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Fake FTC investigation email and other scams making rounds

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 29, 2016

That email you may have saying you're under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission? It's fake.

The FTC has released a blog posting today to warn people about the fake email.

Similarly, the IRS and other authorities don't call you to tell you that you're under investigation or an arrest is imminent. Hang up.

Here's a link to the FTC blog post:

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Local Salvation Army offices accepting applications for energy assistance

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 29, 2016

Local Ohio Salvation Army offices are now accepting applications for Dominion East Ohio’s EnergyShare program, which helps families who have exhausted all other forms of winter energy assistance. EnergyShare is entering its 16th year in Ohio.

To qualify for a one-time EnergyShare assistance payment, a person must live in the Dominion service area, be a Dominion customer and must have:

Dominion works with local Salvation Army offices to help eligible participants. Every dollar contributed to this fund goes to pay recipients’ Dominion East Ohio heating bills. The program runs from the beginning of December through May 31, 2017.

EnergyShare ( is supported by donations from Dominion customers, employees and EnergyShare partners.  Dominion covers the program's administrative costs, allowing all donations to go toward paying heating bills. Local Salvation Army offices in the Dominion service area accept applications for EnergyShare assistance and administer distribution of the funds. In the past decade, EnergyShare has helped more than 74,400 area people, including more than 1,700 families last year.

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Leadership Akron Class 33 seeking nonprofits helping youth in crisis for grants

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 19, 2016

Nonprofit agencies and organizations which support efforts to positively impact juveniles and youth in crisis in Summit County are being sought for grants totaling up to $10,000.

 The one to two grants will be awarded by the Leadership Akron Class 33 through support of the United Way.

Letters of interest are due by Jan. 20 and should be addressed to Leadership Akron Class 33 Philanthropy Project, 54 East Mill Street, Suite 201, Akron, Ohio 44308-1192 or, preferably, by emailing a PDF document to


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Akron's Apple Growth Partners merging with Beachwood's KPFF

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 19, 2016

Akron-based Apple Growth Partners, an accounting and business advisory firm, is merging with Beachwood-based KPFF, effective Jan. 1.

Once merged, the firm will operate under Apple Growth' Partner's name and will employ 90 with offices in Akron, Cleveland and Beachwood and 14 million in revenue.

Here is the press release issued by the company:

Apple Growth Partners (AGP) and KPFF are pleased to announce their merger effective Jan. 1, 2017. Founded by entrepreneurs, both Apple Growth Partners and KPFF place a high value on helping businesses and their owners achieve healthy growth.

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Stephanie York to be featured speaker for Jan. Chamber "Morning Buzz"

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 15, 2016

Stephanie York, former City of Akron spokesperson and now vice president at Hennes Communication, will be the featured speaker at a Greater Akron Chamber breakfast event next month.

The Morning Buzz is a monthly speaker breakfast series, which aims to connect small- and medium-sized businesses by facilitating the exchange of ideas and strategies for business growth and success.  

York will present Crisis Management and Communications: How to Plan & Prepare for the Unthinkable” on Jan. 13.

The event will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Akron, 1307 E. Market St. in Akron. Business connections, registration and breakfast begin at 7:30 a.m., and the program will be held from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m.  The cost is $25 for members, $50 for non-members and includes a breakfast buffet.  To make a reservation, call the Greater Akron Chamber at 330- 376-5550 or register on-line at RSVPs must be made by noon on Jan. 11.

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Toy veteran Tom Murdough is featured speaker for Hudson series next month

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 15, 2016

Tom Murdough, founder of Little Tikes, Step2 and his newest toy and home garden company, Simplay3, will speak in Hudson next month.

Murdough will be part of the Hudson Library & Historical Society's Winter/Spring 2017 Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurship Series on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m.

Murdough will join journalist Kabir Bhatia for a conversation about the evolution of Murdough’s long and successful career.

The Entrepreneurship Series is sponsored by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation.  Register for this free program online at or call 330.653.6658 x1010. The library is at 96 Library Lane near Hudson's First and Main retail area.

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Application window open for two PUCO vacancies, including Lynn Slaby's term

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 12, 2016

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is seeking applications for two commissioner vacancies, including one currently held by a former Copley Township politician.

The two vacancies include one for the remaining three years of a term, which will end on April 10, 2020, and the other is for a five-year term beginning April 11 of next year currently held by Commissioner Lynn Slaby.

It is unknown if Slaby, a former Summit County prosecutor, 9th District Court of Appeals judge and state representative, will be applying for re-appointment. Messages were left with Slaby at his home in Copley Township and at his PUCO office in Columbus. PUCO spokesman Matt Schilling said Slaby has not indicated if he will be re-applying.

Slaby was first appointed to a five-year term in 2012..  

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National Interstate Insurance Company announces some senior personnel changes

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 12, 2016

National Interstate Insurance Company of Richfield has announced some senior personnel changes.

George Skuggen has been promoted to senior vice president and Steve Blankenship has been hired as vice president, passenger transportation.   

In his new role, Skuggen will oversee National Interstate’s Truck and Environmental, National Accounts and Passenger Transportation products. He previously served as National Interstate’s vice president of truck and environmental. Prior to joining National Interstate, he held key leadership positions at several insurance companies including Westfield, CNA and Progressive.

Skuggen earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Miami University. In addition, he holds a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.

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Mass layoffs of more than 400 expected as Alliance Castings temporarily idles plant

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 7, 2016

Alliance Castings Co. is temporarily idling its plant after the new year, which will result in the mass layoff of more than 400 workers.

Alliance Castings at 1001 E. Broadway is on the 26-acre site of the former American Steel Foundries that closed in 2002. 

In a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) filing with the state, the company said the idling of the plant and mass layoff were both "due to the major downturn in rail car manufacturing and the resultant lower demand for the plant’s products."

The layoff is anticipated between Jan. 31, 2017, and Feb. 14, 2017, the company said.

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Bridgestone signs 2-year deal to keep building race tires in Akron

By Jim Mackinnon Published: December 6, 2016

Bridgestone Americas will keep building Firestone-brand race tires in Akron for another two years.

The Nashville-based tire maker and city on Wednesday announced a two-year lease extension on what Bridgestone calls its Advanced Technology Workshop in the former

Firestone Plant One off South Main Street in Akron.

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13 former FirstMerit Bank branches in Stark, Ashtabula now First Commonwealth

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 5, 2016

About 40,000 former FirstMerit Bank customers in Stark and Ashtabula counties are now customers of First Commonwealth Financial Corporation or its First Commonwealth Bank.

In order to gain federal approval for Huntington Bank's acquisition earlier this year of FirstMerit, the bank was required to divest or sell 13 of its branches.

  First Commonwealth Financial Corp., headquartered in Indiana, Pa., bought the branches, saying it fit into their model for growth in the state.

The transfer of the branches, its customers and 80 employees was completed on Monday.

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Dominion's December SCO to go up slightly; still low

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 2, 2016

 The monthly natural gas price for residential customers who are on the Standard Choice Offer is going up slightly for the month of December, but is still lower than the average winter price in previous years.

Effective Dec. 14, the SCO will be $3.18 per thousand cubic feet (mcf). Though higher than the previous December rate of $2.23/mcf, the December 2016 rate is still lower than the $4.45/mcf December average for the years 2011 to 2014, said Jeff Murphy, Dominion East Ohio vice president and general manager.

Abundant regional shale natural gas supplies will help Dominion East Ohio customers face an expected return to colder temperatures this upcoming winter, at prices projected to be lower than the average of the past five heating seasons, officials say.

Murphy said a review of current New York Mercantile prices, for January through March 2017,  indicates that average monthly natural gas prices would be in the “low to mid-three dollar range per thousand cubic feet (mcf).”

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Stow's Wrayco Industries closing in 60 days

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 2, 2016

Stow's Wrayco Industries, a manufacturer that specializes in leakproof vessels for heavy construction equipment such as fuel and hydraulic tanks, has notified its employees that it is shutting down in 60 days.

About 79 employees will be affected by the closure.

Read more here.

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PUCO's Petricoff resigns after appointment rejected by Senate committee

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: December 2, 2016

A day after an Ohio Senate panel rejected the appointment of a Public Utiltilies Commission of Ohio commissioner, that commissioner tendered his resignation.

On Friday, PUCO commissioner Howard Petricoff submitted his resignation, effective Dec. 31. He had been appointed in the summer and was awaiting confirmation from the Senate committee.

   But in an unusual move, the Senate Public Utilities Committee on Thursday voted to reject Petricoff's appointment.

   One senator said Petricoff, a veteran attorney on utility cases, had represented so many energy companies that he needed to recuse himself from many cases.

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