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.
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.
A new project says it hopes couples of all types can rediscover what Akron has to offer.
"YouHadMeAtAkron" is a website, and a hashtag, and the project asked eight couples their favorite date locations. It's a project of the Knight Foundation and the Akron-Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Jim Mahon with the Bureau says the "discovery" isn't just about romantic dates. He says any kind of "couple" can find out new places to visit.
Mahon says Akronites sometime forget what the city has to offer, and that the sites covered in Akron's 21 neighborhoods will help future visitors.
Those who use the "#YouHadMeAtAkron" hashtag on social media - Twitter, Facebook or Instagram - with a picture of a date at an Akron business are entered in a sweepstakes, with one $50 gift card to a date spot each week.
The grand prize is an overnight stay at the Hilton Garden Inn near the Goodyear Headquarters, and a prize package valued at $300.
The deadline is March 18th.
On the Web: You Had Me At Akron, http://www.youhadmeatakron.com/
Professor Tom Sutton from Baldwin-Wallace University talked with Jasen today about the New Hampshire primary, the upcoming primaries, and the candidates on the bubble.
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."
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.
Dr. Bruce Cohen at Akron Children's Hospital says he doesn't watch much TV.
But tonight, his knowledge plays a role on the TV show "Chicago Med".
Producers of the medical drama needed some information on mitochondrial disease, and Dr. Cohen is a recognized expert on the topic...so, they gave him a call.
Cohen tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol that show producers asked him some "open ended" questions in a 30 minute phone conversation, but he doesn't know anything about the script or how the episode will turn out.
Dr. Cohen says microcondria is crucial in cells that drive the entire human body's functions, and says mitochondrial disease can show up as early as 3 months after a baby is born, to someone in their 60s.
You can see what TV learned from Dr. Cohen tonight at 9 on NBC (WKYC Channel 3 locally).
They haven't been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - yet - but a popular Akron band will help bring in new Rock Hall inductees this year.
Akron's Black Keys will help induct the 2016 Rock Hall class in April along with Rob Thomas and Lars Ulrich of Metallica. Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, N.W.A. and Steve Miller will go into the Rock Hall this year.
Todd Mesek with the Rock Hall tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol that the Black Keys are influenced musically, like other current bands, by Rock Hall of Famers.
Though there are often performances involving Rock Hall guests, Mesek says things aren't set yet for this year.
The induction will be in New York on April 8th, and will be aired later that month on HBO.
Andrew Kustec was determined to march in Washington DC's "March for Life" with the "Students for Life" group from the University of Akron.
He didn't expect to be stuck on a bus in a blizzard.
Kustec says that the group's bus left DC soon after the march, but that wasn't enough.
"We hit heavy snow at about 3 or 4 (PM) in Washington, started getting on the highway," Kustec tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "and the clearing equipment just isn't there for the area."
But greater problems were ahead of them on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
After getting off in the Breezewood area for dinner, Kustec says the bus got back on and headed towards Ohio...but got stuck 30 minutes down the road.
He said there was enough water and snacks to go around all night, and there was even a celebration of Mass for those stuck on the roadway.
20 hours later, the group was back on the way to Akron.
Events like the killing of a Knox County police officer are shaping officer training in this area.
The Summit County Sheriff's Department is holding ambush training sessions this week.
"The guys out here (at the training session) got together and started reading about nationwide incidents", Sheriff Steve Barry tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "and felt it was definitely necessary to put our people through scenario based training, and they've done a terrific job".
Sheriff Barry says deputies are being trained in scenarios shaped by other incidents, like the Knox County officer killing.
He says he's been through incidents himself, like when he thought a fellow officer was calling out to him...and it turned out to be a suspect who jumped him.
Deputies here say it's not just about making sure they're aware of the situation around them, but it's also about helping keep the public safe.
Kent State University history associate professor Julio Pino has been under investigation for alleged ties to ISIS for the last year and a half, according to a report from student publication The Kent Stater.
An FBI agent told the paper there is no direct threat to the university, and KSU spokesman Eric Mansfield said the university is cooperating with the investigation. No charges have been filed.
Pino denied any wrongdoing or ties to ISIS in a video recorded by KentWired.com.
This is not the first time Pino has been in the headlines. He drew criticism in 2014 for a letter on History News Network blaming "academic friends of Israel" for the murder of over 1,400 Palestinian children. In 2011, Pino shouted "death to Israel" during a presentation on the Kent Campus by former Israeli diplomat Ishmael Khaldi, leading then-university president Lester Lefton to call the outburst "an embarassment to our university."
UPDATE: Kent State university Beverly Warren has issued an official statement to the KSU community in response:
Dear Members of the Kent State Community,
Many of you have heard unsettling news overnight that the FBI has been on our Kent Campus investigating a serious matter. We are cooperating with the FBI, and we have been assured that there is no indication of a threat to campus. As this is an ongoing investigation, it is not prudent to speak further about the case.
We continue to find Julio Pino's comments reprehensible and counter to our core values of civil discourse and respect. As a university, we do not defend his views, and he does not speak on behalf of Kent State or members of our community.
Campus safety continues to be our top priority at Kent State, and we remain committed to providing a safe learning environment for our community.
Kent State University
Archie the Snowman still stands tall in the Chapel Hill food court, but the mall is melting around him.
Last week, Macy's announced it would close its Chapel Hill location after nearly five decades in business under several now-extinct nameplates. Reports then emerged Friday that Old Navy, Aeropostale, and Express would also be shuttered over the next few weeks.
Sue Walton of Crain's Akron Business believes the future is bleak for Chapel Hill. Anchor stores such as Macy's serve as the big draw for malls, Walton says, and Sears and JCPenney tend to be lesser draws than Macy's. Walton also believes online shopping and low-price stores such as TJ Maxx have hurt business at malls nationwide.
While another Akron-area mall appears to be headed for decline, a retail trend that has yet to rise in Akron is the lifestyle center, which incorporates retail with residences and office space. Walton says centers like Crocker Park and Legacy Village represent shoppers' desire for a destination experience that is new and fresh.
What was the last message you sent to or received from the people you love? The answer may be an eye opener.
15-year-old Emily Trunko of Copley created a Tumblr page dedicated to those last messages. "The Last Message Received" features reader-submitted screenshots of the last messages they received from loved ones who died as well as ex-friends and significant others. Since launching in November, the site has gone viral, garnering attention from national news outlets including The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and Huffington Post. Trunko has also inked a deal for a book based on the site.
Emily talked to The Jasen Sokol Show about her site: