This week I'm talking with tech entrepreneur and author, Andrew Keen, who's been called "The Antichrist of Silicon Valley" for his books that poke holes in tech's shiny facade. I first became acquainted with Keen when I reviewed his book "Digital Vertigo" for USA Today a few years ago.  His new book, "How to Fix the Future", explores how people all over the world are trying to come up with ways we can both survive and thrive in a future where livelihoods are threatened by automation, privacy is a relic of the past, social media has been subverted, and surveillance is omnipresent.
Thursday, 22 March 2018 10:48

UA President Wilson Stepping Down

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In a letter to the University of Akron community, President Matthew Wilson announced that he will step down from his role as President, effective July 31, 2018, saying he will rejoin the school of law as a full-time faculty member. 

Read the letter President Wilson wrote below: 

Over the past few weeks, there have been many conversations about what my inclusion as a finalist in the University of Central Florida presidential search might mean. My sincerest apologies for any concern that this may have caused. With the search now complete, I want to address these conversations and talk about the future.

As I previously mentioned, the invitation to apply for the UCF presidency caught my interest due to our roots in the Orlando area and the opportunities associated with this once-in-a lifetime chance at the largest university in the country. Please know how much I sincerely appreciate those who reached out with words of gratitude, understanding, and support during the search process. I strongly believe that my inclusion as a finalist in the UCF presidential search is a testament to The University of Akron (UA), its strengths, and its recent progress. In fact, many eyes across the country focused on UA’s achievements, academic programs, research, and innovative initiatives and they were impressed with our University.

As I look back over my past four years at UA, it truly has been an honor to dedicate my heart, strength, soul, and mind to serving the institution in an effort to assist students, stabilize matters, overcome challenges, generate new opportunities, and lead UA to even greater heights. I first served as Dean of Akron Law until the Board of Trustees approached me nearly two years ago about serving as interim president. From the start, my family and I have tirelessly committed ourselves to UA and its success. Of course, the road has been very demanding, especially as we concurrently helped our youngest son successfully fight through a battle with an aggressive pediatric cancer. It has been a privilege to join so many extraordinary people within the UA family to collectively make a difference for our students and community.

Through the efforts of many in the University community, we have made remarkable progress amid challenging circumstances. We have continued to help students succeed and strengthened vital relationships. We have reminded the community, state, and world about the University’s value, benefits, and advantages. We have made progress on the budgetary front, including a $42 million one-year budgetary turnaround last year and increased donations. We have enhanced affordability (Akron Guarantee Scholarship) and international opportunities (International Center) as well as added innovative approaches (esports program and Five Star Fridays), new degrees (Cybersecurity), and flexible learning options. UA has returned to a state of positivity and optimism. Going forward, I am confident that bright times are ahead for UA, particularly if everyone maintains an innovative and creative mindset.

Our short-term strategies have been noteworthy. We also have laid the foundation for longer term plans. Last fall, UA initiated a comprehensive, faculty-led review of our academic programs. That effort is proceeding as scheduled. The Faculty Senate will receive the results soon, prior to determinations by the administration and Board. Additional initiatives (especially our dashboard tools)  provide us with the data and analysis needed to engage in a thoughtful, collaborative process to determine our future direction. In keeping with our commitment to shared governance, successful strategic planning requires a university-wide, inclusive process. To that end, I hope that we can appoint a Strategic Planning Council (including representation from across UA and the community-at-large) to help lead these discussions. As we collectively work to prepare for the future, the likelihood of our success increases as the UA community works together, exudes positivity, and embraces these initiatives.

After four years of intense commitment and with the confidence that UA is on the right track, I have decided to shift from my role as President to join the full-time faculty, effective July 31, 2018. This decision came after much thought and consideration and is based on a host of personal and family considerations. Pursuant to my agreement with UA, I intend at this time to return to my faculty position with Akron Law at a substantially reduced salary, in recognition of ongoing financial challenges for the University.

Over the next four months, my efforts to ensure UA’s ongoing success and a smooth transition will continue in full force, especially as we continue to implement new initiatives. As I have said previously, it is an honor to be here at UA, as I thoroughly enjoy the UA community and students. I value the chance to contribute to a world-class university that is again on an upward trajectory.

Finally, I want to personally thank all who have supported me in my role as dean and president over the past four years. We can all be proud of UA and its achievements. Hopefully, everyone can redouble their efforts to unify and move UA forward.


President's signatureMatthew J. Wilson
The University of Akron

Tuesday, 20 March 2018 11:37

Akron Police Beefing Up Residential Speed Patrols

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Watch your speed along Akron City streets in the coming months, as APD is starting to crack down on speeders. 

The request is coming from Akron City Council, who will be working with the Police Department's Traffic Commander to decide which areas to target. 

Akron Police Chief Ken Ball tells the Akron Beacon Journal that the department is adding three, four-hour patrols each weekday, to rotate between Akron's 10 wards. Typically, shifts will run late afternoon, which is a high-volume time around the city. 

Monday, 19 March 2018 12:20

Akron to Consider Raising Tobacco Sales Age

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The City of Akron is considering raising the age to legally purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. 

The following is a press release from the City of Akron: 

When Mayor Horrigan appointed Tamiyka Rose as the City of Akron’s first Health Equity Ambassador last Spring, he tasked her with developing and spearheading new strategies to reduce the City’s unacceptable infant mortality rate. “I will never tolerate a scenario where Akron babies are more likely to die before their first birthday than babies born in other communities,” Mayor Horrigan said. “I hired Tamiyka to coordinate our efforts locally, and help turn the tide.”

“In looking at effective strategies to reduce infant mortality, smoking by young, expectant mothers was a key risk factor we needed to target,” Rose said of the initiative. “Looking at the data, it was clear that increasing the tobacco sales age to 21 could meaningfully reduce infant mortality rates and improve lifelong health outcomes for today’s youth.”

More than 290 cities and counties across 19 states have increased the age for tobacco sales to 21, a movement commonly referred to as “Tobacco 21”. Since 2015, 9 other Ohio cities, including Cleveland and Columbus, have passed similar laws.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S.  Not only is it costly in terms of human life, it has a tremendous financial toll.  According to health policy research, increasing the national sales age for tobacco to 21 could save society an estimated $212 billion over a 50-year period.

The Tobacco 21 strategy is proven to not just delay, but prevent, tobacco use in young people across their lifetimes.  Military leaders are supportive of raising the tobacco age to 21 due to tobacco’s negative impact on military readiness (more info available here).

“Individuals who have never used tobacco by age 21 are unlikely to ever start smoking.  While it is estimated to reduce retail sales by only 2%, increasing the smoking age to 21 can prevent approximately 90% of new smokers from ever starting the habit, by making it difficult to obtain during the years they are most susceptible to the addiction,” said Cory Kendrick
Summit County Public Health’s Director of Population Health.  

And the link to infant mortality and premature birth is clear. “According to 2014 data, in Summit County, pregnant women under age 21 smoke at a rate that is 70% higher than their older counterparts,” Kendrick continued. “Nearly one in four pregnant women in Summit County age 18 to 21 smoked while pregnant. And pregnant women who smoke are more likely to experience the devastation of infant loss.” 

Akron zip codes 44320, 44307 and 44306 have some of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, nearly double the national average. In 2016, 30 Akron babies died before their first birthday.

“If we are serious about giving Akron babies the best possible start to life, we must be willing to challenge structures and institutions that reinforce poor maternal health,” Tamiyka Rose said. “Tobacco use is a clear risk factor, and one we can do something about.”

Akron’s proposed Tobacco-21 legislation, co-sponsored by Councilwoman-at-large Linda Omobien, will be introduced to Akron City Council this afternoon. Representatives from Summit County Public Health, youth ambassadors, and physicians from Summa Health and Akron General/Cleveland Clinic will testify in support of the legislation.

“If you’re not willing to be part of the solution, you’re part of the problem,” Rose concluded. “We’re hoping Akron will choose a healthier future for its next generation.”

A fact sheet with more information about the local Tobacco 21 initiative is available here.

Monday, 19 March 2018 11:49

CAVS: Ty Lue Taking Time Off for "Health Reasons"

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A report from the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday afternoon is that head coach Tyronn Lue will be taking some time off from the team to address undisclosed health issues. 

The following is Coach Lue's statement from

"After many conversations with our doctors and Koby and much thought given to what is best for the team and my health, I need to step back from coaching for the time being and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation from which to coach for the rest of the season.

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards.

I greatly appreciate Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman, our medical team and the organization's support throughout."

Reports are that Cavs assistant coach Larry Drew will take over the coaching duties while Coach Lue gets healthy. 

LeBron James commenting, saying, "I knew he was struggling, but (Lue) was never not himself," adding, "It's probably long overdue, but health is the most important thing." 

This week, we’re focusing on cybersecurity, concerns about the upcoming election, and what’s being done to train people to keep both civilian and government networks safe.

Click Here to listen.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 10:43

Akron-Based Signet Jewelers Closing 200 Stores

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Akron-based Signet Jewelers plans to close 200 mall-based stores, reduce costs, and beef up e-commerce, to improve long-term operational and financial performance. This, as a result of recent sales declines.

Market Watch, and Wall Street Journal report the retailer, which owns Kay Jewelers, Zales, and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, says it hasn't adapted quickly enough, as consumers make fewer trips to stores, and shop more online.

Click here to read a more detailed explanation, from the company's press release.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018 11:20

UA Hosting Gun Violence Town Hall Wednesday Night

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Wednesday marks the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. 

In conjunction with the anniversary and on National Walkout Day, where students in high schools, and other schools across the country are walking out of class for 17 seconds (one second for each victim), the University of Akron is offering a forum to discuss issues revolving around "Gun Violence in America's Schools." 

The LeBron James Family Foundation is sponsoring the event, that runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday evening in Olin Hall, Room 124, at the University of Akron. You can find out more at


Wednesday, 14 March 2018 11:02

Stark State College Increasing Tuition

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Stark State College, for the first time in four years, is increasing the instructional fee. 

The $10 increase to the fee brings it to $126.50, and is effective starting this summer semester. According to the press release, the instructional fee will only be applied to the first 16 credit hours a student takes each semester; beyond 16 per semester, a student will not be charged an instructional fee. 

Dr. Para M. Jones, President of Stark State College, said in a press release, "This tuition increase will enable the College to continue providing quality educational programs that lead to in-demand careers, which is important to our students and employers.”

Even with the increase, Stark State College remains the lowest in the region, and the college continues to increase scholarship opportunities for students. 

Read more information from a press release from Stark State College below:

The tuition increase was recently approved by the Ohio legislature, authorizing the state’s community and technical colleges to increase tuition by up to $10 from the previous year.

The Trustees also took action to authorize a career services fee of $6 per credit hour, increasing the general fee from $37.10 to $43.10 per credit hour. This adjusted fee also will be effective summer semester and also applied only to the first 16 credit hours a student takes each semester.The fee was approved by the legislature last year, and most other Ohio community colleges opted for the increase then. Stark State, however, has been focused on expansion and realignment of its career services offerings, and the new fee now will allow more comprehensive career assistance as well as a higher level of integrated connection to employers.

The fee also will help fund additional tutoring services, student support services, student success coaches, additional disability and military support services and increase licensed counseling services.

While increases in tuition are necessary in order to maintain quality academic programs; hire and retain outstanding, student-centered faculty and staff; keep class sizes low; and provide state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories, Stark State College continues to seek ways to help make college more affordable for its students. The College has taken these steps in recent years to lower student costs:

  • increased scholarship opportunities for students through both the College and The Stark State College Foundation with a combined $900,000 available for student scholarships annually
  • worked with Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) to provide free public transportation to any Stark State student on any SARTA route
  • partnered with SARTA to add a direct route from Stark State’s main campus in North Canton to the Akron Metro Transit Station and back to main campus at no cost to students, saving Akron students both time and money
  • implemented an emergency fund program for students who have an unexpected, one-time need (car repair, home repair) that may hinder their ability to pay for school; the fund can pay the vendor for the unexpected need, so the student can continue to pay for and attend college
  • expanded textbook rental to lower the cost of textbooks and participation in a statewide open educational resource consortium to keep textbook costs low for students.
Monday, 12 March 2018 12:34

APD Looking for Domestic Assault Suspect

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Akron Police are looking for 33-year-old Marcus Brooks, who is wanted on a Domestic Violence charge.

According to the APD report, a 25-year-old woman walked into the station about 3:30 Sunday morning, crying, bleeding from her head, and her right eye swollen and bruised. She reported that Brooks, who is her live-in boyfriend assaulted her during an argument, and then grabbed a pistol and threatened to shoot her. After she begged him not to shoot her, the victim told police Brooks hit her with the butt of the

The victim was able to get out of the house and then went right to the police. Brooks, meanwhile, left the house in the victim's car; a dark blue 2005 Nissan Maxima. He's listed as a 6 foot, 260 pound black male. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Akron Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490; the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-866-4-WANTED; or the Summit County Crimestoppers Inc. at 330-434-COPS. You can also text TIPSCO with your tips to 274637 (Crimes). Callers can remain anonymous.


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