Crash in Deerfield

claims Hiram man

An 85-year-old Hiram man died Jan. 20 after his car left the road and hit a tree in Deerfield Township.

The Ravenna post of the Ohio Highway Patrol said the crash took place at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 on Route 14, just south of Route 224.

State troopers said Donald A. Koscher, 85, was driving a 1996 Chevrolet Beretta north on Route 14 when he traveled off the west side of the road, striking a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash remains under investigation. Koscher was not wearing a seat belt, and was Portage County's first traffic fatality of 2017.

The Green Family Funeral Home & Crematory Service in Mantua is handling arrangements.

Mantuan charged

with rape of teen

A Mantua Township man has pleaded not guilty to raping a 15-year-old girl late last summer.

Sebastian C. Paratore, 33, of Route 82 was indicted Dec. 19 on one count each of rape, a first-degree felony; sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, both third-degree felonies; gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony; and selling or furnishing alcohol to minors, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Paratore pleaded not guilty Dec. 27 at his arraignment in Portage County Common Pleas Court, and Judge Laurie Pittman set a $200,000 cash bond. Paratore remains in the Portage County jail pending future court dates. A condition of his bond is that he have no contact with the alleged victim, according to court records.

The indictment alleges that on or about Aug. 4-5, 2016, in Hiram, Paratore allegedly provided alcohol to the teen, then raped and sexually assaulted her.

The case was investigated by the Hiram Police Department. Pittman set an initial trial date for Feb. 22, according to court records.

Ex-chief of police

is given CC award

Retired Streetsboro Police Chief Richard A. Taiclet has, for many years, contributed as a board member of the Streetsboro Area Chamber of Commerce and was presented the Chamber's President's Award on Jan. 11 by Executive Director Valerie Fiala.

"He can be seen around town, asking for sponsorships, donations, putting up signs; he's always out and about in the community," she said. "He is loved by everyone for his sense of humor and his give-all attitude."

Taiclet also won the Spirit Award in 2004 and was honored in 2007 as citizen of the year. In addition to being a willing helper, Fiala said he's a nearly constant practical joker, surprising her, hiding small items and keeping her on her toes.

He leaves the Streetsboro Area Chamber board of directors after serving from 2014-16 and as an ex-officio member from 2007-10.

"I cannot thank Richard enough for all his help, fun, laughter and ability to scare me," said Fiala. "I will miss him, but I know he won't be far because I can always find him at Dunkin' Donuts and Bob Evans."

14 deaths happen
on Portage roads
According to Portage County Safe Communities, the county registered 12 fatal crashes and 14 crash-related deaths in 2016. Fifty percent of the crashes were caused by “left of center” and 33 percent were “drove off the roadway.”
Of the 12 crashes, 10 were at-fault men  ages 20 to 74 years. The two at-fault female ages were 27 and 64. Three of the fatal crashes were motorcycle-related. Almost 42 percent of the fatal crashes involved drug or alcohol impairment.
Portage County Safe Communities is required to conduct Fatal Review Board meetings for any quarter in which a fatal crash has occurred.
For the first time in several years, a meeting was not required last quarter because there were no fatal crashes during the last three months of the year.
In 2015, there were six fatal crashes in the last quarter, and a total of 20 fatal crashes for the year.

Temp records set
Jan. 17 (Tuesday) set a record for high temperature in the Cleveland and Akron areas.
Akron’s previous mark of 59 degrees was shattered, as the mercury reached 67 degrees at the Akron-Canton Airport. Cleveland Hopkins Airport recorded 61 degrees, breaking the 60-degree warmth of 1973 and 1952.
It was the second time in less than a week that Akron set a record high. The other time was Jan. 12, when the high was 63, topping 2005’s 61. The average daily January high in the Akron area is 34 degrees.

Rt. 14 bridge may
open in late March
The Route 14 bridge over Lake Rockwell in Streetsboro, which has been closed since early October, could open sometime in late March, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.
“Right now, we're thinking if everything holds up, we should be able to open in the later part of March,” said Justin Chesnic, a spokesman for ODOT's District 4.
As with anything having to do with road construction, Chesnic said that projected opening date would be tied to Mother Nature's cooperation. A serious cold snap could put the freeze on construction, he said.
“We're hoping to pour the bridge deck very early in February,” he said. “We need 30 degrees and above to do that. So far, so good.”
The Route 14 bridge was closed Oct. 3 when crews from The Ruhlin Co. discovered the pylons supporting the section of the bridge over the water were in danger of buckling. The Ruhlin Co. was working on a project to fix bin walls on the bridge at the time and is now working to rebuild a 162-foot section of the span.

CV scenic railroad
has its most riders
The non-profit scenic railroad in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park says it logged about 214,000 passengers last year, reaching the highest ridership in its five-decade history.
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad says more than half of those were riders on the rain’s scenic roundtrips. Others came aboard for special event trains and programs.
One of the biggest draws is a holiday program tied to the popular story about a young boy’s winter journey on “The Polar Express.” That drew more than 42,000 passengers last year.
The railroad says about 24,000 passenger hopped on the train through another ticket program offered to bicyclists, runners and hikers who need one-way rides.
Formed as a hobbyist railroad in 1972, today the popular excursion railroad that runs through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park generates annual revenues of more than $3 million.
— The Associated Press

Cross to take seat
on election board
The Portage County Republican Party named a new member to the Portage County Board of Elections recently.
Elayne Cross, vice chairwoman of the party, will replace Andrew Manning on the board following the latter’s decision to step down. Cross will continue to serve in the vice chairmanship role.
She will serve as one of two Republicans on the board, along with Doria Daniels. The Democratic members of the board are chairman Craig Stephens  and Patricia Nelson, chairwomen of the county Democratic Party.
The move came after the county Republican Central Committee voted on the replacement candidates. Cross was nominated for the position by two party members. Current Portage GOP chairman Jonathan Jennings, an attorney in Kent, was nominated by Portage County Auditor Janet Esposito and Aurora Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin.
Portage County Commissioner Sabrina Christian-Bennett, who also serves as the secretary for the central committee, said the vote came as a surprise to some who thought Jennings would take the vacant spot.
Traditionally, the chairperson of each political party serves on the local board of elections.

— Matthew Merchant,

F&CS agency sets
expansion in Kent
Family and Community Services Inc. will expand in Kent this year, bringing in at least 25 new jobs. The agency has been in Kent for 75 years.
It's a $3 million project that will expand F&CS offices at 143 Gougler Ave. and put Kent's behavioral health care, along with physical health care, under one roof.
“A group of us many years ago worked very diligently to bring a federally qualified health care center to Portage County,” said Mark Frisone, executive director of F&CS.
“Summit and Stark counties had them, but at the time we did not have one in Portage County and this probably goes back 15 years. We teamed up with Akron's health centers and convinced them to open one up in Portage County.”
That'’s how AxessPointe Community Health Center was formed about 20 years ago. AxessPointe on Route 59 in Franklin Township provides medical, dental and pharmaceutical care.
“The business has really expanded and health centers are really in high demand,” Frisone said. “It's a great project. It creates jobs, increases capacity for both organizations and maybe most importantly, we make it a one-stop shop for peoples' behavioral and physical healthcare all in one location.”
The addition will be an 11,000 square-foot, two-story building on the north side of the property. The second floor will be expanded on top of the current one-story building. Advisers on the project include DiPerna & Associates and Roetzel & Andress.
— Andrew Bugel, Record-Courier

Hospital provides
defibs to Portage
Portage County sheriff's deputies who find themselves dealing with a medical emergency now have some help from University Hospitals Portage Medical Center in Ravenna.
Sheriff David Doak accepted 20 defibrillators and 20 trauma kits from the hospital. The items will be put in the Portage County Jail, Portage County Courthouse and in every deputy's vehicle.
M. Steven Jones, president of the hospital, said the donation is a partnership that he hopes will lead to better health.
Dan Ellenberger, director of EMS training at the hospital, said the trauma kits are part of a program to control bleeding. The Portage hospital has a Level 3 trauma center, and the kits have items to help deputies keep pressure on a wound if a person is stabbed or shot before emergency crews can take them to a hospital.
Doak said although EMS crews have medical equipment, sometimes his deputies are the first ones to arrive at an emergency. They also sometimes stop at an emergency to see if the EMS crews need help.

— Diane Smith, Record-Courier

Clyde is selected
legislator of year
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde of Kent was named legislator of the year for 2016 by the Ohio Association of Election Officials at its annual conference recently in Columbus.
The OAEO Legislator of the Year Award honors state legislators who have helped promote better elections in Ohio.
“I am truly honored to receive this prestigious award,” Clyde said. “We've worked to promote better elections by expanding access and making voting easier for all Ohioans.
“That means pursuing an election system where every eligible voter can easily register, stay on the rolls, cast a ballot and have that vote count. I'll continue to work until that ideal becomes reality in Ohio.”
Clyde led the challenge last year of Secretary of State Jon Husted's voter purge, which saw more than 2 million voters removed from the rolls since 2011, a statistic that led the nation; 1.2 million of those purged were removed for infrequent voting or moving within the state.
The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Ohio's purging, allowing thousands more ballots to be counted in the 2016 election.

given prison term

A former Streetsboro man who severely beat a female family member during an incident in July has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Larry A. Pishner Jr., 43, pleaded guilty on Nov. 29, 2016, in Portage County Common Pleas Court to felonious assault, a second-degree felony.
Judge Laurie Pittman recently sentenced him to the maximum allowable prison term, with credit for 172 days already served in the Portage County jail. She also fined Pishner $300 and ordered him to pay $318 in court costs.