Friday, April 9, 2010

Official Waging Write-In Battle

Akron Beacon Journal (OH) - Saturday, October 24, 2009
Author: Gina Mace , Special to the Beacon Journal

It is half past noon on a Saturday in October, with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees.

Stow Councilwomen Mary Bednar and Janet D'Antonio are bundled in winter coats. They've been out for more than an hour already, walking, knocking on doors and talking to residents in the Kames condominium development on Berkshire Road.

This is Ward 4, where Bednar won by more than 500 votes during her first election four years ago. Then in 2007, she ran unopposed for a second term.

This year, Bednar faces Joe Hickin, who with his brother, Mark Hickin, owns JMJ Transportation in Akron.

Police Suspect Alleged Robber Ate Evidence

Akron Beacon Journal (OH) - Saturday, November 21, 2009

Author: Gina Mace , Special to the Beacon Journal

Police believe they have their man.

But they fear their suspect in a bank robbery may have eaten some of the evidence - the note handed to a Streetsboro bank teller demanding cash - while he was handcuffed and leaning over the hood of a police cruiser.

Twinsburg police Patrolman Daniel Biada said a dash cam video of Thursday's arrest of John H. Ford, 35, of Cleveland, shows Ford gobbling a piece of paper while officers searched his pockets.

''As we're searching him, officers are removing items and throwing them on the cruiser [hood],'' Biada said. ''We're searching him for weapons. We're not looking at his head.''

The whereabouts of the note demanding money came into question after Biada was taken into custody and Streetsboro investigators asked whether officers had found the piece of paper.

Twinsburg police reviewed the images captured on camera and said they observed Ford leaning over to eat something off the hood of the cruiser.

''He grabbed it in his mouth, just like Pacman,'' Biada said. ''He just ate it right there.''

Authorities said they found a .38-caliber pistol on the driver's side floor of Ford's car and a wad of cash covered in red ink on the passenger side of the vehicle.

Ford is also a suspect in bank robberies in Stow and Akron.

In the Streetsboro case, a man walked into the FirstMerit branch on state Route 14 around 10 a.m. and handed a teller a note that demanded money. The robber did not produce a gun inside of the bank.

Witnesses say he fled in a dark Ford Escort.

Twinsburg police stopped Ford, who was driving a black Ford Escort, on Interstate 480 shortly after the robbery was reported and turned him over to Streetsboro police.

Copyright (c) 2009 Akron Beacon Journal

Former Plaza Site in Falls is Closer to Sale

Akron Beacon Journal (OH) - Sunday, February 7, 2010
Author: Gina Mace , Special to the Beacon Journal

The City Council could soon begin selling off the former State Road Shopping Center site.

The council could vote Monday on whether to begin the transfer of more than 25 acres of the former center to developer Stark Enterprises of Cleveland.

The city purchased the plaza for $10 million in 2008.

The sprawling shopping center was mostly vacant when the city declared it blighted and purchased it. The plaza was then torn down, while the city sought a developer interested in breathing new life into the area.

The owners sold the property to the city rather than face a court battle over eminent domain.

In May 2009, Mayor Don Robart announced the selection of Robert Stark as the redeveloper. Stark is the creator of several retail developments, including the Strip in Jackson Township, Crocker Park in Westlake and three plazas in the Montrose area.

Last month, the proposed contract between Stark Enterprises and the city was presented to the council for review.

Falls Unions Oppose Targeting by Mayor

Akron Beacon Journal (OH) - Friday, February 26, 2010
Author: Gina Mace , Special to the Beacon Journal
A day after Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Robart floated the idea of scrapping public employee unions - the reaction within his own city was swift.

Ohio Police Benevolent Association lawyer Randy Weltman said the suggestion is laughable. The union represents the city's police officers.

''[Robart] is the poster child for the need and utility of public unions,'' Weltman said. ''Without a union in Cuyahoga Falls, we would not have a trained, neutral observer [to] review - and in most cases - reverse not only many of his managerial actions but also his proposed pay schemes.''

Falls Firefighter Chris Martin, who is president of Local 494 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, was disappointed by Robart's comments during his State of the City address on Wednesday.

Robart suggested the change as a way for the city to more quickly respond to a drop in tax revenues.

''We have always been reasonable and productive,'' Martin said. ''When we go to negotiate a contract, we don't go to gouge.

''We are living in this economy too and we know how hard it is.''


Akron Beacon Journal (OH) - Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Author: Gina Mace, Special to the Beacon Journal

Stow Municipal Judge Kim Hoover looked over pictures of a developmentally challenged Cuyahoga Falls woman.

Her attacker stood before the judge and waited to be sentenced last fall.

The photos showed the skin around the woman's eyes as a swollen mass of purple and red. An outline of the attacker's fingers was visible in the bruises on her neck. The bone at the base of his hand made another bruise on her throat.

Authorities say the woman, who had the mental capacity of a 12-year-old, was attacked by Bryan Burns, 35, of Kent, after she interrupted him playing a video game at the woman's apartment. She considered Burns to be her boyfriend.

''He held her against the wall while he bashed her face,'' Hoover recalled this month.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Women Arrested In Scam With Kids

Author: Gina Mace, Special to the Beacon Journal

It's not unusual for children to go door-to-door to raise funds for schools in the west Barberton neighborhood that borders Norton.

So when a 10-year-old girl presented pamphlets with pictures of scrumptious sweets for sale to fund her Norton school this month, a 29th Street woman ordered a pumpkin roll and gave the girl $12.

The child dutifully wrote down the woman's name and address, along with her order.

The next day, the woman ? who asked that her name not be used ? received a call from Barberton Police Lt. Brian Jamison.

He had gotten her information from a list of buyers that had been confiscated from the girl's mother. The Barberton woman had been scammed.

She wasn't alone.

Former Boss IDs Masked Robber At Norton Store

Author: Gina Mace, Special to the Beacon Journal
Dateline: NORTON

The black ski mask wasn't enough.

Norton police say a 21-year-old man tried to use the mask to hide his identity from a former boss during a robbery attempt Thursday outside of a convenience store.

Authorities say the manager, Dale Anderson, confronted the masked man and asked, ''What are you doing, Glenn?''

Police say the surprised robber replied: ''It's not Glenn, Dale.''

Anderson, who manages Circle K at 3899 Eastern Road, told investigators that former employee Glenn N. Messer of Cuyahoga Falls was the man behind the mask.

Messer was arrested later in the day at his mother's home in the Falls by police and members of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.

Messer has been charged with a felony count of robbery and was arraigned Thursday in Barberton Municipal Court. His bond was set at $20,000.

Authorities say Messer worked at the Circle K until February.