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MAHONING COMMISSIONERS Chairman calls for cooperation in fighting crime



Published: Fri, July 8, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



He expressed concern about recent violence.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Last week's manhunt on the city's East Side has prompted the chairman of the Mahoning County commissioners to call for a meeting to discuss possible solutions to reduce the recent increase in shootings in the city.

"I have asked Glenn Kountz, president of the sheriff department's Fraternal Order of Police Local 141, to formulate a meeting with law enforcement of both the county and city and the commissioners to discuss possible solutions as to the recent rash of gun violence in the city over the past three weeks," Commissioner Anthony Traficanti said at Thursday's commissioners meeting.

"As you know, our county jail is not allowed to house more than 300 inmates because of the federal court order," he continued. "Is it possible that the criminal element is taking advantage of this?"

East Side

On July 1, city police accused four men of shooting at police and eluding an all-out manhunt on the city's East Side. One of the four also pulled a gun on a church secretary and took her car.

They all were arrested Saturday and are in jail on bonds in excess of $1 million each.

Just a few days before that event, a man was shot and killed on Grandview Avenue. The victim was the brother of one of the four men involved in the July 1 event. Police have said they believe the shootings are part of a feud between two East Side families.

What concerns Traficanti is whether county and city law enforcement officials are doing everything they can to resolve the problem.

"Do we need more patrols on that side of town? Can the sheriff's department be doing more to coordinate with city law enforcement?" Traficanti asked.

The exact day and time of the meeting hasn't been set, but Traficanti said it should include a discussion on "how can we better detect and deter gang activity in our community."

"It troubles me that we have young people shooting AK-47s at people," he said.

New businesses

In other business, Dennis E. Roller, president of the Youngstown Arts & amp; Entertainment District Association encouraged commissioners and the public to attend a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday on the second floor of the Ohio One Building, East Boardman Street, to listen to presentations of the six newest businesses in the city's downtown on why they chose to locate there and what they have to offer.

Roller said the association is promoting the downtown and wants others to support the new businesses, which have all sprung up over the last six months.

Roller said the businesses will do well when the Youngstown Convocation Center opens in November, but he advocated that city and county residents begin patronizing the businesses now.

He said the association has used the assistance of grant writers to help get funds for fa & ccedil;ade improvements at the businesses.

"Let's think positive about Youngstown," said Roller, a lifelong city resident who retired in 1999 as a senior adviser for General Motors Corp.

Scheduled to speak Wednesday are Mike Fonda, owner of The Old Precinct; Howard Lindsey, owner of Howard's; Jeff Kurz, part owner of Imbibe; Jim Sutman, owner of Confectionary; Glenn Shelton, owner of Skeeters Jazz Bar; and Charles Staples, owner of Charlie Staples Bar-B-Que.




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