 March 2016 16:03

Bill Campaigning For Hillary In Akron

President Bill Clinton will be in Akron on Saturday to campaign for his wife Hillary, who's hoping to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

The former president will appear at 4 PM at the Steel Workers Local 2 union shop on Kelly Avenue in Akron.

Tickets are not necessary, and doors will open at 3 PM.

President Clinton will be joined by local leaders including Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, County Executive Russ Pry and Congressman Tim Ryan.

Published in Local
Saturday, 05 March 2016 15:48

Akron Man Found Shot To Death In Driveway

Police are investigating the shooting death of an Akron man that happened Friday night.

The Akron Police Department says the shooting took place shortly before 11:00 p.m. in the 1200 block of Onondago Avenue.

The victim, who has yet to be identified, was a 26-year-old male, of Victory Street in Akron.

Police say the man was found with multiple gunshot wounds inside of his 1999 Chevy Malibu parked in the driveway.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No suspect(s) have been identified.

The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy and the victim's name will be released when he is positively identified and when family notifications have been made.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the detective bureau at (330) 375-2490.

Published in Local

The University of Akron hosted area high school students on Friday, as they competed in the 16th Annual Bridge Building Competition.

Students put their engineering skills on display for local engineering consulting firms to judge the aesthetics, or looks, of their bridge and the amount of weight it can hold.

Alan Brubaker, Summit County Engineer, and 16 engineering consulting firms co-sponsored the annual event.

Brubaker said the event has got bigger every year with this year being the biggest.

"Whenever you have a good program that the student advisers feel that is beneficial to the students, it's going to continue to grow."

The students were given three hours to build their bridge The teams built their bridges out of balsa wood and then went their imagination.

Andrew McDonald, a sophomore from Hudson high school, and his teammates took home the first place trophy in their first year competing.

"Coming out here and just seeing our philosophy and design work, it's a very satisfying and just fulfilling experience," McDonald said.

When asked about some of the best parts about the competition, Sam Phillips, senior from Green and Portage Lakes Center, said it was really cool to see students from other schools and to see some of the differences in their bridge designs.

"Meeting new kids from like Hudson, Springfield and another class of schools that you don't really get to see people from and to see what they're thinking and what's they're out-take on this whole perception of building a bridge out of balsa wood."

Students who participated in the event were eligible to receive more than $4,000, as part of the Miniature Bridge Building Competition Scholarship.

Hudson high school won a prize of $100 and two Springfield high school teams brought home a prize of $70 and $50 each for second and third place finishes.

The Portage Lakes Center won the aesthetics award for the best bridge design. Cuyahoga Falls finished in second place.

Published in Local

A student was found with a gun at Ellet High School late Wednesday morning.

Akron police say that a school staffer discovered the concealed gun on a 17 year-old male student.

"He was confronted by both the Akron officer at the school there, and staff members," Capt. Dan Zampelli tells WAKR.net, "and the 17 year-old immediately put his hands up, and allowed the officer to retrieve the weapon which was on his person at the time."

Capt. Zampelli says the student had a loaded, 40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, which has been confiscated.

He says the student faces felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a firearm into the school. The student was sent to the Summit County Juvenile Detention Center.

The school was placed on lockdown for about an extra 40 minutes as a precaution.

No one was hurt, and classes were not disrupted at Ellet High.

In an unrelated incident, Miller South was locked for about 3 minutes early this afternoon, because Akron police were searching for someone outside the school.

(Previous coverage) Akron Public School officials say a student was found with a gun at Ellet High School late Wednesday morning.

Not many details have been released, but officials say the school was locked and place on what admintrators call a "Safe School Watch" for about an hour around 10:35 a.m. after a tip from a staff member.

Police confronted the student within five minutes of the lockdown and recovered the weapon without incident.

 

Published in Local

The late Brenda Weems may be known to some as LeBron James' godmother -- but to her family and friends she was a caring woman who left behind a legacy that continues to touch the lives of those in the Akron community. 

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On Tuesday afternoon, she was also the reason so many came together to dedicate a new dialysis unit on White Pond Drive in her name. Weems was a longtime dialysis nurse with Fresenuis Medical Care. In April of 2006, Weems passed away at the age of 45 after her battle with cancer.

"To see that impact that she had on all of the people she came across, it's just unbelievable," said Weems' son Brandon. "It's a very emotional day."

Brandon was just one of dozens of family members who came out to the dedication ceremony to honor his mother's legacy. While some recognize Brenda Weems as LeBron's godmother, the ceremony helped to shine a light on Weems' unconditional love for taking care of the community. Weems was a registered nurse for over 20 years.

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"It's just the whole city of Akron," said Brandon. "Everywhere you go, if they know you're a Weems they immediately go to Brenda. She was just so big in the community. Her names rings everywhere."

Fresenius regional vice-president Jamie Stanos said you didn't have to look far to understand why Weems was adored by so many.

"She was the gold standard by which everybody measured themselves as a nurse and a technician," said Stanos.

 

Published in Local
Monday, 22 February 2016 11:18

Woman Pulled From Summit Lake

One person was pulled from Summit Lake this morning.

The Dive Rescue Team with the Akron Fire Department was called to a report of a body floating in Summit Lake around 8 a.m.

The woman was pulled from the water and taken to the hospital. No word on her condition.

Published in Local
Monday, 22 February 2016 10:35

Police Still Searching For Husein's Killer

It's been more than two months since a 21-year-old University of Akron student was shot and killed during a pizza shop robbery in early December. But despite having more than $50,000 in reward money on the table, police haven't had a solid lead to track down Zak Husein's killer.

"Usually the money is enticing to someone who has the information, but in this case it hasn't really brought us the lead that we need," said Capt. Dan Zampelli.

Husein's family offered a $50,000 reward for information that leads to Husein's killer -- in addition to several thousand dollars offered by Summit County Crimestoppers.

"There's always that one bit of information that will get us in the right direction. We believe it's solvable, it's just a matter of finding that right piece of information that takes us on that right road."

 

 

Husein was shot even after handing over the money without incident during a robbery at his brother's Premium New York Pizza store. It was captured on surveillance video, but the masked robber couldn't be identified.

Previous Coverage: 

Zak Husein: A Life By Example

VIDEO 21-Year-Old Shot, Killed In Akron

 

Published in Local

The man convicted in the fatal stabbing outside of Chapel Hill Mall has been sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole after 15 years.

Deandre Baskerville was found guilty of two murder counts in the death of Terrence Rogers in August 2015.

The two got into an argument at the mall, which then led to a fight where Baskerville stabbed Rogers in the neck. Rogers stumbled back into the mall where he collapsed and died.

Previous Coverage: 

Man Found Guilty In Chapel Hill Area Stabbing Death

Stabbing Murder Suspect Arraigned In Summit County

Published in Local
Monday, 15 February 2016 06:42

Three Women Injured In Akron Car Crash

Three women were injured in a wreck after the car they were in crashed into a telephone pole in Akron late Sunday morning.

Fire officials say the car hit a pole and street sign in the 500-block of Cuyahoga Street shortly before 11:30 a.m.

At least one person may have been ejected from the car. All three women were taken to the hospital for treatment but their conditions are not known.

Fire officials say there was a dog in the car at the time of the crash, but there's no word on the whether the dog was injured.

Published in Local
Monday, 15 February 2016 06:37

UPDATE APD Looking For Homicide Suspect

A murder warrant has been issued for a 31-year-old man --- accused of fatally shooting a man at a house party on early Valentine's Day morning.

Police say Antoine C. Bennett should be considered armed and dangerous. His last known address was on East 97th Street in Cleveland.

Police say shots were fired at the party on North Howard Street after a fight. They say the 25 year-old victim was found inside the house shot in the chest died later at Akron City Hospital.

Another man, 25 year-old Malcolm Washington of Baird Street, flagged down police nearby and said he was shot in the foot.

The man killed hasn't yet been identified. An autopsy will be conducted by the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office.

Akron police are providing a description of Bennett, and ask for help finding him:

"Bennett is a black male, 5'10", 245 lbs. with black medium length hair, a beard and moustache. He should be considered armed and dangerous."

"Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Antoine Bennett is encouraged to call the Akron Police Department, Detective Bureau at (330) 375-2490; the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-866-4-WANTED; or the Summit County Crimestoppers Inc. at 330-434-COPS. You can also text TIPSCO with your tips to 274637 (Crimes). Callers can remain anonymous."

(Earlier coverage) A house party led to a fatal shooting in Akron on Valentine's Day.

Police tell NewsChannel 5 that they're looking for the person who shot and killed a man at a North Howard Street home around 2 a.m.

A 25-year-old flagged down police to let them know what happened and said he was also shot in the foot.

A warrant has been issued for 31-year-old Antoine C. Bennett. Police say he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Published in Local
Sunday, 14 February 2016 19:26

Couples Say "I Do" on Valentine's Day

On a day that symbolizes love, couples in Akron cemented their love by saying "I do" and marrying their significant other.

Fifteen couples exchanged vows on Valentine's Day downtown at the main branch of the Summit County Akron Public Library with Judge Annalisa Williams, of the Akron Municipal Court, presiding over the ceremonies.

Denise Norwood, 58, married her boyfriend, Jermaine, 43, of 10 years, alongside her daughter, Kalaille, 35, who also married her boyfriend, Anthony Bussey, 37. She said this is a day she will always remember.

"We will never forget it. We know Valentine's Day, that's our day, special."

Asked about what it means to get married next to her daughter, she says, "It's different, but it's a joyful thing. Because she got married with her mother and her mother got married with her daughter. It's just a joyous thing."

Mrs. Bussey said getting married was an amazing feeling. She said the fact that it was with her mom is something that will stick with her forever.

"It's an experience. I think it was a wonderful feeling. It's a memorable feeling. We'll have stories to tell down the line to the family."

Mr. and Mrs. Norwood met at Akron Baptist Church about 10 years ago. Mr. Norwood says it's kind of funny to get married on Valentine's Day, but also says it's something he will never forget.

"It's hilarious because it's going to be something that you always remember because it's a day that comes every year," Norwood said. "So, you know when that day comes, you'll know it's that special day we got married on. So, you'll never forget Valentine's Day."

Jerome Spragling tied the knot with his girlfriend of 3 years, Saleema. He said he's blessed to be able to marry her on Valentine's Day.

"I'm happy. It's very important to me as well as my wife," Spragling tells WAKR. "This is what she wanted and I'm very fortunate to give it to her on this day. I'm grateful."

Spragling said this is the day they will start their new life together, a moment, he said is very special to him.

"One of the greatest memories for me is the leap we made today," Spragling said. "Because this is the direction we both wanted to take and we're here and we are going to move forward together as one."

Patricia Williams, Chief Bailiff at Akron Municipal Court, has been involved with Valentine's Day weddings for over 20 years. She said seeing the faces of people after they get married is something that brings her an abundance of joy.

"To see that special look in their eye when they come out, it fills my heart."

Williams said it's nothing new to see people want to get married on Valentine's Day. She said it's a large number people that want to get married on the day.

"A lot of times people have set this date--waited from year to year--to get married on this day. I think that's something that's going to be lasting because they waited for this special day to do this on."

Since Valentine's Day was on Sunday, the weddings weren't able to be done at the courthouse because of they would have had to hire security, Williams said. She said the library was more than happy to allow them to conduct the ceremonies there.

Published in Local
Thursday, 11 February 2016 09:49

UPDATE TB Case Reported At North HS

UPDATE: Summit County health officials have now confirmed a case of tuberculosis in Summit County -- specifically at the North High School community. The county's department of health is currently investigating, but they have not released details related to whether the victim is a student, teacher or staff member.

Officials say they'll be notifying potentially exposed contacts directly about the need for screening and intervention.

County health officials say that hundreds of people in Summit County carry a tuberculosis germ, but that it does not develop into tuberculosis disease in most cases.

-------------------

(Summit County Health Department, news release) The TB case that was reported earlier today as suspect in a member of the North High School community has now been confirmed. Due to privacy and HIPAA laws regulating the use of Protected Health Information (PHI), the individual will not be identified.

Summit County Public Health is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify contacts most at risk of exposure to TB. SCPH will be notifying potentially exposed contacts directly about the need for screening and intervention. Identified individuals will be notified via mail within the next week.

Summit County Public Health will be staffing a TB information-line starting February 11, 2016 at 8:00 am. The TB information-line number is 330-926-5795. For additional information, please visit the Summit County Public Health website at www.scph.org.

(Summit County Health Department), news release) Akron, Ohio. Summit County Public Health is currently investigating a suspected case of tuberculosis in a member of the North High School community. Due to privacy and HIPAA laws regulating the use of Protected Health Information (PHI), the individual will not be identified. Summit County Public Health (SCPH) is conducting a thorough investigation of this incident to identify all potentially exposed individuals and provide guidance and evaluation as necessary.

Tuberculosis Disease (TB) is an uncommon and potentially serious illness that usually involves the lungs. In some cases, people with TB can spread the disease to others. TB is spread through the air by close prolonged contact when a person coughs, speaks, laughs, or sings. It is NOT spread by casual contact, for example, passing someone in the hallway, standing next to someone in the store, using the same bathroom, or contact with surfaces.

Almost all cases of TB are curable with proper treatment and medication.
Active cases of TB disease are uncommon after initial exposure. While TB is
contagious, it is not very easy for the disease to spread from person to person.

Therefore, there is minimal risk to the greater Summit County public. Summit County Public Health is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify contacts most at risk of exposure to TB.

SCPH will be notifying potentially exposed contacts directly about the need for screening and intervention. Identified individuals will be notified via mail.

Summit County Public Health will be staffing a TB information-line starting February 11, 2016 at 8:00 am. The TB information-line number is 330-926-5795. For additional information, please visit the Summit County Public Health website at www.scph.org

Published in Local

20 slides, 20 seconds each. That's all the presenters at Pecha Kucha Night Akron will get to make their point.

1590 WAKR's Jasen Sokol will lead off the slate of presenters Friday night at the Akron Civic Theatre. The topics will include everything from science and law to art and risk taking. Jasen talked to organizers Annal Vyas and Heather Roszczyk about what to expect at the event.

To get your FREE tickets to Pecha Kucha Akron, click here.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 09:50

Shooting Victim Under Police Guard At Hospital

Akron police say a man who suffered a gunshot wound while driving was placed under police guard at a local hospital. Police say it turns out JuJuan Weems, 23, of Akron had a warrant out for gross sexual imposition and sexual battery.

Capt. Dan Zampelli says it took some time to find the shooting victim after a shooting was reported at West South Street and Princeton Avenue.

"They did speak to neighbors in the area who indicated that a male had been driving a car, the car stopped abruptly, a male got out and went into a local market," said Zampelli.

Police say Weems went to the hospital and was treated for a gunshot wound to the chest. He's under police guard until he's released and booked into the Summit County Jail.

Details related to the possible shooting suspect were not released.

Published in Local

A 27-year-old Akron woman got a wake up call she didn't expect when a trio of men allegedly broke into apartment and fired a number of shots early Tuesday morning.

Police say two men confronted the woman after kicking in the door while a third man waited outside the Chester Avenue apartment. Another man was waiting outside the Chester Avenue apartment.

The suspects allegedly confronted two other people who live at the apartment. One suspect fired shots into the ceiling, but police say no one was hurt.

The trio fled the scene with cell phones, a purse, and clothing.

No arrests have been made.

Published in Local
Tuesday, 02 February 2016 11:40

Pizza Delivery Driver Shot In Akron

Akron police are looking for the person who shot and robbed a pizza delivery driver Monday night.

Police say a 59-year-old driver for Papa John's was delivering a pizza in the 700 block of Crane Walk when he was confronted by a man with a gun around 10 p.m.

According to Akron police, the victim was shot in the back twice. He was taken to a hospital for treatment. His injuries do not appear to be life threatening.

Only a vague description of the suspect was released.

Published in Local
Monday, 01 February 2016 16:42

"Fugitive Of The Week" From Akron

This week's Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force Fugitive of the Week is a man with Akron ties.

The task force says Wesley Tucker is wanted on charges linked to a conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute them.

Tucker is wanted on charges involving over 8 pounds of crystal meth last November.

A picture and description of him is on WAKR.net.

The task force says Tucker has a last known address in the 600 block of West Exchange Street in Akron.

(Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, news release) The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force is offering a reward for information which would lead to the capture of fugitive Wesley Tucker.

Tucker is wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service, the Akron Police Department and the U.S. Postal Inspectors Service for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamines.

In November 2015 Tucker conspired to possess over 8 pounds of crystal meth. Tucker is a 39 year old black male standing approximately 6'01" and weighing 200 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

Tucker's last known address was in the 600 block of West Exchange St. in Akron.

If you have any information in reference to Wesley Tucker, please contact the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 1-­866­-4-WANTED or Text keyword WANTED and tip to 847411 (tip411) Tipsters can remain anonymous and reward money is available.

Published in Local

Akron's new planning director has a goal of increasing the city's population to a number close to when the population was at its peak in the 1960s. Jason Segedy says he hopes to see Akron's population grow to 250,000 by 2050.

The latest numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that number stands at just under 198,000 (197,859).

It's an ambitious goal, but Segedy believes it's possible.

"Do you get job here, first, or do you make the city a better place to live?" said Segedy. "I think the answer to that is 'both.' We need to do both at the same time."

Segedy said it's also not necessarily all about recruiting people to Akron -- but it start with the millions of people who are already in Northeast Ohio.

"There are a lot of people in Northeast Ohio that might choose to make the city of Akron their home if we can make it a compelling place to live, so I want to start with that."

Segedy said increasing the population begins with building new housing, rehabilitating existing buildings, and encouraging entrepreneurship and commercial redevelopment.

Click here to read more from Jason Segedy's blog.

Published in Local
Thursday, 28 January 2016 14:37

VIDEO Students Honor Fallen Astronaut

You don't have to travel far to see the legacy left behind by astronaut Judith Resnik who was killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion 30 years ago.

Every student at Resnik CLC learns a special song that honors the school's namesake, leaving some parents and teachers in tears. 

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Resnik and six others were killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986. Students spent the afternoon remembering Resnik's childhood in Akron and her love for math and science, which eventually led to her path to become an engineer and astronaut.

5th grader Seth Singer believes Resnik would be proud to see students honoring her legacy.

"I think she would say that she would be glad to be here and that she would be very grateful because she was always kind and had a big heart."

Resnik is honored every year at the school with teachers building lesson plans around the astronaut -- who continues to inspire kids to reach for the stars.

"We learned a lot about space and about her, so I think she would be very proud," said Singer.

The presentation ended with students singing the Judy Resnik song -- written by APS Music Teacher Kim Shama-Hanna.

 

Published in Local
News broke late Monday night that FirstMerit Bank will soon merge with Huntington, though not for another six months. The headquarters for FirstMerit Corporation is located in downtown Akron, and, after the merger with Columbus’s Huntington, it will create the largest bank in the state of Ohio.

This came as a shock to many local residents and even politicians, where many jobs and branches will soon be affected. Summit County executive Russ Pry and Akron mayor Dan Horrigan called into the Ray Horner Morning Show to share their thoughts on FirstMerit’s history in Akron and their commitment to the community, as well as what Huntington has in store going forward.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 12:23

Huntington To Buy FirstMerit

We're learning more about Huntington Bancshares acquisition of Akron-based FirstMerit.

In a Tuesday morning media conference call, the top executives at FirstMerit and Huntington gave a little more insight as to what happens next in the $3.4 billion deal that's expected to receive the final approval later this year.

FirstMerit CEO Paul Greig says the driving force for the move was in the best interest of shareholders.

"That was the driving motivation to enter into this partnership, but I want to stress that there is nothing Akron could've done to change the course of this action or Summit County," said Greig.

Officials said branch employees will be offered a job, but details as to how many branches may close or what will happen to those working at FirstMerit's headquarters in Akron has yet to be released.

"Our objective is to do it right," said Huntington Bank CEO Steve Steinour. "There are notices that will be provided to customers, either 60 or 90 days, before any branch consolidations occur."

There area about 1,200 FirstMerit employees, including those at the bank's headquarters in Akron. Huntington's headquarters are based in Columbus.

Published in Local

There are a few changes coming to Akron's west side -- including a pair of new buildings. Akron City Council President Marilyn Keith said a new drive-thru Starbucks is set to open at the corner of West Market Street and Pershing Avenue.

"Right across from Ken Stewarts, where China Gourmet is, that property has been bought and it will be turned into a Starbucks," said Keith.

There's another Starbucks located about half a mile away near Sand Run Road, but the coffee chain has yet to announce if it will relocate to the new location.

A developer has also knocked down the old smoke shop at the corner of Frank Blvd. and West Market St., but details as to what will go into that area has not been released.

"The developers have chosen not to share with me what's going in there. They also haven't pulled any permits, so I am not sure exactly what's going in there."

When the drive-thru Taco Bell restaurant was built at the corner of Frank Boulevard and West Market Street in Akron last year, there was controversy as to whether it would increase traffic issues in the area. Since it's opening, the city only received two complaints.

"I think it has established that we are rebranding ourselves in the neighborhood," said Keith.

 

Published in Local

The Knight Foundation has selected more than 150 finalists in the second annual Knight Cities Challenge -- including 10 ideas submitted in the Akron area. The national challenge is focused on picking some of the best ideas that would make cities more successful.

"One of the reasons theses ideas were selected, along with the rest across the country, is they're relatively short term," said Akron program director Kyle Kutuchief. "They can be completed within 18 months, so I think the community will be seeing these projects in the year ahead."

The winners will be announced this spring and will receive a share of $5 million.

"I get to focus on Akron, but we're always looking at what other cities are doing for inspiration, said Kutuchief. "But we are thrilled with the 10 that won locally and I'm hoping to assist as many of them as possible and actually getting funding."

Here are the 10 ideas that were selected in Akron this year:

#Route10: Akron's Better Bus Stop Project by 8 80 Cities (submitted by Alyssa Bird): Encouraging new conversations about transit and life in the city of Akron with a daylong event that invites civic leaders to experience newly animated bus stops along Route 10, featuring entertainment and new amenities.

Coffee/Drink/Dance (submitted by Annal Vyas): Creating a new website that pairs residents who don't know one another to attend events and meet for conversations that help break down barriers between people from across the city.

Middlebury House by Akron Honey Co. (submitted by: Brent Wesley): Developing the Akron Honey Co.'s apiary in the historic Middlebury neighborhood into a community space for recreation, education and other activities that help residents connect with each other and other areas of the city.

Cuyahoga Explore-a-Foot (submitted by Brian Davis): Encouraging visitors to explore remote regions of Cuyahoga Valley National Park by providing services and amenities, such as help with travel arrangements and baggage transport, that make it more accessible.

Akron Shorts by The Devil Strip (submitted by Chris Horne): Strengthening civic engagement by installing stations around the city that would dispense art, stories, trivia, games and more, and encourage the public to share their own creations with fellow residents.

Akron Innerbelt Bike Park (submitted by Jonathan Morschl): Providing new life for an abandoned section of highway by creating a "bicycle park" that promotes cycling, encourages new riders and attracts cyclists from throughout the region and nation.

Invite Akron by Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park (submitted by Jen McAnlis-Harvey): Encouraging use of the area's premier public space, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, by inviting residents from every walk of life, and especially those who don't regularly visit the park, to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial with free transportation and events.

Developing Community Blue Zones: Keys to Longer, Healthier Lives by Akron General Health System/Akron General Foundation (submitted by Laura Jo Hawk): Exploring how to create successful "Blue Zones" in Akron, areas that promote healthful living conditions and options, such as developing walking trails, shedding stress and eliminating food deserts.

One Lake One Community by #KenmoreUnited (submitted by Nolan James): Bringing together residents from different sides of Summit Lake who don't traditionally interact through a meal and celebration that encourages use of the lake as a shared resource.

Akron Tread Lightly (submitted by Shane Wynn): Encouraging biking throughout the city with a campaign that emphasizes the variety of experiences and amenities that are available by exploring the urban core on two wheels.

 

Published in Local
Monday, 11 January 2016 12:45

Haven of Rest Issues "Code Zero" Alert

The wind chill is pushing temperatures below zero in the Akron area -- prompting a local shelter to issue a "Code Zero" alert.

Haven of Rest has issued a "Code Zero" Alert to remind those in need that the shelter is open 24/7. The shelter will be open for guests looking for a place to get warm -- and for those interested in a meal or simply a hot cup of coffee.

Since the start of the New Year, Haven of Rest Ministries has noticed an increase in the amount of people seeking shelter -- and that number is expected to climb with temperatures in the teens and the wind chill forcing that number below zero.

Click here for more information.

Published in Local
Monday, 11 January 2016 12:39

Gas Prices Drop In Akron

Gas prices continue to fall as the new year moves forward. In the past week, gas prices have dropped more than a nickel in the past week in the Akron area, bringing the average price of a gallon of gas to $1.86, according to GasBuddy.com.

And it appears drivers will enjoy the benefits for months to come.

"By and large, at the end of the year, if you were to add up your receipts you'll find that you'll be spending about 10 to 12 cents less a gallon than you were last year." said Senior Petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan.

DeHaan said prices in 2016 are expected to stay under $3 per gallon -- with the exception of areas in the West Coast. Even with possible refinery issues and the switch to "winter-blend," DeHaan doesn't expect the average price of gas to reach above $3.

Published in Local

Half a dozen residents at a local correctional facility was taken to the hospital after suspected drug overdoses late Tuesday night. Oriana House officials say two men at the Summit County Community Based Correctional Facility (CBCF) were treated and released, but four men are still being evaluated. Officials report the residents' symptoms indicate that the drug involved in the overdoses were linked to synthetic marijuana, also known as K2. But officials note that the chemical make-up of K2 constantly changes -- making it difficult to test.

Officials say as a result of the incidents, Oriana House staff members have "restricted the movement of all the clients at the Summit County CBCF, allowing residents to leave only for approved employment and medical appointments."

Full searches will be conducted in the facilities and
enhanced pat downs" are being implemented as well.

In a news release, Executive Vice President Bernie Rochford stated:

"We constantly monitor our clients and our facilities to take every effort to keep drugs out of our programs. But like many jails and prisons that have recently reported overdoses, Oriana House is a community based program and is not immune to drugs getting into our facilities."

Local authorities are investigating the incidents.

Published in Local

There's a new president of Akron City Council, but it's not a name many expected. Ward 8's Marilyn Keith was named council's new leader by a 7-6 vote.

"Sometime we have to do things that aren't always comfortable, so I realized that now is the time that I have to step up to the plate and do something that I hadn't intended to do," said Keith.

Council was divided between Bob Hoch and Linda Omobien for council president, but it was Keith who then stepped forward as a new candidate.

There have been past conflicts between council members and the administration. Keith says she'll make an effort to address issues immediately, but also notes that it doesn't mean that conflict disappears.

"I can't guarantee that it won't happen, but I can guarantee that I won't add to it, nor will I, in any way, support it."

Keith said healthy communication and working together are her top priorities as she moves into the new position.

There was a potential conflict that was brought up during the meeting. Keith's husband is council clerk Bob Keith. Council president supervises the clerk's position, which could become a problem, but a possible solution would be to hand over the responsibility to someone else.

Published in Local
Wednesday, 30 December 2015 11:28

Project Blue Light Shines

Project Blue Light is moving closer to reaching its goal in Summit County to distribute 10,000 blue lights in honor of service members in the community.

Rob Winebrenner, the father of fallen Akron police officer Justin Winebrenner, launched the project in November.

"We have more people that want the bulbs, than we have bulbs," said Winebrenner.

More than 3,000 light bulbs have been handed out across Summit County since the launch of the project in November. Winebrenner said it's not hard to see the community's support.

"As you drive around Barberton, it's amazing. There's a lot of [blue lights] in the Akron area. I've shipped them off to Warren and other states."

Winebrenner doesn't have any plans to stop -- even after his goal is reached.

"It's been working out very well. Enough to keep it going and keep us ordering our next thousand."

A benefit will be held at the Funny Stop Comedy Club in Cuyahoga Falls Wednesday night. The proceeds will go to Project Blue Light.

Previous Coverage: 

Father Of Fallen Akron Cop Launches Blue Light Project

 

Published in Local

The Akron-Summit County Library is offering a new online service to access books, movies, and music. The library has teamed up with Hoopla, described as a Netflix-like online service, to offer users 24/7 online and mobile access to the library.

"We do intend to do a lot more with digital to make library accessible," said Collection Development Coordinator Val Sherman. "No matter where you are, we'll be there for you."

There's a checkout limit for library card holders -- just 10 items per month, but there are no fines since the items automatically return after the checkout period has ended.

"You can have a video for about three days and it'll just automatically return. You won't have to worry about fines."

The Akron-Summit County Library is just one of dozens in Ohio that have partnered with the new digital service.

Published in Local

An employee at Our Lady of the Elms in Akron is facing a sexual battery charge after he was accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.

The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports Jeffrey Peterson, 28, was fired from his job as an IT coordinator at the private, all-girls Catholic school after school officials learned of the accusations and reported it to Akron police.

Peterson is being held in the Summit County Jail and has a court appearance scheduled on Monday.

On the web: www.cleveland.com

Published in Local

Akron Public Schools are looking into allegations that a Firestone High teacher had an improper relationship with a female student.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the unnamed teacher was placed on paid leave a few weeks ago.

Firestone staff and APS administrators are working with legal counsel to look into the matter, though there's no word yet how it came to the attention of Firestone staff.

There's also no word on the length of the alleged improper relationship or the age of the student.

The allegation could be presented at the Akron school board's next meeting next month.

On the web: www.ohio.com

Published in Local
Monday, 21 December 2015 10:35

Winter Season Off To Warm, Rainy Start

The winter season officially begins tonight, but the freezing temperatures and snowflakes are nowhere in sight.

"If you like mild temperatures and lots of rain, you're going to like the forecast, " said Meteorologist Richard Lewelling with the Weather Channel.

Temperatures are expected to reach near the 60s on Wednesday and stay above average through the rest of the year.

"In fact, the coolest temperature I see, anywhere in the next 16 days, is a 40 degree low at night," said Lewelling. "So, pretty much, everyday between now and the end of the year we're going to be looking at 40s, 50s and even 60s in the forecast."

Lewelling predicts record-breaking temperatures across the country as the year comes to a close.

"We're going to see a lot of records fall by the wayside. I think you have to go way back in the record books to some of the strongest El Ninos to actually see weather like this, anywhere in the country. In fact, there's really nothing that compares to it."

 

Published in Local

It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas.

They came by the truck loads, hundreds of bikes delivered by Elves & More put a mile-wide smile on parents and kids faces in Akron on Sunday, just a week a before the holiday.

"Yes, I'm excited because I haven't had a bike in a longtime," Treymaine Lucas said.

Lucas received a bike from LeBron James, as part of the 'I Promise' program, but was stolen when he left it outside on the porch of their house.

Brandy Moore, his mother, said her son was very upset about what happened. She has three kids and was not able to buy her son another one. She said this event made things a lot easier, especially with her Christmas shopping.

"[This event] helps me out a lot because I can't afford to buy three bikes," Moore said. "Being that they were able to give my kids bikes, it's going to be their Christmas presents now."

Elves & More delivered 1,600 bikes total to kids and families in Akron, Canton and Springfield on Sunday.

Moore said she think it's "wonderful" what the people from Elves & More did because it will help a lot of families.

"I think it's nice. I think it's wonderful. It's a nice Christmas gift for all of these kids. Some kids aren't going to get nothing else for Christmas."

Tim House, Co-Founder of Elves and More, said it started about ten years ago when they decided to giveaway bikes for Christmas to kids who needed them most.

"Many of these parents and grandparents that are raising their granddaughter and grandsons or parents that are raising their own children; they're struggling right now and Christmas time puts another stress on them. They have no idea how they're going to buy a gift, so we supply that gift for them."

House said it's the smile on the kids faces year after year that makes this all worth it.

"If you see a kid on an Elves & More bike with a backpack, you know, you just say to your self, she's on her way to a library, she's on her way to school, she's on one of our bikes. There's nothing you can say bad about that."

House said he's lucky to have the amount of people that volunteers each year.

"We are very fortunate in volunteer base," House said. "Last week we put together 1,600 biclycles in about four hours. We had a little over 400 volunteers show up, put the bikes together and clean the warehouse."

One of the many volunteers who helped deliver bicycles at the Akron site was Walter Holtz. Holtz, who works for XPO Logistics as an operations manager in the Alliance and Youngstown area, said it feels good to deliver the bikes and see the kids reactions.

"It's really nice to see the faces and the expressions on kids faces when we give back," Holtz said. "Everybody likes to receive but at the same time there's that special feeling you get every time when you give to someone else...it's an indescribable feeling."

Elves & More does not fund-raise and try to receive grants and donations from corporations to fund the giveaways, House said. He said they're bank account is really low right now after getting the bikes, but in the end, he said, "it's all worth it."

Published in Local
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