Charter ballot issue
group files a protest
Supporters of a proposed charter for Portage County government have protested the Aug. 1 vote by the county elections board that said the charter was invalid and should not go on the November ballot.
In the protest, the Portage County Community Rights Group said the election board's sole reason for rejecting the petition was that it "does not meet the requirement of law, as it fails to make provisions for a County Executive as required by O.R.C. 302.02."
The protest, which has been forwarded to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted for review, calls the board's decision a "clear error as a matter of law.
"The petition seeks to create a charter government under Ohio Constitution Article X, Sec. 3. There is absolutely no requirement that such a government also have a County Executive under O.R.C. 302.02. Therefore, the decision of the BOE is error as a matter of law and must be reversed."
Gwen Fischer, coordinator for the Portage County Community Rights Group, sponsors of the proposed charter, said the group is prepared to challenge Husted's decision in court if he upholds the election board's action.
"We are prepared to keep working at this. I believe our lawyers are prepared to fight," Fischer said. "We put in a lot of hours getting those signatures. We're not willing to give up at this point."
-- Mike Sever, Record-Courier
UH Portage will host
'Drive Sober' kickoff
Portage County Safe Communities, a program of the Portage County Health District, will kick off the annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign on Aug. 18.
The event starts at 10 a.m. and is open to the public at UH Portage Medical Center, 6847 N. Chestnut St., Ravenna (Room 150).
Lt. Antonio Matos, Ravenna Post Commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and Chief Darin Powers of the Streetsboro Police Department will provide overviews on county statistics, and law enforcement efforts to reduce drunk driving during the campaign from Aug. 19 to Sept. 5.
County Prosecutor Victor V. Vigluicci will speak as an advocate of aggressive enforcement and the commitment of his office to vigorously prosecute drunk/drugged drivers.
Portage County Commissioner Vicki Kline will show her support of Portage County's unified goal to save lives through increased education and enforcement.
Lt. Gregory Johnson of the Portage County Sheriff's Office will share the importance of zero-tolerance enforcement. He was struck by a drunk driver while on duty.
"No one is safe from the effects of drunk driving; it affects all of us," he said.
Streetsboro man faces
charges after incident
A Streetsboro man is facing attempted murder charges after police say he tried to beat his wife to death during an incident at their home on July 16.
Larry A. Pishner, 43, of Meadow Ridge Drive was being held as of last week in the Portage County Jail on $1 million bond, according to court records.
He was indicted July 21 by a Portage County grand jury on two counts of attempted murder, both first-degree felonies; and one count each of felonious assault, a second-degree felony, and domestic violence, a first-degree misdemeanor.
Pishner pleaded not guilty to the charges at his July 25 arraignment in Portage County Common Pleas Court and was ordered held on bond.
Judge Laurie Pittman scheduled a trial for Sept. 20, according to court records.
Pishner initially was arrested July 16 and charged with felonious assault, a second-degree felony, after Streetsboro police responded to his residence and found that he had repeatedly punched his wife, Brandy L. Pishner, 38.
She allegedly suffered "severe facial/head injuries," according to Streetsboro police.
-- Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier
Meth probe results in charges against man
A Streetsboro man who has been on the Portage County Drug Task Force's radar for several months is facing local and possibly federal criminal charges after being caught with nearly $100,000 worth of methamphetamine and cash and several firearms following his arrest.
After a months-long probe into illegal drug trafficking by Streetsboro police and the drug task force, Gregory J. Shepper Jr., 34, was arrested Aug. 3 after a traffic stop on Route 14.
He is charged with one count each of trafficking and possession of drugs, both first-degree felonies. He remains in the Portage County jail on 10 percent of $250,000, according to court records.
Agents allegedly recovered more than 2.2 pounds of illegal methamphetamine in Shepper's backpack, along with what may amount to more than $2,000 in cash.
-- Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier
Warren man is killed
in Atwater Twp. crash
A Warren man who died in a two-car crash in Atwater on Aug. 1 was a newlywed, married just two days before the crash, according to a family member.
Derek Speicher, 39, wed Rachel Perrine on July 30 at her mother's home in Champion in Trumbull County, a family member said.
Less than 72 hours later, Speicher was traveling eastbound on Route 224 in a 2005 Honda CRV when a 2014 Buick Verano, driven by a Youngstown woman, allegedly traveled left of center and struck his vehicle head-on.
The Buick driver, Susan Owens, 64, had to be extricated from her vehicle and was taken to Akron City Hospital by LifeFlight helicopter.
Neither driver involved the crash was wearing a seatbelt, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol. The investigation is ongoing, troopers said.
It was the 10th fatal crash in Portage County this year, according to highway patrol releases and Record-Courier reports.
-- Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier
Study finds Ohio isn't
helping parents much
A new state-by-state analysis released two days before the 23rd anniversary of the day the federal Family and Medical Leave Act took effect shows Ohio is providing almost none of the critical help families need.
"Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help Expecting and New Parents" is the most comprehensive analysis to date of state laws and regulations governing paid leave and other workplace rights for expecting and new parents in the United States.
Ohio earned a grade of "D" for its policies. The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The full study grades all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on their passage of laws that offer greater leave or workplace protections than federal law provides.
California is the only state to receive an "A." D.C. and New York earned grades of "A-" and 11 states earned grades of "B."
"Despite some meaningful progress, too many working families in this country struggle at the very time they should be focused on giving children their best possible starts in life," said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership, which drafted and led the fight for FMLA.