Akron officials are making the case for the proposed 0.25 percent income tax increase that is expected to appear on the ballot later this year. The $16 million projected annual revenue increase will be earmarked for police, fire, and road improvements.
Chief Clarence Tucker of the Akron Fire Department joined Jasen to explain the dismal condition of several of his firehouses, discuss additional needs that could be fulfilled by the added tax revenue, and talk about what his department has done to be fiscally responsible.
The Akron Public Schools announced the elimination of 93 positions Monday, including 31 teachers and 35 tutors. Much of the blame for the layoffs was placed on the merger of Kenmore High School and Garfield High School.
Akron School Board President Patrick Bravo and School Board member Lisa Mansfield joined Jasen Tuesday to talk about what the layoffs will mean for students and whether some of the laid off staff members could still get jobs within the district.
Reaction came fast Thursday to Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan's proposal to raise the city income tax from 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. Akron City Council President Marilyn Keith (D-Ward 8), Budget Committe Chairman Mike Freeman (D-Ward 9), and Councilwoman Tara Mosley Samples (D-Ward 5) joined Jasen to give their thoughts on the plan and respond to concerns raised by the listeners.
Greg McNeil from Cover2 Resources hopes test strips that detect fentanyl in heroin will soon be as available as Narcan and needle exchanges.
Inspired by a similar program in New York City, McNeil is working with the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County to implement a pilot program in the Cleveland area. The strips, which cost around $1, only detect fentanyl but a similar strip to detect carfentanil is in the works.
McNeil joined Jasen to talk about the program.
There is no shortage of ideas about what to do with the land opened up by the removal of part of Akron's Innerbelt. An event held this weekend at Kent State University helped to work through some of those ideas.
A design charette, defined by Merriam-Webster as "the intense final effort made by architectural students to complete their solutions to a given architectural problem in an allotted time or the period in which such an effort is made," drew architects, designers, and community stakeholders to work on concepts for the soon vacant plot of land. Architect Craig Thompson said he hopes to have similar gatherings in Akron neighborhoods soon to gauge how the community wants the land used.
Thompson joined Jasen to discuss what the charette participants came up with.
We're more than five months away from Election Day, but one ballot issue is already gaining attention and filling up the airwaves.
The Ohio Drug Price Relief Act would require the state to pay no more than what the Department of Veterans Affairs pays for prescription drugs. It would affect state agencies that purchase prescription drugs including Medicaid, the Department of Health, retirement plans, prisons, and workers compensation.
Dennis Willard, spokesman for Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices, joined Jasen to speak in favor of the ballot issue while Dale Butland of Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue presented the opposition.
There's another local candidate in the race for Secretary of State.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) announced her candidacy earlier this week. She joined The Jasen Sokol Show on Friday to talk about her decision to run and the changes she plans to make if she's elected.
The large field of contenders for Governor got larger Monday with the announcement that Nan Whaley will run for the office.
Whaley, who has served as Mayor of Dayton since 2014, joined Jasen on Tuesday to talk about why she decided to run, some of the issues she'll run on, and how she plans to set herself apart from an already crowded field of candidates.
The 2018 gubernatorial race is heating up as another Republican contender has entered the race.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced his candidacy late Saturday night with a video posted to his social media accounts. On Monday, he joined Jasen to talk about his decision to run for Governor and some of the issues he'll run on.
It's the first Saturday in May, and that means it's time for the Run for the Roses. 20 horses will go to the post at what is expected to be a rainy Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Classic Empire is the favorite at 4-1, but the possibility of a sloppy track has the experts looking for a mudder.
Rich Ruda, track handicapper for JACK Thistledown Racino, and Max Barton, executive director of the Canton Museum of Art and a longtime owner of racehorses, joined Jasen to share their picks and how they'll play the Derby.
Maurice Clarett knows what it's like to be on the inside. He's using that experience to try to reform the system.
Clarett, who helped Ohio State to the 2002 BCS National Championship while a running back for the Buckeyes, was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for robbery and concealed weapons charges in 2006. After he was released early in 2010, he became a motivational speaker and is working with substance abuse recovery organizations in his native Youngstown.
On Wednesday, Clarett will return to Columbus for an event sponsored by the U.S. Justice Action Network in support of two criminal justice reform initiatives. Senate Bill 66 would widen eligibility for substance abuse treatment in lieu of incarceration, while an element of Gov. John Kasich's state budget proposal would allow for more funding to house nonviolent, first-time offenders in community-based facilities instead of prison.
Clarett joined Jasen to talk about changes he would like to see made in the criminal justice system.
A group of tech, business, and design experts spent ten hours Saturday working on some of the pressing issues facing Akron.
By the end of the Hack N Akron hackathon, participants had developed branding for Akron neighborhoods including logos and websites, assembled an online booking system for rooms in Akron's community learning centers, and built an app that can search the city's land parcel data and break it down by usage.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan told the group of volunteers before they started their work that the city intends to utilize the group's work.
Courtney Gras, Executive Director of event organizer Launch League, joined Jasen to talk about what the group accomplished and what they plan to do in future hackathons.
With the state licensing process about to get underway for Ohio's medical marijuana facilities, the City of Akron is getting ready to implement rules of its own.
A package of rules unveiled Monday would keep medical marijuana facilities at least 500 feet from any Akron school, park, playground, library, or church. It would also require the facilities to receive approval from City Council to operate and would implement an annual licensing and fee structure.
Ellen Lander Nischt, Assistant Director of Law and spokesperson for the City of Akron, joined Jasen to talk about the proposal and explain that Akron is not trying to regulate the medical marijuana industry out of Akron.
(City of Akron) (Monday), Mayor Horrigan introduced legislation to Akron City Council that would heavily regulate potential medical marijuana facilities in the City of Akron, in anticipation of the State of Ohio’s issuance of licenses to businesses for cultivation, processing, testing, and dispensing of medical marijuana across the State. The proposed regulations would prevent facilities from locating in residential areas, or within 500 feet of a school, church, library, playground, or park, and require Council to issue a special conditional use to a medical marijuana business before it can operate in the City limits. Additionally, the ordinance would implement a multi-step local licensing process and allow the Akron Police to inspect any medical marijuana facility at any time.
In September of 2016, Mayor Horrigan introduced, and Akron City Council passed, a one-year moratorium on the “issuance or processing of any license, building permit, certificate of occupancy, conditional use or other authorization that would enable the cultivation, processing, or dispensing of medical marijuana within the City of Akron.” The moratorium was issued to enable the City to study and review the new Ohio medical marijuana law (H.B. 523) and other applicable zoning, business, and criminal laws and regulations. Today’s ordinance is the result of the City’s careful study of the new Ohio law, and decision to strictly regulate these businesses, should they seek to locate in Akron.
“The Ohio General Assembly established a system to allow Ohio residents to access medical marijuana, with their physician’s recommendation, to treat serious medical conditions like cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy,” Mayor Horrigan said. “Recognizing that medical marijuana will now be legal across Ohio, we felt it necessary to enact additional local restrictions that will limit where medical marijuana businesses can locate in Akron and give us greater control over licensing, regulating, and inspecting these facilities to make sure they are being operated in a legal, appropriate, and safe way. The goal of this ordinance is to allow patients to access legal medical treatment while ensuring that these facilities do not have any unwanted impact on our neighborhoods. We will continue to enforce existing criminal laws and will closely monitor the impact of this new law to safeguard the health, safety and vitality of the entire community.”
The City also created a two-page fact sheet outlining the new Ohio law and how it will impact Akron, available at https://goo.gl/Ck0GoJ. A public hearing before City Council regarding the proposed zoning regulation of medical marijuana facilities is scheduled for Monday, May 1, 2017.
Cleveland Indians Communications Coordinator Joel Hammond joined Jasen Sokol live from Booth 6 in Progressive Field to talk about the festivities going on during Opening Day today at Progressive Field as the Indians take on the Chicago White Sox.
Director of Merchandising Karen Fox also joined Booth 6 to shed some light on what new Tribe gear will be available at the Indians' Team Shop this season.