Area resident charged

in campus' lockdown

A Reminderville resident is one of several people who will go on trial in September in connection with a lockdown at Kent State University in April.

Imari B. Lewis, 19, is charged with one count of tampering with evidence, pleaded not guilty last week and is free on bond pending a trail scheduled for Sept. 23.

Meanwhile, Kent resident Quavaughntay L. Tyler, 24, was sentenced last week after firing a gun on campus and will serve more than two months in jail and five years on probation as punishment. He has been banned from the KSU campus.

KSU, Kent and other area police agencies responded to KSU on April 2 after a report of shots fired near Bowman Hall on Summit Street.

It was reported Tyler got into an argument with two women and pulled a handgun, which went off once striking him in the left hand. He then fled the scene.

Investigators allege that several other students, including Lewis, hid evidence, including the gun, a backpack and some ammunition, or lied on his behalf.

-- Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier

Amtrak train strikes,

kills Rootstown man

A Rootstown man was killed early Aug. 6 after being struck by an Amtrak train.

Timothy A. Freeland, 53, was walking south along the extreme east edge of the outer tracks along John Smith Road, just north of the Lynn Road crossing in Rootstown, according to Tom Decker, chief investigator with the Portage County coroner's office.

Lt. Greg Johnson of the Portage County Sheriff's Office said the southbound train blew its horn, and there is some indication that Freeland raised his hand to acknowledge the train, but did not have time to move out of the way.

An autopsy was to be conducted at the Summit County medical examiner's office to determine the exact nature of the injuries.

Decker said Freeland walked along the tracks daily to meet with his brother to go to work, and the incident was "purely accidental."

-- Diane Smith, Record-Courier

Portage's jobless rate

goes up to 5.2 percent

Portage County's jobless rate rose in June to 5.2 percent from 4.8 percent in May, according to statistics released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

It was the first rate increase since January, when the rate was 7.5 percent. The increase was due to Portage's workforce inching up to 90,500 in June, with 4,700 looking for employment. May's workforce was 90,100, with 4,300 people looking for work.

Portage ranked 62nd among Ohio's 88 counties. There were 26 counties with lower rates. Across Ohio, the seasonally adjusted rate for June was 5.5 percent, unchanged from May. Last year the rate for June was 7.4 percent.

Statewide, rates ranged from a low of 3.3 percent in Mercer County to a high of 11.7 percent in Monroe County.

June rates for counties abutting Portage (with their May rates) are: Cuyahoga 7.9 (7.1); Geauga 6.2 (5.3); Mahoning 6.2 (5.8); Stark 5.6 (5.2); Summit 5.5 (5.0) and Trumbull 6.5 (5.9).

-- Mike Sever, Record-Courier

Woman is charged in

Kent pedestrian death

Felony charges have been filed against an Edinburg woman, now accused of hitting and killing a Rootstown man with her car in downtown Kent on July 17.

A Portage County grand jury Aug. 4 indicted Allison E. Barton, 22, on two counts each of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of failure to stop after an accident and two counts of operating a vehicle under the influence.

The indictment alleges that Barton was intoxicated and had heroin in her system while driving in downtown Kent when she struck pedestrian Richard M. Schoepe on North Water Street at about 10 a.m. She is in the Portage Jail on $500,000 bond.

Schoepe, 37, an employee at the nearby Star of the West Milling Co. on North Water Street for 15 years, was critically injured and pronounced dead at Akron City Hospital shortly before 11:30 a.m.

-- Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier

Recorder warns folks

of high land deed fee

If you think you need a copy of your deed, there's a company willing to sell you one -- for about 40 times the amount the Portage County recorder's office charges.

Recorder Bonnie Howe said she was notified that an out-of-state company is sending letters to property owners offering to provide them with a copy of their deed for $83. The notice is from Record Transfer Services of California.

Howe said the letter implies that property owners would pay more than that for a copy from the county office. And that's not true, she added.

"Anyone can obtain a copy of their deed from the office for $2 per page. Most deeds are one or two pages long," she said. The recorder's fees are set by the state.

She said she's heard the letters are turning up in counties around Portage. Similar letters have been sent in other states to people who have recently purchased a home.

-- Mike Sever, Record-Courier

Portage fatal crashes

decline in last 2 years

As required through the Safe Communities grant, the Portage County Fatal Review Board met recently to discuss fatal crash trends in 2014.

So far this year, only one fatal crash had occurred from January to June, compared to four in the same period in 2013 and seven in 2012, according to Safe Communities Director Lynette Blasiman.

"Although there have been fewer crashes, the contributing causes mirror previous years," said Lt. Chris Heverly of the Ohio Highway Patrol's Ravenna post.

"Portage County continues to see alcohol- and speed-related causes as trends in fatal crashes. Our goal is to reduce preventable crashes. Driving sober and not exceeding the speed limit are choices which can prevent fatal crashes."

Portage County has been very visable in an approach to educate the public and promote voluntary compliance with traffic laws, which is key to reducing crashes and saving lives, according to Blasiman.

Train rides featuring

Berk loco are offered

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad again will welcome the largest steam locomotive east of the Mississippi -- the former Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 Berkshire 765 -- during its Steam in the Valley event Sept. 6-7 and 13-14.

Passengers will have the rare opportunity to ride in authentic Nickel Plate Road open window passenger cars from the Midwest Railway Preservation Society in Cleveland.

Built in the 1930s, both of these passenger cars have been maintained to their original open window configuration. Movie buffs might recognize the historic cars from the 1984 movie "The Natural," with Robert Redford.

Two-hour excursions are available from Brecksville Station Sept. 6-7 and from Akron Northside Station on Sept. 13. One-hour excursions are offered from Boston Mills Station on Sept. 14.

Tickets will cost $18 to $53 depending on trip length and level of seating. Visit or call 1-800-468-4070 to purchase tickets and for more information.

'Do over' set for GOP

commissioner's pick

The Portage County Republican Party is calling a "do over" of its February election of Sabrina Christian-Bennett as county commissioner.

Party chairwoman Janet Esposito has called a meeting of the central committee for 6:30 p.m. tonight (Aug. 13) at Ravenna High School in reaction to news that its election process didn't pass muster with a couple of Ohio attorney general opinions.

In a letter to the panel, Esposito said, "The purpose of this meeting is to re-appoint our candidate to the vacancy for Portage County commissioner." All seven candidates who sought the appointment in February are invited.

Esposito said the party was "repeating the appointment" because of "partisan questions about the process."

Rumblings started when Democrats compared the method of their election in January to fill the county coroner vacancy and the GOP's election in February when the party's executive committee chose Christian-Bennett to fill the last year of Tommie Jo Marsilio's term.

When Demos elected Dr. Dean DePerro to fill the coroner's post , they signed their ballots and the votes were tallied as they were counted.

The Republicans' election was done by secret ballot and the tally was not announced.

Asked if she believes the party could hold another election, Esposito said "I wouldn't do that without very good legal advice." A call to the Ohio Republican Party seeking comment was not returned.

-- Mike Sever, Record-Courier

Picnic, health fair set

Crestwood Lions Club has scheduled a community picnic and health fair Aug. 16 from noon to 4 p.m. at Buchert Park on East High Street in Mantua.

Free hot dogs, potato chips and pop will be available, and there will be eye screenings for adults and children, blood pressure and blood sugar testing, information from medical providers and chair massages.

There also will be free games for children, plus raffle prizes and a 50/50 drawing.

Proceeds will go to the Lions 13D Eye Care Foundation, which provides eye surgeries for needy persons.