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Meeting to discuss ballot initiative to be held in Tallmadge Tuesday

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 31, 2014

A meeting to discuss a ballot initiative calling on Congress to amend the Constitution to overturn the Citizens United case will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Tallmadge.

The meeting will be at the Tallmadge Public Library, 90 Community Road.

Citizens United permitted corporations to give unlimited campaign contributions. A movement is underway in the Akron area and nationally to repeal the decision by changing the Constitution.

Locally, a campaign has begun in Stow and Barberton passed a resolution supporting the effort. This is part of the national Move to Amend movement.

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Two new Ohio House members from Summit County to be sworn in during local ceremonies

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 30, 2014

The two newest members of Summit County's state legislative delegation will have local swearing-in ceremonies this week.

Greta Johnson, elected in November to represent the 35th Ohio House district, will be sworn in by Barberton Mayor Bill Judge and Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic at 5 p.m. Friday at Firestone Park Community Center, 1480 Girard St. in Akron. The event will be hosted by Summit County Executive Russ Pry.

Emilia Sykes, who will take over the 34th House district that her father, Vernon, held, will be sworn in at 1 p.m. Sunday at United Baptist Church, 1007 S. Hawkins Ave. in Akron. A reception will follow, featuring hors d'oeuvres.

Both Johnson and Sykes will be officially sworn in with members of the legislature in a Jan. 5 ceremony in Columbus.

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Reporter shares highlights of Hillary Rodham Clinton coloring book

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 24, 2014

It finally arrived -- just in time for Christmas --  my review copy of Hillary: The Coloring Book.

Here are some highlights:

* Cover: Features Hillary Rodham Clinton in navy, light blue, purple, green and yellow pantsuits.

* Interesting tidbits: Clinton suggested the "Ms. President Patch" while a Girl Scout, which honors "Scouts who study female leaders, consider the role of women in government and research a notable woman in politics."

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Portage Lakes named Ohio's Purple Martin capital

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 24, 2014

The Portage Lakes are now the Purple Martin Capital of Ohio.

Gov. John Kasich recently signed legislation making this long-sought designation official. Eight members of the Portage Lakes Purple Martin Association went to Columbus to witness the bill signing.

"This has exceeded our wildest dream," Larry Hunter, president of the group, said in a press release. "We went from one nesting pair in 2000 to the Purple Martin Capital in 2014."

State Rep. Anthony DeVitis, R-Green, had pledged during his reelection campaign to try to get the legislation passed before the end of the session. He said the legislation will "bring increased awareness of the value of the Purple Martin in the Portage Lakes area."

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Former Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder to teach at Cleveland State, UA next year

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 23, 2014

Former Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder has been appointed executive in residence at Cleveland State University's Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, the university announced this week.

"It will be my honor to return to the faculty at Cleveland State University," Batchelder said in a news release.

Batchelder, R-Medina, was prohibited from seeking reelection this year because of term limits. He was in public service for 40 years.

Batchelder's position at CSU will begin in mid-January. He will lecture on the law as it relates to the legislative, political and statutory environments.

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U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, chair of Congressional Black Caucus, releases statement on officer shootings

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 21, 2014

U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, who heads the Congressional Black Caucus, released a statement today on the deliberate shootings of two New York City police officers that includes the refrain, "All lives matter."

Below is the statement from Fudge, D-Warrensville Heights, who represents the 11th district that runs from Cleveland to Akron:

"I am deeply grieved to learn of the murders of New York Police Department Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Their tragic deaths are a great loss for the NYPD, their families, and our nation.

This is not about race or affiliation, and it isn't about black versus blue. All lives matter.

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Portage TEA Party to deliver goodies to local police, fire departments

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 18, 2014

The Portage County TEA Party will be taking cookies, pies and cakes to local police and fire departments in the next week to thank them for their service.

Tom Zawistowski, the group's leader, said the effort is partially in reaction to the negativity that has been directed at police in the wake of recent use-of-force incidents in Ferguson and New York City.

"We all know that the vast majority of police and firefighters do an excellent job in protecting our families and our property," Zawistowski said in a news release. "We want them to know that they have our support and appreciation."

Zawistowski said the departments getting goodies include the Portage County Sheriff's Office and police in Brimfield, Mogadore, Mantua, Kent, Windham, Ravenna, Streetsboro, Garrettsville and Aurora.

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Akron native Randy Cole's career takes interesting turn, landing him as head of Ohio Turnpike

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 17, 2014

What an interesting turn Akron native Randy Cole's career has taken.

He began his political journey with a trio of loses in local and statewide elections and was named this week as to head the Ohio Turnpike, reported.

Cole ran unsucessfully for Summit County Council in 2004, Akron City Council in 2007 and the Ohio House in 2008. But, Gov. John Kasich saw something in Cole that voters didn't and brought him to Columbus to join his administration. Cole served as a policy adviser in the Office of Budget and Managment and as president of the Controlling Board, which holds the state's purse strings.

Cole distinguished himself in the past few years with his call for money savings through more collaboration among local governments and schools. It will be interesting to see how he will apply these insights at the turnpike and to watch for the next step in his rapidly ascending career.

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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to attend Summit GOP Christmas party

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 11, 2014

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will be the guest of honor at the Summit County Republican Party's annual Christmas party Tuesday at Portage Country Club, 240 N. Portage Path .

A cocktail reception and hors d'oeuvres will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m., followed by dinner. The event also will include a prize drawing, music and a visit from Santa.

Cost is $150 per person for the reception or $500 per person for the reception and dinner.

Tickets can be ordered online or by calling the county GOP headquarters at 330-434-9151.

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Akron receives award for water protection plan

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 9, 2014

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency gave Akron an award this week for the city's plan for protecting its water.

Barb Lubberger, an environmental supervisor in the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Source Water Protection division, presented the city with a certificate during Akron City Council's Public Utilities Committee meeting Monday for the city's "source water protection plan."

"They did such a good job," she told the committee of the city employees who put the plan together.

Lubberger said Akron's is the "premier" plan in the state. She said the plan outlines "strategies to protect the watershed upstream from the water intake."

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Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, other mayors pushing for national best police practices

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 8, 2014

Mayor Don Plusquellic and other mayors nationwide are calling for a national policy on best police practices, including training on use of force, body cameras and sensitivity training.

Plusquellic also is continuing to push for the FBI to step in immediately to investigate police-citizen shootings.

“There needs to be national guidelines, taken from policies that have been successful in cities across the nation,” Plusquellic said this afternoon in a news release.

The mayors discussed these hot-button policing issues during a recent conference call involving 40 mayors from across the country. 

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Former Congressman Ralph Regula turns 90

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 3, 2014

Happy birthday, Ralph.

Retired, long-time Congressman Ralph Regula is 90 today. Regula, a Republican from Navarre, served in Congress for 18 terms, retiring in 2009.

U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs wished Regula a happy birthday on the floor of Congress this morning, saying that he has known Regula for three decades and learned a great deal from him.

"Ralph loved serving here because he cared about people and helping improve their quality of life," Gibbs said. "In this House, he was a pragmatic leader willing to find solutions to tough problems."

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Elections board deputy director Paula Sauter to speak at women's luncheon

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 2, 2014

Paula Sauter, deputy director of the Summit County Board of Elections, will speak at the Federated Democratic Women of Summit County's annual Holiday Gala Luncheon Saturday.

Sauter said she will discuss "the importance of voting and encouraging women to participate in the political process."

The luncheon will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at St. George's Fellowship Centre, 32014 Ridgewood Road in Akron. Prizes will be awarded to the top three attendees wearing the best "spirit of Christmas" attire.

Tickets are $20 each. RSVP by calling 330-864-8280 by Wednesday.

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Sen. Sherrod Brown, 29 other senators urge delay of mail processing closings, including 1 in Akron

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: December 1, 2014

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and 29 other senators sent a letter Monday that urges a delay in the planned closures of 82 mail processing centers nationwide, including the one in Akron.

The letter followed a report by the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General that found the postal service failed to fulfill its obligation to study the impact of the closures and properly notify local customers. The closures are expected to begin in January.

"The postal service fulfills an important function in everyday life," Brown said in a news release. "It's vital that the USPS take adequate steps to review these consolidations and their affects on American customers."

Plans call for four mail distribution centers in Ohio to be closed, with the mail instead processed in the next-closest, large city. For Akron, that would be Cleveland.

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