Ground broken for latest
downtown Kent building
State, county and local officials broke out the blue and gold shovels again March 1 at a groundbreaking ceremony for the third building in the downtown Kent Fairmount Properties block.
Fairmount Properties officials gave the crowd a preview of Building C, which will house Bricco, an Italian-themed restaurant, on the ground floor and 32 apartment units on the top four floors of the structure, located on the corner of DePeyster and Erie streets.
Mayor Jerry Fiala thanked Fairmount Properties for its work on "another piece of the puzzle" that is downtown Kent's $110 million redevelopment project.
Adam Branscomb, project manager at Fairmount Properties, said Bricco should be able to start its interior work in November. Tenants will likely start moving in to the apartment units in spring 2014.
-- Thomas Gallick, Record-Courier
Sales tax plan concerns
Randolph Fair's officials
Like others around Ohio, the Portage County Fair Board is wondering what effect Gov. John Kasich's proposal to include sales tax on fairs and other events will have on their annual event.
The governor's plan is to have dozens of previously exempt activities and services, including county fairs, pay a 5 percent sales tax. The board will have its first opportunity to discuss the issue when it meets tonight (March 6).
Board president Charles Breiding said he's concerned that smaller, less financially stable fairs could be hit hard by the sales tax on entertainment admissions, if it is OK'd by the state Legislature.
"I'm sure it would put them in a tremendous bind or put them out of business," Breiding said.
He said he's concerned a sales tax would raise ticket prices and put a damper on attendance. The fair's general admission price of $5 would go up 25 cents and prices would rise on season passes and grandstand admission as well.
9 arrested in drug raid at
downtown Ravenna site
Nine Ravenna and Ravenna Township residents were arrested Feb. 28 following a weeks-long investigation into the alleged sale of cocaine out of a house in downtown Ravenna.
Portage County Drug Task Force agents and members of the Ravenna Police Department, acting on "numerous complaints of constant drug trafficking" taking place in a house on Plum Way in Ravenna, located behind the Prospect House apartment complex and only a few steps from the First United Methodist Church of Ravenna, according to the Portage County Sheriff's Department.
Agents conducted surveillance and undercover operations at the house over the past several weeks, Portage County Sheriff David Doak said. As a result, they obtained a search warrant for the residence and raided it the evening of Feb. 28.
Ravenna police officers and agents seized powder and crack cocaine, prescription drugs, an undisclosed amount of money and drug paraphernalia, according to Doak and court documents.
-- Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier
Hiram man sentenced to
nine years for a burglary
A Hiram Township man was sentenced March 1 to serve nine years in state prison for a home invasion-type burglary of an 87-year-old neighbor's residence in November 2012.
David A. Warner, 29, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony, on Jan. 24. He admitted to breaking into Dorothy Bailey's home on Route 88 in Nelson on Nov. 13, 2012, and assaulting her, according to the Portage County Sheriff's Department.
Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman ordered Warner to serve nine years in prison, Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said. By law, he faced a minimum of three years or up to 11 years behind bars.
Warner went to Bailey's home at about 3 p.m. Nov. 13 and knocked on the door. He then forced his way inside, knocked her down, went into her purse, stole $10 from her wallet and fled, according to Vigluicci. The money went to buy drugs, according to the sheriff's office.
Bailey suffered a broken hip and a fractured orbital bone in her face, Vigluicci said.
-- Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier
Stolen wallet found in
Kent bar 13 years later
Janet Andy remembers her purse being stolen like it was yesterday.
She was a newlywed, having just married her husband, Paul, in July 1999.
Four months later, she went grocery shopping, returned to her home in Franklin Township, and left her car in the driveway, with her purse and her Pepsi forgotten on the roof.
A little while later, she went to get her purse and noticed it was gone. A search of the nearby wooded area didn't turn it up.
But 13 years later, the new owners of Diggers in Kent called her to say they'd been doing some remodeling. Employee Bruce Bentley started his work in the men's room, and noticed a surprise while removing ceiling tiles.
"Two beer bottles were up there," he said. "One hit me in the shoulder and fell on the floor and broke. And then I saw the wallet."
Andy and her wallet were reunited March 1 after owners Bert and Robin Bellinson consulted first the phone book, and then the internet, to find Andy.
-- Diane Smith, Record-Courier
Residents still can apply
for emergency HEAP aid
The Community Action Council of Portage County is taking appointments for emergency utility assistance under the Home Energy Assistance Program Winter Crisis Program.
Any family or individual can call the agency at 330-297-1456 to schedule an appointment, which are usually scheduled one to three weeks in advance.
CAC also offers walk-in services for customers whose utility services have been turned off or who cannot get an appointment on Tuesday and Thursday between 8 and 11:30 a.m. Walk-in scheduling is determined on a first-come, first-served basis and CAC usually takes the first 18 customers.
Residents also can visit the agency's HEAP satellite centers at 1115 Franklin Ave., Kent, on Mondays between 9 and 11 a.m., and at the Renaissance Family Center, 9005 Wilverne, Windham, on Fridays between 9 and 11 a.m.
Appointments are not required at those offices.
Nominations sought for
senior volunteers honors
The Salute to Senior Service program, sponsored by Home Instead Inc., the franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network, honors the contributions of adults 65 and older who give at least 15 hours a month of volunteer service to their favorite causes.
Nominations of volunteers will be accepted through March 31. State winners then will be selected by popular vote at SautetoSeniorService.com.
Online voting will take place from April 15 to 30. From those state winners, a panel of senior care experts will pick the national Salute to Senior Service honoree.
Home Instead will donate $500 to each of the state winners' favorite nonprofit groups, and their stories will be posted on the Salute to Senior Service Wall of Fame.
To view the contest's rules, visit SalutetoSeniorsService.com. For details about the program or Home Instead Senior Care network's services, call 330-995-1522.
Stop smoking class set
A stop smoking seminar will take place March 21 from 6 to 7 p.m. in Room 531 of Roosevelt High School in Kent.
The instructor is clinical hypnotist Don Mannarino. The cost for the one session is $50 with a $10 materials fee to be paid directly to the instructor. Each participant will receive a CD reinforcement copy of the hypnosis program as well as instruction on self-hypnosis for stress relief.
For details, call 330-676-8740.