Ohio.com staff

The Kent Police Department is looking for Kent residents who are interested in attending a citizen’s police academy beginning Feb. 7, according to the Record Courier.

This is the third police academy the department has instituted.  At the academy, attendees will learn how to prevent crime, the difference between what is on television and what happens in real life and how to do a proper criminal investigation.

The purpose of this program is to educate residents about the police department.  Also, it gives residents interested in becoming a police officer a better understanding of what it takes to be a police officer.

For more information and to see the qualifications for the police academy, check out recordpub.com.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Kent Police Department’s administrative offices at (330) 673-3221.  To apply and find out more information about the academy, check out the department’s website.

CLEVELAND: The city of Cleveland is losing population, and as a result its city council is going to shrink.

The Plain Dealer reported Monday that the 19-member city council will lose two more seats in 2013 when the panel redraws the wards.

Since council maps were last drawn in 2009, Cleveland’s population has shrunk by more than 30,000 people to about 396,000, according to U.S. census figures. Most of that population loss occurred in the city’s northeast quadrant.

But council members say that the east side, home to several of the city’s predominantly black neighborhoods, will lose only one ward in the redistricting. That will preserve council representation for the black community.

The council, which redraws the lines every decade following the census, must do so by April 1 or cede the authority to Mayor Frank Jackson, who served on the council before his election as mayor.

Cleveland had 33 council members until 1981, when the charter was amended by a popular vote, shrinking the council to 21 wards, each with roughly equal population.

In 2008, voters approved another charter change requiring that the number of council seats correlate to population. Ward boundaries were redrawn the following year.

CLEVELAND: A new $4.5 million rail loop linking the Port of Cleveland with main lines nearby is expected to enable faster, more efficient movement of heavy cargo at the site.

The rail loop is considered a key new capability for the first major U.S. port that ocean freighters reach while sailing from the St. Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes, The Plain Dealer reported. Railroad cars generally can carry more cargo and take it further than the trucks that typically move smaller loads to local destinations, such as northeast Ohio factories.

The rail link broadens the reach of the port, which is trying to sell shippers on the idea that they can drop off cargo in Cleveland to be transported into the Midwest or beyond by rail instead of sailing further into the Great Lakes, said David Gutheil, the port’s vice president of maritime logistics.

“When you go to any port in the country, they have much better rail connectivity,” Gutheil told the newspaper. “We have now caught up.”

More than a mile of track now runs through the 80-acre port complex to connect existing rail lines with main lines running through Cleveland, providing greater access between the port and two prominent railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern.

“It’s a natural fit,” he said. “Maritime is the most efficient form of transportation. And then to be able to transfer it to the second most efficient form of transportation, rail, benefits us and benefits our customers.”

The improvement project was finished this fall with the help of a $3 million forgivable state loan, the newspaper reported.

About 160 rail cars will be loaded with three ship loads of steel in the coming weeks in a large train staging. Port officials hope that becomes a more common sight.

Because the Seaway closes for the season this weekend, they likely won’t know until next year whether the addition of the rail loop will attract much new business.

BARRIE BARBER
Dayton Daily News

DAYTON: A corps of canines roams the hallways of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center, a prescription of sorts for what ails patients — and staff.

Pet therapy dogs, from the Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association, have brought bedside comfort to patients and to passers-by who snap pictures with smart phone cameras and reach to pet the animals as they scurry down hallways with a human entourage in tow.

At last count, with 20 dogs in the ranks, the program is considered the largest of its kind in the Air Force, officials said.

Dan Druzbacky, Wright-Patterson Medical Center director of staff, found himself a patient in his own hospital suffering from hip problems. Laying in a hospital bed, he petted Lacey, a blond-colored, mixed-breed dog eager to give attention.

Druzbacky needed relief after all the poking, prodding, pushing and pain of medical tests.

“It’s not only the patients that need therapy, it’s the staff as well,” he said. “(The dogs) are a great stress relief.

“They’re so calming,” he said. “They don’t expect much from you at all.”

Studies show pet therapy lowers blood pressure, improves cardiovascular health, lessens depression, encourages relaxation and decreases isolation and alienation, among other benefits.

“Pet therapy is a proven thing,” said Gerry Coen, Lacey’s owner.

The dogs have free range throughout most of the medical center, visiting cancer to kidney dialysis patients.

“It just offers a stress relief, a sense of serenity and calmness,” said Col. Pennie G. Pavlisin, commander of the 88th Inpatient Operations Squadron. “It’s come to the point where many of our officers have dog treats next to the candy bowl.”

The dogs trotted in on a temporary basis two years ago for a tryout period, officials said.

After three months, hospital staff bought into the visits.

The Miami Valley Pet Therapy Program trains the dogs in a 10-week, 20-hour course. The animals must receive recertification every six months, Coen said.

Last month, only 15 of 24 dogs passed the course.

The comfort-spreading pack has roamed all over the base: from welcoming home returning troops back from overseas assignments to a recent visit to the 88th Air Base Wing headquarters, she said. The canines visit area hospitals, nursing homes, schools and libraries and in some places cats and rabbits are part of the animal entourage.

Ohio.com staff

The East Streetsboro Street westbound lane between East Main Street and College Street will be closed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Monday through Thursday, according to the city of Hudson’s website.

The city is performing an emergency storm sewer repair. Traffic will be maintained, but drivers should expect delays and allow for extra travel time.

No repair work will be done on Tuesday, but work will resume on Wednesday and Thursday if necessary.

Ohio news from the Marcellus Drilling News:

1. Halcon Resources has started work on drilling the first horizontal well in Trumbull County.

The rig is in Hartford Township.

Last October, the company purchased 15,000 acres from Carrizo oil and Gas.

2. The Little Beaver Creek Foundation in Columbiana County is merging with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

3. Akron’s FirstEnergy Corp. has sold 40 acres at Toronto on the Ohio River in Jefferson County.

The buyer is a Texas company, Plains Marketing LP of Houston. It paid $2.5 million and intends to develop a natural gas liquid barge shipping terminal.

The liquids would be shipped to processing facilities on the Gulf Coast.

4. Ohio Gathering Co. is working on a new natural gas-collection pipeline in western Belmont County.

The plans by the company that is based in Cadiz also include a new compressor station.

Ron Harris

It’s hard to make headlines with a portable music player these days. It’s old hat by now to carry around thousands of songs in your hip pocket, whether on an iPod or a smartphone.

But there’s been a price for portability. You are listening to your favorite music delivered only after a host of technology has diminished the resolution of the audio, by necessity, so that it can exist in a small digital file and make its way to your ears. It sounds fine, but the makers of a new portable music player are betting there are still some people out there who want even better quality.

Astell & Kern’s new portable music player, the AK100, delivers. About half the size of a pack of cigarettes, the AK100 boasts the ability to play music files with more than six times the information on your standard CD, and several times beyond that of a popular but lowly MP3 file. At $699, it’s also nearly five times the price of an iPod Nano.

The AK100’s magic rests primarily in its Wolfsen 24-bit DAC, or digital-to-analog-converter, which is a small piece of technology that converts the binary code of a digital music file into an analog signal your ears can hear. It just does it better than anything else in your briefcase or pocket.

MP3 files and a related format called AAC are the most common in digital music players such as the iPod. But converting your CDs to these formats or buying your music through iTunes results in a library of music with moderate sound quality. The sound is good, but music would sound better if it weren’t so digitally compressed after it’s mastered in the studio. These formats are often described as “lossy,” because you lose some data in the compression process.

By contrast, the higher-quality, FLAC format used in the AK100 is “lossless,” meaning no shortcuts are taken for the sake of file size. Files of this type can’t be purchased over the counter or ripped from your existing CDs. The high-definition albums have been mastered to perfection and are sold online through retailers such as HDtracks.com.

For perspective, CDs contain only 16-bit resolution after the re-mastering process, and MP3 files are several rungs down the quality ladder. Why is that so-called bit-depth important? Because it helps determine how much actual information is contained in the recording. There is a lot more data to define the sound in a 24-bit mastered audio file than a 16-bit standard CD file.

And given the right speakers or headphones, you’ll hear that difference.

The AK100 sounds better than anything I’ve ever listened to while walking around in public. I tried the AK100 with a variety of stylish headphones in the $100 to $400 range.

The same songs played on several other digital devices failed to deliver anywhere near the same audio experience, even when using the same headphones. The AK100 delivers the type of quality for custom listening rooms.

Ohio overcharged about 270,000 businesses for workers’ compensation premiums and must repay them, a Cleveland judge said.

It’s a ruling could that cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation plans to appeal the Friday decision.

A group of mostly small businesses sued Ohio in 2007 for $1.3 billion, saying that they paid too much for their workers’ compensation premiums between 2001 and 2008.

Cuyahoga County Judge Richard McMonagle agreed but has asked the group to lower their monetary request because they are not owed interest on the premiums.

“It will be something less than a billion dollars, but still a substantial amount of money,” said Jim DeRoche, plaintiff’s attorney.

Waverly: The man who has completed several refurbishment projects in Akron has a new project in a southern Ohio county with the state’s highest unemployment rate.

New owners of the site of a closed cabinetry factory are planning on bringing new businesses and jobs to Pike County.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that county officials are enthused about the new uses for a 57-acre plant that closed nearly two years ago and took some 1,200 jobs. At its peak, it had employed 3,000 people.

Pike’s unemployment rate in November was 11.9 percent.

Two real estate development partners with experience in finding new uses for such sites bought the former Mill’s Pride plant this month for $5 million from Masco Corp.

The partners are Christopher Semarjian, who runs Industrial Commerce Ltd., near Cleveland, and Stuart Lichter, who heads Industrial Realty Group, near Los Angeles. They were joined in this project by Everett Hannah, owner of Gilco International Lumber in Varney, W.Va.

The company exports lumber to furniture and flooring manufacturers, and there are plans to start up a lumber operation at the Waverly plant in about six weeks. It initially would employ up to 28 workers. Gilco also is in talks with a Chinese furniture maker about using the Waverly plant.

Lichter said that he couldn’t predict how many companies would lease or buy space at the large industrial property or how many jobs could be coming.

But he pointed to the former Hoover Co. campus in North Canton that he and Semarjian bought in 2008. They have brought in a half-dozen companies that include makers of heaters, vacuums and electrical equipment, a drug company and office tenants. He said the space is about 50 percent occupied, and they also hope to renovate some older buildings for loft apartments.

The longtime partners also have bought other industrial properties around Ohio, including the Ford Motor Co. van assembly plant in Lorain, and the Lockheed Martin Corp. complex and the Goodyear corporate campus, both in Akron. Lichter also refurbished Canal Place, the former B.F. Goodrich campus in Akron, in 1988.

The cabinetry plant had long been the largest employer in the Appalachian county of some 28,600 people that has been reeling since the factory closed in early 2011. Workers made ready-to-assemble products sold at home-improvement retailers.

Waverly Mayor Greg Kempton was a manager there for nearly 20 years, and is hopeful about plans to bring in a mixture of businesses.

“If they fill it, we will have diversification there,” Kempton said. “It should be more steady, more evened-out, as far as employment.”

The plant’s closure was “devastating” to Waverly’s tax base, Kempton said. That meant fewer services in the community, with an annual operating budget of $2 million, he said.

How important are airports to economic performance? Ask Cincinnati, the city suffering a blow when Delta dramatically diminished its presence, curbing access to markets for business travelers. Thus, the good news in the Akron-Canton Airport continuing its record-breaking ways, the airport reporting last week that by the end of November, more passengers than ever had passed through its gates.

Driving the achievement this year has been the arrival of Southwest Airlines, following its purchase of AirTran, long the airport’s busiest carrier. New destinations have opened, Akron-Canton complementing Cleveland Hopkins to the north, more than anything else, Northeast Ohio needing both to stay well connected.

STARK

Raynes, Joan Doreen, 89, of Alliance. Died Friday. Cassaday-Turkle-Christian.

OTHER

Bryant, James M., 55, of Youngstown. Died Friday. Cassaday-Turkle-Christian, Alliance.

Popa, Ann, 94, of Scottsdale, Ariz., formerly of Alliance. Died Friday. Cassaday-Turkle-Christian.

Betty O’Neill-Roderick

Nostalgia played an important role at the Akron Children’s Hospital Women’s Board 110th Charity Ball, held at Goodyear Hall on Friday evening.

Bill Considine, president and CEO of the hospital, said it was a bittersweet evening, since after 38 years this was the last time the ball would take place at Goodyear Hall. Next year the Charity Ball will move to E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall.

“We have 38 years of wonderful memories of the celebrations here,” he said, looking over a crowd of 900 beautifully attired guests. “This is also special for my family, since my niece and godchild, Colleen Considine, is being presented,” he said. “Colleen is the youngest daughter of my brother Tom and his wife, Susan.”

Connie Nolte chaired the event, assisted by co-chairs Mary Briggs and Cyndy Myer. Guests took a walk down memory lane where debutantes’ ball gowns from previous cotillions were on display. Harriet Chapman said her gown brought back memories of her debut, when her brother kept her laughing to ease her nervousness.

Joyce Hamaker, Retta Billow and her granddaughter Katie Long liked the timeline that told stories of past events in photos. Linda Aulino was grateful so many people lent photos and ball gowns for the exhibit, which tied together the Charity Ball, the city of Akron and Goodyear.

Guests mingled over cocktails and an hors d’oeuvres buffet as they awaited the presentation. John Jesser recalled being an escort at his first Charity Ball 30 years ago, as he waited to present his niece, Nicole Jesser.

Larry and Nancy Hoover came from Canton to see their granddaughter Bergen Schmetzer presented. “After raising four boys, this event is special for me,” Nancy said.

Before the debutante presentation, Considine presented a collage to Richard Kramer, president and CEO of Goodyear, in thanks for 38 years of support for the ball. “Goodyear is proud to be part of this Akron tradition, which supports Children’s Hospital, a treasure of our community,” said Kramer. He added his thanks to the volunteers who put together the evening full of memories.

Eric Fankhauser introduced his cousin Sheila Brennan, who came from Santa Barbara, Calif., for the event where he presented his godchild Ann Brennan. Donna Bender recalled her daughter Tracy’s debut when she almost forgot her mother, Hazel Hoffman, in all of the excitement.

Richard R. Grigg introduced 41 lovely debutantes as they appeared before a backdrop of the Birch Tree Allee at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. After the grand march, all former debutantes were invited to join in the debutantes’ dance. Gary and Susan Weiss and Donald and Barbara Dieterich were spotted enjoying the dance.

Behind the scenes, Michael Strah and his staff from Sammy’s prepared grilled beef tenderloin and chicken stuffed with pears and sage on large outdoor grills. Following dinner, guests enjoyed dancing to music by the Rick Purcell Band.

Mark J. Price

Akron songwriter Mort Greene scored a lot of hits during his long career, but none more memorable than The Toy Parade, a cheerful, rollicking tune that marched through American living rooms in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

What’s that? You don’t recognize the title?

Try these lyrics: “Hey! Here they come with a rum-tee-tum. They’re having a toy parade. A tin giraffe with a fife and drum is leading the kewpie brigade.”

Still not sure? Here is a little dialogue: “Gee, Wally, that’s swell.”

The Toy Parade served as the theme to Leave It to Beaver, the beloved TV sitcom that aired from 1957 to 1963, first on CBS, then on ABC. Each week, audiences followed the comedic, black-and-white adventures of Ward and June Cleaver and their sons Wally and Beaver.

Greene, who co-wrote the song with David Kahn and Melvyn Leonard, had an unusual career in show business, finding success in radio, film and television, not only as a composer and lyricist, but also as a comedy writer.

Morton S. Greenberger, the son of Ethel and Nicholas Greenberger, was born Oct. 3, 1912, in Cleveland but raised in Akron. His father, an attorney, was the Akron city solicitor.

The family resided at 82 Metlin Ave., then 539 Crosby St., then 71 Casterton Ave., all in West Akron. Little Morty and his brother, Bobby, attended Portage Path, King Elementary and West High School.

Irascible and energetic, Morty loved making people laugh. His January 1930 senior class voted him “The King of Wit,” and friends predicted he would find fame in vaudeville.

In the West High yearbook Rodeo, he listed his hobbies as “women and song-writing.” Besides cartooning for the Lariat student newspaper, Morty belonged to the dramatic club and served as chairman of the sweater committee, which presumably was a real group.

“Morty has a line you could hang clothes on,” the yearbook noted. “When he’s not making wise cracks, he’s usually found writing snappy music.”

The boy developed his musical talent by plunking away for hours on a piano in the family’s den. He composed little ditties at home and wrote the score for The Revue of Revues, a West High musical in which he had the lead role.

At 16, he penned a ballad titled I Fell in Love, and promoted it by singing it live on weekends in the music department at Akron Dry Goods and over the airwaves at WADC radio.

“I want to make a start in writing songs, and follow it up,” Morty told the Beacon Journal in 1929. “I’ve written several songs just for my own amusement, but never tried anything serious before.”

He was working on three other songs, and hoped to get one or two out “before so very much longer.” If that didn’t work out, he might enter the banking business, he said.

Upon graduation, Morty studied briefly at the University of Akron before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania to major in business. In his spare time, he wrote the song My Prom Girl, which won rousing encores when performed in East Coast ballrooms by Red Nichols and His Five Pennies.

After tasting success, the Akron boy threw caution to the wind in 1932 and moved to Holly­wood, where he shortened his name from Greenberger to Greene.

He landed a gig writing music and scenes for Metro-Golden-Mayer, then RKO Pictures. He met movie stars, attended glamorous parties and dated actress Anne Shirley, the star of 1934’s Anne of Green Gables.

Greene and songwriter Harry Barris teamed up on the 1935 song Thrilled, which was recorded by artists such as Abe Lyman, Ruth Etling and Tom Coakley, appearing for 14 weeks on Your Hit Parade.

He began a successful collaboration with English songwriter Harry Revel, cranking out more than 200 songs, including the soundtracks to nearly 30 movies.

Greene married starlet Ann Lawrence in 1938 and built a Hollywood ranch house with a swimming pool. He installed a slot machine in his recreation room that played the chorus from Thrilled during jackpots.

The marriage was not happy. Lawrence divorced Greene in 1946, alleging he was “abominable and extremely surly.”

“When he came home, if at all, he wouldn’t talk,” she told a judge. “For days at a time, he wouldn’t say a word to me.”

As a lyricist, Greene had plenty of words for other people. Ginger Rogers danced to Greene’s song Put Your Heart Into Your Feet and Dance in the 1937 movie Stage Door. The Andrews Sisters sang Sleepy Serenade in the 1941 Abbott and Costello movie Hold That Ghost. Lucille Ball sang Who Knows? in the 1942 movie The Big Street. Frances Langford belted out I’m Good for Nothing But Love in the 1946 movie The Bamboo Blonde.

Greene and Revel were nominated for an Academy Award for their song There’s a Breeze on Lake Louise in the 1942 film The Mayor of 44th Street, starring George Murphy and Anne Shirley, but it had no chance to win because it was up against Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, sung by Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn.

When asked about his inspiration for the song You’re Bad for Me, Greene joked that the title came naturally.

“I’d just downed six highballs and a Spanish dinner,” he told a Hollywood columnist.

In 1947, Greene married actress Jan Wiley, whose film credits included Secret Agent X-9 (1945), She-Wolf of London (1946) and The Brute Man (1946). The couple had two daughters, Nicki and Melissa, and visited Akron often to see Greene’s parents in their home at 206 Melbourne Ave.

In the late 1940s, Greene reinvented himself, turning his wisecracking humor into a source of income. He began to write jokes for national radio comedies, which led to work in the fledgling television industry. He wrote material for Bob Cummings, Perry Como and a young Johnny Carson, but returned to music to co-write the TV themes for Leave It to Beaver and Tales of Wells Fargo.

Greene worked his way up to lead writer for The Red Skelton Show, and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1963. He specialized in sight gags for “The Silent Spot” of Skelton’s program, a pantomime skit near the end of each show.

As he explained to the Beacon Journal: “Skelton, say, is sitting in a doctor’s waiting room with other patients and fighting desperately to hold back a sneeze. Finally, he lets it go. Patients, furniture and old magazines end up in one big pile in a corner of the office.”

Greene was one of the highest-paid writers on television when the show ended in 1971, the same year that his second marriage ended in divorce.

On one of his final visits to Akron in May 1980, he attended the 50th reunion of his West High School class.

“I’ve climbed every mountain,” he told Kenny Nichols of the Beacon Journal.

Greene was inducted into the Akron Radio Hall of Fame in 1987. He was 80 years old when he passed away Dec. 28, 1992, in Palm Desert, Calif.

He left behind hundreds of memorable songs, including The Toy Parade, which still sounds awfully swell, Wally.

Just ask the Cleavers.

Beacon Journal copy editor Mark J. Price is the author of The Rest Is History: True Tales From Akron’s Vibrant Past, a book from the University of Akron Press. He can be reached at 330-996-3850 or [email protected].

People Helping People is a list of charitable causes in our area that need donations or volunteers. The list ends New Year’s Day, but the charities’ needs do not. Please consider supporting the causes of your choice throughout the year.

Information about People Helping People and a list of causes already published can be found at www.ohio.com/charity.

Senior Independence Hospice, 1815 W. Market St., Akron, OH 44313, serves older adults in Summit, Portage, Medina and Stark counties who have life-limiting illnesses, and also serves their families.

The nonprofit hospice is seeking volunteers to spend time with clients, talking and listening, reading or just being present. Volunteers can determine their location and level of involvement.

An application, background checks, training and basic health standards are required.

For information, contact David Wilson at 330-873-3468 or [email protected].

South Akron Youth Mentorship, P.O. Box 26563, Akron, OH 44319, works to break the cycle of generational poverty by mentoring children in South Akron.

Volunteers are needed to mentor in the evening, tutor students in reading during school hours and provide dinner quarterly for the high school ministry. Volunteers must submit to a background check.

For information, contact Donald C. Breece at [email protected] or visit www.saymentor.org.

Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit & Medina Counties, 759 W. Market St., Akron, OH 44303, provides emergency shelter, advocacy and education in an effort to break the cycle of abuse and help promote peace in every family.

The shelter is seeking donations of pots and pans, dishes, drinking glasses, silverware, bakeware, small appliances, single sheets, comforters, pillows, laundry soap, household cleaning supplies, trash bags, diapers, batteries, light bulbs, clock radios, toilet paper and other paper products, as well as boxed food products, meat and other food to stock the shelter’s pantry.

For information, call the United Way Volunteer Center, 330-643-5512.

I think I speak for the majority of the people when I say we are sick and tired of the back and forth between President Obama and Speaker John Boehner. To resolve this “fiscal cliff” problem, the following should happen:

First, the two parties should agree that whatever number they come up with should consist of 50 percent cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare and defense and 50 percent of revenue increases, including raising taxes and closing tax loopholes.

Right now, every proposal from the administration has a much smaller percentage of cuts, versus increases in revenues. Conversely, every proposal from the speaker and his advisers is top heavy on cuts versus revenue increases. If they could only agree on the 50-50 proposition, half the battle would be won.

Second, Democrats should be forthright with the people about what will be cut and by how much. The Republicans need to be clear by what percentage taxes will go up, and if revenue increases are planned by closing loopholes in the tax code. They should be specific what those loopholes to be closed are so that the Congressional Budget Office can calculate what the revenues will be.

The vague promise of closing loopholes does not tell anyone anything, neither do vague statements about cuts to programs. Come on, Washington, we can take it.

In case anyone wonders, I am on Social Security and Medicare. But I am also realist enough to know that we can’t keep borrowing and borrowing to survive. We had balanced budgets before, and we need to get there again.

Michael Reitz

Cuyahoga Falls

Woven into 
the national fabric

The passionate plea for a disarmed America (“Become gun-free, America,” Dec. 24) has a number of inaccuracies in it. The writer’s first point that the Founding Fathers never meant for modern semi-automatic firearms to be covered by the Second Amendment to the Constitution is laughable on its face. By the same logic, radio, television and the Internet would not be covered by the First Amendment. This is simply ludicrous. It is the fundamental right that is protected by the Constitution, not the exact means and methods of exercising that right.

None of the other enlightened democracies that the writer pines to emulate has an explicit right of the people to keep and bear arms in its constitution like ours does. Therefore, his utopian hope of federal legislation to ban the manufacture and possession of all guns will have to wait until the Constitution is revised by amendment.

Besides, what makes collectors and hunters more deserving of firearm ownership in his view than the single mother living in fear of crime in Chicago, one of the most disarmed and crime-ridden cities in this country?

The assertion that the wonderfully disarmed societies elsewhere are free from armed criminals is very naïve. Great Britain, one of the enlightened democracies which has effectively banned private gun ownership for years, logged almost 12,000 crimes committed with firearms in 2011. It doesn’t sound like the criminals can’t get them over there like the letter writer believes.

We are a nation that was founded upon private firearm ownership and, like it or not, it is woven into our national fabric and Constitution and cannot be changed by liberal ideology or emotional sentiments of the moment.

I don’t want people like the writer deciding which of my constitutional rights I may enjoy today. In fact, if we go down that path, it may be someone else deciding which rights he may enjoy tomorrow.

George L.V. Rak

Medina

Our effective 
well-regulated militias

Here is the entire Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Look back at the time frame in which this was written: Our new country had just won a war against the British; the laws that would keep us independent were just being written; slavery was practiced throughout the new country; slaves sometimes struggled to gain their freedom; pirates ruled the seas, Native Americans protected themselves by fighting the invaders; survival of the new nation seemed to depend on each person being ready to fight in a “well regulated Militia” (the army).

The “arms” of this period were muskets, hand-loaded each time they were fired, swords, knives and pikes (sharpened poles for stabbing an enemy), perhaps bayonets for some soldiers and sailors.

This amendment does not say each private citizen needs “arms” like an atomic bomb, a multi-firing assault weapon, hand grenade, dynamite, poison gas, tanks, airplanes, drones or other weapons of modern warfare and mass destruction. These weapons were not invented until many years later. We — and the NRA — should not assume that our Second Amendment covers any type weapon.

We have National Guard units in each state (a well-regulated militia), the U.S. Army ( a well-regulated militia), the U.S. Navy (a well-regulated militia ) and the U.S. Air Force (a well-regulated militia).

Our country has grown and progressed since 1776-1783, thank God. But we have not become much more civilized if we think each person in the street, on the road, in a building or field needs a killing weapon to defend himself or herself.

We certainly do not need every Tom, Dick and Jane armed with military-type weapons. Surely, mass killings by assault weapons can be alleviated or at least lessened by well-enforced, civilized laws and by accessible and affordable prompt treatment of persons with mental or emotional illnesses.

B. Jean Mohr

Wooster

Clear the way

Our first storm of the season reminds us that all of our transportation pathways need clearing, including sidewalks. Many communities aspire to be more “walkable.” Getting around on foot in the winter shouldn’t be a struggle. A clear sidewalk offers welcome and respectful access to public buildings and neighborhood business centers. Isn’t there an entrepreneurial opportunity here?

Jerry Egan

Akron

Colette M. Jenkins

The Summit County church community has spent a year building a firewall of prayer around Summit County and there are plans to continue the intercession in the new year.

“We believe that Summit Ablaze needs to be our key annual prayer initiative. It has done more than ensure that someone is praying for Summit County every day. It has helped connect churches and ministries through prayer,” said the Rev. Mark Ford, executive director of Love Akron.

Love Akron, a nonprofit organization that works to unite the Christian community, launched the Summit Ablaze prayer initiative on Jan. 1, 2012, by handing off a prayer torch at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Fairlawn. Throughout the year, the torch was passed each week from ministry to ministry, where leaders had committed to a week of prayer for the people of Summit County.

On Sunday, representatives from those 52 ministries gathered at Akron First Assembly of God Church to celebrate a year of success and to galvanize for 2013. During the service, a special prayer for peace and healing was offered for the community of Newtown, Conn., where a gunman opened fire at an elementary school earlier this month, killing 20 children and six adults.

“After a tragedy, people seem to turn to prayer. Prayer vigils seem to be one of the first responses — they bring people together to support each other and they offer people a chance to reach out to something bigger than themselves,” Ford said. “Summit Ablaze gives us a chance to support each other and seek God’s guidance and will for our county, its leaders and its people.”

The prayer initiative is rooted in the biblical passage of Jeremiah 29:7 that reads: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (NIV). Its name was derived from prayer being symbolized by fire throughout the Bible.

The prayer torch, which has become the symbol of the initiative, spent a week in the small prayer chapel at Haven of Rest Ministries Inc. Employees and long-term residents at the Akron-based mission, which serves the homeless, added special prayers for the county to their daily routine.

“It was a perfect fit for us because we always start our day at the mission in prayer and people go into the chapel throughout the day to pray,” said the Rev. Jeffrey Kaiser, executive director at Haven of Rest. “The great thing about Summit Ablaze is that it gave us a chance to be part of a bigger prayer community. I believe God hears our prayers and answers them, so this can only help to make our community stronger.”

Like Kaiser, Margot Fuller believes Summit Ablaze can positively impact the leaders and people of Summit County. Fuller organized the initiative’s inaugural week of prayer at St. Luke’s. Her plan brought volunteers together to pray with a focus on seven areas — religion, family, government, business, media, arts and entertainment, and education.

“We used what is called the seven mountain strategy, participating as intercessors for those seven areas of influence in our society. As the church, we should be praying to ask God to forgive us for not being the people he has called us to be and praying for his blessings on the different areas of influence in our lives,” Fuller said. “It was such a great experience because it brought everybody together, from the children to the seniors. And it encouraged us to become the hands and feet that bring solutions and transformation to our county.”

Love Akron is looking for ministries and churches to commit to one week of prayer for the county during 2013. Each prayer torch host will determine the amount and method of prayer. The goal, like in 2012, is to have the torch travel across the county. To join the prayer movement, call 330-384-8124 or email [email protected]

The Rev. Kent Jarvis, senior pastor at Akron First Assembly of God, said the prayer torch was a source of unity when his church hosted it in May.

“Even though we have calls to prayer at various times in our church, there was something different about Summit Ablaze. There was this attitude of unity that flowed throughout our church, when we had the prayer torch,” Jarvis said. “People knew they were participating in something that was larger than our church community. There is no doubt that we will participate again, praying for God to do what only God can do.”

For more information about Love Akron, visit www.
loveakron.org.

Colette Jenkins can be reached at 330-996-3731 or [email protected]

This would be the year when the global economy finally regained its vigor. At least that’s what many had hoped.

It didn’t happen.

The three largest economies — the United States, China and Japan — struggled again in 2012. The 17 countries that use the euro endured a third painful year in their financial crisis and slid into recession.

Emerging economies slowed.

President Barack Obama won re-election and his landmark health-care plan survived a Supreme Court review.

The tech world dueled over smartphones and tablets and saw Facebook’s initial public offering fizzle. The housing market inched toward recovery. And Americans suffered both a catastrophic drought and a superstorm.

Also, there was more investigative scrutiny on Wall Street.

The slow global economic recovery was chosen as the top business story of the year by business editors at the Associated Press.

The U.S. presidential election came in second, followed by the Supreme Court’s upholding Obama’s health-care plan.

1. The global economy: The global economy grew just 3.3 percent, down from 3.8 percent in 2011 and 5.1 percent in 2010, the International Monetary Fund estimates. Five years after a recession seized the economy and more than three years after it ended, growth in the United States was only about 2 percent. Unemployment remained a high 7.7 percent. Europe’s financial crisis did stabilize, thanks in part to the European Central Bank’s plan to buy government bonds to help countries manage their debts.

2. U.S. presidential election: Obama vaulted to a re-election victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who had staked his bid on the weakest U.S. economic rebound since the Great Depression and had pledged to slash taxes.

3. Obama health-care plan upheld: The Supreme Court caught many by surprise when it backed Obama administration’s health care reform in a 5-4 vote.

The law requires Americans to buy insurance or pay a tax, while subsidizing the needy. Hospitals and health insurers will likely benefit from 30 million new customers. Medical device makers, though, will face a new sales tax. And some small businesses say the law will discourage hiring because it requires companies to provide health care once they employ more than 50.

4. The fiscal cliff: A dreaded package of tax increases and deep spending cuts to domestic and defense programs loomed over the economy in the year’s final months.

5. Facebook’s IPO: Years of anticipation led to Facebook’s initial public offering of stock — the hottest Internet IPO since Google’s in 2004. On the eve of its first trading day, Facebook’s market value was $104 billion — more than Amazon.com’s or McDonald’s at the time. Yet the IPO bombed. Within three months, Facebook’s stock had shed more than half its IPO value.

6. Housing recovery: After a six-year slump that sent more than 4 million homes into foreclosure and shrank home prices about one-third nationwide, the housing market began to recover in mid-year. Prices began rising. And builders broke ground on the most homes in four years.

Housing boosted economic growth this year for the first time since 2005.

7. The return of Big Oil: Domestic crude oil production achieved its biggest one-year gain since 1951, driven by output in North Dakota and Texas. Credit goes to drilling improvements, like those that have fed a boom in domestic natural-gas production — horizontal drilling combined with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

8. Banks behaving badly: JPMorgan Chase lost $6 billion in a complex series of trades. Morgan Stanley was accused of botching Facebook’s IPO. An ex-banker trashed Goldman Sachs for putting profits ahead of customers and for mocking clients as “muppets.” Barclays and UBS were fined for their roles in manipulating a key global interest rate. And HSBC agreed to pay $1.9 billion to settle charges that it enabled money laundering by Mexican drug traffickers.

9. Mother Nature: The nation suffered its worst drought since the 1950s, covering 80 percent of U.S. farmland. Grain and food prices soared. Then Sandy, a storm so destructive it was dubbed a “superstorm,” walloped the Northeast.

10. Mobile-gadget wars: Apple maintained its worldwide dominance but the use of Google’s Android software on competing smartphones and tablets spread faster than Apple’s market share.

Forty-four percent of U.S. adults own smartphones, up from about 35 percent a year ago. Tablet ownership doubled in 2012. Taking on Apple’s iPad, Microsoft unleashed its Surface tablet and began selling Windows 8, a tablet-friendly operating system. Amazon and Barnes & Noble rushed out high-definition-screen tablets. Each priced its premium model less than the entry-level iPad. Apple struck back with the iPad Mini.

CUYAHOGA FALLS

Multiple charges

CUYAHOGA FALLS: A Cuyahoga Falls man has been charged with attempted murder after threatening to kill his live-in girlfriend during an argument shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday night, police said.

David P. Seitz II, 27, allegedly loaded a rifle and threatened to kill his girlfriend and himself before firing six rounds from the rifle inside the residence as the two struggled for control of the weapon in the 2300 block of High Street.

Seitz and the woman, who said she was choked and assaulted during the fracas, suffered minor injuries.

Seitz was arrested and booked into the Summit County Jail.

He faces charges of attempted murder, felonious assault, aggravated menacing, domestic violence and using a weapon while intoxicated and other related weapons charges.

SPRINGFIELD TWP.

Traffic signal

SPRINGFIELD TWP.: A new traffic signal that has been installed at the Canton Road and Springfield Lake Drive intersection will be fully functional today, weather permitting, the Summit County Engineer’s Office said.

Until today, the signal has been flashing yellow, and signs have been installed alerting motorists to the change in traffic flow.

Motorists in the area are being advised to be aware of the new signal when approaching the intersection.

Also starting today, vehicles will be prohibited from turning left onto Canton Road from Calvin Street and Meadow Drive. “No Left Turn” signs have been installed, the engineer’s office said.

The signal and other changes are part of an effort to improve safety at the intersection and along the Canton Road corridor between Sanitarium and Waterloo roads.

For more information, visit www.summitengineer.net on the Internet.

Tyler Dukes
Raleigh News & Observer

It was an exciting year for consumer technology. But accompanying the release of new gadgets, software and online tools were the usual headaches associated with life in the digital age.

Here are five tips and tricks to remember:

(5) Download your data.

Thanks in part to social media, blog platforms and image-sharing services, we’re living in the most well-documented age in history. But those statuses, updates and photos won’t mean much if the service you’re using shuts down or — in the recent case of the image site Instagram — drastically changes its terms of service. Fortunately, many of the most popular social media services offer users the option to download their own data.

(4) Acknowledge the annoying.

Pop-up ads are a relic of the adolescent Internet. We have no excuse for accepting them anymore. Get rid of pop-ups for good by downloading NoScript for Firefox or AdBlock for Firefox and Chrome.

(3) Keep your phone secure.

Like anything else you download, smartphone applications can carry plenty of risk. Many apps — especially free ones — allow advertisers to access private user information. Although some of this information, such as GPS location and browser bookmarks, is useful for tailoring ads to users, it’s important to know which permissions you’re granting to every app you run.

(2) Handy products and tools.

Here are ways to keep personal information a little more secure.

First up is OpenDNS. I’ve seen great results with this free service, which is designed to cut down on page-load time and filter out “phishing” sites.

For another layer of security, I also use the free browser plug-in HTTPS Everywhere. The software forces browsers to display information with HTTP Secure, the same encryption technique most companies use when processing online credit-card orders. I also use another free browser extension called Privacyfix, which walks me through my privacy settings on popular social networking sites and helps me learn how I’m being tracked online.

(1) When destruction is necessary.

My favorite reader question of the year asked how to properly dispose of old hard drives and the data they contain. If you want to be really confident you got everything, several recommended blunt-force trauma. Smash it with a hammer. Drill holes straight through to the other side. Dismantle the casing and sand the hard disks one by one.

This Week

Saturday

Cub Scout Pack 3334 Community Pinewood Derby and Chili Cook Off — 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Queen of Heaven Parish Life Center, 1800 Steese Road, Green. Donate a crock pot of your “famous” chili and receive lunch for free with a chance to win the Community Best Chili trophy. Lunch is $7. Pinewood derby cars and kits are available for $50 and $20. Bring your own car for $10. More information about rules, registration and trophy categories at www.Pack3334.org.

Volunteers

Hospice of the Western Reserve — is holding volunteer training classes from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 2 and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 9 and 16 at the Hospice of the Western Reserve, 150 Springside Drive, Suite A-100, Fairlawn. To register and for more information, call Mary McGowan at 800-707-8922, ext. 6881, or go to www.hospicewr.org/volunteer.

Compassionate Care Hospice — The Akron office is accepting applications for its next training class for hospice volunteers. Volunteers can be friendly visitors, run errands or provide respite for patients in their homes. Compassionate Care is also recruiting volunteers for its Pet Visitation Program. For more information, contact the volunteer coordinator at 330-666-5242.

Plan Ahead

Believe in the Cure Kick Off Event — 5 p.m. Jan. 12 at Church of Our Savior, 471 Crosby St., Akron. The event will feature guest speakers Dr. Joseph Flynn of the James Cancer Center Ohio State University Medical Center and Dr. Nick Parasson of Summit Natural Wellness Center. Jann Klose will perform. There will be a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, Greek food, spirits and more. Tickets $50. For tickets, go to www.believeinthecure.org.

The Arc of Stark County Grape Possibilities Wine Tasting and Auction — 5:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Canton Civic Center’s McKinley Room, 1101 Market Ave. N. Featuring wine, food and a silent auction. $45, $60 platinum ticket. Reservations due by Jan. 11. For reservations, call 330-492-5225 or go to www.arcstark.org.

The 37th Annual Sugartown Express — 4:30-8 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Quaker Station, 135 S. Broadway, Akron. Family-friendly event features silent auction, raffles, music and entertainment. Benefits will support research, advocacy and the education efforts of the American Diabetes Association. $30. For tickets, go to www.diabetes.org/sugartownexpress.

2013 Pedal for Heroes — LifeCenter Plus Health and Fitness Club is challenging Northeast Ohio fitness centers to join in an effort to honor and support Ohio veterans. On Feb. 24, fitness centers across Northeast Ohio will hold “2013 Pedal for Heroes” events, where participants will cycle for 276 minutes (represents the number of military personnel from Ohio who have sacrificed their lives for the country since 9/11/01). Event proceeds will provide services to local veterans. Fitness center directors interested in learning more about how to get involved should contact Jessica Shenker at LifeCenter Plus in Hudson at 330-655-2377, ext. 138. The deadline for fitness centers to sign up for the event is Feb. 1.

Send information about social and charity events to The Scene, c/o Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309. Or email [email protected] with “The Scene” in the subject line. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance. Merits of all organizations have not been investigated by the Beacon Journal, so potential donors should verify the worthiness of a cause before committing.