AKRON: Authorities are investigating fires in two vacant Akron homes overnight as possible arson.
Firefighters responded to a fire on East Archwood Avenue about 2:45 a.m. Wednesday and another about 30 minutes later in the 1200 block of Cordova Avenue.
Both homes were recently vacated, according to Beacon Journal news partner WEWS.
Authorities did not release a cause for either fire.
Reissue for bonds
AKRON: The sequester has hit home for the city of Akron.
Akron City Council voted this week to sell two sets of bonds because of cuts the federal government made due to the sequester.
The bonds — one set for $8 million and another for $27 million — will replace bonds the city sold in 2010. Those were sold with help from the federal government on the interest.
With the sequester, the government reduced the assistance it was providing on paying the bonds by 8.7 percent. The city had language in its bond documents that permitted it to call and reissue the bonds if the level of federal subsidy was reduced, Treasurer Steve Fricker said.
Akron is expecting to save money with the new bonds because rates are lower than they were in 2010, Fricker said, although the city plans to wait to reissue the bonds until rates further improve.
The bonds were used for capital projects, including municipal facilities, recreation improvements and streets, Fricker said.
The city also plans to reissue $40 million in bonds sold in 2005 to lock in a better interest rate.
Fricker said the interest rate on the three sets of bonds ranged from 2 to 5 percent.
AKRON: An Akron man caused thousands of dollars in damage while stealing copper piping from the air-conditioning units of three South Main Street businesses, according to Akron police.
Donald Simmons, 50, was arrested Tuesday after admitting the thefts to Akron police Detective Pat McMillan, reports show.
Simmons is charged with three counts each of theft, vandalism and receiving stolen property.
Akron police say three businesses were targeted Saturday: American Analytical Lab, Akron Commercial Color Lab and Veracept Inc., all located in the 800 block of South Main Street. Outdoor air-conditioning units at each business were damaged and stripped of copper piping and components.
Police said one of the businesses sustained more than $10,000 in damage and repair costs.
Simmons was arrested with some of the stolen property and later “confessed to all three crimes,” McMillan wrote in his report.
AKRON: Gunfire erupted on Akron’s west side Tuesday afternoon when a man began firing shots from a vehicle, police said.
No one was injured.
One errant bullet whizzed inside a home in the 1200 block of Nome Avenue. It passed through the front door, in and out of a microwave oven and lodged in a wall.
An 18-year-old man who was walking on Nome Avenue about noon also narrowly missed being struck when the gunman opened fire from a silver box-shaped sedan about noon, police said. A Fleming Drive woman told police her Honda Element was damaged in the gunfire.
A car believed to be involved in the shooting later was recovered in the 700 block of Fleming Drive.
Police describe the shooting suspect as a black man in his 30s, weighing upward of 300 pounds. He was wearing a black shirt and long black shorts.
Anyone with information is asked to call 330-375-2490.
Shop owner robbed
The owner of an Akron barber shop was robbed at gunpoint shortly after opening Tuesday morning, police said.
The 43-year-old owner of All City Barbershop. 286 Pioneer St., told police he had just opened the store about 10 a.m., when a customer came inside and began a conversation.
The customer then drew a handgun and demanded money, police said. The barber surrendered $300 and his cellphone before the robber fled.
Police say the robber is a black male, about 6 feet tall and weighing about 170 pounds. He had a small goatee and was dressed in a hooded sweatshirt and dark pants.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Akron police at 330-375-2490.
Information also may be provided anonymously by calling Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-2677. Tipsters might qualify for a cash reward.
Trial date set
CLEVELAND: A man accused of kidnapping three women and holding them in his home and raping them over a decade was given a late summer trial date Wednesday.
Ariel Castro, 52, appeared in court for a brief hearing as Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo said he was aiming to begin the trial by Aug. 4, meeting a 90-day speedy trial requirement. Castro was arrested May 6, and the speedy trial requirement could be waived to allow more preparation time.
Castro faces another pretrial hearing Wednesday.
As in previous court appearances, Castro had his wrists and ankles shackled and kept his chin tucked in his chest. He answered “yes” and “no” to the judge’s questions about his understanding of the proceedings.
The judge mentioned the possibility of a plea deal raised last week by the defense and asked that any deal that emerges be submitted by attorneys in writing.
Prosecutor Tim McGinty left court without commenting.
— Associated Press
CUYAHOGA FALLS: Three juveniles were charged Tuesday with damaging or destroying grave markers in Oakwood Cemetery.
Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Tom Pozza said the boys, ages 15 to 17, were charged in Summit County Juvenile Court.
The 17-year-old faces three counts of felony vandalism; a 16-year-old will be charged with one count; and the 15-year-old with two counts of felony vandalism.
The older boy also is charged with receiving stolen property from a previous incident.
Pozza said the majority of the 60 headstones were toppled, not smashed or damaged, between March 30 and April 16.
“The detectives spoke with all three, who gave confessions,” Pozza said.
The suspects’ identifications were determined through tips and the police investigation, he said.
Office to open
CANTON: U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, is planning to open an office in the city.
Stark County commissioners on Wednesday approved a lease for a 431-square-foot office on the fourth floor of the County Office Building. The price is $5.86 per square foot per year. The lease runs until Jan. 2, 2015.
County Administrator Brant Luther said interviews are taking place to select the office staffer. Office hours have not been set.
In other action, commissioners hired Canton Township Trustee Christopher Nichols, 43, as director of management and budget at a starting salary of $68,000. His pay is to increase to $70,000 upon successful completion of a 120-day probationary period.
He currently works as director of facility costs for First Communications.
Cat adoption event
AKRON: More than 200 cats and kittens will be available from area rescue groups during a 33-hour adoption event this weekend.
Paws and Prayers animal rescue is sponsoring the event with reduced prices on their adoptable felines from 9 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday. at Chapel Hill PetsMart, 305 Howe Ave.
Summit County Animal Control and One of a Kind pet rescue also will be providing adoptable cats and kittens.
During the marathon, fully vetted, spayed/neutered cats over 6 months old can be adopted for $25. Fully vetted kittens under 6 months are available for $50.
PetsMart is providing $250 in coupons for new pet owners and a free bag of food.
CUYAHOGA FALLS: A comedy benefit for the Oklahoma storm recovery effort will be held at 8:30 p.m. today at the Funny Stop Comedy Club, 1757 State Road.
From the Heart to the Heartland will be hosted by WKDD’s Keith Kennedy and will feature Carol Pennington, Jeff Blanchard and Mike Conley. Also performing will be Kirk Bogos and Michael Gershe.
All cash donations will go directly to the Moore (Okla.) Fire Department.
For reservations, call 330-923-4700.