Morningstar Investment Research Center

Use your library card to access the Morningstar Investment Research Center database through the Akron-Summit County Public Library, in house or from home.  Not only only will you find in ratings and in-depth information on mutual funds, which Morningstar is famous for, but also individual stocks, exchange traded funds and markets.  The database also contains various features and tools that compare and screen funds, as well as a “portfolio x-ray” feature in which you can input your own holdings and the website will analyze your entire portfolio. Plus access PDFs of their mutual fund, stock and ETF newsletters. The site also boasts access to articles and videos, as well as, an educational portal which offers guides and courses on a wide range of subjects on the database and investment topics.

 

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Author returns to Akron to retrace her war bride grandmother’s footsteps 70 years on

Join us for an Author Talk on September 10 at Main Library, 6:30 PM in Meeting Rooms A&B.

The author of international bestseller GI Brides, Nuala Calvi, will return to Akron in September to mark the American publication of her book 70 years after her grandmother arrived in the city.

Calvi’s grandmother Margaret Boyle was one of the first GI brides to come to America following the ‘friendly invasion’ of more than 2 million American soldiers to Britain during World War Two. Some 70,000 British women lost their hearts to American men stationed in the country in the run-up to D-Day, giving up everything and everyone they knew to start a new life in the US.

Margaret’s husband, Lawrence Rambo, left the struggling South for a job at the Goodyear Tire Company in Akron, which was booming in the war years producing synthetic rubber for the war effort and building parts for B29 bombers and blimps for the US navy.

Staff at Akron City Hospital saved Margaret’s life with a new miracle drug – Penicillin – when she gave birth to her daughter and contracted puerperal fever. The drug had been developed for the troops and was extremely rare at the time.

Calvi and her writing partner Duncan Barrett came to Akron in 2012 for their research. Staff at Akron-Summit County Public Library helped them track down a 1945 edition of the Akron Beacon Journal in which her aunt’s birth at Akron City Hospital was announced.  They also helped identify where Calvi’s grandparents were living at the time, in a rural area with no street address. Using old maps of 1940s postal routes they were able to locate the right area.  Calvi also visited Akron City Hospital and was shown by an older nurse the ward where her aunt was born almost 70 years ago.

For more information, call the Business & Government Department at (330)643-9020.  Copies of GI Brides will be available for purchase and there will be a book signing after the talk.

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FTC Sends More Than $16 Million in Refunds to Consumers Harmed by Tax Relief Scam

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing refund checks totaling more than $16 million to 18,571 consumers who paid money to American Tax Relief, which bilked financially distressed consumers by falsely claiming it could reduce their tax debts. Under a settlement, the defendants turned over millions of dollars in assets the court had frozen, including bank accounts, jewelry, and a Ferrari. The relief defendants, who were the parents of one of the defendants, also turned over bank accounts, jewelry, a Beverly Hills residence, and a Los Angeles condominium.

Affected consumers will receive, on average, 16 percent of the amount they lost. Those who receive checks from the FTC’s refund administrator should cash them within 60 days of the mailing date. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or to provide information before refund checks can be cashed. Those with questions should call the refund administrator, Gilardi & Co., LLC, at 1-877-430-3699, or visit www.FTC.gov/refunds for more general information.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

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Where do I park downtown?

That is a common fear that we often hear when encouraging people to come into Akron.  There are a variety of parking spots downtown, including the deck that is attached by  indoor walkway to the library.  If you go to  http://www.downtownakron.com/getting-around/parking  you can get a list of all of the parking areas along with a map that you can download.  This resource from the Akron Downtown Partnership should take some of the stress out of wondering where you will go once you are in the city.

While you are here, stop in your Main Library at 55 S. High St. and then pop up to the third floor which is where the Business & Government Division is now located.  We still have the same great resources and also some added subjects along with a much better view.  We welcome your visit.

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Outside Akron

The moderate temperatures this summer are perfect for outside strolls.  For those with an interest in local history, “Walks around Akron: rediscovering a city in transition,” by Russ Musarra and Chuck Ayers is the perfect guidebook.  The essays first appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal from 1987-2000 and explore both popular and forgotten areas of Akron and the surrounding communities.  Some of the places originally illustrated by Chuck Ayers have been altered or demolished, as the first essay “Howe House” makes known.  This is a book of “discovery” as Russ Musarra says in the preface; a discovery of both the past and the present as the reader ambles through these pages and the sidewalks of Akron.

Another book interested in the past and the present is “Steps in time: ninety years of MetroParks, Serving Summit County” by Sarah Vradenburg.  Earlier this year the park changed its name to Summit Metro Parks.  This is the fascinating story of Summit County’s natural wonders and the people who had the vision to save them for the residents.  For information on the park trails and park activities, look at www.summitmetroparks.org.  A little aside, outstanding photographs submitted by volunteers can be viewed at Summit Metro Parks’ facebook page.  Hopefully, one or all of the essays, illustrations, history, or photographs will lead you outside to experience the urban and the rural.

The books mentioned above are located in the Business & Government Department.  Call 330-643-9020 to reserve your copy.

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Ohio Crime

For fans of television shows such as Forensic Files and Investigative Discovery channel, the Business and Government division has an abundance of books to satisfy any true crime enthusiast. Of particular interest are the volumes that recount ghastly crimes that happened close to home here in Ohio and Akron.  A good place to start would be True crime, Ohio : the state’s most notorious criminal cases by Patricia A. Martinelli.  This paperback covers local events like Cleveland’s grizzly “Torso Murderer” who claimed 12 victims. Sam Sheppard also makes an appearance as well as Akron’s own Edward Wayne Edwards who had the distinction of making the FBI’s 10 most-wanted list.  To satiate one’s appetite for Ohio crime and sleaze, no need to look further than Ohio confidential : sex, scandal, murder, and mayhem in the Buckeye State by John Boertlein.  Here you will find the notorious black widow serial killer “Arsenic Anna” and the account of Jeffrey Dahmer’s first killing.  It also contains the dubious tale of Jerry Springer’s prostitute debacle and Charlie Manson’s Ohio connection, plus much more.  If you want to stick as close to home as possible, then perhaps try If looks could kill by M. William Phelps which chronicles the story surrounding Cynthia, the wife of Tangier owner Ed George who was implicated in the murder of Jeff Zack, or another Akron business slaughter story with Please… don’t kill me” : the true story of the Milo murder by William C. Dear and Carlton Stowers.  As one can see, you don’t have to turn on the television for harrowing tales of murder and mayhem; just look in your own backyard or the Business and Government division of main library.

 

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Consumer News

Ready for a discussion that’s likely to upset the whole family? First, explain these concepts to your four-year-old: online shopping accounts that are linked to your credit card, unlimited in-app charges, and store policies that state all sales final. Then, explain how the virtual coins your child uses in a game can cost real money charged instantly to your account. Sounds like fun, right?

The experience has been anything but fun for parents whose children racked up hundreds of dollars playing “free” games on the Kindle Fire. According to the FTC, Amazon allowed kids to buy virtual goods — like coins, stars, and pet food — without getting parents’ permission. The FTC is suing Amazon and seeking refunds for parents and other account holders who were billed for unauthorized charges.

Many moms and dads complained that they didn’t know — and their kids didn’t understand — that kids could spend real money, billed to the parent’s account, for extras that cost anywhere from 99 cents to $99 each. The FTC’s complaint highlights internal communications in which Amazon employees stated that allowing unlimited in-app charges without a password was “clearly causing problems for a large percentage of our customers,” adding that complaints from customers were reaching “house on fire” levels.

And yet, for over a year, many in-app purchases on the Kindle Fire didn’t require a password or otherwise involve parents in the purchase process. Even when Amazon finally began requiring a password for certain in-app charges, the company didn’t make it clear that entering a password once could allow children to incur unlimited charges for fifteen minutes to an hour without further parental involvement.

The company’s stated policy is that all in-app charges are final and nonrefundable. According to the complaint, parents who sought an exception to that policy faced a difficult and confusing process.

If you’re a parent who was shocked to find in-app purchases charged to your Amazon account without your permission, contact the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

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Summertime on Lake Erie

Lake Erie is such a gem to have in our backyard. Within a one or two hour drive from Akron there is a sand beach, cool waters and a day of warm weather fun.  The closest beach to Akron, Edgewater Park, is just west of downtown Cleveland and has been totally revamped by Cleveland Metroparks, including new sand which gets raked every day. The largest beach on Lake Erie, Headlands Beach State Park, is east of Cleveland in Mentor and is operated by Ohio State Parks.  This mile long beach is the closest Ohioans will see to an ocean landscape without going to the ocean.  Geneva on the lake, a quaint lakeside town, has a “strip” reminiscent of old-time boardwalks.  Although the “strip” is not a boardwalk, it has amusement rides, live entertainment, arcades and restaurants.  Geneva State Park has a sand beach also operated by Ohio State Parks.

Many people frequent the Lake Erie islands, located in the western basin of the lake.  Kelleys Island and South Bass Island are popular destinations and can be reached by ferries at Marblehead and Catawba Island.  These islands offer plenty of summer entertainment or just plain lazy days, depending on one’s disposition.

The Business & Government Department has two amazing publications about the Lake Erie region.

The first, “Explore the Lake Erie Islands: a guide to nature and history along the Lake Erie coastal Ohio trail,” is both natural history and guidebook to this string of islands.  Pick this book up and you will want to visit all the islands.

The second publication, “Ohio coastal atlas,” is a delight to peruse.  This could well be considered the bible for Ohio’s Lake Erie coastal regions.  Coastal geology is explained, fish and wildlife habitat is described, the physical and biological characteristics of the region are noted, and for fun is a mention of the Lake Erie lighthouses.  The detailed maps and photographs make the book worthwhile on their own merits.

So take the plunge and get to know Lake Erie as a summer visitor.

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Lightning Safety Awareness Week: June 22-28, 2014

It’s that time of year again, the peak season of nature’s most deadly phenomenon, and it bears repeating the reminder of lightning safety.  There were 146 lightning fatalities in Ohio from the years 1959-2012.  The Buckeye State is in the top third of states with the highest death toll due to lightning strikes.  Although the odds of being struck in your lifetime are only 1 in 10,000 and 10% of that number are actually killed, there is a chance of brain damage or other disabilities as a result. So now that we have ascertained the seriousness of this weather situation, here are some guidelines on how to keep safe:

First of all, one should be aware of the many myths about lightning.  For example, “heat lightning.” There is no such thing as heat lightning. What is being observed, is lightning from a thunderstorm that’s too far away to see.  At any rate you are still  in danger of being struck.  Take a look at this radar photo that demonstrates how far away a lightning strike occurred from the major storm center.

It’s your behavior that determines the risk of a lightning strike:

1)If you see threatening clouds approaching or hear thunder seek safe shelter immediately.

2)During the storm is the highest threat of being hit by lightning. Do not use corded electrical devices/appliances, stay away from windows, doors, and plumbing.

3)Do not leave safe shelter until 30 minutes after you hear the last rumble of thunder.

So while you are enjoying your summer outdoor activities, keep in mind a few simple rules when a thunderstorm approaches.  Make time to review this life-saving information and once again remember:

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

 

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Akron and A.A.

This past weekend Akron hosted approximately 10,000 individuals who came here to celebrate Alcoholics Anonymous’ 79th Founders’ Weekend.  Founders Bill Wilson and Akron physician Dr. Bob Smith first met in Akron on Mother’s Day, 1935.  Alcoholics Anonymous gave birth to the 12 Step Program.  This program and process has been adopted by over 200 self help groups.  Its social impact has been enormous.

Now that the hubbub has died down from all our visitors, local residents can take advantage of this important part of Akron history which we may take for granted, but others travel many miles to see and experience.

Historic sites include:

Dr. Bob’s House

855 Ardmore St.

(330)864-1935

Residence of Dr. Bob and Anne Smith.  It is open every day except Christmas from noon to 3.

 

Mayflower Hotel

263 S. Main St.

Bill Wilson made phone calls from here hoping to talk to another alcoholic as a means of maintaining his own sobriety.

 

Stan Hywet Gatehouse

714 N. Portage Path

(330)836-5533

Home of Henrietta Seiberling (mother of Congressman John Seiberling).  Henrietta introduced Dr. Bob and Bill W. in her home on Mother’s Day, 1935.

 

Summa St Thomas Hospital

444 N. Main St.

It was here that Dr. Bob and Sister Ignatia established the first alcoholic ward.  The second floor chapel contains a memorial to Sister Ignatia and historical displays highlighting her life.

 

Dr. Bob’s Grave

Mount Peace Cemetery

183 Aqueduct St.

Founders’ Day observances include an annual motorcade to Dr. Bob’s Grave.

More information on these locations as well as additional sites of significance can be found on the Akron AA website.

http://www.akronaa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19&Itemid=124

 

As a repository of Akron history, Akron Summit County Public Library has an abundance of materials on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous.  These include circulating books in the Business and Government  Division, documents and non-circulating materials in the Special Collections Division, and historical sound recordings in our Culture and AV Division.  The Akron Intergroup Office of AA houses the official AA archives.  They are at 775 N. Main St with a phone number of 330-253-8181. (http://www.akronaa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=24&Itemid=123)

 

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