Streetsboro firing
two band leaders
The Streetsboro Board of Education meeting Jan. 24 ended in tears from students and angry shouts from parents as the Board voted 4-0 to authorize the termination of Streetsboro High instrumental music teacher Gretchen Weaver and Streetsboro Middle School instrumental music teacher Shane Ellsworth.
Board member Kevin Grimm abstained from the vote at the advice of the Ohio attorney general's office. He was one of the people interviewed as part of an investigation into allegations the band directors were involved in or turned a blind eye to hazing during a July 29-Aug. 1, 2016, band camp trip to Camp Muskingum in Carroll County.
Ellsworth and Weaver both declined to comment, citing the advice of attorneys and union representatives.
Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh said he was sad to recommend the initiation of termination proceedings against Ellsworth and Weaver.
“We have a duty to follow the clearly established Streetsboro school district guidelines to protect all students,” he said.
Daulbaugh said Weaver and Ellsworth have the opportunity to appeal the decision with representation from the Ohio Educators Association before a hearing officer assigned to the case by the Ohio Department of Education.
— Bob Gaetjens, Record-Courier

Portage murder
trial set for May
The trial of a Summit County man accused of killing a Rootstown man in April 2016 inside a Smith Avenue residence will start in early May, a Portage County judge decided.
Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman set May 2 as the starting date for the aggravated murder, arson and robbery trial of Jabari D. McKee, 28, of Hammel Street in Akron. McKee is accused in the death of Bryan Burns, 41. A final pretrial hearing is set April 14, though Pittman said additional hearings may be required between now and then.
Grand jurors indicted McKee last summer on one count each of aggravated murder, an unclassified felony with a firearm specification; aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony with a firearm specification; aggravated arson, a first-degree felony; grand theft of a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony; two counts of theft of credit cards, both fifth-degree felonies; and one count of theft, a first-degree misdemeanor.
He pleaded not guilty and is being held in the Portage County Jail on $2 million cash bond. The aggravated murder charge makes McKee eligible for the death penalty, under Ohio law.
— Dave O’Brien, Record-Courier


Head Start lands
$1 million grant
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan announced Jan. 23 that $1.54 million will be awarded to the Portage Private Industry Council for its Head Start programs.
Portage Learning Centers, which administers the Head Start program, operates child development centers in Atwater, Kent, Ravenna and Streetsboro.
“This grant from the Department of Health and Human Services is welcomed news for Portage County. This critical investment will bring real and lasting good to our community,” said Ryan, whose 13th Congressional District covers much of Portage County.
“Head Start has always provided necessary social services, including nutrition and wellness programs for low-income children. These funds will continue vital services that enhance their cognitive, social, and emotional development.
“Head Start programs are crucial to our nation and community's most vulnerable children and I am happy that this grant is going to such a good cause.”
This grant is part of the Department of Health and Human Services Head Start Projects, with the grant period ending in June of 2020.

Dozens give food,
toys over holidays
The Center of Hope and Kent Social Services issued a public statement of thanks to the entire community of individuals, schools and business who donated to the Holiday Giveaways.
During the holidays, more than 1,400 full boxes of nonperishable food items and frozen turkeys were given away to needy families for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Because of the donations, the organizations were also able to provide more than 679 children with toys for Christmas, which can take the stress away from parents who would typically worry about providing items for their children.
According to a press release from Family and Community Service, which supervises both agencies, several families and business donated above and beyond previous years.
F&CS is one of the largest social service agencies in Northeast Ohio and has spent the past 75 years helping individuals of all ages. The agency covers 21 counties and has more than 71 programs.