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Ohio.com's most read stories from 24 hours to 7 days of the week. Your number one location for Ohio's news.

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    CEDARVILLE: In the era before President Donald Trump, Republican Mike DeWine’s status as an easy favorite to win Ohio’s governor’s race would have been assured.

    The 70-year-old attorney general, who announced his long-anticipated bid Sunday, is one of the state’s most familiar and high-profile public figures, a former U.S. senator and lieutenant governor with a big wholesome-looking family, an extensive political network and $2.5 million already in the bank.

    But it remains to be seen how DeWine’s traditional political profile will play in a national political climate that’s been upended by President Donald Trump. DeWine’s two announced Republican challengers are already employing some of Trump’s populist campaign tactics.

    U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth is pushing himself as a political-outsider businessman and hiring up former staffers from Trump’s successful presidential campaign. Secretary of State Jon Husted, despite his record of bipartisan compromise, launched his campaign with ads that capitalized on divisive remarks that came back to haunt high-profile Democrats, including saying his family “would firmly fit in Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables.’ ”

    “It’s a different political world that we’re looking at,” said Cedarville University political scientist Mark Caleb Smith, while predicting that DeWine will still at least begin the race as the presumed front-runner.

    “I’m not sure there’s another candidate in the race that can really exploit that [populist strategy] like a Donald Trump could,” Smith said. “They may be going full Trump stylistically, but I’m not sure it will hurt DeWine as much. The race, for DeWine, is going to come down to a very basic question: Will his experience be a strength or a weakness. If it were a normal year, I’d say a strength.”

    DeWine chose to make his campaign announcement during the DeWine Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social, an annual event at his historic Cedarville homestead in southwest Ohio. Thousands attended the event, a mainstay of summer politics in Ohio.

    DeWine said he wants to use the bully pulpit of the governor’s office to assure every Ohio child has the chance to achieve their potential — including through quality education, the prospects of a good living and freedom from the state’s scourge of opioid addiction and death.

    “We have an obligation to rescue Ohio’s sons and daughters of addiction,” he said, adding, “Their pain is real, their suffering is unimaginable.”

    Besides Husted and Renacci, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor of Green is also contemplating a run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination next year. Republican Gov. John Kasich has said if she gets in, he’ll back his lieutenant of seven years. Kasich, a 2016 presidential contender, has positioned himself as one of the president’s most vocal critics.


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    CANTON: One man was killed and four others injured in separate shootings Sunday morning, as gun violence continues in Stark County, the Canton Repository reports.

    In the most recent incident at 3:49 a.m. Sunday, four men were shot in the 1700 block of Edwards Avenue NE. One of them later died at Mercy Medical Center, the newspaper reported.

    In the other incident, a man was shot at 3:29 a.m. Sunday in the 700 block of Alan Page Drive SE and suffered nonlife-threatening injuries, the newspaper said.

    A week ago, two men were killed and five others injured in shootings in Canton. Earlier this month, an elderly couple were shot to death in Lake Township and a son and mother were killed in an apparently double homicide-suicide attempt in Bethlehem Township.

    Read the full Repository report here.


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    The Autism Society of Greater Akron’s Autism 5K Run and Walk, held in Lock 3 earlier this month, attracted more 2,000 participants to support individuals and families living with autism in the community. The event raised more than $108,000 while serving as a community-wide rally day to show support for people living with autism. This year’s presenting sponsor was Bevan and Associates. The top fundraising team was Team Samboat (team organizers Jennifer and Tim Piatt of Green), which so far has raised $10,819. Team fundraising continues through July 31. The T-shirt contest winner was Team Star Speeder (team organizer Elizabeth Jackson of Spencer). Christian Hendricks, 18, of Fairlawn was the overall male winner of the 5K run; Theresa Hagey, 14, of Fairlawn was the female winner.

    The Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board recently participated in its second Annual Community Give Back Day. More than 140 Summit DD staff members volunteered at several local organizations including, Haven of Rest, Emerge Counseling Services, Lakemore Parks and six Goodwill stores throughout the county. The initiative is part of Summit DD’s strategic direction to build inclusive communities. The agency’s board launched a new policy in 2016 giving all full-time staff a paid volunteer day to give back to the Summit County community.

    Fifth Third recently announced that it provided more than 1 million meals in May to fight hunger during its annual “Feeding Our Communities” initiative. The monthlong effort included employee and customer donations, canned goods drives and employee volunteer activities. Fifth Third partnered with more than 65 organizations across its 10-state footprint to provide employee volunteer opportunities in May. Each region identified needs in their local communities and designed volunteer efforts to support. Northeast Ohio employees served 23,000 meals through a food drive at the bank’s financial centers, volunteer efforts at various food banks and monetary donations from customers and employees.

    The following St. Sebastian Parish School students recently qualified to compete in the Power of the Pen State Tournament at the College of Wooster: eighth-grader Matthew Dennee and seventh-graders Mia Khayyat, Sawyer Huckabee and Cassia Chivers.

    Recent Hoover High School graduate Isabella Pete of North Canton was selected as a 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar. Pete was one of 161 high school seniors selected who demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, service, and contribution to school and community. The U.S. Presidential Scholars were honored for their accomplishments last week in Washington D.C.

    A fundraising program to support a “special prom” for students with special needs at Revere High School was one of four statewide to win a $1,000 contest through GoFundMe. Last month, GoFundMe announced a $100,000 fundraising contest. The winning Richfield fundraiser was “WeLoveTeachers 239 Special Moments” at https://www.gofundme.com/revere-rm-239-special-moments

    Akron Public Schools this month recognized these employees for years of service: Mary Adams, central office administrator, 32 years; Ellen Rollin, child nutrition, 32 years; Michael Dozier, custodian, 37 years; Raymond Hinton, educational assistant, 37 years; Michael Visich, foreman, 35 years; Patrice Mikula, office support, 32 years; Nancy Perry, transportation, 43 years; Kimberly Wilson Field, administrator, 33 years; Mary Batyko, elementary school teacher, 35 years; Beth Howe, middle school teacher, 31 years; Timothy Zolyniak, high school teacher, 32 years; and Patricia Tschantz, special education teacher, 30 years.

    The weekly Good News column features awards and recognitions, military and scholastic achievements, civic accomplishments and other good works. Please fax information to 330-996-3033, email it to goodnews@thebeaconjournal.com or send it to Good News, Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309. Include a photograph if one is available.


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    CUYAHOGA FALLS: City police and the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the death of a man whose body was found in a retention pond Sunday night.

    His death doesn’t appear suspicious, authorities said.

    The man has been identified as Rudolf Hinderegger, 87, of Cuyahoga Falls. The pond is near Cobblestone Lane, where he owned a condominium.

    Hinderegger was found partially submerged in the pond at about 6:50 p.m. The person who found him called 911, with Cuyahoga Falls firefighters responding.

    Hinderegger was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:15 p.m., according to a press release from the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office.


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    A Salvation Army pastor caught in the crossfire during a triple shooting at an Akron barbershop in December told the man who shot him Monday morning that he forgives him.

    “I’m going to be praying for you,” Corps Officer Captain James Jones said to Robert L. Rodgers during his sentencing in Summit County Common Pleas Court. “I don’t hate you. But, you did some damage.”

    Rodgers, 25, of Akron, pleaded guilty last week under an agreement with prosecutors to charges stemming from the Dec. 1 shooting and an unrelated fentanyl overdose death.

    Judge Jill Flagg Lanzinger sentenced Rodgers to 12 years in prison, the agreed-upon time between prosecutors and Rodgers’ attorney, Charles Quinn. Rodgers could have faced up to 23 years in prison.

    Prosecutors said Rodgers provided fentanyl to Kevin Snyder in August 2015 and Snyder died after taking it.

    In an unrelated incident, police said Rodgers was in RP Blade Academy, a barbershop on West Exchange Street, on Dec. 1 when a man walked into the barbershop and he and Rodgers began to argue. Rodgers pulled a gun from beneath his barber’s cape and started shooting, striking Jones and two other people in the barbershop. All three survived.

    Read more later today on Ohio.com and in Tuesday’s Beacon Journal.

    Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow on Twitter: @swarsmithabj  and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/swarsmith.


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    Summa Health plans to eliminate about 300 positions and discontinue and consolidate some services because it’s “facing staggering operating losses” of more than $60 million this year, interim President and CEO Dr. Cliff Deveny wrote in a memo sent to employees Monday.

    “While we have considerable cash in reserve to protect us for the short term, this trend must stop immediately,” he said.

    About half of the positions in question are filled now. The health system, which operates Summa Akron City Hospital, SummaCare insurance and other businesses, has about 8,000 workers now.

    In his memo, Deveny warns that unless everyone works to improve the health system, “I can assure you the name on our badges will no longer say Summa Health, our employees at all levels of the organization and our community will see unprecedented change, and our independent physicians will be faced with the reality of what it means to practice in a community that no longer has an independent, local option for them.”

    The memo does not state specific services that will be discontinued or consolidated.

    The health system had posted a profit of $30 million last year, the memo says.

    Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan released a statement Monday urging the community to stand behind Summa as it repositions itself, and said the city would work closely with the health system as it takes its next steps.

    “Just as our community depends on the care and services Summa provides for its health and welfare; Summa cannot succeed without the support and trust of the community,” Horrigan said. “I have pledged to continue to work with Dr. Deveny and the Summa leadership team to do everything necessary to ensure the organization remains a strong and independent pillar for years to come.”

    Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro also released a statement pledging support to Deveny and Summa.

    “The actions taken by Summa today, while certainly unfortunate for the impacted employees and their families, are also necessary to ensure that Summa Health remains a successful, independently-owned organization in our community,” Shapiro said.

    Akron City Councilwoman Tara Mosley Samples, the Ward 5 representative, said “it is always extremely difficult to watch people lose their jobs when they have families to take care of.”

    “I am not happy about people losing their jobs, but understand streamlining of services,” she said.

    Deveny blamed the losses on a variety of factors, including the changing health care industry, some doctors not referring patients to Summa claiming concerns over the quality of care and the health system “not working hard enough across our entire system to make patient access a priority.”

    He also acknowledged the “turmoil at the beginning of the year,” when Summa abruptly switched emergency medicine physicians in its ERs, “certainly worsened the situation.”

    The health system is working on solutions, he added.

    Return to Ohio.com and read Tuesday’s Akron Beacon Journal for more on this developing story.

    To read Deveny’s full memo, see below:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As I finish my first 100 days back at Summa Health, I continue to absorb all that I’ve heard from you – the good, the bad and the expected. I have consistently heard that, while you have concerns about Summa’s cultural shift, you remain passionate supporters of Summa Health and our community. Now, more than ever, we need your passion and spirit of collaboration because Summa Health’s future as Akron’s locally controlled adult hospital and the area’s largest employer depends on us working together toward unified goals.

    This year, inpatient and outpatient volumes are dramatically down and, as a result, we are facing staggering operating losses. Our current projections show us going from a profit of $30 million last year to a loss of more than $60 million this year. While we have considerable cash in reserve to protect us for the short term, this trend must stop immediately. In response, you will see several changes over the next month:

    • We are eliminating approximately 300 positions. Roughly half of these positions are currently open and we will work closely with those impacted individuals to provide outplacement services. While the primary goal is to eliminate administrative layers in the organization, all functions are affected.

    • We will be discontinuing certain services that are better provided in other more appropriate settings. We have to stick to our core mission to the community.

    • We are reevaluating our ongoing capital needs. All new projects must be evaluated against our critical strategic goals. The West Tower project will continue as scheduled because, as we’ve noted, this investment is necessary to help Summa achieve its long-term mission.

    • We will consolidate units and services to make sure we are operating as efficiently as possible. We cannot afford to maintain multiple half-full units or have duplicate operations in multiple functions.

    While some might be quick to place blame, there are multiple factors, both internal and external impacting our organization. As far back as the middle of last year, leadership warned that 2017 would be a challenging year financially — far below the positive outcomes in 2015 and 2016. These projections came before the turmoil at the beginning of the year, which certainly worsened the situation. What are these factors?

    • The healthcare industry is changing rapidly, and hospital systems are being hurt by what is occurring in Washington and in state capitals across the country. As a smaller, locally controlled health system, we suffer disproportionately.

    • When a patient enters one of the larger systems in the region, they tend to utilize other caregivers and specialists within that system. Too often, that is not the case here. As an organization dedicated to population health, we must do a better job of providing for the complete health needs of patients within our system.

    • A growing number of independent physicians, including some larger private practices, have admitted they are intentionally not referring their patients to Summa Health and claiming concerns about our quality of care. Despite these assertions, the quality of our care has been validated by external accreditation bodies, and we continue to deliver high-quality, compassionate care in our community. Ultimately, this goes back to our need to strengthen and repair relationships, and the time has come for Summa and our independent physicians to come together and commit to working more closely with one another for the betterment of our community. • We are not working hard enough across our entire system to make patient access a priority. Simply put, the number of days that pass before our patients are able to see their physician must improve immediately.

    It’s time to get past assigning blame and work toward shared ownership of a solution. We are developing a plan with your input on solutions that we will execute together. I ask everyone to look in the mirror and ask what we can do within our own sphere of influence to improve our situation.

    As we do so, we need to use the three guiding principles I laid out last month as our North Star. They are:

    · The Best Care for Patients and Members

    Our quality is good, and we can and should always focus on making it even better. SummaCare has returned to a 4-star rating and many of our services have recently been cited for their exceptional outcomes. We all must spread the word to counteract misinformation in the community.

    Everything we do is, and should always be, about delivering high-quality care in a compassionate setting, without exception. If you are not serving the patient, you should be serving someone who is.

    We take care of each other. These are difficult times, and we must be there for our co-workers as well.

    • A Great Experience

    Experience is about more than just the quality of care we provide. It’s about the feeling our patients, visitors and health plan members have when they enter our facilities and interact with our employees, both clinical and non-clinical.

    It is the responsibility of everyone in the organization to make our patients, visitors and members feel welcome and well cared for.

    Go above and beyond to offer great service and always remember to be kind.

    • Growth

    While we’ve focused on operational synergies over the past few years — with great results — we need to put our energy toward volume growth initiatives.

    We have created a new management structure that is designed to allow for greater opportunities for growth across the organization.

    To be successful, we must all start working more collaboratively to eliminate barriers to swift and decisive actions.

    If we don’t do these things, I can assure you the name on our badges will no longer say Summa Health, our employees at all levels of the organization and our community will see unprecedented change, and our independent physicians will be faced with the reality of what it means to practice in a community that no longer has an independent, local option for them.

    I believe today, as strongly as I did when I decided to come back to Summa, that we can be successful. Yet we must do it with eyes wide open, and I send you this letter so you can understand what is at stake and what we must do, not only for Summa but for our community. As I’ve said, many of you have expressed to me your dedication to Summa Health and the Akron community. I believe that commitment is real, and now we will all have to demonstrate it through our actions in the months ahead.

    Sincerely,

    Cliff Deveny, M.D.

    Interim President and CEO


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    The Akron area has too many new hotel rooms and not enough guests, a prominent local hotelier says.

    The addition of about 1,000 new hotel rooms in the last three years in the greater Akron area has resulted in low occupancy rates, says Rennick Andreoli, whose RDA Hotel Management Co.’s local holdings include the Sheraton Suites in Cuyahoga Falls and the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn and DoubleTree hotels, both in Fairlawn.

    “This is not Orlando, Las Vegas,” Andreoli said. “You don’t add supply to a shrinking market. ... What makes us nervous is we still have people talking about new hotels. I don’t see the demand there to justify the new construction.”

    A big fear is a room glut will lead to a price war that in turn hurts local hotel operations — while coming during a period when Andreoli and others recently spent millions of dollars to upgrade their properties to attract and retain customers.

    As many as 84 new hotel rooms will be added to downtown Akron by the end of next year when renovations to the now-closed City Center Hotel are complete. And further south, just outside the Akron metro area, two hotels are being planned as part of the $600 million Johnson Controls Pro Football Hall of Fame Village project in Canton.

    “We’re saying, be very, very careful,” Andreoli said.

    Andreoli cites the latest industry numbers to back his thesis of an over-saturated market.

    A firm that tracks, slices and dices national hotel data says that so far this year through May half of all hotel rooms in Summit and Portage counties went unbooked on average each and every night. Local occupancy rates are down from a year ago, according to the company, Tennessee-based STR Inc.

    The number of major hotels in the Akron metro area grew from 73 at the start of 2014 to 80 now, STR’s figures show. Available rooms over that period increased from 6,323 to 7,031 at the end of 2016; the number of rooms available dropped slightly with the closing of the City Center Hotel in December.

    Jan Freitag, senior vice president at STR who analyzes hotel industry figures, said the more recent Akron metro area numbers show declines while in Ohio and nationally numbers have been increasing.

    “Occupancy [in the Akron area] has declined year to date,” Freitag said. “Half of available rooms have been empty the first five months of the year.”

    STR figures show Akron metro-area hotels averaged a 49.9 percent occupancy rate for the first five months of 2017 compared to 50.9 for the same period a year ago.

    Gregg Mervis, president and chief executive officer of the Summit County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the latest data he has looked at show hotel room occupancy levels slowing. But he said the last four years also have shown growth in revenue per available room, called RevPAR in the hotel industry.

    “Certainly there’s been a slowing,” Mervis said. “I do believe the market is nearing a saturation point. ... Solid years of significant growth have slowed. There’s a realization that those numbers had to plateau.

    The select service hotels in the Akron market are doing better than full-service hotels, he said. Select service, or limited service, hotels provide fewer amenities than full-service hotels.

    Mervis said his hope is room demand generation will increase for all. Hotels need the money to reinvest in their properties and stay attractive, he said.

    While hotel growth rates nationally are slowing, “in general, life in the hotel industry is good. It’s not great,” Freitag said. “We’re still growing room demand.”

    According to STR, there are 189,000 hotel rooms now under construction across the nation that will open this year or in 2018.

    About two-thirds of the under-construction rooms are for limited service or select service hotels, Freitag said.

    “That’s where the action is,” he said.

    Not everyone thinks the Akron area hotel market is doom and gloom.

    For one, work is continuing on plans to convert the now-closed City Center Hotel at Cascade Plaza in Akron’s downtown into a combined apartment building and limited service hotel aimed primarily at the millennial generation. The developers hope to open the soon-to-be renovated property no later than early fall next year.

    Joel Testa, president of Testa Companies in Cuyahoga Falls, opened the select service 10-story Courtyard by Marriott hotel on the north side of Akron’s downtown last year. He is now working to finish plans on the 19-story City Center property his firm, along with business partner David Brennan, intends to redevelop at a cost of $25 million.

    The new Courtyard is doing well, Testa said.

    “Business travelers are the majority of our guests,” he said. “We don’t capture much of the leisure traveler.”

    Testa said he has narrowed the choice of hotel franchises for the City Center property to two brands; he said the success of the nearby Courtyard property led to hotel companies approaching him.

    The City Center site will be renovated into 106 one- and two-bedroom apartments on its upper levels. Apartments will rent from $900 a month for the singles to $1,200 for the doubles. The still-unnamed 84-room hotel will be on the first four floors, Testa said.

    The hotel and apartments are being designed with millennials in mind, Testa said.

    The project also will involve changes in and around Cascade Plaza to make it easier to get in and out of the property and to make it more attractive, Testa said. Construction work inside and outside the hotel should start within the next couple of months and lead to an opening in either late summer or early fall 2018, he said.

    Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ  on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ.


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    Sgt. C. Otis Smith knew he had to time his leap perfectly.

    A runaway horse and Amish buggy with no driver were barreling toward him westbound in the wrong lane on U.S. Route 250 near state Route 83 in Wayne County around 7 a.m. Sunday.

    He and the other officers who had gathered there outside their vehicles to try to stop the horse were worried that if the animal continued running to U.S. Route 30 and into Wooster, there could be a serious accident or even fatality.

    So Smith, who works for the Ohio State Highway Patrol, decided to jump aboard the passing buggy to bring the horse and vehicle to a safe stop.

    “You have that second when it goes by you and you grab hold [of the buggy] and jump on,” Smith said Monday morning, recalling the incident. “I had to be quick.”

    A body camera from a Wooster police officer captured Smith leaping aboard.

    When he got into the buggy, Smith pulled the reins, bringing the horse to a stop.

    “The horse kicked up and was so exhausted that it collapsed to the ground,” Smith said.

    The horse had ran about 10 miles from Apple Creek. It was seen by a veterinarian and was not injured, just tired.

    Smith estimated that the horse was going anywhere from 20 to 25 mph.

    The horse was running westbound in the eastbound lane of the road. Fortunately, the traffic was light at that time of day.

    As the horse approached authorities, they waved their hands and yelled “Whoa!” But that didn’t slow it down.

    That’s when Smith jumped aboard. Other officers can be heard laughing as he’s taken for a ride before climbing in the buggy.

    Everything happened so quickly that Smith said he didn’t have time to think about a 2,000-pound animal potentially running him over or getting dragged by the buggy.

    “It didn’t go through my mind,” he said.

    Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ .


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