Thursday, 05 October 2017 09:20

AUDIO: Ed Asner on Autism Advocacy, Awareness

He’s a familiar name from television, movies, and voice-acting. That familiar name will be appearing at the Akron Civic Theater on October 12.

Part of the Autism Society of Greater Akron’s Autism Summit, Ed Asner and his son, Matt, will be a part of a panel with Bruce Winges. He recently spoke with WAKR’s Tony Mazur about his advocacy for autism awareness, especially in a time when the affliction was not as well known. Asner also discussed the portrayal of autism in the media, and how far it has come in recent years.

The 3rd Annual Autism Summit will continue on October 13th, as well, at the Hilton Akron-Fairlawn. For more information on the festivities, visit AutismAkron.org/conference.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Payton Grigsby from Wadsworth High School is our female 1590 WAKR Student Athlete for the week of September 22nd-29th.

A senior at Wadsworth, Payton has participated in cross-country since her sophomore year. She was a quick learner and a natural athlete, as she has placed high many meets, including taking home first place in an individual race at the Wooster Invitational in early September.

“We do about forty miles a week,” says Payton when talking about her cross-country training. “We definitely build a good base, and do a bunch of speed work toward the end of the season.”

However, cross-country running was not Payton’s first love. She has played soccer from an early age, and decided to run track her freshman year. Her experiences in track and field led her to joining the cross-country team as a sophomore.

After high school, Payton is still undecided as to where she wants to continue her education. She does plan on running in college, talking with schools from Divisions 1 through III. In the classroom, Payton would like to major in Art Therapy.

“I’ve always wanted to help people,” she says about art therapy. "I love art, and I think that’s the best thing for me right now."

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JoJo France is this week's 1590 WAKR Male Student Athlete. He is a senior at Manchester High School, participating in football and basketball for the Panthers.

Jojo is proud to be able to carry on the the tradition of the France name at Manchester.

"It means a lot to me," says Jojo, who is proud to carry on the tradition of the France name at Manchester. "And I know it means a lot to them."

In fact, his head coach, Jim France, is his grandfather.

Two-time ​Pac 7 first-team basketball player, as well as Pac 7 first-team football, are just some of the accomplishments Jojo has earned in his time at Manchester.

As for his post high school education, Jojo has an interest in sports management, with an eye on scouting or sports management. He currently excels in government class.

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After sitting vacant for nearly a decade, and after numerous attempts at bringing some life to the venue, the Rubber Bowl will soon become rubble.

Mayor Dan Horrigan joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss the present and future of the Rubber Bowl and the surrounding area. Safety and security are big issues, mainly with “trill seekers” breaking in to take photos of the decay. Once the structure meets the wrecking ball, Horrigan says this helps change the landscape of the area, and he looks forward to how the surrounding area will look afterward.

The Rubber Bowl opened its doors in 1940, hosting the Akron Zips football team for its entire run. Over the years, the venue was used as a neutral site for football teams and site for music festivals.

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Romona Robinson is not originally from Northeast Ohio, but you wouldn’t know that based on her commitment to the community. Whether she is on a local newscast or speaking at a church, she has made a pledge to spread the positive news of the world.

Romona joined the Ray Horner Morning Show, hosted by Tony Mazur, to promote her new book, A Dirt Road to Somewhere. A decade-long labor of love has come to fruition in the form of print, and it is an inspiring story of being raised in a small, poverty-stricken town to having the chance to interview presidents. Romona also talks about her embrace of Northeast Ohio over her 30-year career in Cleveland television.

Romona’s day job is as the evening anchor for Cleveland 19 News, after spending a 15-year run at WKYC Channel 3. A Dirt Road to Somewhere from Halo Publishing is available on Amazon, as well as her website, RomonaRobinson.com.

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A few weeks ago, Ward 4 councilman Russ Neal created a proposal for the city of Akron to distance themselves from Columbus Day. This news came around the time when Oberlin dropped Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, though not everyone in Akron was as gun-ho about a potential change.

In fact, in the city council chambers, the topic and corresponding votes were divided among racial lines, with all of the black council members voting ‘yes’ to drop Columbus Day.

Though he understands Neal’s concerns, Ward 2 councilman Bruce Kilby voted ‘no’ on the measure. Kilby spoke on the Ray Horner Morning Show of the “contentious” atmosphere in the chambers, and how the measure appeared to be more divisive than helpful and progressive. Kilby says he does not mind instilling an Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but is not in favor of ditching Columbus Day, either.

Kilby also said he was glad they voted on the measure when they did so they can “put [the issue] to bed.” He feels racial lines in the Akron area have been “pretty good” when compared to other major cities, especially in recent memory.

Councilman Neal also joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to recap the meeting and vote. Neal believes the decision to retain Columbus Day in Akron is “disheartening,” but claims the discussion will continue.

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On Sunday afternoon, news of Chief James Nice’s resignation from the Akron Police Department broke, which prompted immediate speculation. Mayor Dan Horrigan called a 12:30 press conference on Monday to clear up any confusion.

On Tuesday, Mayor Horrigan and Kenneth Ball, the new chief of police, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss Nice’s resignation and how the city will move forward. Horrigan is a firm believer in accountability and transparency in his cabinet, and he demands the same in other departments as far as maintaining that trust in the community. Ball reiterated those comments.

Many surmised the resignation was due to the suicide of the teenager inside the police cruiser, but both the mayor and chief stressed this was an unrelated incident.

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A new school year has begun at the University of Akron, and the atmosphere and the vibes are quite positive.

Matthew Wilson, the president of the university, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss all that is happening around the campus for 2017-2018. Wilson has met with the new freshman class, and says the student housing is currently at its peak. The new class, according to Wilson, is from all over the state, not just confined to the immediate area.

Wilson also mentioned some cosmetic changes around the campus. One of those facelifts is a $21 million renovation of the School of Law.

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A talking point that Congressman Jim Renacci has discussed often is how Americans are tired of career politicians making decisions, both locally and nationally. That was evidenced last November when Donald Trump, a businessman-turned-politician, was elected president.

Congressman Jim Renacci joined the Ray Horner Morning Show in studio to talk about his own campaign for governor. Renacci, a long-time businessman much like Trump, has thrown his hat in the race for governor in 2018.

In addition to the goings on in Ohio, Rep. Renacci also discussed the incidents in Charlottesville, the Affordable Care Act, and national security when dealing with North Korea.

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A talking point that Congressman Jim Renacci has discussed often is how Americans are tired of career politicians making decisions, both locally and nationally. That was evidenced last November when Donald Trump, a businessman-turned-politician, was elected president.

Congressman Jim Renacci joined the Ray Horner Morning Show in studio to talk about his own campaign for governor. Renacci, a long-time businessman much like Trump, has thrown his hat in the race for governor in 2018.

In addition to the goings on in Ohio, Rep. Renacci also discussed the incidents in Charlottesville, the Affordable Care Act, and national security when dealing with North Korea.

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A talking point that Congressman Jim Renacci has discussed often is how Americans are tired of career politicians making decisions, both locally and nationally. That was evidenced last November when Donald Trump, a businessman-turned-politician, was elected president. Congressman Jim Renacci joined the Ray Horner Morning Show in studio to talk about his own campaign for governor. Renacci, a long-time businessman much like Trump, has thrown his hat in the race for governor in 2018. In addition to the goings on in Ohio, Rep. Renacci also discussed the incidents in Charlottesville, the Affordable Care Act, and national security when dealing with North Korea.

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The Fighting Irish lost a coach who helped Notre Dame return to prominence. That coach happened to have roots in Akron.

John Feinstein, author, commentator, and talk show host, was in the Akron area and joined the Ray Horner Morning Show in studio. Feinstein talked about the passing of Fighting Irish coach Ara Parseghian, who helped lead Notre Dame to two titles, and the impact he had on the program and college football in general.

Feinstein is in town for the Bridgestone Invitational, and he and Ray talked about the field and how the tournament is fairing without Tiger Woods.

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At the end of 2016, Richard Lennon announced he would step down as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland due to health problems. This left a space inside the diocese, temporarily filled by Most Reverend Daniel Thomas of the Diocese of Toledo.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Bishop Nelson Perez will take over that position permanently, and he called into the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss his journey. Bishop Perez talked about his upbringing, his embrace of Northeast Ohio, and how much different being a bishop is in 2017 as opposed to what it was years and decades prior.

The Diocese of Cleveland covers eight counties, including Cuyahoga, Summit, Lake, Geauga, Lorain, Medina, Wayne, and Ashland.

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Two days after the shootings in Alexandria, Virginia on GOP members practicing baseball, Washington D.C. is still shaken from the impact. The charity baseball game was always a way for both parties to come together, but this time even more so.

Congressman Jim Renacci joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about his op-ed in the Columbus Dispatch, which calls for the parties to begin working together. In his six-and-a-half years in congress, Renacci believes the political rhetoric is out of control, saying the bipartisan measures rarely get reported. He stresses the importance of the parties working together on bigger issues such as solving the debt.

The Ohio congressman was at a bipartisan breakfast when the shootings occurred, and he discussed his relationship with House Whip Steve Scalise and his fellow Republicans on the baseball field.

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Thursday, 15 June 2017 08:57

AUDIO: Sen. Brown On Alexandria Shootings

On Wednesday, GOP members of Congress were shot at on a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, which caused a few injuries, including wounds to House Whip Steve Scalise. The Republicans were practicing for a charity baseball game at Nationals Park, with the Democrats warming up at a field a few miles away.

It was decided the game will go on. Current US senator and former member of the Democrat baseball team, Sherrod Brown, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about the shooting. Brown wants something to be done about the violence in the country, and hopes President Trump can be “more of a healer and not a divider” in times like these.

As far as the charity baseball game goes, Brown says the game must go on, believing a cancellation of it would “look cowardly."

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News out of Washington over the last week has been divisive and partisan, and politicians from both sides have not been shy to weigh in.

One of those politicians is Ohio senator Sherrod Brown, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show on Thursday. As for the recent firing of FBI director James Comey, Brown questions the timing of Comey’s firing, calling it “troubling.” Brown also believes it's “pretty clear" about the ties between President Trump and Russia.

Commenting on the new healthcare bill, the Ohio senator says he has “no idea” what will happen as time goes on, but will “fight like hell” to oppose the bill. He also shared his thoughts on NAFTA and the airline industry.

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The second phase of repealing and replacing Obamacare was rolled out last week, and this time around, the new bill helped unite more Republicans.

Congressman Jim Renacci joined the Ray Horner Morning Show, guest-hosted by Tony Mazur, to talk about his support of the bill. Renacci spoke of the importance of the new bill, and attempted to clear up any confusion over pre-existing conditions.

In addition to healthcare, Rep. Renacci also touched on President Trump’s first 100 days in office, the election in France, and the race for Ohio governor, which he is a part of.

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Easter Sunday went from a celebratory holiday to a local and national tragedy, where millions saw the death of Robert Godwin on Facebook.

One of the talking points were what Facebook could have done to avoid a situation like this, or if it could have been avoided at all. Mark Welfley from Welfley Technologies in Fairlawn joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about the dangers that can come from apps such as Facebook or Snapchat.

Welfley shared some tips on how to ensure better online safety for kids and teens. One of those tips is to go to the Settings tab and turn off the location. Another is to guide teens on proper Internet behavior, such as controlling one’s emotions and cyber bullying.

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The Front Street project in downtown Cuyahoga Falls is ready to start, and has been met with great fanfare.

The mayor of Cuyahoga Falls, Don Walters, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss the project, which passed unanimously on Monday night. The soon-to-be-former pedestrian mall will be torn up and replaced with a brand new street, park benches, and streetlights, with the underground utilities to be replaced first.

Walters says the project will begin very soon, with plans already being drawn up. His main goal is to protect the businesses already there, and the timeline is to have everything completed by 2018.

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Tuesday, 28 March 2017 06:57

AUDIO: Dambrot Leaving Akron For Duquesne

After 305 wins and four trips to the NCAA Tournament in 13 years, Keith Dambrot is heading eastbound on Interstate 76. Dambrot, the now-former head coach of the Akron Zips, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about his decision to guide the Duquesne Dukes. Duquesne is familiar territory for Dambrot, as his father played there and his mother is from the Pittsburgh area. According to Dambrot, leaving the University of Akron was “the toughest decision I’ve ever made in my life, to be perfectly frank about it.” He said he was not looking around for other jobs, but the timing was right to try to turn another program around. It will be a seven-year, $7 million contract for the 58-year-old Dambrot.

Dambrot is 59 and says he doesn't want to be coaching into his 70s or 80s, and looks at the rebuilding of the Duquesne program as a great opportunity. "The timing was right and I would take one more fling to turn another program around," Dambrot said.

LISTEN to the full Dambrot interview with WAKR's Ray Horner below.

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Some studies published the Akron Beacon Journal showed some surprising statistics about the area as far as population and median income. As is the case in many Rust Belt towns, city leaders are always looking for ways of bringing residents into the area. Akron mayor Dan Horrigan joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss what he and his associates plan to do. Horrigan looks at the residents like they are customers, and what would the customers what they want out of their city. The most important aspects of a city, according to the mayor, are job growth, safe neighborhoods, and a strong downtown. As far as the neighborhoods go, Horrigan says city planners are looking at what areas are ready and what needs to be built up. He also puts a lot of value in a city’s strengths and landmarks, such as the Goodyear area and near the hospitals.

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President Trump’s overhaul of the Affordable Care Act has been met with loud scrutiny, especially here in our backyard.

Senator Sherrod Brown joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss what he and fellow senator Rob Portman have on their plates. Brown and Portman, along with Governor Kasich, teamed up to combat what is colloquially known as “Trumpcare.” Brown believes the new healthcare plan will benefit the 2% while taking insurance away from 20 million people.

The Ohio senators have also teamed up with Bob Dole to go over trade policies that affect Ohioans.

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Wednesday, 01 March 2017 09:26

AUDIO: Terry Francona Sits Down With Ray

Since he’s been with the Indians, Terry Francona has seen nothing but success: two playoff appearances, two Manager of the Year awards, and four-straight winning seasons. As the 2017 season gets ramped up, he’s looking to extend all of those accolades.

Tito sat down with Ray Horner during Wahoo Week in Goodyear, Arizona, to not only talk about the current team, but also a little about him. Many years ago, Francona played with the Montreal Expos, and an injury to his knee paved the way for Tim “Rock” Raines to have a hall-of-fame career.

Horner and Francona also discussed other aspects of the game that have changed through expanded analytics, as well as the up-and-coming prospects in the organization, like Yandy Diaz.

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A small part of Governor John Kasich’s proposed budget is for teachers to shadow inside the job sector. Not surprisingly, this was met with a bit of controversy, especially since it appeared to be buried deep in the budget.

Becky Higgins, a former teacher at Copley-Fairlawn and now the president of the Ohio Education Association, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to share her thoughts. The shadowing in the job sector would be a requirement to renew teachers’ licenses, and Higgins echoed the inquisitive thoughts of her fellow educators.

The OEA president also touched on trade schools and the future of cursive.

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017 09:56

AUDIO: John Michael Previews Cavs Second Half

The Cleveland Cavaliers are at the halfway point in the season. Technically, they are more than halfway, but now that the all-star break is over, the team is focused on getting healthy for the playoffs.

John Michael, the play-by-play voice of the Cavaliers, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about the bumps in the road and the silver linings. Those bumps have come from injuries, first to JR Smith and now to Kevin Love. As far as Smith, Michael believes he is still a ways away from returning to the lineup.

The silver linings, according to Michael, are the additions of Kyle Korver and Derrick Williams, who have stabilized the rotation. Still, the Cavs may make some type of signing, with a veteran backup point guard being a top need.

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President Trump is actively filling out his cabinet, though he is encountering a few roadblocks from the political opposition.

Congressman Jim Renacci joined the Ray Horner Morning Show for his monthly visit, and he spoke about the “unique and different” cabinet the president is putting together. He wishes the Democrats could give the president a chance to succeed by getting the members on board as soon as possible, rather than delaying matters.

Rep. Renacci also touched on education, specifically about student loan debt and Betsy DeVos, the newly-confirmed Education Secretary. The Ohio congressman also spoke about the Congressional Review Act, which is an act that congressional leaders put forth to overturn certain bills pushed by an outgoing president at the end of his term.

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Downtown Cuyahoga Falls is getting itself a facelift, and they are doing so rapidly.

Mayor Don Walters called into the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss the changes to the downtown, which are set to be completed sometime in 2018 and cost between $11-$13 million. The major project for Walters is increased retail development, since the previous model of foot traffic has not gone as planned.

According to the mayor, in order for the new retail to flourish, the section of Front Street must re-open. Walters stresses “visibility and accessibility” as far as retail development goes.

Speaking of retail, Walters believes a potential tweaking or closing of Chapel Hill Mall (which is in Akron city limits) would not affect the Howe Avenue corridor too much.

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Friday, 03 February 2017 09:46

AUDIO: Rep. Tim Ryan on TPP, Trump

Two weeks removed from President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and he has been as busy as any new president has ever been. He has had his supporters, but definitely seen a share of detractors.

Congressman Tim Ryan does not necessarily align politically with the new administration, but will admit if he agrees with a particular issue. One of those issues is withdrawing from TPP, and feeling a bilateral trade agreement is the preferred option.

However, Rep. Ryan feels President Trump has made Americans less stable in his two weeks in office. Ryan is against the refugee ban, and does not agree with irritation allies such as Mexico and Australia.

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Thursday, 02 February 2017 09:12

AUDIO: Coach Sam Rutigliano To Appear In Akron

Remember the glory days of the Cleveland Browns, when their late-game heroics would nearly give their fans heart palpitations, hence the nickname “The Kardiac Kids”? The brains behind those exciting teams called into the Ray Horner Morning Show on Thursday.

Coach Sam Rutigliano has maintained a residence in Northeast Ohio, more than thirty years after his dismissal from the Browns, but continues to care about this area. On Sunday before the ‘Big Game’, he will be appearing at the Branded Saloon in Akron at 6 PM to watch contest between the Patriots and Falcons. Proceeds from the auction will go to Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation.

The former Browns coach talked to Ray about growing up in Brooklyn, New York, moving on to Liberty University, and just how good of a quarterback Tom Brady is and where he ranks among the all-time greats.

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In the last few days, a whirlwind of controversy has surrounded President Trump’s executive order to put a temporary blockade on refugees from entering the country. However, a number of American communities have pushed back, and a few of those are in the state of Ohio.

The greater Akron area happens to be one of those communities, and Summit County Executive Ilene Shaprio joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss it in detail. Shapiro is highly against this executive order, believing Summit County is a “welcoming community” and the people here and everywhere “should not live in fear.”

Shapiro urges the administration takes a hard look at the executive order, not just in the emotional sense, but as far as the economic impact. She says Summit County has embraced immigrants from all over, and that "broad statements” and rhetoric could and would have downstream effects both locally and nationally.

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Friday, 27 January 2017 10:21

AUDIO: Rep. Renacci On Trump, TPP

Week one of the Trump Administration is in the books, and his pen has used a lot of ink.

Congressman Jim Renacci was in attendance for the January 20th inauguration, and he joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to recap the week that was. Renacci commented on Trump’s executive orders and bills being signed, saying it was “exciting” to see the new president accomplish this much this soon.

Rep. Renacci, also a businessman-turned-politician, touched on TPP, saying he has been frustrated with America’s tax codes and trade agreements over the years. He also talked about bipartisan leadership, the Alaskan pipeline, and the proposed wall on the Mexican border.

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Norton High School Girls Basketball sophomore Kelsey Hosey is the 1590 WAKR Female Student Athlete of the Week for January 27th-February 3rd.

The sophomore has been an important player in the teams outstanding 12-3 start.

"She is a real good player and choice, such a talented young player," said Norton head Coach Brian Miller.

"I feel right at home, even though I am an underclassman," said Hosey.

Kelsey had 19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals in the Panthers recent win over Field and came back with 19 points and 9 rebounds in a win on the road against Cloverleaf.

Kelsey's older sister had a storied career at Norton and Hosey said watching and learning from her sister has helped make her a better player.

"She helped me so much, on and off the court, how to listen and how to lead," said Hosey.

Kelsey is a three sport performer for the Panthers as she is a middle hitter on the Girls Volleyball team as well as a runner in the 40, 800 and 4 x 4 in track. On the basketball team she plays three positions and is a two year starter as a sophomore.

Kelsey is still a few years away from college but she hopes to get into a field where she can help those in need. She is already giving back by being a youth basketball coach in Norton.

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017 10:14

AUDIO: Mayor Horrigan On City Budget, ACA

A full year has gone by since Dan Horrigan took over as the mayor of Akron, and it is time to look at the budget into 2017.

Horrigan called into the Ray Horner Morning Show to touch on the two sections of the budget, and the subsequent cuts with it, totaling up to around $75 million over the last five years.

The mayor also discussed the Republicans’ repealing of the Affordable Care Act and the effect it can and will have locally. Other topics included the water and sewer supply and the future of Chapel Hill Mall.

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Wednesday, 11 January 2017 09:43

Summa CEO Faces Tough Questions

As soon as the calendar turned to 2017, controversy has surrounded the offices of Akron’s Summa Health System. From firings to walkouts to calls for resignation, plenty of questions are on the table.

Dr. Thomas Malone, President and CEO of Summa, faced those tough questions Wednesday on the Ray Horner Morning Show. Dr. Malone addressed the calls for his dismissal, which came a day after he sent an apology memo to his staff.

As for the contract dispute, Dr. Malone initially believed the matter would be resolved and contracts would have been extended, but he believes he needed to protect the hospital.

In other controversial news, though not as grandiose, Malone reacted to a 2015 photo of him smoking a cigar, which has gone viral. Summa instituted a nicotine-free policy for new hires some years back.

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Thursday, 05 January 2017 08:23

AUDIO: Southwest Pulls Out At CAK

In 2014, Southwest Airlines came on through Akron-Canton Airport with great fanfare, but it’s stay was a little more than a layover. Come June, Southwest will no longer be taking off at the airport.

Rick McQueen, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Airport, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to speak of the loss of the airline. McQueen said Southwest had already been cutting back its services in 2016, and was both shocked but not surprised by the announcement.

As Southwest slowly cut down on their services at the airport, CAK will see a sizable bump with Spirit Airlines, another low-cost airline with flights headed to warm-weather destinations in Florida and South Carolina.

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Wednesday, 04 January 2017 08:37

AUDIO: Dambrot Becomes Zips Winningest Coach

The winningest coach in Akron hoops made some time with 1590 WAKR.

Keith Dambrot took home win number 11 on the season on Tuesday night, which happened to be victory number 289 at Akron, and he joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about the journey. That journey includes recruiting and trying to compete in the parity-filled Mid-American Conference. Though he remains humble, Dambrot does feel honored to be included in the elite group of coaches and players who have made their way through the program over the years.

Dambrot joined the Zips as an assistant coach in 2001, and was named head coach in 2004. He began his head coaching career in 1984 with Tiffin, and most notably coached LeBron James at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.

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These ain’t your father’s Cleveland Indians anymore.

After making it to Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, the Indians have upped the ante and signed slugger Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year deal. Tribe broadcaster Jim Rosenhaus talked about this signing with the Ray Horner Morning Show, believing a deal like this “makes sense.”

"There’s a need to go for it, and this certainly gives them that extra boost to take that next step,” said Rosenhaus. The former Blue Jay slugger will most likely play DH, with Carlos Santana moving over to first base full-time. Rosenhaus also talked about his consistency, with Encarnacion having the second-most home runs in the last five seasons.

Will a signing of this magnitude help the attendance? Rosenhaus believes so, not just from the Encarnacion addition, but the long playoff run. He feels the organization senses the momentum will continue, and may see another bump in season ticket sales during the offseason.

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Wednesday, 21 December 2016 08:14

AUDIO: Wrapping Up 2016 With Local Mayors

As the year winds down, Ray Horner catches up with the mayors across the region and how their cities and townships fared.

Ray caught up with the mayors of Stow, Tallmadge, Wadsworth, and Barberton, and later on Cuyahoga Falls and Akron, on how 2016 was and what is to come in 2017.

Sara Kline - Stow

David Kline - Tallmadge

Robin Laubaugh - Wadsworth

Bill Judge - Barberton

Don Walters - Cuyahoga Falls

Dan Horrigan - Akron

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Thursday, 08 December 2016 10:35

AUDIO: Huntington Bank CEO On FirstMerit Merger

After being around the area since 1845, FirstMerit Bank is no more. Huntington Bancshares announced it would acquire FirstMerit, with branches officially being converted to Huntington by early 2017. So what does this all mean?

Stephen Steinour, president and CEO of Huntington, spoke with Ray Horner before his appearance at the Akron Roundtable. Steinour assured the listeners and customers that while both Huntington and FirstMerit were “doing well,” he believes the merger will make the company even stronger. He says both banks had very similar history and cultures, and the plans are to continue that tradition.

The Huntington CEO insists the company will “make a profound and lasting difference” in Akron, as they will invest $2 million a year for the next decade into the community.

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The money is flying around Major League Baseball, and some big-named players are changing zip codes. But will the Indians make any moves? Do they need to?

Paul Hoynes, the long-time Tribe beat writer for the Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about what the team is, or isn’t, doing at the MLB Winter Meetings. Hoynsie believes Cleveland’s top priorities are getting that middle-of-the-order bat and adding to the outfield depth.

Reports are the Indians have inquired about Toronto sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but it’s more realistic that the Tribe could re-sign Mike Napoli.

According to Hoynes, the Indians are a peculiar position as far as the outfield goes. The team will measure the progress of Michael Brantley’s shoulder, and will most likely play the waiting game with Bradley Zimmer.

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In 2016, the eyes of the sports world were on Northeast Ohio. From basketball to hockey, to baseball to mixed martial arts, the titles and accolades poured all over the region.

Here in Akron, the RubberDucks took home the Eastern League championship, and their manager, Dave Wallace, was named Minor League Manager of the Year. Wally called into the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about the Ducks’ journey towards their title, as well as the manager’s job at a level such as Double-A. He went into specifics about how to manage a team with players being called up to higher levels at different times and how the coaching staff can adjust.

Wallace has been the manager of the RubberDucks since their current incarnation in 2014, and has been with the Indians’ organization as both a player and coach since 2002.

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Highland High School freshman sensation tennis player Elizabeth Hadler is the WAKR Female Student Athlete of the Week for November 18th-25th.

Elizabeth was the Suburban League Most Valuable Player as only a freshman compiling an impressive 24-4 recording leading the Hornets to the league title.

"I was hoping to have a big year, but this was just great," said Hadler.

Hadler is heavily involved in her school. She is a member of Student Council and is a key contributor to the Highland girls basketball team.

"I started playing tennis at a young age and quickly fell in love with sport," said Hadler.

Elizabeth spends valuable time at her church in volunteer role as well as being a youth tennis instructor.

"As a player, I am a mixture of a player that will return everything, but when need be I like to charge and be aggressive at the net," said Hadler.

Hadler currently carries an impressive GPA and will take her studies and tennis game onto college after her days as a Hornet Netter.

Published in SAOTW
A week has passed since Donald Trump became president-elect of the United States, and the transition period has begun. The transition isn’t just the changing of the guard in the executive branch, but the GOP takeover in the Senate and House.

Senator Sherrod Brown joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to share his thoughts on the election. Being a Democrat, Brown has reservations for Trump’s cabinet, which includes right-wing media magnate Steve Bannon, but says he will help the transition in any way he can. However, he is not in favor of building walls or deporting immigrants and Muslims.

Senator Brown’s name, as well as Rep. Tim Ryan’s, has been floating around in terms of fresh leadership in the Democrat Party. Though he is flattered, Brown says his focus is not on a leadership position, but on Ohio, and wants to lead on issues such as trade and Medicaid.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
It was a magical run for the Cleveland Indians, a team very few, if any, predicted to go to the World Series. It may not have finished the way many had hoped, especially after a 3-1 lead, but Tribe fans everywhere are proud of their baseball team.

Bob DiBiasio, Senior VP with the Tribe, made his way to Akron to recap the postseason that was, as well as how the team will look in 2017. “Bobby D” recapped the financial aspects of the Indians’ postseason run, which proved to be quite lucrative for the players. Due to these backloaded contracts, a plethora of players will be receiving raises going into next season.

So what’s next? DiBiasio says the team is looking to keep Rajai Davis and Mike Napoli at a reasonable price, as well as others in terms of additions and subtractions. He says the team appears “set” on paper, but a big question mark is the health of Michael Brantley, but the team feels good the Indians excelled without their MVP candidate.

As of this writing, spring training kicks off 94 days from now.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Tuesday, 08 November 2016 08:53

AUDIO: APS Superintendent Faces The Community

In the continuing saga of the Akron Public Schools shakeup, members of the community have a long list of questions. Former mayor Don Plusquellic had one of those lists.

David James, the superintendent of APS, reiterated his thoughts on the consolidation on the Ray Horner Morning Show. James maintains his initial thoughts in that schools like Kenmore and Garfield cannot continue to operate if they’re less than half capacity.

The state of Ohio will foot the bill for 59% of the new CLC, and James says they will do their best to maintain the history and legacy of Kenmore and Garfield schools. In terms of the new site, the superintendent believes the issue is finding vacant land at a low price, if not free.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Wednesday, 02 November 2016 08:43

UA President Settles Into Official Role

Matthew Wilson had his interim title dropped a couple weeks ago and became the permanent president of the University of Akron, and he has hit the ground running.

Wilson joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss what is on his plate, which includes the recent $3 million endowment from the Knight Foundation for polymer science and engineering. It is the largest singe endowment in school history.

The UA president acknowledges the challenges he has ahead, which includes a sizable loss in enrollment over the last few years. But Wilson is confident that the issues can be solved, especially with the school’s 150th anniversary around the corner.

Wilson took over as interim president when Scott Scarborough stepped down. He came to the university in 2014, and was enticed due to how much the community truly cares about the school.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Fans and pundits have compared the scrappy, resilient 2016 Cleveland Indians to the last time they were in the Fall Classic, 1997. But what some may not realize was how powerful the 1954 Indians were, even though they were swept by the New York Giants.

Hal Naragon was a catcher for the Indians from 1951-1959, and was a member of the 1954 Tribe. He joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about what he sees in today’s Indians that reminded him of his own team. He was a witness to Willie Mays’s catch at the Polo Grounds, though he still maintains Larry Doby made a better grab in a regular season contest.

Naragon did eventually win a World Series ring, though it was in 1968 with the Detroit Tigers as a bullpen coach. The 88-year-old is a graduate of Barberton High School and still calls Barberton home.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
All eyes, at least in the sports world, will be on Cleveland, Ohio tomorrow night. Game One of the 2016 World Series just so happens to fall on the night of the Cavaliers receiving their championship rings.

Terry Pluto, long-time sportswriter for the Akron Beacon Journal and now with the Plain Dealer, stopped in studio on the Ray Horner Morning Show. Terry spoke at length about how the Indians got to this point, from the moment the team hired Terry Francona to the day before the 2016 World Series. Pluto went into detail about Francona’s involvement in shaping the team, from the power bats to the analytical number crunchers.

Pluto has a new book out, his thirtieth, called The Comeback: LeBron, The Cavs & Cleveland. It is available in stores and on Amazon.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Thursday, 13 October 2016 08:57

AUDIO: Terry Pluto On Francona, ALCS

The first ALCS in nine years for the Indians is set to kick off Friday, and this time, the Tribe has the home field advantage.

Terry Pluto, author and long-time columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal and now the Plain Dealer, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about this run from Terry Francona’s Indians. Pluto discussed Tito’s managerial style and how the players have come to embrace it. Though Francona may not show it publicly, Pluto believes beating his former team in the ALDS was huge.

Onto the ALCS, Pluto calls the Blue Jays a “strange” team, in that not many believed Toronto would get this far. The Plain Dealer writer said the strength of the Blue Jays was not necessarily their power hitting, but their pitching, which had a lower ERA than the Indians.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER

The rumors of potential mergers in the Akron Public School district have swirled for some time, and now the news has been confirmed. Most notably, Garfield and Kenmore High Schools will join as one in the near future. David James, superintendent of Akron Public Schools, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss this particular merger. James and city council president Marilyn Keith have previously discussed plans for a brand new CLC, and the tenants would be the schools with a diminished population. At the start of the 2016-2017 school year, Kenmore High School is at 33% capacity. According to James, the project will cost $58 million, and 59% of it will be paid for by the state. Team meetings on where to build the new CLC will begin in 2017, as the plan is to find a site equal distance between Kenmore and Garfield.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
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