Portage’s jobless rate
creeps up in January
Portage County’s jobless rate increased from 6.6 percent in December 2013 to 7.5 percent in January, according to statistics from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Portage’s rate was 6.8 percent in November and 6.7 percent in October. The January jobless rates jumped in all 88 counties of Ohio. Jobless rates, not seasonally adjusted, were 7.5 percent in Ohio and 7.0 in the U.S.
ODJFS said 6,980 people were without jobs in Portage out of a work force of 91,400. In Ohio, the number of unemployed stood at 395,000, down 16,000 from 411,000 in December.
The jobless number does not include people who have stopped looking for work, and it does not include people who are working part-time jobs while seeking full employment.
January rates for counties abutting Portage (with their December rates) are: Cuyahoga 8.8 (7.2); Geauga 8.0 (6.2); Mahoning 8.6 (7.6); Stark 7.4 (6.9); Summit 7.1 (6.3); and Trumbull 8.4 (7.5).
— Mike Sever, Record-Courier

Movie theater possible
in downtown Ravenna
A downtown Ravenna site that housed a movie theater a century ago is expected to house a theater again.
Neighborhood Development Services Inc. has closed on the former Paul’s Lumber building on North Chestnut Street. NDS plans to renovate it into a multiplex theater, and to demolish the Portage Tire building behind it.
On Feb. 14, 1914, the Victory Theatre opened on the same Meridian Street parcel. The Lee family purchased the site shortly thereafter and renamed it Lee’s Theater. The site later became the site of the Ohio Theater, which was in operation for many years until being razed in 1960, according to The Ravenna Record.
The theater would be the first movie house in Ravenna since 1967, when the New Ravenna Theatre closed.
Mike Bogo of NDS said the 20,000-square-foot, eight-screen multiplex, tentatively set to be named the Ravenna Theater, is expected to draw 100,000 visitors a year. NDS also renovated an eight screen theater in Barberton, which is doing well, he noted.
— Diane Smith, Record-Courier

29,000 dogs licensed
in Portage Co. in 2013
Nearly 29,000 dog owners bought individual licenses for their animals last year, probably the highest number ever. But Portage County Dog Warden Dave McIntyre said there’s still room for improvement.
“I don’t think we’re anywhere near where we need to be as far as licensing, but we’re making progress every year,” McIntyre said. “I think there’s still a lot more [unlicensed] dogs out there. And I’m probably going to think that until we start getting dogs in here that have tags on them.”
The number of licenses sold rose from 28,108 in 2012 to 28,953 last year. The county also sold 246 kennel licenses. A decade ago, the county sold 19,244 individual licenses and 267 kennel licenses.
A total of 702 dogs were taken into the county shelter last year, a 9 percent decrease from 2012, McIntyre told county commissioners last week. That doesn’t include dogs surrendered by their owners or pit bulls.
Of that total, 267 were returned to their owners and another 190 were adopted from the shelter. Sixty-eight dogs were rescued by breed groups and 100 were taken to the Portage Animal Protective League.
— Mike Sever, Record-Courier

Agency eyes mentors
Big Brothers & Sisters of
Portage County is always looking for volunteers to spend quality one-on-one time with a Little Brother or Little Sister.
Adult mentors are asked to spend 12 hours a month with the child for at least one year. Activities do not have to cost money and can include sports, cooking together, walking the dog, and even just taking the child along on Saturday errands.
For more information, call Big Brothers & Sisters at 330-296-6655.

Swiss steak on menu
Portage County 4-H and Mantua Masonic Lodge will host a Swiss steak dinner March 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Masonic Hall, 10801 John Edward Drive, Mantua.
Dinner includes Swiss steak, mashed poatoes, green beans or corn, applesauce, bred, dessert and coffee or punch. Cost is $8 for adults and $7 for ages 4 to 11, with 3 and younger free. Carryout orders are available.