Portage's unemployment

rises 0.2 % in November

Portage County's unemployment rate ticked up two tenths of a percentage point from 5.8 percent in October to 6.0 percent in November, according to data released Dec. 28 by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. It was the first increase after three straight months of decline.

Portage had the 20th lowest jobless rate out of Ohio's 88 counties. A year ago, the county's November rate was 6.7 percent. In November, there were 5,500 people unemployed out of a workforce of 91,500, according to ODJFS.

The number of jobless workers in Ohio was 396,000, down from 406,000 in September, according to ODJFS. The number of unemployed has decreased by 88,000 in the past 12 months from 484,000. The October jobless rate for Ohio was 8.3 percent a year ago.

Jobless rates ranged from a low of 3.9 percent in Mercer County to a high of 11.9 percent in Pike County. Rates increased in 66 of the 88 counties. Ten counties had jobless rates at or below 5.5 percent in November while eight had rates at or above 9.5 percent.

Rates of five of six counties contiguous to Portage went up. Only Trumbull went down, from 7.8 percent in October to 7.7 percent in November. The others were: Cuyahoga, 7.0 (6.2 in Oct.); Geauga, 5.5 (4.7); Mahoning, 6.9 (6.6); Stark, 6.4 (6.2); Summit, 6.0 (5.9).

-- Mike Sever, Record-Courier

Joyce becomes U.S. rep

David P. Joyce was sworn in Jan. 3 as the Ohio District 14 U.S. Congressman by House Speaker John Boehner. He previously was Geauga County prosecutor. He and wife Kelly have three children and reside in Russell Township.

Joyce gave the following statement:

"It's an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Ohio's 14th District and I look forward to bringing some Ohio common sense to Washington. The voters sent me here to do a job and I will work every day to represent their interests and create jobs back home in the district."

Joyce replaces nine-term U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette of Bainbridge Township.

Robinson restricts visits; flu takes a toll in Portage

As a result of the rising number of influenza cases, Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna has restricted visitation to people 14 years and older for the remainder of winter.

"Children are more susceptible to the flu and could be exposed if they visited the hospital," said RMH spokeswoman Andrea Pettit.

The hospital has admitted 30 cases of flu since Oct. 5, Pettit said. RMH saw the first outpatient case on Sept. 20 and has seen 77 outpatient cases up to Jan. 3, she added.

It is the earliest flu season in a decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During its series of vaccination clinics this fall, the Portage County Health Department vaccinated 455 children and 600 adults, according to spokeswoman Becky Lehman.

Adults are still able to get the vaccine without appointments from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesdays at the first-floor clinic in the Portage County Administration Building in Ravenna.

-- Mike Sever, Record-Courier

Three people injured in

New Year's Day collision

Three people were hospitalized Jan. 1 following a two-car traffic crash in the 8400 block of Route 43 in Streetsboro, police said.

According to Streetsboro police Lt. Darin Powers, officers and firefighters responded at 8:22 p.m. Jan. 1 after a silver 1991 Infiniti G20 and a silver 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder collided on the road.

Powers said the Mitsubishi, driven by Jeremy Braynard, 17, of Streetsboro was northbound on Route 43 when it crossed over the center line, colliding with the southbound Infiniti, which was driven by Nathaliah Carver, 21, of Kent.

A passenger in the Mitsubishi, Kevin Jones, 18, of Streetsboro, was transported to Akron City Hospital by helicopter.

Braynard and Carver, whose injuries were not life threatening, both were taken to Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna by Streetsboro paramedics, Powers said.

The crash remains under investigation, and excessive speed may be a factor. No charges had been filed as of Jan. 3, Powers said.

The crash closed Route 43 for more than two hours while the scene was cleared and officers investigated.

-- The Gateway News report

Five in Franklin Township

arrested in meth lab bust

Five people were arrested Jan. 5 in connection with a raid on an alleged methamphetamine lab in Franklin Township.

Portage County Drug Task Force agents uncovered a purported methamphetamine lab and arrested Michael D Piskac, 30; Adam Scott Bell, 32; Ashley Ann Mitrovic, 23,; Theresa Youngblood, 34; and Cynthia A Wilson, 41.

Piskac, Mitrovic, Youngblood and Bell were charged with illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine, a first-degree felony. Wilson was charged with possession of a drug abuse instrument, a second-degree misdemeanor.

According to Sheriff David Doak, members of the Portage County Drug Task Force received information of a possible methamphetamine lab on Cherry Lane and that one of the individuals cooking was a fugitive wanted in Portage for receiving stolen property.

When they entered the residence, task force officers encountered eight people inside the residence and an active methamphetamine cooking in the basement. The lab was dismantled.

-- Record-Courier report