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.
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.
Kim DeMassimo knows what it's like to be the family member of an addict. Her cocaine-addicted husband left her with next to nothing and a bank account with a negative balance. Now, she's trying to help other people dealing with the same struggle.
DeMassimo is involved with SOLACE Summit County, a group geared toward the families of addicts that meets in an informal setting to heal and learn. She says many family members don't know what to do when a member of their family is addicted.
Among the long-term goals for DeMassimo is the creation of a one-stop hotline that could provide a wide range of information to the families of addicts. She formed a nonprofit, Spiritual Saturation, with the goal of becoming a clearinghouse for resources from help paying bills to treatment options to purchasing simples
SOLACE meets twice a month on Saturdays at The Grand Exchange, 933 W. Exchange St., Akron. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman fielded questions from Ohio-only reporters and advised them to watch what Governor John Kasich would do in this convention; it's the most talked-about item among the delegation as Kasich stands as the 600-pound favorite son.
So far, Kasich has been a frequent attendee of the web of social events that mark such national conventions, including speaking with committees and delegations from other states including national groups. But he hasn't made it to Quicken Loans Arena yet, and says he won't citing the differences between him and Donald Trump.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman believes there's already more talking than yelling at each other developing in this campaign, even among the delegation from Ohio which is overwhelmingly pro-Kasich but also has a keen eye targeting Hillary Clinton as a candidate to beat in November.
Portman says he believes the Party will have to come together, much as the nation needs to come together and stop being so divisive.
Portman is enjoying the time in Cleveland, spending a period yesterday on the floor. He's organized a volunteer group to help Habitat for Humanity in Cleveland, will be enjoying the waterways as part of a kayak expedition but most importantly: tonight he and wife Jane will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in a local restaurant that has been a center of helping former inmates rejoin society.
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