If you've been listening to Akron's leaders recently, you've probably heard the phrase "Welcoming City" quite a few times. Mayor Dan Horrigan's latest step toward that label extends the welcome to members of the LGBT community.

Horrigan and Councilman Rich Swirsky (D-Ward 1) proposed a city nondiscrimination ordinance Monday. If passed by City Council, the ordinance would ban discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, familial status, sex, gender identity or expresson, sexual orientation, or military status. It would apply in the areas of housing, employment, public accomodations, and city contracts. Exceptions would be made for religious groups and the Akron Public Schools. 

While state and federal law already outlaws discrimination against most of the groups covered by Akron's law, it does not include provisions for sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Violations of the ordinance would be investigated by a new Civil Rights Commission made up of 5-7 people appointed by the mayor and confirmed by Council. The commission would have the power to penalize those who violate the ordinance.

Horrigan joined The Jasen Sokol Show Monday to discuss the proposed ordinance.

Published in Jasen Sokol

The Democratic gubernatorial field grew again Monday as former State Rep. Connie Pillich announced that she is entering the race. Pillich, who also ran for State Treasurer in 2014, joined Jasen to discuss why she's running for Governor and give her thoughts on health care reform and the heroin epidemic.

Published in Jasen Sokol

President Donald Trump struck a different, much softer tone as he laid out an outline of his policy agenda Tuesday night in a joint address to Congress. Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) and Dave Joyce (R-Russell Twp.) joined Jasen to react to the speech and discuss how Trump's proposals will be viewed in Congress.

Published in Jasen Sokol

North High School's Academy of Health and Human Services got a big boost from Akron Children's Hospital this week.

The hospital pledged $400,000 to the Akron Public Schools. $250,000 of that will go to the health care academy, while the other $150,000 will come in the form of internships, teacher externships, and other experiential learning opportunities.

Children's Hospital President and CEO Bill Considine joined Jasen to talk about the donation and the business community's thoughts on the career academy model being rolled out at North.

Published in Jasen Sokol

Evan Delahanty's business didn't get a deal from the Sharks on last Friday's episode of ABC's Shark Tank, but Peaceful Fruits is still reaping the benefits of national exposure.

The company, which makes all-natural fruit snacks, staffs people with disabilities in conjunction with Hattie Larlham and the Blick Clinic. After the appearance on Shark Tank, Delahanty says he's already had to add 10 jobs in order to keep up with demand.

Delanhanty joined Jasen to talk about the Shark Tank experience and the next steps for his business.

Published in Jasen Sokol

It's already a busy week in Akron, as workers began demolition Monday of a portion of the Akron Innerbelt. The work means the intersection of MLK, N. Main, and Howard will be closed for six months. This means visitors to the Northside will have to detour to Summit St. and Furnace St. to access businesses like Luigi's and Jilly's Music Room.

At City Hall, city leaders unveiled their long-term housing plan. The key provision of the plan calls for a tax abatement for home construction.

Akron Planning Director Jason Segedy joined Jasen to address both projects and what they mean for Akronites.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Monday, 30 January 2017 18:38

AUDIO: Mandel, Walters React to Travel Ban

Reaction to President Donald Trump's executive order pausing the refugee process and suspending visas for citizens of seven Middle Eastern countries has been swift and loud on both sides. Protesters gathered at airports across the country over the weekend while Trump surrogates took to the Sunday shows to defend the order. Liz Walters of the International Institute joined Jasen to express her concerns and talk about the travel ban's impact on Akron, while Ohio Treasurer and 2018 Senate candidate Josh Mandel expressed his support for Trump's action.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Monday, 23 January 2017 19:12

AUDIO: Changes Coming To Summit Lake

If you drive on Interstate 76/77 through Akron, you've seen Summit Lake. But did you know there is only one bench at the lake and it faces away from the lake?

The lack of amenities around Summit Lake could soon change thanks to the Knight Foundation and the Trust for Public Land. An environmental study is getting underway to find out what uses are possible for the lake. Kyle Kutuchief from the Knight Foundation and Matt Schmidt from the Trust for Public Land joined Jasen to talk about what's ahead.

A community meeting to discuss the future of Summit Lake will be held on January 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Summit Lake Community Center.

Published in Jasen Sokol

The political discourse has been heated lately, but we didn't expect anyone to lose an ear in the process.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports a debate over President Donald Trump's immigration policies ended when Salatiel Marcos Ortiz's roommate bit a part of his ear off. The Mike Tyson-esque incident occurred early Monday morning. Ortiz also suffered a broken finger. Police are still searching for the roommate.

Published in Jasen Sokol

If you're a regular listener to The Jasen Sokol Show, you probably know Jessica Burkhart-Zuschin as one of the Akron Life panelists on the Weekend Preview. But before she worked for Akron Life, Burkhart-Zuschin had a career in the circus, including a year working on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. She joined Jasen to react to the shutdown of the Greatest Show on Earth and respond to some of the criticisms of the circus.

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Published in Jasen Sokol
Thursday, 12 January 2017 17:43

AUDIO: Addressing The Issues At Oriana House

An Akron City Council committee took time this week to address issues at Oriana House, including a recent fatal overdose. Akron City Councilwoman Tara Mosley Samples and Oriana House Executive Vice President Bernie Rochford joined Jasen to discuss the concerns and how to improve recovery programs in Akron.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Monday, 19 December 2016 20:34

AUDIO: Renacci Lays Out 2017 Priorities

Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) is looking ahead to next year and the beginning of the Trump administration with several bills he plans to propose in the new session of Congress, including bills on infrastructure and the budget. He joined Jasen to talk about those bills, his thoughts on a congressional investigation into alleged Russian hacking, and the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Thursday, 15 December 2016 21:14

AUDIO: Terry Pluto Talks Cavs, New Book

Terry Pluto's new book The Comeback: LeBron, the Cavs, and Cleveland is on bookstore shelves now. It chronicles the departure and return of LeBron James and the run to the 2016 NBA championship. Pluto joined Jasen to talk about the book and some of the lesser-known stories about the Cavaliers.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 19:07

AUDIO: Could Renacci Be Treasury Secretary?

Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) was one of President Elect Donald Trump's earliest supporters in Ohio, and now his name is in the national discussion for a cabinet post.

A Forbes column last week made the case as to why Renacci should receive an appointment. Renacci joined Jasen and said while he has had discussions with Trump's transition team, he has not talked with Trump specifically about a cabinet post.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 18:38

AUDIO: Tim Ryan Talks Minority Leader Bid

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) believes it's time for change in the House Democratic leadership. Last week, he officially launched a bid to replace Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the House Minority Leader. He joined Jasen to talk about his candidacy and the change in approach he would like to see in the Democratic Party.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Monday, 07 November 2016 17:52

Presidential Race Hits Home Stretch

It's Election Eve, and the presidential candidates are criss-crossing key swing states in search of the votes they need to put them in the White House. Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball, and Dave Cohen of the Bliss Institute at The University of Akron joined Jasen with a look at what to expect on Election Day.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Monday, 17 October 2016 16:39

AUDIO: Al Pawlowski Previews ALCS Game 3

The Indians are just two wins away from the World Series, but they face three straight games at the Rogers Centre in Toronto against the Blue Jays. Al Pawlowski of SportsTime Ohio joined Jasen to preview the Game 3 matchup.

Published in Jasen Sokol

The cover of this month's Summit County Sheriff's Office newsletter has the leader of Akron's NAACP chapter concerned.

Judi Hill told The Beacon Journal she feels the cover photo of Sheriff Steve Barry and SWAT team members posing with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani at a campaign event in August is an inappropriate use of public funds this close to an election and undermines the relationship between law enforcement and the African American community. Barry says the picture is not an endorsement for Trump, but rather was a rare opportunity for the SWAT team to get a picture with someone they were protecting.

Both Hill and Barry joined The Jasen Sokol Show on Monday.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Thursday, 06 October 2016 14:41

AUDIO: Previewing the ALDS

For the first time in nine years, Cleveland will have Division Series Baseball. Jensen Lewis of SportsTime Ohio and Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe joined Jasen to preview the American League Division Series matchup between the Indians and the Boston Red Sox.

Published in Jasen Sokol

The Akron Marathon will be under way this weekend as runners from all over country and the world will look to put on display their will, determination, and athletic ability. Some runners will look to set their own personal marathon records while others will look to break world records. For Helen McWilliams she has a paticular Guinness Record in her sights. McWilliams sat down with Jasen Sokol to discuss her ambition to set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest time running a marathon while dressed as a chef.    

Published in Jasen Sokol

What schools will be closing? What schools will merge?

Those questions have been on the minds of Akronites for months as the Akron Public Schools decide how to proceed with the plan to build new buildings in the face of reduced funding from the state. A new option, the sixth option presented to the public, would lead to the mergers of Kenmore and Garfield High Schools along with the consolidation of Kent and Innes CLCs at Innes and the consolidation of Bettes and Harris CLCs at Harris. Superintendent David James joined Jasen to talk about the new option and when a final decision could be made.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Thursday, 01 September 2016 17:32

AUDIO: Jasen Sokol Show Heroin Forum

The Jasen Sokol Show traveled to Summit County Public Health Wednesday for a forum on the heroin and opioid addiction problem in Greater Akron. The discussion ranged from treatment and recovery options to the new drug disposal pouches available at Acme Fresh Market locations to the stories of family members who lost loved ones to heroin. If you missed any of the interviews, hear them in the player below.

Published in Jasen Sokol

Treating heroin addiction is difficult enough. But a condition such as depression makes treatment even more challenging. Dr. Dustin Blakeslee of Cleveland Clinic Akron General says a heroin treatment patient also suffering from depression usually can't be treated with the traditional course of medicines because they are rendered ineffective. Blakeslee talked to Jasen about the links between heroin abuse and depression and the challenges of treating someone suffering from both.

Published in Jasen Sokol

One of the most pressing issues affecting the heroin crisis is the lack of beds available for treatment. CommQuest Services is working to change that, adding 16 new beds for men to the existing 38 at its Wilson Hall facility in Massillon. While CommQuest President and CEO Keith Hochadel says Stark County's heroin problem isn't as severe as in Summit County, his organization still has a waiting list for beds. Hochadel talked to Jasen about the scope of the heroin problem in Stark County, the expanded treatment facility, and how CommQuest applies the 12-step program to heroin addiction.

Published in Jasen Sokol

Aetna announced this week that it would no longer offer health insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act exchange in Ohio and several other states, leaving around 20,000 Ohioans to find new health care plans during the open enrollment period this fall. Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, who is also the director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, joined Jasen to talk about what the move means for people who currently have Aetna insurance and what she thinks needs to change about the Affordable Care Act.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Thursday, 11 August 2016 19:43

AUDIO: Mary Taylor Talks Heroin Epidemic

With the heroin epidemic seemingly spinning out of control, many people are asking what the government is doing to address it. Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor joined Jasen to talk about what the state is doing and what more it can do to address the quickly growing problem.

Published in Jasen Sokol

Among those mourning the death of ESPN mainstay John Saunders is Terry Bowden.

The University of Akron's head football coach worked alongside Saunders in ABC-TV's college football studio every Saturday for five years...between Bowden's coaching jobs.

"Not only was he a good, good person, but maybe the best TV guy I've been around," Bowden tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol. "He'll be in front of a live television, you put him in front of there...no matter what happens, a satellite feed screws up, he could handle any situation."

Bowden says not only did Saunders teach him how to be a broadcaster, he was also "fun loving", a good family man with a great sense of humor.

Saunders died at the age of 61.

Published in Jasen Sokol

Ohio Democratic Party chairman David Pepper joined The Jasen Sokol Show to talk about whether the Democratic Party is unifying in Philadelphia and preview the speeches by Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama, and Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.

Published in Jasen Sokol

With the Republican National Convention winding down, how does it stack up with past conventions?

Bob Schieffer would know. The veteran CBS newsman has been covering conventions since 1968. While he says he hasn't seen anything quite like the violence of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, he referred to this year's RNC as "the most unusual." He talked to Jasen Sokol Thursday afternoon about the RNC and next week's Democratic National Convention.

Published in Jasen Sokol

CBS Evening News anchorman Scott Pelley talks to WAKR's Jasen Sokol about the challenges of covering the Trump campaign, why he believes Ohio is critical in winning the presidential race, and how well he thinks Cleveland has done hosting the Republican National Convention.

Published in Jasen Sokol

John Dickerson, host of CBS News' Face The Nation, joined Jasen on Media Row at the Republican National Convention to talk about the importance of Ohio in the presidential race, how presumptive GOP candidate Donald Trump affects Senate candidate Rob Portman, and how political experts can better study Trump voters.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Monday, 18 July 2016 15:02

Jasen at the RNC: Day 1

It was a busy day on The Jasen Sokol Show on Day 1 of The Republican National Convention. Here's the rundown of everyone who stopped by Media Row today:

Rep. Jim Renacci on whether Ohio Republicans are coalescing around Donald Trump

Tim Dimoff of SACS Consulting, Security, and Investigations on security measures around Cleveland

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan on the RNC's impact on Akron

Analysis from Tom Sutton of Baldwin Wallace University

Analysis from David Cohen of the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at The University of Akron

Mark "Oz" Geist shares his stories of fighting in Benghazi

Former Akron City Council candidate Cynthia Blake on why she's a Republican

Published in Jasen Sokol
Monday, 20 June 2016 07:54

"Believeland" is Getting an Update!

The Director of ESPN's 30 for 30 "Believeland" talked with Jasen Sokol today after The Cleveland Cavaliers Game 7 Championship Win. During the interview, Andy talked with Jasen about the pure elation he and many lifelong Cleveland fans are now feeling, but also talked about how the film will now be getting an update! "The Curse" has been broken!

 

 

Published in Jasen Sokol
Monday, 13 June 2016 17:54

Mike DeWine Mourns George Voinovich

Former Ohio Governor, U.S. Senator, and Cleveland Mayor George Voinovich is being mourned by political leaders around the Buckeye State, including those who worked with him closely. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine served as Voinovich's lieutenant governor from 1991-1994 and also served alongside Voinovich in the Senate. DeWine joined Jasen to share his memories of Voinovich.

Published in Jasen Sokol

Tens of millions of dollars will come to Summit County from the state budget bill that's been sent to Gov. Kasich's desk.

And local business leaders are happy about it...including money for education, for the University of Akron and a planned Akron campus for Stark State College.

The Greater Akron Chamber helped sort through and prioritize the state money locally.

President/CEO Dan Colantone says a big part of it is about helping area companies build their workforce.

"It's significant from the standpoint of the needs of business community in workforce development," Colantone tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol. "There's quite a bit of continued need in the market, through the university system...not just technical schools but universities as a whole."

Colantone says the money allocation is about a balance between jobs and quality of life.

Stark State is getting $6.5 million towards a proposed Akron branch campus.

The University of Akron gets over $18 million for a number of projects.

Published in Jasen Sokol

Sen. Rob Portman has been upset with the House, after repeatedly urging them to pass their version of the Comprehensive Addition and Recovery Act - which passed the Senate easily in March.

Rep. Jim Renacci explains that the House process involves a lot of similar bills linked to heroin and opioid abuse on that side of Congress.

"So there are a number of bills floating around the house, hopefully we can get these moving and passed," Rep. Renacci tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "then we'll bring them together in conference with (Senator) Portman's bill, and then hopefully get a bill passed that we can all agree to."

The House version of the bill is sponsored by Rep. Tim Ryan.

The other bills in the House include a bill creating guidelines for health professionals and one that would have grants to reduce opioid abuse.

Renacci says the process is involved.

"When we get a bill out of the House and it goes to the Senate, it sort of takes them time to get to understand the bill and see what's in it," Renacci says. "Same thing happens when a bill comes from the Senate. The House starts looking at it, and of course when you have 435 members, they have different ideas."

Published in Jasen Sokol

The family of Tamir Rice, the 12 year-old Cleveland boy shot and killed by police in a Cleveland park, is still feeling deep emotions after the announcement that they'll receive a $6 million settlement from the city of Cleveland.

Subodh Chandra is an attorney for the Rice family. He says the money won't bring closure.

"When it happens under circumstances as horrifying as this, there is simply no closure, there is no sense of justice," Chandra tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "and this doesn't necessarily help that."

Chandra says that he's met with the family in recent days.

"It's painful, it's an incredibly painful thing to endure," Chandra says, "there are a lot of tears and the tears don't ever seem to stop."

Published in Jasen Sokol
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 15:11

Akron Mulls Firestone Building Future

With the opening of county offices in the Firestone Triangle building, the city of Akron is looking at the future of the main Firestone building.

Akron deputy mayor for intergovernmental affairs Marco Sommerville says that there's one goal in mind for reuse of the Firestone building: jobs.

"Of course, our first priority there, if we could get some type of manufacturing there, some type of office use, those are probably our first choices" Sommerville tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "but we'll entertain anything."

Sommerville says given the condition of the Firestone building, it will probably be torn down for a new use at the site.

"It is probably an older building, it probably is not energy efficient," Sommerville says, "and it probably would serve a better purpose if it was torn down and the land was redeveloped.

But he says the city has a history of reusing existing property, like with Canal Place and the East End development at the former Goodyear headquarters, so that's not being ruled out either.

The county offices at the nearby Firestone Triangle building are there for the long term.

Published in Jasen Sokol

The Cleveland Indians are ready to start the 2016 season, and the organization and fans alike are excited about the Tribe's outlook. 

President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti joined Jasen Sokol and Sam Bourquin in Booth 6 in Progressive Field for Opening Day at the ballpark.
 
When asked about what he's most proud of in terms of the organization, he said it was a group effort from the top on down. 
 
He said the additions of Napoli, Davis and Uribe will help both on the diamond and in the clubhouse. 
 
"We targeted those guys early in free agency, and we wanted guys who could help us on the field and fit in with the culture of our organization," he said. 
 
 
 Today's matchup will pit Indians ace Corey Kluber against David Price of the Red Sox.
Published in Jasen Sokol
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 17:49

AUDIO LeBron Foundation, Bridgestone Team Up

The LeBron James Family Foundation is teaming up with a legendary local golf tournament.

LeBron's non-profit is linking up with the World Golf Championship-Bridgestone Invitational.

"LeBron's an Akron institution, and so is the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone,"
says Bridgestone Invitational executive director Don Padgett, "so we felt it made a lot of sense for the two organizations to get together...so we're excited."

Padgett says that it's not just about $50,000 pledge to the foundation...it's about kids getting involved in the tournament....with events both before the tournament and the

"The kids will be out there, they'll get to experience the tournament, behind the scenes tour", Padgett tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "maybe try a shot at our Green Monster Challenge, it's a replica of Firestone's signature 16th hole."

Other youth oriented charities that have benefitted from the tournament include Akron Children's Hospital and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Thursday, 24 March 2016 16:56

UA Responds To Enrollment Numbers

News reports that the University of Akron had the lowest enrollment totals of any school in the Mid American Conference are prompting reaction from UA officials.

The university claims the numbers that were used in the Beacon Journal story, which highlighted an enrollment drop of 3.2 percent over last Spring and drops in applicant ACT scores and grade point average, were out of date and misleading.

UA Associate Dean Lauri Thorpe focused on comparing numbers to 2012 in an interview with WAKR's Jasen Sokol. That's when the university ended its open enrollment policy in favor of more selective requirements. She says the university expected to take an enrollment hit at that time.

"You're admitting fewer candidates, it's more selective, it's automatically going to be more of a hit," Thorpe tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol.

When compared to 2012 numbers, UA is up significantly in total applications and admissions and has also seen slight increases in average GPA and ACT scores. But when compared to last year's numbers, the university has fallen in applications, admissions, and the GPA and ACT scores of the full applicant pool.

While GPA for applicants fell slightly, the GPA for students admitted to UA for the Fall semester have risen slightly from 3.32 last year to 3.3 this year. ACT averages for those admitted have fallen from 22.5 to 22.3.

The university has also received a lot of negative press over the last year, and Thorpe admits that could have an impact on enrollment.

"Although the applicant pool and the admit pools are strong, albeit a little bit smaller, though still stronger than two years ago, which was a great entering class," Thorpe says, "our confirmations are still running behind."

Thorpe says the university benefits from a selective student pool.

"It's great to have a robust, solid application pool," Thorpe says, "from which to then work through the enrollment funnel as we admit students."

Overall enrollment is down roughly 1,000 students.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Tuesday, 15 March 2016 13:57

AUDIO: Bernie Sanders Talks To Jasen

It's Election Day, and the presidential candidates are making their final push in what are expected to be close races in both parties. We invited all six candidates from the major parties to come on the show, and only Sen. Bernie Sanders accepted our invitation. He talked to Jasen about his thoughts on the Ohio primary, his plan for free tuition at public universities, how he plans to pay for his policy proposals, and the lack of civility in the presidential campaign.

Polls close at 7:30 p.m. although voters in line at the time doors close can still vote their ballot.

Published in Jasen Sokol

Judith Lynn Lee and Matt Browarek are battling for the Democratic nomination for Ohio House District 38, a seat currently held by Republican incumbent Marilyn Slaby. Both candidates talked to Jasen about their ideas and plans for if they're elected.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Thursday, 25 February 2016 15:43

Local Congress Members React To Guantanamo Bay

President Obama's renewed call to close Guantanamo Bay could end up in Congress this year.

And as you might expect, two area Congress members from two different parties have different opinions.

Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan agrees that "Gitmo" should be closed. He says it hurts our relations with other countries...

On WAKR's Jasen Sokol Show, Ryan says the existence of Guantanamo Bay hurts U.S. negotiations over other countries' human rights issues. 

Republican Congressman Jim Renacci says Guantanamo Bay should stay open...especially given the current world security situation. Renacci tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol that keeping terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay keeps Americans safe

Renacci says that it's against the law to move terrorist prisoner suspects to the U.S., a law passed in 2014 and signed by President Obama.

 

Published in Jasen Sokol
Thursday, 18 February 2016 17:52

Locals React To Akron Report: Call To Action

A report commissioned by the Knight Foundation has a lot of Akronites talking.

Some of its numbers were not at all what local officials and groups expected.

The administration of Akron mayor Dan Horrigan considers it a wakeup call...and the mayor's chief of staff James Hardy compares it to the Blue Ribbon Report recently delivered to the mayor...

"They both show that we need to make signfiicant changes in the way we think, the way we operate as a city, and the way we engage as a community," Hardy tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "to change our trajectory."

Hardy says that there are good things listed about Akron in the most recent report, but says the status quo "is just not acceptable anymore".

The lack of growth among the numbers of Akron's young professionals surprised Nicole Mullet, who heads up Torchbearers and the "ArtsNow" group.

"But it also gave us a starting point so that we actually understand what's happening in the city, so we can't fix it if we don't know what's broken," Mullet says.

Mullet suggests that some young professionals just aged out of the 25-34 year old age group, and others may be finding more affordable housing outside of Akron, in suburbs like Cuyahoga Falls...instead of in Akron's neighborhoods.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Thursday, 18 February 2016 17:48

Racer With Local Ties Busy In NASCAR Series

Someone from Medina County will be racing for a legendary NASCAR team this year.

Matt Tifft, originally from Hinckley, will race in 13 Xfinity Series races starting in Richmond in April, racing for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Tifft says it all started, after he went to races with his father, with go kart racing before he became a teenager.

"I actually started when I was about 11 years old in go kart racing over at Barberton Speedway," Tifft tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "and I just kind of did that for about half a year, and started racing all around the Ohio and Pennsylvania areas with road course go karts."

Tifft says that success last year at a race in Kentucky caught the attention of the Gibbs team.

"We opened enough eyes there, and proved that we were able to compete in a high caliber ride like that," Tifft tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "so, you know, that really opened up the doors."

The Xfinity Series is NASCAR's 2nd tier race series, right below the Sprint Cup Series.

Tifft isn't just waiting for April.

He'll be racing this weekend in the #24 car for JGL Racing in Saturday's Xfinity race at Daytona.

Published in Jasen Sokol

There's been a lot of talk about attendance at University of Akron football games, with the university being forced to buy tickets to clear attendance standards.

In the end, athletic director Larry Williams says it does come down to winning, and the fact that the Akron football program hasn't done a lot of it in recent years.

"We don't have the luxury of having a Division I team that has a long list of accomplishments at the highest level," Williams tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol. "Very good teams, but especially recently, that is in the mind of potential guests or customers, there really hasn't been a lot of success here."

Williams says that he's much more optimistic about the program, thinking it can build on winning and going to a bowl game under head coach Terry Bowden.

Williams says that it's a tough, competitive environment in college sports...where for most people, winning is expected. 

Published in Jasen Sokol

Primary voters in New Hampshire are just hours away from casting their ballots in the first in the nation presidential primary. On the Republican side, it's believed to be a make-or-break primary for several candidates including Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Lindsay McCoy of WFMJ in Youngstown is following Kasich in the final days of his New Hampshire campaign. She joined Jasen to talk about the Kasich campaign and what it will take for him to stay in the race past Tuesday's primary.

Published in Local

A proposal to move the Cleveland Browns training camp to Columbus is attracting some political controversy.

An article by Cleveland.com's Brent Larkin unveiled a plan that would have Ohio taxpayers to help pay for the Browns to move their training camp closer to Ohio State.

Larkin tells WAKR.net that wording highlighting a facility for youth in the proposed state funding plan was worded that way for a reason.

"The way they worded this, they clearly wanted this to slip through unnoticed, Larkin tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol. "I blame the business leaders in Columbus for that, far more than I blame the Browns."

State Representative Mike Dovilla represents Berea. He says it's not just about his district.

"If we allow this to happen, and allow for one region of the state, to steal taxpayer money and send it to another for a private function like this...it ought to be funded privately, if that's what they wish to do," Dovilla tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "It's Berea that's on the chopping block today, it could be your hometown tomorrow."

The team itself has weighed in on the controversy.

A Browns statement confirms the talks to relocate training camp to Columbus, but the team says it'll hold training camp in Berea this year.

The team says "Columbus is a good location" for the team's training camp for "multiple reasons", but says the reported Columbus project is being considered by leaders there as a "serious option"...and that they're in discussions with what the team calls "potential partners".

The Browns say they will "throughly evaluate all options" and will continue to hold open practices in Berea for fans.

The team also says it would "incur all the costs associating with moving and holding operations" at a site away from Berea.

(Cleveland Browns, statement) "When we first explored the potential opportunity to hold training camp out of town, we conveyed that we would make the decision based on what is best for our football operations and their preparation for the season. Our football group believes it would be a positive, as it is for nearly a dozen teams in the NFL. In relocating training camp, we would incur all the costs associated with moving and holding our operations at a remote site. Clearly, we need a facility from which to operate and are in discussions with potential partners. Columbus approached us regarding creating a site that would serve area youth for recreational purposes the 11-plus months a year that we are not using the space, but those are discussions and plans that Columbus leaders are working through, which we will review as a serious option. Columbus is a good location for us for multiple reasons, including to give more convenient opportunities to our fans across Ohio to experience their team in person. We will continue to thoroughly evaluate all options while remaining committed to hosting open practices for fans at our year-round facility in Berea. The 2016 Browns training camp will be held in Berea."

Published in Jasen Sokol

20 slides, 20 seconds each. That's all the presenters at Pecha Kucha Night Akron will get to make their point.

1590 WAKR's Jasen Sokol will lead off the slate of presenters Friday night at the Akron Civic Theatre. The topics will include everything from science and law to art and risk taking. Jasen talked to organizers Annal Vyas and Heather Roszczyk about what to expect at the event.

To get your FREE tickets to Pecha Kucha Akron, click here.

Published in Jasen Sokol
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