Intruders shoot man

AKRON: An Akron man was hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds after he was assaulted during a home invasion.

Dennis Withrow, 28, was listed in serious condition Tuesday at Akron City Hospital.

Police said Withrow was inside a Brittain Road apartment about 4 p.m. Monday playing video games with two other men when three masked intruders entered the apartment and fired shots at Withrow.

The gunmen fled and have not been identified, authorities said.

Police said the two men inside the home with Withrow were charged with possession of cocaine.

Police said they recovered more than 100 grams of cocaine from inside the apartment and in a flower pot outside the residence.

Anyone with information is asked to call Akron police at 330-375-2490.

Anonymous tips can be left via the Internet at http://akronohio.gov/asp/tip.html.

Fatal driver drunk

AKRON: An Akron mans blood-alcohol level was about triple the legal limit when his car crashed head-on with another vehicle, killing himself and his best friend, officials said.

Rick Ratliff, 34, and Tony Mook, 24, died in the Feb. 22 crash on West Wilbeth Road after their car went left of center and collided with a sport-utility vehicle.

On Tuesday, police released the crash report. Officers said Ratliffs westbound 1984 Chevrolet Caprice was traveling at least 70 mph when it struck Steven Hudsons eastbound 1980 Ford Bronco.

Ratliffs blood-alcohol was 0.244, police said. Hudson had no alcohol in his system, police said.

Ratliff and Mook were killed. Hudson is recovering from his injuries.

Guardsman trouble

AKRON: A member of the National Guard is accused of supplying a bogus letter to a judge in an effort to have a driving offense dismissed.

Rodney Dennis, 29, of Akron, is charged with felony uttering, forgery and tampering with records.

Akron police said Dennis was cited in September for driving with a suspended license. At the time, he did not produce a license.

In a February court appearance in Akron Municipal Court, Dennis claimed someone used his identity during the traffic stop, police said.

To substantiate his claim, he produced a letter from his National Guard commander in a effort to have his court appearance excused. The judge dismissed the case.

Police said they later learned the letter submitted to the court was forged. Court records show Dennis has been charged three times in the past year with driving with a suspended license. His latest charge came on March 8.

Four teens charged

AKRON: Akron police arrested four teens in connection with three armed robberies that took place within an hour Sunday.

Police said the holdups started about 3:15 a.m. at North Hawkins Avenue and Kingsley Street when a group of teenagers in a car pulled a gun on a 24-year-old man riding a bicycle. They drove away after stealing his cell phone and guitar case.

The second robbery occurred about 4 a.m. at Grace Avenue and Peckham Street. A woman, 34, was robbed of her purse by a group of youths who pulled up next to her in a car.

About 10 minutes later, a man, 55, walking in the 600 block of West Market Street was approached by teens who tried to take his backpack. The man ran off and called 911.

Officers responding to the call stopped a vehicle matching the description of the robbers car. Four inside the car fled.

Two suspects were caught after a foot chase and two others later surrendered. The car was reported stolen from West Akron, police said.

The suspects charged with robbery were four boys, ages 14, 15, 15 and 16. They were being held in the Summit County Juvenile Detention Center.

Meth raid at house

AKRON: Akron police arrested five people and seized more than $11,000 in cash inside a suspected meth house.

The raid occurred about 4 p.m. Monday at a house in the 1000 block of North Main Street.

Police obtained a search warrant and recovered the cash, 25 grams of methamphetamine and a large amount of chemicals used to manufacture the drug.

Arrested by police were Shawn C. Smith, 37, Michael C. Stewart, 47, Caitlin J. Sullivan, 28, Michael R. Small, 46, and Aaron P. Leslie, 36.

They were charged with illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine, illegal assembly of chemicals, trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine, authorities said.


Retirement bonus

AKRON: Akron is using federal Race to the Top money to double the retirement bonus for teachers from $500 to $1,000.

So far, the district knows of 90 teachers who say theyre retiring, about 20 to 25 more than usual, said human resources executive director Kathy McVey.

She said its too soon to say whether that will offset the 140 teaching jobs that must be eliminated for the next school year to avoid a $22 million deficit.

Meanwhile, the district is preparing to negotiate contracts with its six unions, whose current contracts expire June 30.

The district has saved about $4.4 million over the last five years by negotiating health- care issues separately.

Teachers who once paid nothing toward health insurance premiums, for example, will begin paying a flat fee beginning this summer: $50 per month for a family and $25 for an individual policy.

Teachers also have agreed to a $5 increased copay for name-brand drugs from $15 to $20.


Change in grading

GREEN: A new grading scale could be in place for the next school year for Green fourth- through 12th-graders if the Board of Education gives approval at its April 23 meeting.

The proposal was presented Monday night by Cindy Brown, the districts high school principal, and Kim Brueck, director of learning and teaching.

The plan would shift the districts 7-point grade scale to a 10-point scale, with scores of 90 to 100 equivalent to a letter grade of A. An A grade now is 93 to 100. A B would be 80-89, a C from 70-79 and a D from 60-69. Less than 60 would be an F.

The two educators said the transition already has been made by several other area districts.

The Highland school district in Medina County made a similar change in January and Hudson changed to the more common 10-point scale in 2010.


Guilty of tax fraud

STOW: A Stow businessman accused of tax fraud pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court, authorities said.

Michael R. Tucker pleaded guilty to failing to pay employee withholding taxes and filing a false 2007 personal tax return.

Prosecutors contend Tucker was the majority partner and general manager of Computology LLC from 2004 to 2008. Prosecutors said that from December 2005 through March 2008, Tucker failed to pay taxes totaling $263,188 that had been withheld from employee paychecks.

Tucker is scheduled to be sentenced June 7 in U.S. District Court.


Worker dies in Kent

KENT: A 49-year-old construction worker was fatally injured in an accident Tuesday morning at the site of Portage Area Regional Transit Authoritys new downtown transit center, authorities said.

Russell Hirschfelt of Barberton died at 6:17 p.m. at Akron City Hospital, according to a spokesperson for the Summit Medical Examiner.

Kent fire Capt. John Tosko said the accident occurred about 10:45 a.m. when the worker was caught between a stack of concrete slabs and the back of a trackhoe excavator that was swinging around.

Tosko said the workers were constructing a retaining wall at 201 E. Erie St., where PARTA is building a $26 million transportation center.

stark county

Trip rule change

CANTON: School field trip chaperones will need to be fingerprinted and pass background checks under terms of a policy change approved Monday by the Board of Education.

The provisions previously applied to other volunteers in the Canton City Schools.

In other business, the board offered a one-year teaching contract with a salary of $52,763 to recently hired McKinley High School head football coach Todd Filtz.

He will also be paid $18.50 per hour, up to 120 hours, as a professional instructor, the board reported.