Portage's jobless

goes down slightly

Portage County's unemployment rate dropped slightly in February to 6.2 percent, down from 6.5 percent recorded in January.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services' Office of Workforce Development reports that's still higher than Ohio's unemployment rate of 5.1 percent, which is slightly up from January and equivalent to this time last year.

Of the estimated labor force of 87,300 in Portage County, 81,900 are said to be currently employed. Just 5,400 are listed as unemployed. With those state figures, Ohio has an employment participation rate of 62.6 percent, a slight uptick from January.

Among Ohio's 88 counties, the preliminary February jobless rates ranged from a low of 3.7 percent in Mercer County to a high of 11.8 percent in Monroe County.

From January, unemployment rates decreased in 76 counties, increased in 11 counties and remained the same in one. The average unemployment rate for Ohio was 5.9 percent.

Motorcyclist dies

in Streetsboro crash

A 68-year-old Ravenna man was pronounced dead April 16 after a motorcycle wreck in Streetsboro.

According to Streetsboro police, David Freshour, 68, lost control of his motorcycle while heading eastbound on Route 303 near Diagonal Road around 11:30 a.m.

Freshour's vehicle struck a guardrail as he attempted to the navigate the turn near Diagonal and he was ejected from the bike. No other vehicles were involved.

Emergency responders used life-saving measures but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Streetsboro Police Lt. Tricia Wain said speed was not a factor. Drug and alcohol were not suspected. The speed limit there is 35 mph.

Route 303 was closed for several hours while emergency responders removed the wreckage. Traffic was reportedly backed up at Diagonal Road and Route 303 near the Save 4 Store.

Environmental awards

dinner slated May 6

The 19th annual Portage County Environmental Conservation Awards dinner will take place May 6 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Kent American Legion, 1945 Mogadore Road.

Award winners to be honored are: Bob Downing, environmental advocacy; Dennis Taylor, environmental education; Becky and Larry Thomas, environmental activism; Child Development Center at KSU, stewardship; Matt Herbruck/Birdsong Farm, green business; DS Architecture, green building; Steve Zabor, lifetime achievement; Gressard Family Trust-Streetsboro, Honor Roll for Land Conservation.

For more information or to register, visit www.portageparkdistrict.org.

Drugs turn-in day

slated at hospital

University Hospitals Portage Medical Center is providing a one-day opportunity for the public to dispose of expired, unwanted or unused medications for destruction on April 29.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the hospital parking lot. It is anonymous and all medications will be accepted with no questions asked and no identification needed. The facility also is offering on site recycling of paper products that day.

Residents will have the opportunity to drive-up and dispose of their medications without having to leave their vehicle. Paper recycling will be located in the parking lot for easy drive-up access.

Items that will be accepted by Neoshred include books, cardboard, coated, colored or computer paper and general office materials such as files, magazines, newspapers and phone books.

Police probe fatal

overdose at motel

Streetsboro police are investigating the April 10 overdose death of a 20-year-old Ravenna Township woman at a Route 14 motel, and a Mantua Township man was wanted as of earlier this week on a felony charge for allegedly hindering evidence collection in the case.

Police Chief Darin Powers said his department is investigating the case, and awaiting the result of toxicology tests and an autopsy that was performed by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner's office. The Portage County Drug Task Force is assisting.

Wanted by Streetsboro police on a warrant charging him with tampering with evidence was Dylan J. Briscar, 23, who's nickname is GBlack, with a last known address in the 12000 block of Route 44 in Mantua Township.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Portage County Municipal Court by a Streetsboro detective, Briscar "did move and conceal items related to a death investigation," by taking items from the motel room where the woman died and placing them in a cabinet near the lobby.

A convicted felon, he is on probation for a June 2015 conviction for trespass in a habitation.

-- Dave O'Brien, Record-Couirer

Drugs, weapons

bring prison time

A convicted felon arrested three times in 2016 for dealing drugs and illegally possessing weapons will spend up to the next five years in prison following his sentencing in Portage County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Laurie Pittman sentenced Arthur E. Davis Jr., 28, to five years in prison in three separate felony cases filed in 2016.

Davis pleaded guilty in February to six felonies, including two counts each of having weapons under disability, both third-degree felonies; aggravated trafficking in drugs, both fourth-degree felonies; and one count each of aggravated possession of drugs and possession of cocaine, both fifth-degree felonies.

Davis received credit for 103 days already served in jail awaiting trial in all three cases. He was fined $300 plus $794 in court costs and ordered to forfeit $5,235 and a 2009 Yamaha motorcycle to the drug task force, while Pittman ordered the weapons seized from him destroyed.

Davis' prior felony convictions include heroin and marijuana trafficking and obstructing justice in Portage County, and felony drug possession in Cuyahoga County, according to court records.

-- Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier

Not guilty plea in

Home Depot theft

A Stow woman pleaded not guilty recently in Portage County Common Pleas Court to charges she stole nearly $30,000 worth of merchandise from the Streetsboro Home Depot, her former employer, over the past year.

Dionne L. Smith, 30, appeared in Judge Becky Doherty's court, where she is charged with one count each of grand theft and tampering with records (fourth-degree felonies).

Smith was indicted March 2 after a Streetsboro Police Department investigation, which revealed that between January 2016 and Jan. 9 of this year, she allegedly stole more than $29,678 worth of property from the Home Depot store on Route 14.

Streetsboro Police Chief Darin Powers said the store's asset protection manager called police to report an employee theft. According to the store, Smith was working there and creating fraudulent returns on merchandise, turning those into store credit cards that she would then keep.

Smith also allegedly tampered with records of the thefts, according to her indictment.

-- Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier