In The Region

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Residents warned of
scams going around
Portage County residents are asked to be wary of telephone and mail scams recently investigated by Ravenna police.
Capt. David Rarrick said recent scams include telephone solicitors attempting to sell computer service contracts, and getting victims to pay via Western Union.
“Of course, there is no service contract and the victim is at a loss, possibly several hundred to several thousand dollars,” he said. “The destination receiving the Western Union money transfer is usually outside the United States, making investigation and prosecution very difficult.”
Another scam that is becoming more frequent is potential victims receiving a check for a large sum of money in the mail, usually disguised as a sweepstakes prize, Rarrick said.
These scams should be ignored, even when the person presenting the check offers to meet the victim at their bank to give the appearance of authenticity.
Former arsenal stays
on missile venue list
The “short list” of potential sites to be the future location of a ballistic missile interceptor base got shorter Jan. 31, and the former Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant is still on the list, federal officials said.
Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center, east of Ravenna, is one of four sites being considered by the Department of Defense and the Missile Defense Agency as an interceptor deployment site, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman announced.
The Department of Defense will conduct an Environmental Impact Study to determine Camp Ravenna’s suitability over the next 24 months, Portman said.
Brown said he continues to support the growth of Camp Ravenna in order for it to create jobs for the region.
Murder trial slated for
area man this August
A Franklin Township man charged in the kidnapping, robbery and murder of an Alliance man could face the death penalty after being indicted by a Portage County grand jury on five felony charges.
John R. Fox, 34, was indicted Jan. 23 on two counts of aggravated murder, both unclassified felonies, and one count each of aggravated robbery and kidnapping, both first-degree felonies, and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.
Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said the indictment “allows the full range of possible penalties” on the charges, including death by lethal injection.
Fox remains in the Portage County Jail on $3 million bond, following his arraignment Jan. 27 in Portage County Common Pleas Court. The case is assigned to Judge Laurie Pittman, who set an initial trial date for Aug. 4, according to court records.
The body of Justin T. Earley, 22, was found wrapped up in the closet of Fox’s apartment at Storer Suites on Jan. 17. Earley had been missing since Dec. 30 after he failed to return home from a trip to Kent.
— Dave O’Brien, Record-Courier
Nominees sought for
environmental efforts
The 16th annual Portage Environmental Conservation Awards dinner will be April 5, featuring a reception with music, hors d’oeuvres and a buffet dinner.
Nominations are being sought for potential awardees to be honored at the event. Nominations are considered based on their contributions to Portage County’s environment through education, green business, green development, stewardship and environmental activism.
Nominations should include the nominee’s name, contact information and a paragraph describing the contribution to environmental conservation.
Visit the Portage Park District’s website at www.portageparkdistrict.org/news to download a nomination forum, and send nominations by Feb. 14 to Portage Park District, 705 Oakwood St., Suite T-04, Ravenna 44266 or email ccraycroft@portageparkdistrict.org.
Fundraising proceeds will benefit the Portage Park District Foundation’s mission to support local parks and green spaces.

Christian-Bennett eyes
commissioner position
Sabrina Christian-Bennett has filed petitions seeking the Republican nomination for Portage County Commissioner in the May 6 primary.
Christian-Bennett lives in Rootstown with her husband Richard, a 33-year veteran of the Ravenna Police Department. She has four children — two adult children, plus one in college and one in high school.
She graduated from KSU in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in human resources. She is the owner/president of Bennett Land Title Agency LLC with locations in Brimfield and Ravenna.


Portage’s jobless rate
falls during December
The jobless rate in Portage County dropped to 6.5 percent in December from 6.8 in November. Rates decreased in 75 of Ohio’s 88 counties last month, according to numbers released by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services.
ODJFS said the number of jobless workers in Ohio in December was 416,000, down from 427,000 in November. The number of unemployed has increased by 31,000 in the past 12 months from 385,000
Portage had 6,000 people jobless and looking for work in December out of a workforce of 92,200, according to ODJFS statistics.
Portage ranked 52nd out of Ohio’s counties, with 36 counties having lower rates. Mercer County had the lowest rate in the state at 3.8 percent. The highest was 14.6 percent in Monroe County.
Portage’s highest jobless rate was 11.6 percent in January 2010, when there were 10,700 residents out of work.
December rates for counties abutting Portage (with their November rates) are: Cuyahoga 7.2 (7.4); Geauga 6.2 (5.9); Mahoning 7.6 (8.2); Stark 6.9 (7.20); Summit 6.3 (6.8); and Trumbull 7.5 (8.0).
— Mike Sever, Record-Courier
Free tax filing aid set
at Catholic Charities
Free tax filing assistance through The Ohio Benefit Bank will once again be available at Catholic Charities Serving Portage and Stark Counties.
Residents interested in making an appointment to have their taxes filed or complete other benefit applications through the OBB can call CCSPSC’s Ravenna office in Portage County at 330-297-7745, or its Canton office in Stark County at 330-491-0896.
Appointments are available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays or other times by appointments. Catholic Charities will be holding a Feb. 8 tax clinic from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. by appointment only.
Community members interested in volunteering as OBB counselors can call Susan Morris at 330-297-7745 or Mary Ann Mills, community organizer, at 330-777-1051 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Jennings will run for
youth /probate judge
Attorney Jonathan P. Jennings has announced he will run for Portage County juvenile/ probate judge, the term of which begins Feb. 9, 2015, following the retirement of long-time Judge Thomas J. Carnes.
Jennings, a Republican, is currently an acting judge with the Portage County Municipal Court. He also runs his own private practice, with offices in Ravenna and Kent. Prior to that, Jennings served Portage County residents for 11 years as an attorney at legal aid.
“I’ve been honored and privileged to be able to devote my legal career to serving the people of Portage County,” he siad. “Throughout my time as an attorney I’ve handled hundreds of cases in the juvenile and probate court.
“As a practicing attorney running two legal offices, I’ve learned the skills for balancing the demands of two offices, and this is an important part of the administrative requirements of serving on the juvenile / probate bench.”

Zoning in Streetsboro
is subject of a lawsuit
Sahbra Farms, which is owned by David Gross, has filed a $35 million lawsuit against the city of Streetsboro. It alleges the rural residential zoning of the 290-acre property at Route 14 and Diagonal Road is unconstitutional.
Two master planning processes have identified Sahbra Farms as a good location for a higher-density development incorporating “a variety of housing types, a mix of land uses, an active center and a walkable design,” according to the complaint, citing the 2009 Comprehensive Land Use plan.
Since officials hadn’t had a chance to review the complaint, Mayor Glenn Broska declined to comment. The complaint was filed at the Portage County Court of Common Pleas. Gross referred questions to his attorneys, who were not immediately available for comment.
The property also was identified in a land use plan developed by Land Vision in 2004 as a good location for such a development, and the compalint states, “Despite paying $25,000 for the LandVision plan, the city never formally adopted it,”
Sahbra Farms is seeking compensation “representing the fair market value of the property and temporary taking damages for the city’s taking of the property under Ohio law,” the complaint says.
— Bob Gaetjens, Gateway News

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