Last winter the City of Akron received a lot of blowback from citizens upset with the lack of response to a January storm that left several people stuck in the snow, some for days.
Mayor Dan Horrigan issued an apology to residents of Akron, saying they were re-evaluating their snow and ice removal process.
Fast forward to Wednesday, and it appears the City has revamped the winter-weather response, as Mayor Horrigan announced the new "aggressive snow and ice removal plan" ahead of the 2019-2020 winter season.
"We will have more plows and equipment and those trucks will have better access to the salt," the Mayor told the Jasen Sokol Show on Wednesday, shortly after rolling out the plan to the public. "There is also a route revision; we've reworked it so that it's more responsive to neighborhood needs."
One of the biggest changes to the winter strategy is that the City has ended their contract with ODOT that previously required the city to plow 150 miles of Akron highways. That responsibility now lies solely on ODOT, freeing up more resources to focus on city streets.
See more from the City of Akron below:
“Last winter we experienced a once-in-a-decade snow storm, which ended up revealing some unacceptable weaknesses in our system,” Director of Public Service John Moore said. “After that event, we immediately got to work critically evaluating every aspect of our strategy, with a commitment to being better prepared, across the board.”
“I am proud to say that today is a new day in terms of Akron’s snow and ice response,” Mayor Horrigan said. “For the 2019-2020 winter season, we will have more plow trucks, better access to salt, new routes, enhanced training, and better policies and technology to ensure we are maximizing our available resources and manpower. The singular goal is to get our streets cleared as soon as possible to reduce the dangers and hassle for residents and drivers.”
One important change was the decision not to renew the ODOT maintenance agreement, which has been in place for over 50 years, in which the City maintained state interstates within its borders. By concluding that agreement, the City will have additional trucks, materials and manpower to dedicate to Akron streets. The City will make up for the lost revenue from that agreement with a portion of the new, additional gas tax revenue from the State of Ohio, estimated at an additional $3.2 million annually.
The full 5-point improvement strategy is summarized below.
1. More Plow Trucks and Equipment
· Ended ODOT maintenance contract for highways, allowing 5 more 15-ton plow trucks to be available for plowing City streets
· 3 new replacement 5-ton trucks allowing additional backup equipment in major events
· 13 additional smaller 1-ton trucks outfitted with plows and/or salt spreaders which will be used for complaint-response in every City ward.
· More aggressive maintenance schedules and opening additional City facilities (including the Copley Road facility) for maintenance work to reduce plows being out of service when they’re needed most
2. Better Access to Salt
· Market is recovering from extreme salt supply shortage last winter with more materials available nationwide
· Already secured commitment on our full quantity of salt at approx. 25,000 tons
· More salt available for City streets without ODOT maintenance agreement.
3. Route Revisions
· Recrafting of routes on City street allowing quicker completion, and minimize travel times between routes, materials and service locations.
· Continuing work with logistics experts to maximize effectiveness and efficiency
· Outside contractors will have access to pre-assigned areas for emergency assistance
4. Enhanced Training
· Providing additional in-truck training of new plow drivers by experienced operators
· Working with simulator vendors and partners to provide enhanced classroom training
5. Improved Policies & Technology
· Working with City Council to adopt improvements to the Parking Ban procedure including earlier notification
· Supervisors in the field will have better access to Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) system, 3-1-1 service requests, work order management in real time.
· Internal Constant Improvement Team established to review responses to events and make changes and improvements before the next event.
“While we do still live in Northeast Ohio where Mother Nature ultimately wins—this is about delivering the services that residents expect and deserve—effectively and efficiently,” Mayor Horrigan remarked, “I want to thank City Council, our residents who shared their thoughts and input, and especially the hardworking City crews that work long, challenging shifts during major storms. With these important enhancements, I’m confident we are appropriately prepared for the coming winter season.”
“This is truly an aggressive new strategy, and I am pleased with the investment and dedication it demonstrates,” Council President Margo Sommerville said. “I want to thank the citizens of the Snow and Ice Task Force for their assistance. City Council looks forward to partnering with the administration to deploy these new policies and strategies to improve our ability to effectively clear city streets of snow and ice this winter.”
Additional information about the new and improved strategy, along with a detailed “Snow and Ice FAQ” is available on the City’s website and also on the City Council website. As always, residents with concerns or complaints should contact the Mayor’s Action Center by dialing 3-1-1 or (330) 375-2311 or submitting online at www.akronohio.gov/311.
The Summit County Division of Animal Control, along with County Executive Ilene Shapiro and Fiscal Officer Kristen M. Scalise, is hosting their special adoption event "Dogtober" from now until November 2nd.
Dogs and puppies are all $25, which includes a Summit County dog license for the remainder of the year. Cats and kittens are $5, according to the Summit County Animal Control Facebook page.
"We have 99 dog cages. All of them are full; every single one," explains Animal Control Director Christine Fatheree. "Cats are a little different; kittens can be housed together, so kittens and cats can be housed together. We have more than 100 cats."
In addition to the County website and Facebook page, you can visit Pay It Forward For Pets for more information as well.
This week, it’s all about the technology that allows us to connect with one another, from the nearly 1 million Ohioans who don’t have access to high speed internet, to the residents of Cleveland, who will soon be enjoying super-fast 5-G connections.
We’ll also be talking about how solar could be our major source of energy in the not too distant future, and bionic shorts that could make you a running superstar.
Please note: You can subscribe to this podcast through the Apple and Andoid app stores, as well as through Stitcher and Spotify.
This week our 1590 WAKR Male Student Athlete of the Week is Joey Klein, a junior soccer player from Revere HIgh School.
Summa Health announced Wednesday morning plans for a 60-bed, inpatient and outpatient behavioral health facility on its Akron campus.
The $60 Million investment is part of the Summa Health Master Facility Plan.
The state-of-the-art facility, that's planned to be open by 2022, will provide services for psychiatric patients, trauma patients, and addiction medicine, transitioning current services from Summa's St. Thomas Campus.
See the full press release from Summa Health below:
AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 2, 2019 – Summa Health today announced plans for the construction of a 60-bed inpatient and outpatient behavioral health facility on its Akron Campus. The new building, part of Phase 2 of the Summa Health Master Facility Plan, represents an investment of approximately $60 million and will create an integrated, state-of-the-art space that allows for a partial hospitalization program and enhanced integration with intensive outpatient services, including psychiatry, addiction medicine and traumatic stress.
In addition to providing an integrated space for both inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services, the new facility will enable Summa to move the detox program to an acute medical setting, while also preserving and honoring the heritage of both Ignatia Hall and Alcoholics Anonymous. Groundbreaking on the new building is expected to take place in summer 2020, with completion scheduled for 2022.
“The beginning of Phase 2 of our facility plan not only represents an important next step in how we care for our community as a whole, but also underscores the importance we place on the treatment of those in need of behavioral health services,” said Dr. David Custodio, president of the Summa Health System – Akron and St. Thomas Campuses. “Coupled with the recent opening of our new patient tower and the many improvements we’ve made on the Barberton Campus and across the system, we are well positioned to care for our patients for many years to come.”
Other key components of Phase 2 of the facility plan include beginning the process of renovating units in the previous patient tower on the Akron Campus to achieve a higher private bed ratio, significant unit renovations to allow for the transition of all services currently provided at the St. Thomas Campus to the Akron Campus and demolition of the School of Nursing on the Akron Campus.
Additional details will be provided in the coming weeks and months, but it is anticipated that the transition of services from the St. Thomas Campus to the Akron Campus will take place over several months, with an anticipated completion date sometime in 2022. No decisions have been made about the future of the St. Thomas Campus; however, Summa Health will vacate the facility at the end of Phase 2 of the Master Facility Plan.
The Summa Health Master Facility Plan, announced in April 2016, represents an investment of approximately $360 million in the community. It includes:
Summa Health Page 2
• Opening a new 343,000 square-foot patient tower on the Akron Campus housing new facilities for Summa’s Women’s Health program, modern inpatient rooms and nursing units and expanded surgical capacity.
• Increasing the number of private rooms to approximately 80 percent of beds on the Akron Campus.
• Providing increased outpatient capacity across the system, with the ability to design around patientcentered care.
• Modernizing various portions of the Summa Health System – Barberton Campus and aligning services there to improve access to efficient ambulatory care to better meet the overall needs of the community. These improvements include a new imaging and diagnostic center and enhancements to surgical services.
Akron Police are investigating a fatal traffic accident involving a bicyclist from early Tuesday morning.
According to the report, police responded to the intersection of South Broadway and East Exchange Streets for an accident involving injuries. There, they found a bicyclist that was hit by a car that reportedly jumped the curb, hit the man on the bicycle, and continued off the road into a parked car.
The cyclist was taken to Akron General Hospital where he died. His name has not been released yet.
The driver, only identified as a 50-year-old male, was taken to Summa Akron City Hospital with minor injuries.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing and no charges have been filed yet, but investigators do believe that alcohol was a factor.
The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force is offering a reward for information which would lead to the capture of fugitive Coley Richardson.
Richardson is wanted by the United States Marshals Service, the Ohio Adult Parole Authority, and the Akron Police Department on charges of Aggravated Murder for the shooting death of Nickole Coleman on June 13, 2019. Richardson, 42, is a black male, standing approximately 5 feet 11 inches and weighing 165 pounds. Richardson’s last known address is near the 1000 block of Silvercrest Avenue, Akron, Ohio. He is believed to be hiding in the Akron area.
Richardson is to be considered armed and dangerous. If you have any information in reference to Coley Richardson, please contact the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 1-866-4WANTED or Text keyword WANTED and tip to 847411 (tip411). Tipsters can remain anonymous and reward money is available.