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State Sen. Tom Sawyer to decide by Monday if he will remain in Akron mayor's race

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: June 26, 2015

State Sen. Tom Sawyer plans to decide by Monday if he will remain in the Akron mayor's race.

Monday is the deadline for candidates to withdraw and not have their names appear on the Sept. 8 primary ballot. Candidates may withdraw after then, but notices must be posted at polling places informing voters that any votes cast for them won't be counted.

Sawyer, who has been involved in politics for 40 years at the local, state and national levels, said when he filed to run for mayor that he wasn't sure he would remain in the race. He said he wanted to "be part of the conversation."

"I've heard from a substantial number of people who were glad to see me in the race," said Sawyer, one of four prominent Democrats running for mayor. "I'm sure the other candidates heard the same thing."

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Akron council committee delays recommendation on new at-large member

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: June 26, 2015

An Akron City Council committee tasked with recommending a new at-large council member plans to mull the decision this weekend.

The committee interviewed 17 applicants Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

"It was difficult to make a recommendation," said Councilwoman Margo Sommerville, who is chairing the selection committee. "We wanted to take time to review the top candidates."

The committee will meet at 1 p.m. Monday, before council's other committees start at 1:30 p.m., and make a recommendation, Sommerville said.

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Akron's Democratic mayoral candidates to debate

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: June 25, 2015

The four Democratic candidates for Akron mayor will face off in an Akron Press Club debate.

The debate will be Aug. 19, about three weeks before the Sept. 8 primary.

The candidates are: Summit County Councilman Frank Comunale, Summit County Clerk of Courts Dan Horrigan, state Sen. Tom Sawyer and Akron Councilman Mike Williams.

The luncheon before the debate will begin at 11:30 a.m., with the program immediately following at Quaker Station, 135 S. Broadway.

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Marijuana issue a step closer to making Ohio ballot

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: June 25, 2015

An effort to put an issue on the Ohio ballot to lift restrictions on marijuana use is a step closer.

The Ohio Ballot Board certified a ballot issue sponsored by Ohioans to End Prohibition as a single issue Thursday.

The group now must collect 305,591 signatures, equal to 10 percent of the votes cast for governor in 2014, to get the issue on the ballot. This must include signatures from 44 of Ohio's 88 counties, according to a press release from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

Husted chairs the Ohio Ballot Board. Other members are: state Sen. Bill Coley; William Morgan; former state Sen. Nina Turner; and state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent.

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State Rep. Emilia Sykes to speak at Bondage Breakers' prayer breakfast

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: June 11, 2015

State Rep. Emilia Sykes will speak at the Bondage Breakers' 14th-annual David S. Mosley Prayer Breakfast on Saturday, June 20.

Sykes, R-Akron, was elected last year to represent the 34th district, taking over for her father, Vernon Sykes, who was prohibited from running again because of term limits.

The event will be from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Alpha Phi Alpha events center, 662 Wolf Ledges Parkway.

Tickets are $14. Advance tickets can be purchased by calling Alicia Malone, founder and executive director of Bondage Breakers, at 330-701-0576 or board member Renee Greene at 330-861-2932. A limited number of tickets will be sold at the door.

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Purpose of special Akron council meeting expanded

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: June 10, 2015

The purpose of a special Akron City Council meeting on Thursday has been expanded to include other topics besides the election of officers.

An agenda, just distributed to the media, includes four topics:

1. Officers of council -- removal and/or election.

2. Committee assignments.

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Akron starts new program to award small grants to neighborhood groups

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: June 9, 2015

Akron has a new program that will award small grants to neighborhood groups.

Akron City Council voted this week to create the program, which will provide each of Akron's 10 wards with $5,000 each and will award grants of between $250 and $1,000.

Councilman Russel Neal Jr., who proposed the legislation that was put on hold for a week, was satisfied with an amendment that says ward council members may provide input into who should get the grants in their ward. The final decision will rest with the My Neighborhood Our Akron Executive Committee, which is the committee that oversees the city's cleanup and beautification program.

Council President Jeff Fusco, who will be sworn in as mayor Wednesday, said he's glad council members were able to work together and unanimously agree on this legislation.

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Three apply for Ward 10 council seat; council will elect new member Monday

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: June 9, 2015

Three people have applied for the Ward 10 vacancy on Akron City Council.

They are: Wayne Darlington, a sole proprietor who has worked with small businesses and is active with the Summit County Republican Party; Eric Garrett, who owns Beyond Expectations Barber College; and Jack Hefner, president of the United Steelworkers Local 2.

A special committee will interview the candidates in the next week and make a recommendation to the full council on Monday, when council will elect the new member. The person chosen will serve the remainder of Garry Moneypenny's council term through the end of the year.

Garrett decided to run after council denied his request for funding to assist his barber college.

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Dave Lieberth to discuss Firestone Park's centennial

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: June 8, 2015

Dave Lieberth, a former Akron deputy mayor and the city's unofficial historian, will discuss the history of Firestone Park in an event that will kick off the neighborhood's upcoming centennial.

Lieberth will present "The Building of Firestone Park" at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Firestone Park Community Center, 1480 Girard St. Lieberth will use images from the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. and the Summit County Historical Society. He is chairman of the historical society's board of directors.

The event is open to the public. Firestone Park's centennial will be celebrated June 27.

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VIDEO: Akron councilman, mayoral candidate Mike Williams responds to Garry Moneypenny announcement

By Kathy Antoniotti Published: June 5, 2015

Akron councilman and mayoral candidate Mike Williams talks about the Garry Moneypenny situation in the kitchen of his home Friday.

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Akron City Council goes green

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: June 2, 2015

Akron City Council is going green.

Council has started a new Green Committee that will be examining environmental issues. The committee, which has been discussed for several months, was set up Monday as part of a reshuffling of committee assignments required after Councilman Jeff Fusco was elected as the new president.

"Everything we do can be looked at," Fusco said of the new committee.

The committee will be chaired by Rich Swirsky, the Ward 1 councilman who has many residents interested in environmental issues and who has been vocal on this topic. The other members are: Marilyn Keith, Donnie Kammer, Russel Neal Jr. and Margo Sommerville.

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Ceremony to mark road renaming in honor of fallen Akron Officer Justin Winebrenner Thursday

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: June 2, 2015

A ceremony to mark the renaming of part of U.S. Route 224 in honor of fallen Akron Officer Justin Winebrenner will be held Thursday.

Winebrenner's family and friends and local and state elected officials have been invited to attend.

The event will be at 6 p.m. in Akron City Council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 166 S. High St. It is open to the public.

Winebrenner, 32, was shot and killed on Nov. 26, 2014 during a struggle with Kenan Dason Ivery. He was off duty and unarmed.

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