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Local news briefs —July 11


Federal sentence

AKRON: A federal judge called an Akron man an “economic predator” before sentencing him this week to 10 years in prison for running massive mortgage fraud schemes in Ohio and Florida.

Jack R. Coppenger, 50, had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy.

He was sentenced by Judge John Adams, who has yet to determine the amount of restitution Coppenger must pay.

The government has asked for $35 million.

“This defendant led a ring whose crimes covered two states and resulted in losses of tens of millions of dollars,” U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said in a prepared statement. “Mortgage fraud crimes devastate entire neighborhoods and communities.”

More than 40 people have been found guilty of crimes related to the schemes.

The charges against Coppenger involved straw buyers mainly from the Akron, Hartville and Mentor areas, false bank statements, inflated property values and concealing 2006 revenue from the IRS, authorities said.

Money for sign

AKRON: The city of Akron is getting $3,368 from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for signs in the Cuyahoga River watershed in Portage and Geauga counties.

The 40 signs will be posted at 20 locations where the Cuyahoga River and its tributaries pass under roads in an effort to increase public awareness.

After the signs are installed, Akron Water Supply will distribute a brochure to local residents with more information on the watershed and ways to protect it.

Akron gets its drinking water from the Cuyahoga watershed with three reservoirs.

Shooting reported

AKRON: Police are investing a shooting in the 500 block of Rhodes Avenue.

A caller told a dispatcher shortly after 4 p.m. that her boyfriend had been shot in the head.

Police spokesman Rick Edwards said the victim suffered what appears to be a nonlife-threatening injury.

No other details were immediately released

Event rescheduled

AKRON: Lock 4 didn’t open as planned Wednesday evening because of inclement weather.

The entertainment acts, including Wanda Hunt, are postponed until Sept. 11.

For a full schedule of Lock 4 events, visit

Budget protest

AKRON: Summit County Democratic Party activists held a new conference Wednesday to call attention to changes in the recently passed state budget that negatively impact Planned Parenthood.

The press conference was held outside of the Planned Parenthood office on West Exchange Street.

Summit County Councilwoman Sandra Kurt, Akron Councilwoman Margo Sommerville and Barbara Lewis, an Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus activist, took part in the press conference, which was organized by the Ohio Democratic Party.

Kiwanis meeting

AKRON: Paula Davis, president and CEO of Keep Akron Beautiful, will speak at the monthly Kiwanis luncheon meeting today.

The lunch will be at Portage Country Club, 240 N. Portage Path. Doors open at 11:45 a.m., with lunch following at noon.

Cost is $15, which includes a buffet lunch.

Davis has headed up Keep Akron Beautiful, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve Akron’s quality of life through beautification and responsible environmental management, since 1989. She has raised over $500,000 annually through grants for the agency, which receives funds from the city and private agencies.


Military train rides

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is offering free train trips to current and retired military personnel and their families.

The rides are available at designated times every Thursday through the end of October. Military personnel must provide proper identification.

The free rides are available at the 2:35 p.m. departures from Akron’s Northside Station or the 4:25 p.m. departures from Rockside Station in Independence.

The offer is good for military personnel and up to three guests. Tickets may be obtained at the train stations up to 60 minutes prior to departures. Advance reservations are not needed.

For more information, call 800-468-4070 or go to

Concert postponed

Wednesday’s concert by Boy = Girl in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park was postponed due to soggy conditions at Howe Meadow in Cuyahoga Falls.

The show will be at 6:15 p.m. Aug. 14, the National Park Service said.


Cemetery walk

GRANGER TWP.: The Granger Historical Society will hold a cemetery walk Sept. 21 at Coddingville Cemetery. Enactors will deliver first-person stories of some of the people buried there.

The rain date is Sept. 22.

President Bob Hummel said the historical society has a new website:

The society is paying to replace nine windows in the museum this year. Last year, it replaced windows in the library building. The organization has spent $7,703 on windows in the two years.


Financing approved

GREEN: City Council approved tax increment financing this week for the Residence Inn under construction on Arlington Ridge East along with special financing for 29 other projects.

The agreement exempts a percentage of the value of the improvements for the Residence Inn from real property taxes for 30 years while providing Green schools with the portion of the taxes they normally would receive without the TIF agreement.

The $4.2 million Residence Inn includes 68,339 square feet of construction for the extended-service hotel. Occupancy is anticipated by February.

Similar action is expected at the council’s next meeting, Aug. 13, for the 13,422-square-foot, $3 million Infiniti car dealership on South Arlington Road. The business is expected to open in October.

The council continued TIF agreements with 25 businesses, as well as an enterprise zone agreement with one firm and community reinvestment area agreement with three other businesses as recommended by the Tax Incentive Review Council.


Senior adviser hired

MORELAND HILLS: The Western Reserve Land Conservancy is expanding its urban mission in Northeast Ohio by adding Frank Ford to its Thriving Communities Institute.

Ford was previously chairman of the Cleveland-based Vacant and Abandoned Property Action Council, a group working on reclamation and redevelopment of vacant properties in Cuyahoga County.

He will join the conservancy staff Aug. 1 as a senior policy adviser and will continue to oversee the council’s activities. He will report to Jim Rokakis, director of the institute.

The conservancy launched the institute in March 2011 in response to the foreclosure crisis. It has preserved more than 480 parcels and 35,000 acres in Northeast Ohio.


Dispatch agreement

PLAIN TWP.: Township trustees have contracted with the Stark County Sheriff’s Office to take over fire/EMS dispatching calls for Plain, effective Aug. 1.

After discussion with Sheriff George Maier, trustees signed a three-year contract at their meeting Tuesday evening.

The township will pay the sheriff’s office $35 per fire or emergency call, increasing the rate to $35.70 per call in 2015.

Trustees awarded contracts to build restroom facilities at Schneider Park.

St. Clair/Pavlis Group will be the general contractor at a cost of $124,400; Hilscher-Clarke was awarded the electrical contract at $33,350; and Feinman Mechanical was awarded the plumbing contract at $31,000.

A state grant and donations will pay for the restrooms, which should be ready for use by this fall.


Principal needed

BATH TWP.: The Revere Board of Education has added the search for a middle school principal to its to-do list.

Principal Joe Niemantsverdriet resigned from his post this week to become a principal in the Lakewood school district, which is closer to his home.

Assistant Superintendent Kathy Bearer commended Niemantsverdriet for his 12 years at Revere in multiple administrative roles during the board meeting Tuesday night.

The news of Niemantsverdriet’s departure came after the board already had begun the search for a replacement for Assistant Principal Andy Peltz.

Peltz, who filled the post at Revere Middle School last year, also turned in his resignation recently. He will become principal at Troy Intermediate School in Avon Lake and also is leaving Revere to be closer to his home.

Both positions have been posted. The administration is confident new personnel will be in place before the start of school Aug. 21.


Plaza renovations

CANTON: Stark County commissioners have awarded a contract for repairs intended to eliminate seepage in the garage of the county courthouse.

Suburban Maintenance & Construction, Inc., of North Royalton, submitted the winning bid of $489,000.

Work is to include sealing the foundation around the garage, which sits under a plaza. Drainage is to be improved around the structure. Uneven bricks on the plaza are to be leveled.


Utility aid begins

AKRON: The Summer Crisis Program, which aids income-eligible residents has begun.

Through Aug. 31, Akron Summit Community Action, Inc., and Ohio Development Services Agency will help income-eligible residents purchase an air conditioner or fan, and/or assist in the payment of an electric bill.

Akron Summit Community Action has operated the Summer Crisis Program for the past 10 years. In 2012, it helped 5,574 households with assistance in the amount of $904,902.

The program assists low-income households with an older member (60 years or over), or households that can provide physician documentation that cooling assistance is needed for a household member’s health.

Eligible households can receive up to $175 for cooling equipment or bill payment.

The gross income of eligible households must be at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. For a family of four that figure is $41,212.

Eligible Summit County residents can call the toll-free appointment line at 866-504-7400. Appointments will be scheduled Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Prairie public event

HIRAM TWP.: Ohio Prairie Nursery will hold a public open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 11961 Alpha Road.

There will be guided tours of the prairies and native plant and seed sales.

For more information, call 330-569-3380.


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