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For those that are not in the know, we here at Mecca Media Entertainment have decided to take on the responsibility to bring to the community a weekly broadcast for The Reporter Newspaper. The program will be featured weekly here on this page and the home page of this site.

The Reporter Newspaper is an all black operated and black-owned weekly newspaper/publication that's been telling our stories for 50 years. In 2016 The Reporter Newspaper announced that they were available online @thereporternewspaperonline.com which is the online equivalent (website) of the tangible form.

Now in-conjunction with Mecca Media Inc. you can hear/ see the news being read directly from the website via a weekly broadcast. The show is hosted by
-Hiram Akeem

City Of Akron Offices Closed January 18 In Observance Of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Akron, Ohio, January, 14, 2021— All municipal offices will be closed on Monday, January 18, 2021 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

There will be no curb service on Monday, January 18. There will be a one-day delay of trash/recycle collections for the remainder of the week, with curb service resuming on Tuesday, January 19 and continuing through Saturday, January 23. To get reminders and alerts about your household’s curb service schedule, please download the Akron Recycles app free on Android or Apple devices. 

Additionally, the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council is hosting a virtual event on Monday, January 18 at 2pm for high school students grade 9 and up to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event will be on Zoom and students can register here. Participants will review an editorial about the Little Rock Nine. On September 19, 1957 Jane Emery, co-editor of the Central High School’s student newspaper, The Tiger, wrote a letter to her fellow students entitled, "Can you Meet the Challenge?" After reviewing the editorial, participants will discuss and share reactions to the role that young people have played in history, especially during the Civil Rights Movement.

 

Mayor Horrigan Announces The Retirement Of Adele Roth, Director Of Development

 

 

Akron, Ohio, January 11, 2021—Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has announced that Adele Dorfner Roth, Director of Development with the City of Akron’s Office of Integrated Development has retired from the City of Akron.  Adele has worked for the City in various planning and economic development roles, starting in 1984, and was first appointed to the City’s cabinet in 2014. As Director of Development, Adele provided critical leadership to the Mayor on development finance and economic policy issues throughout the City of Akron and its Joint Economic Development Districts.

“Adele has a unique ability to navigate complex development transactions and help diverse public and private partners build agreements that create lasting value not only for businesses, but most importantly, the citizens of Akron,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said.  “She is a bright, dedicated, community-minded public servant who fully invests both her personal and professional energy into making Akron a better place for her neighbors to live and work.   And her vast financial expertise and experience are both rare and invaluable.  I wish her the very best in her well-deserved retirement and will miss her insight in development and cabinet meetings.  I thank her for her contributions to Akron’s economy and community.” 

Adele was born in São Paulo, Brazil and immigrated to the United States as a child.  She has lived throughout the United States and settled in Akron in 1975 where she graduated from Firestone High School.  Adele then attended the Université de Nice and received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics from the University of Akron.

Adele's first job was as a Woolworth’s counter girl at Fairlawn Plaza in 1976, where she quickly discovered she didn’t like having a title that ended with “girl.” After working as an au pair, hotel maid/window glazer on the French Riviera, business owner, and teacher of freshman economics, Adele landed in what would become a career with the City of Akron in May of 1984 as an Economist I. After moving up the ranks from Economist I to Economist IV, Adele was promoted to  Investment Program Administration in 2007, where she oversaw the City’s capital budget, and then to Economic Development Manager in 2009. Roth joined then-Mayor Plusquellic’s cabinet in July 2014, as Deputy Planning Director for Economic Development. In 2018, Adele was promoted to her most recent position as Director of Development within Mayor Horrigan’s Office of Integrated Development.

Some of the notable projects Adele has helped facilitate include:

  • Working to and successfully keeping the Goodyear Headquarters in Akron

  • Working to and successfully keeping the Bridgestone Technical Center in Akron

  • Bringing a grocery store (Mustard Seed Market and Café) to Highland Square

  • Keeping Wally Waffle in Akron and actively managing the Chipotle Plaza in Highland Square while the property was owned by the City

  • Being instrumental in the creation of the Office of Integrated Development combining the Planning Department and the Office of Economic Development together with a focus on Akron’s public life

Remarking on her career with the City, Roth shared this reflection, “On January 20, 1961 President John F. Kennedy gave his inaugural address where he said: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country’. In March of that year my family came to the United States, and when learning of that coincidence in 4th grade, I came to believe that Kennedy was personally welcoming me to make a difference.  I have been blessed for 27 years to have a job that enabled me to help people, and I am very grateful to the City of Akron for allowing me that privilege.  In retirement, I’m looking forward to traveling, spending more time with friends and family, learning how to weave on an 8 shaft loom, and never attending another 7:30 am meeting again.”

Effective January 2021, Adele has transitioned out of full-time status, but will continue to aid the City in ensuring an effective transfer of her development duties related to ongoing projects, in a part-time capacity, through May 2021.  As part of the long-term planning for the Office of Integrated Development (OID), Mayor Horrigan will not be replacing the Director of Development appointed cabinet position.  Instead the functions of the position will be fulfilled by other staff within OID.  

Mayor Horrigan Issues Update On Rubber Worker Statue Installation

 

Akron, Ohio, January 11, 2021—Today, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has announced that the City’s 12 ft. tall bronze Rubber Worker statue will be installed in late spring 2021, due to material and shipping delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally planned for a fall 2020 installation, the COVID-19 pandemic caused several delays in the mining and shipping of materials needed for the base of the statue. The statue itself, created by Ohio Sculptor Alan Cottrill, is fully complete.

All of the materials are now in Akron, including the statue’s tiered granite base, shaped like the County of Summit and City of Akron.  However, the colder winter weather is not conducive to proper installation. By delaying the installation until the spring, it will allow for a more cost effective and efficient installation in warmer weather. A final date for the installation and unveiling will be announced in advance by the City. 

“Installing the granite base in cold weather could compromise structural integrity or increase costs unnecessarily. By delaying the installation of the statue, we also hope to be able to host an outdoor unveiling ceremony and incorporate more public participation, in accordance with then-current health guidelines,” said Director of Public Service, Chris Ludle.

“This statue will stand as a monument to Akron’s rubber history and most importantly to all those men and women whose labor this city was built on,” Mayor Horrigan said. “We want to appropriately honor this important symbol of Akron’s working class ingenuity by allowing the community to participate safely and comfortably in this important occasion.”

The Rubber Worker statue would not be possible without the financial support of local partners including Huntington Bank, FirstEnergy, PNC, Akron Children’s Hospital, GPD Group, and the Office of Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro.

The City has partnered with Art x Love on the Rubber Worker Stories Project, an initiative championed by Akron resident Miriam Ray, to collect audio/visual stories from Akron’s rubber workers and their descendants. These stories are being transcribed and archived in full in the University of Akron’s Rubber Industry Archives. Excerpts from selected stories are also being paired with archival footage for display online and at an interactive kiosk, which will be installed in the Northeast corner of the roundabout on Main St. to coincide with installation of the statue in Spring 2021. 

This corner also features an installation of commemorative bricks. These bricks have helped to fund the Rubber Worker Stories Project, pay for the kiosk, and archive the history for future generations. These bricks can be purchased by anyone, and Akron Stories has extended the deadline to purchase bricks until April 30, 2021. They can be purchased online for $100 per brick at https://www.akronstories.com/bricks

As of today, 1,068 bricks have been sold, 88 interviews have been recorded, thousands of stories have been captured, and dozens more interviews have been scheduled for 2021. Art x Love is currently preparing the interactive kiosk for installation and putting finishing touches on the first batch of 50 stories, with hundreds more in production. The kiosk and website will be continually updated with new stories to encourage future learning and discovery.

The City plans to host a ceremony unveiling the statue sometime in late spring. No new photos will be released until the public unveiling. To purchase a brick or share a story, please visit www.akronstories.com.

 

City Of Akron To Begin Roadway Work For Phase II Of Main Street Corridor Project On January 4

 

Akron, Ohio, December 29, 2020— In late October 2020, the City of Akron broke ground on Phase II of the TIGER-grant funded Main Street Project - starting first with excavation and utility work in the sidewalk.  Starting Monday, January 4, 2021, the project will enter its next stage, which includes excavation and utility work in the roadway.  Therefore, Main Street (King James Way) from Market St. to Mill Street will be closed to vehicular traffic in both directions, from January 4, 2021 through approximately May 31, 2021.

“The transformational upgrades we are making now in our downtown corridor will benefit Akronites for generations to come,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “Phase II will take a considerably shorter period of time to complete than Phase I, which is great news for our downtown businesses, motorists, and residents. And once it is finished, the improvements will create a unified, accessible, and beautiful corridor all the way from Cedar Street to Martin Luther King Blvd (State Route 59).”

Traffic from the south heading north will be detoured at Mill Street east to Broadway north to Market St. and then back north on Main Street. Traffic from the north heading south on Main Street will be detoured at Market St. east to High St. south to Mill St. to the roundabout and then back south on Main St.   Sidewalk pedestrian access will be maintained on the East and West sides of the street throughout the project.

The cost of Main Street Phase II is $14 million with $8 million coming from a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation along with additional funds coming from other state and local sources. Karvo Companies will perform the construction work for Main Street Phase II.  Improvements include new roadway with one lane in each direction, plus turn lanes at Market Street and SR 59, a lane on each side of the street for parallel parking, short term deliveries, or buses, a continuation of the cycle track connecting to the nearby towpath trail, new sidewalks, pedestrian and roadway LED lighting, utility upgrades, and aesthetics and amenities, including room for sidewalk cafes. One mid-block pedestrian crossing near the library will be provided.

To assist downtown businesses who will be impacted by the construction, the City of Akron is offering free 2 hour parking vouchers to patrons visiting businesses along the construction path including, Chameleon Café, Rubber City Hair, Stray Dog Cafe and Tammy O’s, as well as Braunstein Tailors and Clothiers (which is opening at the end of January).  Vouchers can be scanned at the High/Market or Citicenter parking decks’ exit kiosks when prompted to pay.  Please check with businesses regarding hours of operation. The downtown parking map is available here.

“I urge all our residents to continue to support downtown restaurants, retailers, and organizations as they work to remain open through this challenging pandemic,” Mayor Horrigan added.  For additional information, please visit the Downtown Akron Partnership website at: www.downtownakron.com/explore/dining-update for dining updates and www.downtownakron.com/explore/shopping-update for information about available shopping.

Finally, the Downtown Akron Partnership and the Akronite app are offering bonus rewards.  User will earn an extra 5% back in Blimps on the Akronite app when patronizing downtown businesses, for a total of up to 35% back in Blimps when you shop downtown. Download the app, link your card, and start earning Blimps today! Make every action count on Main Street.

 

 

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan Calls For Reopening Of Akron USPS Processing Facility

Akron, Ohio, Dec. 23, 2020— Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has issued the following statement regarding the unacceptable delays in United States Postal Service (USPS) and the need to reopen the Akron processing facility:

Statement of Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan Calling for the Immediate Reopening of the USPS Processing Facility in Akron

Few institutions are more important to social, civic, and economic life in America than the United States Postal Service.  By delivering everything from vital prescriptions and essential goods to absentee ballots and letters to ill or isolated relatives: the USPS is a critical, life-supporting link between citizens and their government, commerce, and loved ones.  This has never been truer than during a pandemic when Americans are being asked or encouraged to shop for goods and services, connect with one another, vote, and transact business from home—which often means, by mail.   

Unfortunately, many Americans will remember this holiday season as the year their gifts, cards, purchases, bills or essential paperwork failed to arrive on time.  This is despite the extraordinary efforts of thousands of men and women who work tirelessly to sort, process, and deliver the mail each week.  USPS leadership under this federal administration has wholeheartedly failed to invest the resources needed to support these workers and ensure that mail services can be maintained at an appropriate level given the challenges of COVID-19 and unprecedented demand. 

However, there is a renewed chance to fulfill our obligation to provide a well-functioning and efficient postal service.  Congress has authorized $10 billion in funding for the USPS in the most recent stimulus package.  And the federal government owes it to the American people to use those funds to improve services—plain and simple.  

Now is the time to reopen the Akron USPS facility as a fully operational processing center. In 2015, the Akron processing facility was closed along with five other centers in Ohio–leaving Ohioans underserved with now only two facilities in the entire state (Cleveland and Columbus).  The moment that ill-fated plan was announced, the City of Akron strongly opposed the closure because we knew that the citizens of Akron would suffer.  

But with the support of USPS leadership, this facility is prepared to spring back to life.  Not only can the Akron processing center once again support hundreds of good paying jobs, it will also enable Akron residents and businesses to efficiently send and receive postal goods.  Postal facilities and resources must be located close to where people live and work. 

No citizen of Akron should worry about whether their rent or utility check will be received, whether their prescription or benefit check will arrive, or whether their vote will be counted because of decisions made in Washington, D.C.  Our senior citizens, who are especially vulnerable right now—both to health risks and also to social and economic isolation—will suffer the most if nothing is done.

Therefore, I am formally calling upon Postmaster General DeJoy to immediately begin a meaningful planning process that will result in the reopening of the Akron USPS processing facility in 2021.  I have also asked members of Ohio’s congressional delegation to press the USPS into action and support the reopening of the processing center in Akron, as well as other centers in Ohio.

I look forward to engaging in meaningful dialogue regarding how this solution could facilitate sustainable and effective mail service in our community and restore jobs during our economic recovery. 

 

 

Mayor Horrigan Outlines Ongoing Community-Wide Campaign To Provide Over $1 Million In Financial Assistance To Thousands Of Akron Families In 2020

 

 

Akron, Ohio, December 14, 2020—Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan is announcing that coordinated community efforts by his administration and other partners resulted in lower turnoff rates and significant financial relief to Akron households in 2020. 

“Thanks to the availability of private and public funds, and the proactive efforts of caring and dedicated staff, thousands of households have been assisted with over one million dollars in direct financial assistance this year alone,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan announced Monday. “Additionally, Akron’s water turnoffs have decreased by 30% and delinquent notices have decreased by 50% in 2020. We understand that now, more than ever, access to clean water is important. So I am pleased to say that we are not seeing any kind of surge in disconnections–in fact, quite the opposite—our efforts are working so that far fewer residents are impacted than pre-pandemic levels.”

The City administration and community partners have taken real-world steps to help residents struggling to pay their bills through direct assistance, financial empowerment tools, extended payment plans, and coordinated outreach.  These services will have long-term positive impacts.  And robust help continues to be available to those who need it. A few of the steps the City of Akron administration has taken in 2020 to successfully assist ratepayers:

  • Provided over $401,100 in direct water/sewer bill relief to more than 2,300 Akron households through the Akron Cares program.  The program was totally revamped earlier this year to address all COVID-related hardships and make more relief available to a greater number of residents during the pandemic, thanks in large part to a sizeable private donation secured by Mayor Horrigan.  Additional funds are available and being provided to customers daily.

  • Worked with the Summit County Cares program to apply more than $694,600 in additional relief to over 1,800 Akron water/sewer customers.  

  • Coordinated charitable donations from community partners to help more than 230 additional households maintain water service uninterrupted.

  • Referred 873 customers to free financial empowerment services and additional assistance through the Akron Financial Empowerment Center, through a new program modeled off the Lift-Up program piloted by the National League of Cities. Mayor Horrigan’s administration proactively implemented these innovative strategies after researching and interviewing multiple peer cities that have successfully deployed similar initiatives.  The program includes:

    • Identifying customers struggling to stay current on utility bills using a matrix of utility data and doing outreach to enroll them in the program

    • Restructuring utility debt and allowing customers to enter into much longer-term and more lenient repayment arrangements

    • One-on-one financial counseling, including a budget review and customized action plan to address financial needs, as well as referrals to appropriate emergency assistance, public benefits, and banking services

    • Providing additional financial incentives and waiving fees and penalties for customers who participate

    • Supporting ongoing relationships with participants to assess and motivate their progress toward long-term financial health

Additionally, entering 2021, the City is going even further to assist customers by:

  • Pausing all water turnoffs through the Christmas holiday and New Year’s

  • Increasing the amount available to each household through Akron Cares to $500, and allowing residents to receive additional rounds of assistance

  • Removing the most frequent barriers to eligibility, including reducing paperwork requirements

  • Conducting a second coordinated outreach campaign to inform eligible customers of available relief programs and services through various communication mediums

While some have suggested a moratorium on water disconnections, data shows that this approach ultimately results in increased delinquency rates and higher household utility debt, which can exacerbate problems down the road. 

“A water shutoff moratorium will likely have the opposite effect of what’s intended, by enabling customers to get even further behind on their bills with no permanent relief,” Shelley Goodrich, Deputy Finance Director said. “During a moratorium, we find that even some customers who can afford to pay will stop paying their bill, leading to cascading problems. An indefinite moratorium could affect the City’s bond rating and our ability to pay not only for the federally-mandated CSO project but our financing for other essential upgrades to our system.  A moratorium on utility shutoffs will inevitably disrupt water and sewer rates moving forward, to the detriment of all customers, including the most at-risk Akronites. Under a moratorium, paying customers could be unfairly burdened to pay more to make up for the unpaid balances of others. However, like many other cities, Akron is pivoting from a moratorium approach to an assistance-based approach, allowing residents to maintain their service if they notify the utility of their challenges to pay and work with us to accept available funds.” 

“We have worked tirelessly to help our residents through this challenging time while continuing to provide clean water to more than 80,000 households 24/7/365,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “We continually refine our programs to find ways to help more residents during this pandemic, but what I cannot support is any policy that would put Akron households further behind. A moratorium is a band-aid that can allow balances to grow without any long-term solution. What we are deploying instead is a surgical approach—one that helps address the underlying problem, targets significant assistance to those who need it most, won’t burden other ratepayers, and supports the City’s overall financial health. And we remain open to other innovative strategies that will offer Akron families real and lasting help.”

Less than 70 total accounts–-only .08% of Akron customers—are currently impacted by water disconnection due to non-payment. It is common for water service to be restored within hours of disconnection, when payment is provided. Furthermore, no water disconnections will take place over the holidays. The City has long recognized this as an important issue and dedicated significant time and resources to helping residents manage their utility costs. The City and our community partners will continue to work to ensure that residents in need are proactively connected with all available resources for assistance now and in the future.

For more information please visit www.akronohio.gov/akroncares or call the Mayor’s Action Center at 3-1-1 (330-375-2311).  Private donations to Akron Cares continue to be accepted.  

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan And Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro Encourage Liquor Permit Holders To Apply For The Ohio Bar And Restaurant Assistance Fund

Akron, Ohio, December 15, 2020— Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and County Executive Ilene Shapiro are teaming up to let local bars and restaurants know about grant funds available through the State of Ohio.

The Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund is designed to assist Ohio’s on-premise liquor permit holders. Governor Mike DeWine has designated $38.7 million of funding received by the State of Ohio from the federal CARES Act to provide $2,500 assistance payments to on-premise liquor permit holders to help them through the financial difficulties experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. These permit holders have not been able to fully use their liquor permit and it’s had an impact on their business. The program, which began accepting applications November 2, 2020, will be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency. The City, County, and Greater Akron Chamber are in the process of reaching out to businesses that qualify and have not yet applied but would encourage businesses to check their eligibility at https://businesshelp.ohio.gov/.

“The City and County have determined that roughly 300 liquor license holders in Summit County have not yet applied for this $2,500 grant from the state,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “About half of these businesses are located in Akron. We're encouraging any of those businesses who have not yet applied to do so in order to help out their business with a much-needed and deserved grant. The application is simple, and the funds do not need to be repaid. 

“We hope these grants can help offset some of the burden that this pandemic has placed on our local businesses,” said County Executive Ilene Shapiro. “The grant is available to bars, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, wineries, casinos, private clubs and other permit holders. In this time of economic downturn, we encourage business owners to pursue every available source of assistance.”

Visit BusinessHelp.Ohio.Gov to access the online application. Permit holders may apply for the liquor assistance funding as well as the Small Business Relief Grant through the online application.

The Ohio Department of Administrative Services will be sending checks to permit holders as soon as applications are processed. Funds cannot be distributed after Dec. 31, 2020. Businesses are therefore encouraged to apply by Dec. 18, 2020 to ensure the funding request can be processed before the application closes on Dec. 30, 2020. 

City Of Akron And Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition Reopen Towpath Trail From Mustill Store To Memorial Parkway

Akron, Ohio, Dec. 16, 2020—On Friday, December 11, 2020, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Dan Rice, President and CEO of The Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, officially reopened the Towpath Trail from Mustill Store to Memorial Parkway.  This section had been detoured for the past five years due to construction related to the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel.

“Reopening this section of the Towpath Trail is a long-awaited milestone,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “As an avid biker myself, I know how important the Towpath Trail is to our community and am so pleased that walkers, bikers, and hikers can once again enjoy this beautiful section for relaxation and exercise.”

The Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel (OCIT) broke ground on November 6, 2015. This was the largest project under the Akron Waterways Renewed! Program. The location of the tunnel construction site required closure of a section of the Towpath Trail. The City of Akron recognized the importance of the Towpath Trail through Akron for its residents and for the region and worked with local stakeholders to come up with a safe, easily identifiable and accessible detour. In early 2016, an alternate route was developed to detour around the tunnel construction site.

The detour used Hickory Street to the west of the Trail. The one-mile alternate route was between Memorial Parkway and Mustill Store Trailheads. This section of Hickory Street was closed to through-traffic to provide additional safety to the hikers, walkers and bikers. Along with the trail, that section of Hickory Street has now been reopened to vehicle traffic.

“We are very excited about the reopening of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail from Memorial Parkway to the Mustill Store,” said Dan Rice, President and CEO of The Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition.  “This beautiful 1-mile section of trail is a critical connection for the 2,500,000 hikers and bicyclists traveling the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail from Cleveland to New Philadelphia, Ohio.  We are grateful to the leadership of Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan for this tremendous support for the Ohio & Erie Canalway and Towpath Trail.”

In June of this year, the OCIT’s final sections were placed into service, providing for storage capacity of 26 million gallons of combined sewer overflow. In the second half of 2020, the contractor has been completing the site work in the area of the trail and installed the service bridge connecting the trail to Cuyahoga Street. In the spring of 2021, final work will be completed, including site renewal, paving of the affected section of trail, landscaping, and Little Cuyahoga River restoration. 

Akron has now completed 85% of the major consent decree projects with two projects currently under construction. The two remaining projects include the Northside Project and the remote treatment facility (EHRT), which are the subject of current negotiations with the EPA on a third amendment to the consent decree. If successful, this amendment will facilitate the removal of the Gorge Dam on the Cuyahoga River, one of the last major impediments on the river.

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