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.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 17:56

AUDIO UA Football Attendance: Future Better With Bowden?

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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. 

Monday, 15 February 2016 17:45

AUDIO You Had Me At Akron

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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.

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On the Web: You Had Me At Akron, http://www.youhadmeatakron.com/

Tuesday, 09 February 2016 14:34

"Mardi Gras" at Blu Jazz!

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Tony Troppe from Blu Jazz club talked with Jasen about their exciting "Mardi Gras" party tonight! Eric Seddon's Hot Club will be bringing New Orleans right to downtown Akron!

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."

Wednesday, 03 February 2016 21:04

AUDIO: WAKR's Jasen Sokol To Speak At Pecha Kucha Akron

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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.

Tuesday, 02 February 2016 11:07

TV's "Chicago Med" Turns To Akron Doctor For Help

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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).

Thursday, 28 January 2016 18:05

Black Keys Guests At 2016 Rock Hall Inductions

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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.

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