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Akron union leader to bartend at benefit for new radio station

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: May 14, 2015

Akron union leader George Johnson will be the celebrity bartender for a benefit for a new Akron radio station that he is involved with starting.

Johnson, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1360, one of the city of Akron's four unions, admits that he has no bartending experience.

"I will be winging it," he said.

The benefit will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Delanie's Grille, 67 West Ave. in Tallmadge.

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Akronite talks about city leadership change

By Doug Livingston Published: May 12, 2015

Ted Thompson, president of the Coalition for a Safer Community, talks about better policing, hiring practices and other issues in light of a "regime change" after Mayor Don Plusquellic announced his early retirement.

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Akron Councilman Bob Hoch: mayor's resignation not cause of celebration

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: May 12, 2015

Akron Councilman Bob Hoch, who has been locked in a very public feud with Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, said people have been congratulating him since the mayor’s surprise resignation Friday.

But, Hoch told the Beacon Journal in an interview and video Monday that he doesn’t think Plusquellic’s decision to resign and retire after 28 years as mayor is reason to a reason to celebrate.

“It’s not something that I expected,” Hoch said. “It’s not something that I thought would happen. All of us at some point in time find a reason to stop or to retire or to find a different part of our lives. I’m hoping that is what he’s doing.”

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U.S. Senate candidate to be guest at Summit Young Dems event

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: May 12, 2015

Cincinnatti City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, will be the special guest for the Summit County Young Democrats' annual spring fundraiser

P.G. Sittenfeld was the first Democrat to enter the race against U.S. Sen. Rob Portman. Former Gov. Ted Strickland also is now in the race.

The event will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Uncorked Wine Bar, 22 N. High St. in Akron.

RSVP to For more information, visit or

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Ted Strickland to speak at labor awards banquet in Akron next month

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: May 6, 2015

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, now a U.S. Senate candidate, will be the keynote speaker at the Tri-County Regional Labor Council's 47th annual awards banquet next month.

The banquet recognizes people for community involvement and volunteerism. This year's recipients will be: Tom Seese, a retired president of UAW Local 856 and a former state representative, and Charlie Lemon, a retired president of Local 900 Boilermakers.

The event will be Thursday, June 11 at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn, 3180 W. Market St. in Akron. A cash bar opens at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and the ceremony at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $50 per person. For reservations or more information, call 330-253-2111. 

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Public can find out about, voice views on proposed rock-crushing facility in Akron

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: May 4, 2015

A rock crushing facility is proposed for West Waterloo Road in Akron and the public will have two chances to learn about and voice their views on the project this week.

Sherry Carson of S & S Carson Enterprises LLC, the company proposing the facility at 301-321 West. Waterloo Road, will hold a neighborhood informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the property. City officials will attend.

The Akron Planning Commission will have a hearing on the proposal at 9 a.m. Friday in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 166 S. High St. Residents will have the opportunity to speak during the meeting.

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Portage County Board of Elections moves polling place because of access issue

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: May 1, 2015

More than 2,500 voters in Portage County will have a new polling location in Tuesday's election after the elections board changed the location.

The board had an emergency meeting Friday because of problems with voter access at the Overlook, formerly Twin Lakes Country Club, 1519 Overlook Road in Kent. Faith Lyon, the board's director, said the reduced space available for voting didn't meet the state's polling location requirements.

The board chose Franklin Elementary School, 6662 Cleveland Canton Road in Kent, as the new polling location. This will impact voters from precincts Franklin A, Franklin B, Franklin C and Sugar Bush Knolls.

The board will send notices to the affected voters and will have staff at the Overlook to redirect voters.

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State lawmakers revive local-hiring-goals ban in stand-alone bill

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: April 29, 2015

An attempt by state lawmakers to prohibit Akron and other cities from local hiring goals for construction projects has been revived, this time as stand-alone legislation.

A local-hiring-goal ban was removed last month from the state transportation budget after a large contingent of Akron officials travelled to Columbus to testify against it.

Sen. Joseph Uecker, R-Miami Township, and Rep. Ron Maag, R-Lebanon, introduced companion bills Tuesday that solely target local hiring goals. Maag told Gongwer news service that the legislation would prevent cost increases from fewer contractors bidding on projects because of the inability to meet local hiring goals.

Reps. Greta Johnson and Emilia Sykes, both Democrats from Akron, are opposed to the bills and urged others to join in the fight against them.

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Akron hasn't yet decided where its 'open refreshment areas' would be; city could have 2 under bill

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: April 24, 2015

If a bill pending in the Ohio legislature passes, Akron could designate two areas that would be exempt from the state's open container law.

That means a person could drink a beer or a frozen drink walking down the street, just as is now permitted in New Orleans and other big cities.

Where would Akron's areas be? City Spokeswoman Stephanie York said this decision hasn't yet been made.

Those talks may need to happen soon, though, as the bill appears to be sailing through the legislative gauntlet.

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State budget provisions Akron objects to remain in state budget version approved by House

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: April 23, 2015

The two provisions in the state budget that Akron found objectionable remained in the version approved Wednesday by the Ohio House.

Akron City Council passed resolutions this week opposing budget provisions that would penalize cities like Akron that are operating traffic cameras while mounting legal challenges to a state law and ban project labor agreements from projects that receive state funding.

The vote was mostly along party lines in the GOP-controlled House. The two-year state budget now moves to the Ohio Senate, where Republicans also enjoy the majority.

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