A local fundraising group is on track to raise money for area babies and young children with hearing impairment.


The Friends of Akron Children’s Hospital is hosting its 51st Harness Race Rally beginning at 7 p.m. Aug. 10 at Northfield Park.


As part of the event, the volunteers are selling raffle tickets to benefit the hospital’s Regional Infant Hearing Program.


The program — funded by a grant from the Ohio Department of Health — provides follow-up care to more than 500 children from Summit, Portage, Stark, Mahoning, Carroll and Columbiana counties who are identified as having hearing impairment during newborn screening tests.


The service is part of the Family Child Learning Center collaboration between Children’s and Kent State University. Free support is provided until the child transitions to a preschool program.


The program has had its state funding slashed over the years from $220,000 in 2000 to $92,000 this year, project director Sandi Brotman Domoracki said.


Because of funding cuts, home visits have been reduced, she said.


“The harness race is going to be an enormous difference,” she said.


Since 1962, the Friends of Akron Children’s Hospital has raised more than $3 million to support Akron Children’s Hospital through its annual Harness Race Rally event.


Tickets for the raffle are $1 each or $5 for six.


Prizes include a 2012 Chrysler 200 from Brunswick Automart, a pearl and diamond ring from Medina Gem Co., a diamond pendant from Sterling Jewelers Inc., a ride for two on the Akron Children’s Hospital Air Bear medical helicopter, an overnight package donated by Sheraton Suites in Cuyahoga Falls, a television from Akron Rubber Development Laboratory and an Apple iPad from A. Schulman Inc.


Tickets will be available at the event or by calling 330-543-8340.


Free fitness class


Looking to de-stress and boost energy during a lunch break?


The city of Akron is joining with Nancy Gardner of NG Energy to offer free lunchtime fitness classes every Wednesday in August at the Cascade Plaza.


The classes will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., weather permitting.


Gardner is a certified tai chi and Qigong instructor. The free classes will include gentle stretching, movements from martial arts and Qigong breathing.


New clinic site


The Medina County Health Department Lodi Clinic has a new site for services at the Lodi American Legion Hall, 120 Bank St., on the third Wednesday of each month.


The department’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) appointments are available from 8-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Visit www.medinahealth.org or call 330-723-9629 or 888-723-9688, option 4, for more information or an appointment.


The nursing division provides childhood and adolescent immunizations from 1-4 p.m. Vaccine fees are $12 for Medina residents and $14.50 for out-of-county residents, but no child will be denied an immunization because of inability to pay.


Medicaid, Care Source Well Care and Buckeye Community Health Plan are accepted.


Call 330-723-9688 or 888-723-9688 option 1 for an appointment.


Dental cleanings, fluoride sealants and emergency screenings are available from 8 a.m. to noon. Medicaid and some insurances are accepted, in addition to a sliding-scale fee schedule.


Call 888-723-9288 option 2.


Malpractice drop


Medical malpractice payments last year were at the lowest level on record, according to a new report by the national nonprofit patient advocacy group Public Citizen.


The group’s finding was based on a review of the federal government’s National Practitioner Data Bank, which tracks malpractice payments made on behalf of doctors.


When adjusted for inflation, the value of the 9,758 payments made in 2011 were the lowest level ($3.2 billion) since the data became available in 1991.


Payments in actual dollars fell for eight straight years and reached their lowest level since 1998, according to Public Citizen. The average payment was $327,000 last year.


Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or cpowell@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.