It didn't take long to bring an Akron man to justice for making illegal fireworks. The Summit County Prosecutor's office announced on Wednesday that 52-year-old Paul Plazak of Chalker Street pleaded guilty in court to charges of illegal manufacture of fireworks and domestic violence. Police went to Plazak's home around 10:00PM May 4 on a call about a domestic incident, where the woman inside told the cops that her husband had been assembling fireworks inside the house and garage. The Summit County Bomb Squad was called to the scene to take inventory and remove the chemicals and other ingredients from the place. They also collected over a Thousand assembled fireworks and tools. Plazak returns to court to get his sentence on August 10.
The latest salvo fired in the squabble over controlling prescription drug prices in Ohio came on Wednesday. Opponents of the Drug Price Relief Act filed an argument in the Ohio Supreme Court, claiming petition circulators didn't follow Ohio law and demanding that some of the signatures be eliminated. Backers of the idea, including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, were given the green light on June 4 to begin collecting signatures in an effort to get the proposal before voters. They face a July 6 deadline to get the required number of signatures to place the issue on the ballot. The DPRA aims to cap the cost the state pays for drugs no higher than the cost paid by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
A tractor accident has claimed the life of a man in the Trumbull County community of Bristolville. The Sheriff's office reports that deputies were called to the scene along Bristol-Champion Townline Road on Tuesday, from where the victim's wife dialed 911 to report her husband was pinned beneath the machine. Authorities arrived to find 69-year-old Michael Uhlrain dead on the scene. His wife told deputies that she and her husband were cutting-down trees near their home when she found him beneath the tractor with the transmission still in forward gear.
Another suspect in connection with the murder of a Kent State University student earlier this year has pleaded not guilty to the charges he faces. The Record-Courier reports that 17-year-old Anton Planicka of Medina entered the plea this week in Portage County Court during his arraignment as an adult. He's charged with aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and three counts of kidnapping, stemming from the February 7 shooting death of 18-year-old Nicholas Massa of Westlake. The victim was gunned-down during a robbery at an apartment building just off East Main Street, east of the KSU campus. Planicka's bond was set at two-Million dollars and he saw his trial date set for November 22.
A Struthers man has been ordered to jail while his girlfriend awaits sentencing in a nauseating child-abuse case in Mahoning County Court. Ronald Higham was given an 18-month sentence in the County Jail following his April guilty plea to one counts of child endangering. Originally charges with three counts, the other two charges were dropped in a plea deal. Higham was also given another 18 months for failing to register his address as a convicted sex offender. Higham and co-defendant Bambi Shiley were arrested May 26 last year after police found a child with feces running down his leg and smelled other human waste when they knocked on the door to the couple's Fifth Street home. Inside, they found three kids and the upstairs of the house totally covered with feces...with dirty diapers covering the entire floor. The walls and bathtub were also covered in human waste. Bambi Shiley is due in court for sentencing on July 12.
Cleveland has decided to loosen the grip a bit on rules for protest marches and rallies during the Republican National Convention. The decision came on Wednesday after a Federal judge last week determined the regulations that had been put in-place were infringements on the right to free speech and freedom of expression. The planned parade route for downtown marchers has been changed while the city is trimming-back the size of the so-called “event zone” around Quicken Loans Arena.
An eight-year prison sentence was handed-down on Wednesday to a Canton man for savagely beating his former girlfriend near Girard earlier this year. 40-year-old Johnny King appeared before the judge in Trumbull County Court after pleading guilty to counts including felonious assault, kidnapping, domestic violence and burglary. He forced his way into the victim's Holly Drive apartment on April 21, threatening to kill the woman and her daughter before punching, kicking and choking the victim. Police said at the time that the woman lost consciousness several times during the attack.
A Marlboro Township man was collared and thrown into Stark County Jail this week on charges he was plotting an attack on his community's police department. The Canton Repository reports that a former girlfriend dropped a dime to authorities, telling them that 51-year-old Timothy Ward had plans to place booby-trapped mannequins around the police department to gun-down officers and allegedly had detailed plans to blow the place up. A search of two homes this month turned-up mannequins and explosives while a computer in the house contained photos that police say corroborate his claims of possessing deadly materials. Ward was arrested at Mt Pleasant Street and Market Avenue N in Lake Township, booked on initial charges of retaliation and having weapons under disability. The newspaper reports that Ward had previously been arrested in 2009 for allegedly tying his wife to a chair while we went-off to “fight demons.” He was found not guilty by reason of insanity in that case.
Maybe they're expecting plenty of problems. The City of Cleveland's Board of Control on Wednesday voted to buy 50-Million dollars' worth of so-called “protest insurance” for the upcoming Republican National Convention. That coverage level is five times higher than the 10-Million dollar policy the city originally intended to secure to cover issues that might arise during the gathering in downtown. Such insurance became a standard for cities holding political conventions a few years ago, but Cleveland has taken notice of several previous issues in other cities where Donald Trump rallies got more than a little rowdy, resulting in fights and arrests among people in support and against his GOP nomination.
The state has turned-loose nearly 28-Million dollars in tax credits to support efforts to rehabilitate 39 historic buildings around Ohio. The Ohio Development Services Agency announced this week that 27.8-Million dollars in historic-preservation tax credits have been awarded to 26 applicants, a move that's expected to spur more than 261-Million dollars in private investments in 14 communities. There's a catch for developers, however, since they'll need to earn those tax credits – which will be doled-out once the projects are completed and meet all program requirements.
Vandals left-behind an estimated 500 dollars' worth of damage along Storywalk Trail in Richfield and authorities are scouring the area to find the culprits. Richfield Police say a total of 16 storyboards located along Carter Pedigo Trail were recently demolished by someone who came through the area over the past few days. The trail that opened a little more than three years ago is located next-door to the Richfield Branch of the Akron-Summit Public Library. Police are asking for tips at 330-659-9500.
Akron Police have released security camera photos in hopes the public can help identify two suspects in a robbery at an ATM last weekend. Police say the crime happened at 1:50PM last Saturday at a money machine in the 1000 block of Kenmore Boulevard. A 63-year-old woman had pulled-up and began entering the numbers when the suspects approached, wearing bandanas over their faces. The woman sped-off from the scene and later found the two had ripped-off 500 dollars from her bank account. Police want tips at 330-375-2490.
A former drum major instructor at Ohio State University was due back in court on Wednesday to face the music, following his guilty plea to charges for a sexual encounter with a young female student. 29-year-old Stewart Kitchen was ordered by a Franklin County judge to serve three years in prison and register as a sex offender following his conviction on a sexual battery charge, stemming from his actions after a night out drinking with the 19-year-old woman in April last year. The two went back to Kitchen's home, where the victim was sexually assaulted. Other more serious counts filed against Kitchen were dismissed as part of a plea deal and while he was looking at a possible five-year prison term, his attorney last week begged the judge to spare his client any prison time.
A young man who reportedly pulled a gun and tried to open fire on a cop has been taken into custody by Akron Police. Authorities announced on Wednesday that 20-year-old Javon Spells of Barberton was riding a bicycle in the area of Ada and Reed Avenues around the Noon hour on Tuesday when he approached a 47-year-old man who was walking along the street. The man called police to say that Spells pulled a gun and began to demand money when the intended victim ran-off. Officers responding to the call found Spells a short time later near some apartments off Rosemary Boulevard. When he was approached, Spells allegedly pulled the gun and pulled the trigger...but the weapon misfired. He was tagged by a K-9 on Kelly Avenue and held until officers came-in to slap on the cuffs. Police say that Spells admitted to drawing the weapon and pulling the trigger after his arrest. The weapon was found in his pocket. He was booked into Summit County Jail on charges of felonious assault, assaulting a police dog, aggravated robbery, carrying a concealed weapon and weapons under disability.
Summit County CrimeStoppers has put-up a three-Thousand dollar reward for information leading to an arrest after someone heaved a bottle that hit an Akron Police officer in the head. The incident happened early Saturday morning outside Mango's Bar in the 600 block of South Arlington Street, where officers had responded to break-up a large fight. As police were on the scene, someone in the crowd threw a beer bottle that left one officer with injuries to his head. Anyone with information, call Akron Police Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490 or Summit County CrimeStoppers at 330-434-COPS.
A Streetsboro man who was sentenced by a Portage County judge to two years in prison still has some legal issues to work-out – and will likely get additional time behind bars. The judge ordered 38-year-old Bernardo Martinez behind bars on convictions for receiving stolen property and aggravated drug possession - then ordered him held in Portage County Jail to await the outcome of another case involving a standoff he staged with the Metro SWAT Team last Friday on the south side of Kent. That standoff on Currie Hall Parkway ended peacefully about an hour after it began when authorities rolled-up to serve an arrest warrant.
A Kent man has been ordered to spend the next seven years in prison following his conviction in the drug overdose death of a friend. 27-year-old Brian Woods appeared in Portage County Court this week after a jury in May found him guilty on charges of corrupting another with drugs. The panel failed to reach a verdict on an involuntary manslaughter charge in connection with the April 17 death last year of 25-year-old Christopher Hewitt of Ravenna. Woods eventually pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a deal that saw him get no additional prison time. Hewitt was found unresponsive on a bathroom floor at a supermarket and the autopsy later showed that he had overdosed on fentanyl, which prosecutors say was sold to him by Woods. The accused man left the victim lying alone in the bathroom after he ingested the drugs.
Change is happening in the manner in which Akron Fire personnel earn their promotions. The recently-approved three-year contract also changes the process for elevating personnel to higher rank, eliminating a testing procedure in favor of basing promotions on seniority and education level. The new process will go into effect once the current promotional list has expired and comes following a drawn-out Federal lawsuit claiming discrimination with regard to the old testing procedure. The litigation held-up promotions for an extended period and caused a shortage in leadership ranks within the city's fire department.
Ohio's prisons department pulled-in almost 1.3-Million dollars through the sell-off of the system's 14-hundred dairy cattle, part of the state's effort to raise money for other rehabilitation and job-training programs for inmates. The profits will cover only about half of this year's cost for providing milk to the 50-Thousand prisoners who are currently behind bars in state prisons. The dairy cattle auction actually drew 1.56-Million dollars, but the state had to pay auctioneer fees and other costs to the State Department of Administrative Services. The sale came after the state decided to end its inmate farming program in April, with the Prisons Director saying it was outdated and that farm jobs were often used to smuggle contraband into prisons.
The State Auditor's office this week released details of a review of the Ohio Food Stamp program, which found some 31-Thousand dollars' worth of questionable items including benefits to dead people and duplicate payments to others. The findings were included in the audit that was recently conducted in the 2.5-Billion dollar Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The report shows 36 cases in which 24-Thousand dollars in benefits were paid-out to people a year after they died and almost 29-Million in benefits were spent outside the state – indicating the users either don't live here or they've been selling-off their cards and benefits.