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.
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 17:49

AUDIO LeBron Foundation, Bridgestone Team Up

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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.

Thursday, 24 March 2016 16:56

UA Responds To Enrollment Numbers

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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an enrollment drop of 3.2 percent over last Spring and drops in applicant ACT scores and grade point average, were out of date and misleading.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.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016 17:12

Reaction To Brussels Attacks

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Members of Congress are among those reacting to the Tuesday terrorist attacks in Belgium.

"My deepest sympathies go out to the people of Brussels," Congressman Jim Renacci tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "who again were the victims of a cowardly act of terror."

Renacci says that the terrorist attacks in Brussels are made more easy by Europe's more open borders.

"It seems the porous borders of the European nation have really been exploited by radicals to commit murder, and really undermine the democratic values over there," Renacci says.

Renacci says that the U.S. needs to work with allies to "exterminate" terrorists, not "contain" them.

He says Congress needs to be reminded that this is what happens with "porous" borders.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016 17:10

RNC Security And Akron/Canton Area

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There is talk of protests and potential riots at the Republican National Convention, and local security experts say the area should be prepared - even into the Akron/Canton area.

Tim Dimoff's SACS Security is monitoring security concerns for private companies for the RNC.

He says what happens in downtown Cleveland in July could very well effect how far protesters go.

"How good is the security up in the convention area, in the greater Cleveland area, how well they manage that," Dimoff tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "can determine how far south of Cleveland protesters or people will go."

Dimoff says there could be "decoy" protesting groups that spread away from downtown Cleveland into the suburbs, and even into Akron and Canton, and that those groups could be testing security outside the convention area.

He says that though there's not a strong worry about a terrorist attack at the RNC, any large political convention is a possible target.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016 13:57

AUDIO: Bernie Sanders Talks To Jasen

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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.

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.

Thursday, 25 February 2016 15:43

Local Congress Members React To Guantanamo Bay

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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.

 

Thursday, 18 February 2016 17:52

Locals React To Akron Report: Call To Action

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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.

Thursday, 18 February 2016 17:48

Racer With Local Ties Busy In NASCAR Series

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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.

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