AKRON

Firefighters battle blaze

AKRON: A house in the city’s Middlebury neighborhood was engulfed in flames by the time Akron firefighters got a call for help this afternoon, officials said.

No one was in the house in the 1100 block of Ackley Avenue, and no one appeared to be injured, according to the Akron Fire Department.

Firefighters were called to the home, which is off South Arlington Street and three blocks north of Interstate 76, at about 1:47 p.m.

It’s too soon to say what may have started the fire or how much damage it caused, according to authorities.

HIGHLAND SCHOOLS

District to buy properties

GRANGER TWP.: The Highland Board of Education agreed Monday to buy two properties for the new Hinckley Elementary and Sharon Elementary schools, the Medina Gazette reports.

Both properties, located on Ridge Road, will cost a total of $1.4 million.

Highland voters approved a $63 million bond issue in November to replace and renovate aging school buildings.

KENT

Man drowns despite efforts

KENT: Despite the heroic efforts of bystanders, police officers and medical workers, a man drowned last week at the University Inn’s pool.

The call about a man drowning at the outdoor pool came in shortly before noon last Wednesday from the apartment complex at 540 S. Water St., Kent police spokesman Lt. Mike Lewis said.

He said a guest at the University Inn, Mark Merritt, 48, of Cuyahoga Falls, was swimming alone in the pool at the time.

Two other guests reported hearing a yell for help, and saw Merritt “struggling in the deep end of the hotel pool,” Lewis said.

The good Samaritans hurried to the pool, pulled Merritt from the water and began CPR while simultaneously calling 911.

Officer Samantha Burton arrived as they were trying to revive Merritt and took over CPR duties. She was soon followed by Lt. Ed Wheeler, who continued chest compressions on Merritt before Kent Fire Department paramedics arrived.

An ambulance rushed Merritt to University Hospitals Portage Medical Center in Ravenna, “but he never recovered,” Lewis said. Merritt had just checked into the inn that morning, he said.

Chief Michelle Lee named Burton and Wheeler the department’s “Officers of the Week” for their efforts to save the man.

—The Record-Courier

GateHouse Media Ohio

NORTH CANTON

City seeking tax increase

NORTH CANTON: City Council moved on a resolution Monday to seek a 10-year, 0.5 percent income tax increase.

The tax issue — revenue for safety forces — would need voter approval.

The action taken Monday was procedural, adopting the first of three readings on the legislation.

After three readings, council members can vote on the resolution to put income tax on the November ballot.

Council will hold a second reading July 9 when residents can voice their opinion. The third reading is July 23.

If voters approve, the city’s income tax rate would increase from 1.5 percent to 2 percent starting Jan. 1. It would expire no later than Dec. 31, 2028.

The extra funds would be used solely for the city’s police, fire and EMS departments.

The city plans to build a new central safety service center to house all three departments.

It also would create a fund to cover future building maintenance. And it could use additional money for training opportunities or to purchase new equipment.

—The Canton Repository

GateHouse Media Ohio