Half Marathon Finisher.
When I began my training for the Akron Half Marathon, I wasn’t really sure that my name would be next to those words in less than seven months. After last week, it is.
About a week before race day I thought the run would be a great one. I came off my final 10-mile training run feeling good and running faster than I had been all summer. But then I started feeling pain in my right foot that wouldn’t go away.
Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen told me it was likely a result of tying my shoes too tight. I loosened my laces, but the pain persisted. I was able to get through my short training runs all week, though, so I figured that I could at least get through the 13.1 miles with some extra walking.
As it turned out, it wasn’t that big of an issue. It was smooth sailing as Brian, Akron Marathon Social Media Manager Lauren Toole, and I took off down High Street and over the Y Bridge into North Hill. It wasn’t until we were heading back toward Downtown on Gorge and Glenwood that I noticed that I had an issue. By the time we reached the halfway mark, it was bad enough that I needed to add more walking than I had hoped.
I can’t really explain what happened over the next few miles. As we made our way down Brown St. for miles 7 and 8 the pain went away and I was able to run faster. Miles 9 and 10 were some of the fastest we ran all day.
After mile 10, I was in uncharted territory. I had never run more than 10 miles in one workout. I’m used to my workouts going up in distance every week so I figured it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it could be. But after 10 quick (for me) miles, I hit a wall. I knew I would be able to finish, but I also knew the final three miles would be ugly.
As we went through that last trip through Downtown Akron, I couldn’t help but think back.
To when I used to look skeptically upon runners.
To when I agreed to announce the Gay Games Marathon back in 2014, the first race I ever announced and the event that introduced me to the amazing people of the Akron Marathon.
To when I was asked to be the voice of the new Akron Marathon Race Series events in 2015.
To all those times when George McFly from 94.9 WQMX would needle me about how I should become a runner.
To last August, when I told Brian over beers that I would train for the race series.
To February, when I was winded after a 1 mile walk.
To all those mornings running around the neighborhood.
To all those Saturdays with the Blue Line Beginners.
We broke the tape (actually it was a roll of beer tickets) in 2:36:18, much faster than I expected. It was awesome to see my family there along with the Marathon staff and even some members of the Blue Line Beginners who stopped by. It wasn’t long after we left our post-race meal at Akron Family Restaurant that I started thinking about what race is next. And there will definitely be a next race!
I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to repay the people who helped me along this journey: The Akron Marathon staff for setting all of this up; Brian Polen, Lauren Toole, and George McFly for running races with me (and congrats to Lauren on running her first half marathon!); The Blue Line Beginners for keeping me going on those long Saturday runs; Vertical Runner of Wooster for making sure I had the right gear; the team at 1590 WAKR for letting me do this; the Lake County Captains for putting up with me when I couldn't do normal on-field host things; and each and every one of you who has offered a word of encouragement along the way.
If you ran the Blue Line, it was awesome seeing you at the finish line. If you didn’t, don’t think for one second you can’t. It takes hard work, dedication, and some free time, but you can absolutely be an Akron Marathon Race Series finisher. Who knows, it may just change your life. It certainly changed mine.
The University of Akron announced big changes Wednesday, revealing that it would cut around 80 degree programs while placing higher emphasis on programs such as polymer science that the university is best known for.
The plan, which calls for the hiring of new faculty members in several departments without laying off any current staff, will be phased in over a period of a few years so current students can complete their degrees.
Dr. John Green, interim president of The University of Akron, joined The Jasen Sokol Show to explain the changes and how the university plans to keep up with the changing landscape in higher education.
“You can’t change the weather. You can change your attitude.”
I found myself repeating that phrase over and over again Monday as I ran the Goodyear 10K course.
Over the last six months, the vast majority of my runs have either been in cool weather or in the shade. Monday, it was in the mid 70s and high humidity. Not exactly the ideal running conditions. But there’s nothing you can do about the weather, and it was pretty similar to the weather for some of the previous August races in the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. So I got ready to run my first ever 10K in what felt like a swamp.
You could argue the weather was payback for June. Because I’m the Akron Marathon’s race announcer, I have to run my races on different days. This paid off at the National Interstate 8K as it was significantly cooler and more overcast for my run than the actual run. No such luck this time around.
To be honest, I was just happy that I made it to the start line. Right after I ran the 8K, I developed some pretty severe pain in my foot that knocked me out of commission for several weeks. I tried foam rolling, exercises, ice, and rest, but nothing seemed to make the pain stay away while I was running. It took changing from the support shoes I usually wear to more neutral shoes for the pain to finally go away.
The sticky weather wasn’t the only thing different about this run. Because the Goodyear Proving Grounds weren’t available for the Blue Line Beginners test run a few weeks ago, I ran the first mile of the actual course for the first time on race day. The proving grounds portion of the course resembles a NASCAR track. It’s fast and flat, so it’s a great way to start a race. It was great seeing several members of the Blue Line Beginners waiting for us when we exited the proving ground and headed for the street (sidewalk in my case) portion of the course.
I was hoping to match my pace from the 8K in the 10K, but I figured by the time we left the proving grounds that wasn’t going to happen. My running pace was slower than it was in June and I needed a walk break by the 1.5 mile mark, a bit earlier than I was anticipating. I was lucky to have Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen and Social Media Manager Lauren Toole running with me to keep me going.
The course itself helps too. It’s a fairly fast course that gives you a good tour of Goodyear’s facilities and the new East End development on E. Market St. before running uphill toward Akron Executive Airport. You get a good look at the Air Dock before the half marathon course heads for Ellet and the 10K course turns back toward the finish.
The Last Mile
After the turnaround, the course heads downhill for most of the last mile. Still, I was spent. I had also developed a blister on my foot. I knew I could still put in a decent result, though, so I pressed on.
As we entered the final half mile, Brian reminded me how far I’d come in the last five months and how few people actually finish a 10K. It was exactly what I needed to finish strong. I crossed the line in 1:11:48, only 13 seconds per mile slower than the 8K. I was happy with the result given the humid conditions and the amount of time off I had to take between the 8K and 10K.
Now that I have one 10K under my belt, Brian suggested I run another before the half marathon to get some more experience under my belt. I’ll be running the Amish Country 10K in Berlin on September 8. The hillier course will be a challenge, but one that should help me get ready for the hills in the Akron Half Marathon. I’ll be announcing the Akron Marathon this year, so I’ll run my half marathon on Monday, September 24.
I’m also excited to be on the mic for the actual running of the sold out Goodyear Half Marathon and 10K this weekend. I get to spend a lot more time announcing the names of runners as they cross the finish line in this race than the others in the series. If you’re running, make sure to reach out to me or stop by the start line stage before the race so I know to be looking for you!
The race for governor is heating up, as both major party candidates have begun to unveil their policy proposals.
Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine recently unveiled the children's services planks in their platforms. They both joined The Jasen Sokol Show on Thursday to talk about their ideas and answer questions submitted by listeners on how to improve education and the economy in smaller cities.
If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be at the start line of an 8K, I would have called you crazy. Yet that’s where I was on Monday morning.
As the race announcer for the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, I can’t race the National Interstate 8K on race day. Instead, the Akron Marathon staff set up a “race” for me.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I pulled into the Infocision Stadium parking lot, but I arrived to see not just the Marathon staff waiting for me, but a contingent of Blue Line Beginners who would serve as our cheering section and water stop crew throughout the run. There was even pump up music and an introduction like we’ll do for the runners on Saturday!
At 7:00 a.m., it was time. Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen, Social Media Manager Lauren Toole, and George McFly from 94.9 WQMX took off from the start line with me to start the 4.9 mile trek around the University of Akron campus and Downtown Akron.
I knew the first 1.5 miles would be important. In the Blue Line Beginners test run a few weeks ago, I walked the first half mile before running the next mile. I ended that run with gas in the tank, so I decided to try running the entire first 1.5 miles this time around. This challenge was compounded by the fact that there was still some lingering soreness from when I tweaked my leg a few weeks ago. Much to my surprise, the pain went away and we flew through it faster than I thought I could. Our cheering section was set up right where we were going to start walking, so we decided to keep running a bit longer.
After walking to the two mile mark, it was time to run down the hill to Main and Market and start the trip down King James Way. It was here where the advantages of run/walking came into play. My watch had been showing a sub-10:00/mile pace for much of our running, but there was no way I could keep that up for nearly five full miles. Instead, we walked a bit near Canal Park and again on the three major uphills on the back half of the course: Broadway near The Depot Apartments, the bridge on Exchange St., and the hill leading to the UA Student Union. It was around a half mile of walking in all, but it made all the difference in getting me through.
When you reach the UA Commons portion of the course around mile 4.3, you can see Infocision Stadium and you know the finish line is close. I was pretty spent by this point but I knew I had to keep pushing.
I thought back to the first training session I did in February when I found myself huffing and puffing after a mile of walking, a mile that happened to be the first mile of the 8K course. I thought back to a month ago when I suffered my first major setback when I tweaked my leg so badly that it hurt to walk. After coming all this way, I couldn’t stop now. With Brian, George, and Lauren cheering me on, we made it around the stadium and to the field.
Turning the corner onto the field at Infocision Stadium was a moment I’ll never forget. Seeing the Akron Marathon staff and the Blue Line Beginners crew waiting for us, getting my very first race medal, and downing some postrace Chick-Fil-A and root beer was awesome. We finished the 8K in 55:41, more than six minutes faster than the time I put up during the test run.
But the work is far from over. I’ll be back on the road later in the week getting ready for the Goodyear 10K and the Akron Half Marathon. I’ll also be on the mic this weekend, encouraging the runners at the National Interstate 8K and 1 Mile. It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I can’t wait for what’s to come!
Ohio's richest thoroughbred horse race is at JACK Thistledown Racino in North Randall Saturday.
The 84th running of the Ohio Derby features a $500,000 purse, several horses that ran in Triple Crown races earlier this year, and one Akron area native looking to score in a race that he says would mean more for him to win than the Kentucky Derby.
Jasen caught up with Loooch Racing Stables owner and St. Vincent-St. Mary alum Ron Paolucci, JACK Thistledown Racino handicapper Rich Ruda, and track announcer Matt Hook to preview the big race during a live broadcast of the Jasen Sokol Show at Thistledown.
It seems like just yesterday that I started this journey toward the Akron Half Marathon, yet in less than three weeks I’ll take to the National Interstate 8k course to complete the first race of Akron’s summer trilogy.
With coaching from Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series Race Director Brian Polen, I’ve gone from walking a mile to run/walking six miles. Earlier today, I put in a 5k workout in honor of Global Running Day.
Until today, I hadn’t run on two consecutive days, and my legs didn’t let me forget about it. The first half of the 3.1 mile workout went well, but I could tell that doing the whole thing without walking any of it was going to be a challenge. I wound up having to walk about a half mile in all.
While the workout didn’t quite go as I planned, I couldn’t help but think back to February when I did that very first mile walk. At that time, I would have called you crazy if you said I would be doing anything close to a 5k. It’s amazing how far you can come with a little time and a little effort.
Stick and Ball Sport
Yes, you read that right. Sticks and balls do have a place in running.
A few weeks ago after putting in my first six mile run, I noticed a sharp pain in my right lower leg that wouldn’t go away. When I was sitting or standing it didn’t hurt, but anytime I tried to walk it was painful. The issue didn’t go away as the days went on, so I wound up not running for nearly a week.
Eventually I met with Brian to talk through what was going on. He told me the pain in my shin was likely because the rest of my leg was tight. He suggested two pieces of recovery equipment that got me back running the very next day.
The Stick is exactly what the name suggests: A long, flexible stick with handles on each end. Eight plastic rings surround the stick and act as massagers. It's basically a rolling pin for tight, sore muscles. Along with a foam massaging ball called The Orb (apparently they don’t spend much time coming up with names for these things) and a plan to rotate shoes between the support shoes I was wearing with a more neutral pair, I was able to get back to my training program.
Three Weeks To Go
It seems like it has come up fast, but the National Interstate 8k and 1 Mile is three weeks from Saturday on June 30. Because I serve as the race announcer for that race, I’ll be running the course on Monday, June 25. For anyone looking to get a taste of the course before race day, the Blue Line Beginners are planning a test run on Saturday, June 16.
The organizer of the effort to place a crocheted mural of Sojourner Truth in Lock 3 is speaking out on the controversy over its unveiling.
Cindy Michael of Harps & Thistles Yarn Emporium worked to secure matching funds from the Knight Foundation for the mural and recruit people to crochet individual pieces of the mural. She says the unveiling held Monday, which was criticized for a lack of diversity, was to be for the people who helped make the mural and was not intended to be an event for the community at large. Michael says she reached out to African American groups to include them in the project, but was not able to reveal that the mural was to be of Sojourner Truth due to her agreement with the designer. A community event was held Wednesday evening at Lock 3.
Michael joined The Jasen Sokol Show on Wednesday to talk about the situation.
Two Akron City Councilwomen say not only were they not invited to the unveiling of a new crocheted mural of Sojourner Truth at Lock 3, but that few in Akron's African American community knew it was even happening.
The controversy erupted after pictures of the unveiling posted to social media appeared to have very few people of color in them. Truth, an African American woman, gave her famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech in Akron on May 29, 1851.
Another event will be held at Lock 3 Wednesday from 5:15-6:15 to allow more people to take pictures with the new mural.
Samples and Sims joined the Jasen Sokol Show to talk about the situation.
The addition of girls to Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts was controversial when it was announced, and the controversy erupted again when it was announced last week that the Boy Scouting program for middle and high-school aged children would change its name to "Scouts BSA" starting in 2019.
The Great Trail Council, which oversees Boy Scout programs in Greater Akron and Greater Youngstown, will begin accepting girls into the Cub Scout program on June 1. Girls will be allowed into what is now known as the Boy Scouts next year. Scout Executive/CEO Pat Scherer joined The Jasen Sokol Show to talk about how they plan to keep boys and girls separate in the program and discuss whether the council is ready to have girls join the ranks.
Several hundred runners from Ohio will be among the more than 30,000 taking part in this year's Boston Marathon. Jasen talked to second time Boston runner Scott Hinkle of Loudonville and first time Boston entrant Lindsey Beachy of Glenmont about what it takes to qualify for the big race, getting the official word from Boston, and their experience in getting ready to run one of the most famous races in the world.
The Cleveland Indians are getting ready for their Opening Day game against the Kansas City Royals at the corner of Carneige and Ontario
Communications Coordinator Curtis Danburg spoke with Jasen Sokol, Sam Bourquin, and Brad Russell about the promotions schedule and his views on Opening Day.
Chef Todd Brazile stopped by as well to talk about the latest ballpark food coming to Progressive Field this season.
Former Indians pitcher Chad Ogea also joined the program talking about his memories of Opening Day and his thoughts on the current Indians ballclub.
U.S. Senator and lifelong Tribe fan Sherrod Brown also spoke with the gentlemen in Booth 6 to talk about his memories of Opening Day and his thoughts on this year's team.
Voice of the Tribe Tom Hamilton spoke with the fellas as well about some of his favorite Opening Day memories.
Tribe writer Zack Meisel spoke as well about the team's start and the return of Michael Brantley to the lineup.
In what is believed to be the largest meth bust in Ohio history, authorities confiscated 140 pounds of methamphetamines last month from a warehouse in Boston Heights.
Three men, including one from Cleveland and two from Mexico, are in custody facing charges of conspiracy to posess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Keith Martin, Assistant Special Agent In Charge with the Drug Enforcement Administration, talked to Jasen about the bust, a recent large heroin bust on Route 8, their connections to Mexican drug cartels, and how the drugs continue to flow into our area.
"Slow down to go faster."
As a fan of auto racing, I've heard that phrase a lot. Don't be so aggressive on certain parts of the race track and your lap times will actually get faster. It turns out the same is true in running.
Over the last couple of weeks, Akron Marathon race director Brian Polen has been slowly adding more running to the run/walks in my training program. At first, I was running as fast as I could for the one minute at a time. Needless to say, "fast as I could" wasn't so fast by the end. For the first mile or so I felt fine, but after that I would notice my running pace falling off. By about the 1.5 mile marker, my walking pace was completely gone as well. As the two mile mark approached, I wasn't sure how I was going to get to the end of the workout.
It took a few times running myself into the ground to realize that I had better back off my pace a bit so I could make it as far as I was supposed to go. But once I did, not only did I feel better but I saw noticeable improvement in my overall pace.
Lt. Dan wasn't lying
In the film Forrest Gump, Lt. Dan reminds Forrest and Bubba about the importance of socks. He was talking about the Vietnam War, of course, but I've found that socks really do make a big difference in running too. When I was trying on shoes at Vertical Runner of Wooster, I couldn't get anything to fit right and not slide around too much until I had on compression socks. There are a bunch of different brands, but the best ones are designed to help people avoid blisters and wick away moisture. The ones I bought cost around $15 per pair, but it was worth it.
Better with friends
In talking to people about my plan to run the Akron Half Marathon, I frequently hear things like "how can you run for that long by yourself? won't it get boring?"
I can't answer that question yet, but I can tell you it's a lot more fun when you get to run with other people. I did my longest workout yet (3.5 miles) with Brian Polen and Lauren Toole from the Marathon staff. Being able to talk with people during the run helped me forget how much work was ahead of me, and I actually felt better than I had at the end of most of my runs in spite of the distance.
Not too late to start
If you still want to get involved with this year's Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series but haven't started training yet, that's okay! This is week one of the Blue Line Beginners program for 2018, and the workouts consist only of 15-20 minute walks, run/walks, or runs. The group will be meeting Saturday at 8:00 a.m. at Botzum Trailhead, 2928 Riverview Road, Akron, for their weekly group run. Members of the Akron Marathon staff are usually in attendance, and there are frequent guest speakers to address various topics related to running.
Did you miss 1590 WAKR's Opioid Roundtable? If so, you missed a great conversation featuring some of the people who are making a difference on the opioid epidemic in our area, including:
You can hear the entire roundtable, plus bonus interviews from the Jasen Sokol Show, in the playlist below.
It started as a Beacon Journal project, became a year-round organization, and is now ready to welcome its next batch of running newbies.
Blue Line Beginners will hold its first meeting of 2018 for new members on Saturday, March 31 at 11:00 a.m. at the Main Branch of the Akron Summit County Public Library in Downtown Akron. The organization, founded by Beacon Journal reporter Paula Schleis, aims to take people who have never run a race before and train them to run the races of the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series.
Schleis and Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen joined Jasen to talk about the program and how just about anyone can get involved.
I'm well into my second week of training for the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. While I'm nowhere near ready to hit the Blue Line yet, I've already made a few observations:
We're less than 200 days away from the Akron Marathon, but that doesn't mean it's too late to get started on your own Blue Line journey! One of the cool things about the Akron Marathon Race Series is that they have different distances at different races throughout the summer, so if a half marathon or a relay leg seems too daunting you can start with something as short as a 1 mile and work your way up from there.
The week ahead: Two more brisk walks at longer distances... hopefully with less snow!
Thousands of students across the country walked out of their classrooms Wednesday morning to call for a variety of school safety measures in the wake of the deadly shooting in Parkland, Fla. last month. Now that the children have spoken, what will the adults do?
Lisa Mansfield, member of the Akron School Board, joined Jasen to share her thoughts on the walkout she attended at Firestone CLC and talk about what the board is doing to address school security:
Jasen also sat down with Rosie Craig from the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence and Dean Rieck of the Buckeye Firearms Association to talk about what they think should and should not be done to avoid another school shooting.
For the last three years, I've been the announcer for several of the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series events. It's become something I look forward to every year, but there has always been one thing about it that has been awkward for me:
I've never actually run a race.
Not a marathon, not a half marathon, not even a 5k. But that's about to change.
Brian Polen, the race director for the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, told me after last year's Goodyear Half Marathon and 10k that he wanted to see me run some races this year. I've never been one to jump at the opportunity to work out, but for some reason I said I would. When the weather began to warm up, Brian decided it was time for me to begin my training.
Over the next six months, I'll be preparing to run the National Interstate 8k in June, the Goodyear 10k in August, and the FirstEnergy Akron Half Marathon in September. I'll still be announcing the June and August races and covering the marathon for 1590 WAKR in September, so I'll be running each course about a week before the actual race. Brian has put together a complete training plan for me, and I'll be visiting Vertical Runner of Wooster (which is owned by Brian and his wife Tammy) soon to get all the gear I need to put the plan into action.
I'll be documenting this journey through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Strava, and here on WAKR.net, and I'd love for you to join me! While you may have an idea of what a runner looks like, I've learned that there really is no one type of runner. People of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels challenge the Blue Line each year and achieve their goals. I'll be taking part in this year's Blue Line Beginners program, and I hope I'll get to call your name when you cross the finish line this summer.
For more information or to register for the races, go to www.akronmarathon.org.
Brian Polen joined The Jasen Sokol Show on Monday to talk about turning Jasen into a runner
Since the school shooting Wednesday in Parkland, Fla. that claimed the lives of 17 people, many people are searching for a solution to the problem of gun violence. But the political debate over mass shootings is often approached with cynicism after years of gridlock on the issue.
Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, a Republican candidate for Governor, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) joined Jasen on Monday to give their ideas on how to reduce the chances of a school shooting happening again.
It's been a week of turmoil in professional fastpitch softball. The future of the Akron Racers has been questioned after the removal of General Manager Joey Arrietta and reports that majority owner Craig Stout has partnered with a Chinese group to bring in a group of players from China to fill a significant portion of the team's roster.
On Thursday, the Beacon Journal reported that the team will become the Cleveland Comets under new general manager Stephen Dunn. NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf said in an interview Thursday there was "nothing (she) could do to validate that rumor."
The shakeup has also extended to Texas, where the Scrap Yard Dawgs announced they would not play in National Pro Fastpitch this season. They were later formally dismissed from NPF.
Kempf joined the Jasen Sokol Show for an in-depth discussion of the future of pro softball in Akron:
Akron and Warren will be the pilot cities for a new eBay program aimed at helping brick and mortar businesses expand via the e-commerce site.
The "Retail Revival" program will provide 20-40 Akron small businesses with resources and training to help them use eBay.
Business owners interested in applying for the program can apply through this link through February 9
Heather Roszczyk, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Advocate for the City of Akron, joined The Jasen Sokol Show to talk more about the program and what it will mean for Akron.
Editor's note: A previous version omitted the names of Connie Pillich and Scott Schertzer.
There's a new head Duck in Akron.
The Cleveland Indians named Tony Mansolino the new manager of the Akron RubberDucks in an announcment released Wednesday. Mansolino, who served as the RubberDucks' hitting coach in 2015, has spent the last two seasons managing Indians single-A affiliate Lake County (2016) and advanced-A Lynchburg (2017).
Mansolino joined The Jasen Sokol Show to talk about the move and what to expect from the RubberDucks this season.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted appeared on the Jasen Sokol Show Thursday to talk about being named in a lawsuit regarding the trimming of voters from the rolls.
Oak Harbor Mayor Joe Helle, who was removed from the voter rolls, also spoke about the issue with Jasen.
For more information on this ongoing story, click here.
The bitter cold Cleveland weather didn't deter several thousand disgruntled Browns fans from converging outside FirstEnergy Stadium to show their displeasure with the 2017 season at the Perfect Season Parade 2.0.
Cleveland Police estimated the crowd at 2,500 to 3,200 people with no arrests made. Dozens of trucks and party buses normally seen at pregame tailgate parties participated in the parade. Organized by Browns fan Chris McNeil, better known by his Twitter handle @Reflog_18, the event also raised funds and collected canned goods for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
Check out some of the best floats and signs from the Perfect Season Parade:
Browns players Emmanuel Ogbah and Danny Shelton took to Twitter to criticize the parade attendees.
That parade is a joke don’t call yourself a true browns fan if you go to that thing! Going 0-16 was embarrassing enough as a player. That is like adding fuel to the fire and it is completely wrong!— Emmanuel Ogbah (@EmanOgbah) January 6, 2018
There are players on this team who want to play and win for the Browns and The Land. Parading around isn’t encouraging a change, it’s more so encouraging players to avoid the opportunity to play here. 1-31 isn’t what we want to be known for but we won’t stop fighting to win here.— Feast Mode #55 (@Danny_Shelton55) January 6, 2018
The City of Akron and the Downtown Akron Partnership have unveiled their Downtown Akron Vision and Redevelopment Plan. It's a comprehensive plan to overhaul Downtown Akron, with the addition of street-level retail, business, residences, and infrastructure designed to connect the current hotspots of Downtown while maintaining the historic character of the neighborhood.
Akron Planning Director Jason Segedy and Downtown Akron Partnership President and CEO Suzie Graham joined Jasen for an in-depth look at the plan and to talk about how long it may take for the ideas to come to fruition.
A Beacon Journal report about the hiring of Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters' 2013 campaign manager to a job her supervisor says she isn't qualified for.
Parks and Recreation Assistant Superintendent Megan Moreland collects a $90,000 annual salary, and it's reported that her benefits package pushes her total compensation to nearly $130,000. But according to the Beacon Journal, Parks and Recretation Director Ed Stewart says he didn't want to hire her and that she isn't qualified for the job.
Cuyahoga Falls City Councilmen Adam Miller and Vic Palotta discussed their concerns on The Jasen Sokol Show on Tuesday. Walters joined the show Wednesday to respond.
Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank CEO Dan Flowers joined Monday's edition of The Jasen Sokol Show to respond to a column by Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com columnist Bob Dyer about policies at the Foodbank that some may find controversial.
Election Day is Tuesday, and while it hasn't garnered as much attention as a presidential or midterm year, there are still many important races on Akron area ballots this year. The Jasen Sokol Show has talked to many of the key candidates and representatives from the hotly contested ballot issues over the last few weeks. If you missed any of the interviews, you can find them below.
It took a bit longer than the Zips would have liked, but Akron beat Western Michigan 14-13 on Sunday to improve to 3-0 in MAC play. The game was delayed from Saturday after rain flooded Western Michigan's stadium. The win leaves Akron just two wins away from bowl eligibility with six games to play.
Akron head coach Terry Bowden joined Jasen to talk about the game, the challenges involved with a postponed game, and this week's game against Toledo at the Glass Bowl.
A couple from Akron was among the thousands at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire, killing at least 59 people and injuring more than 500.
Angella Rose was listening to country artist Jason Aldean's performance when she heard rapid fire gunshots ring out. She and her husband first took cover by laying down on the bleachers before fleeing the festival area. Both escaped unhurt, and Angella posted videos of the scene to her Facebook page.
Rose joined The Jasen Sokol Show to talk about her experience.
It was a hot morning Saturday for the 15th running of the Akron Marathon, but four runners beat the heat and their competition to emerge victorious.
Marathon winners Blair Teal and Emma McCarron and half marathon winners Kevin Castille and Liz Weiler talked to Jasen after breaking the tape.
Jasen also talked to men's marathon runner up and Akron native Verrelle Wyatt, whose hometown pride was on display as he wore a "just a runner from Akron" t-shirt on the course and screamed "Akron!" as he crossed the finish line.
It's been an incredible ride for the Indians this year, and one of the architects of it all joined Jasen live from Progressive Field Wednesday.
Indians General Manager Mike Chernoff joined Jasen to talk about the Tribe's winning streak, the acquisition of Jay Bruce, and the timetable for injured players Andrew Miller, Jason Kipnis, and Michael Brantley.
For more than 40 years, Indians fans have heard the beat of John Adams' bass drum at nearly every Indians game.
Adams first drummed at an Indians game on August 24, 1973 at the old Municipal Stadium. He joined the Jasen Sokol Show ahead of the Indians' run at a 21st consecutive victory to talk about the Tribe's remarkable run and share some of his stories of four decades in the Cleveland bleachers.
The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is technically the home track for NASCAR Xfinity Series driver and Hinckley native Matt Tifft. But until just a few weeks ago, he had never even seen the place.
Tifft, who will drive the #19 Akron Community Foundation Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in Saturday's Mid-Ohio Challenge, said he played the video game iRacing.com and will race in a Trans Am race to learn the track. He missed last year's race while undergoing treatment for a brain tumor.
Now back on the track and running his first full Xfinity Series season, Tifft is currently seventh in the championship standings. He plans to work with the Akron Community Foundation to help build awareness for brain tumor research.
Tifft joined Jasen to talk about Saturday's race, his partnership with the Akron Community Foundation, his recovery from the brain tumor, and racing against drivers from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
The race to replace Rep. Jim Renacci in Congress is heating up.
State Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) announced he's entering the race for the Republican nomination for the 16th Congressional District. Patton currently serves as Majority Whip in the General Assembly. He also served in the State Senate from 2008-2016. He'll face State Rep. Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) in the GOP primary.
Patton joined Jasen to talk about why he's running and share his ideas on health care and the economy.
Sen. Rob Portman was seen as one of the Senators whose vote was in play during the Senate's debate over health care. He ultimately voted yes on the so-called "skinny repeal" bill that failed to pass, and still believes the health care bill known as Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced. He joined Jasen on Tuesday to talk about where Congress goes next on health care. He also talked about a bill he proposed that would allow websites such as Backpage.com to be held liable in cases of human trafficking that involve their websites.
The Senate's failure to pass a health care bill last week left people wondering what will happen to the health care system in America. Will the health care bill commonly known as Obamacare be repealed and replaced with something else? Will it merely be changed? Will Republicans and Democrats be able to work in a bipartisan fashion to improve health care?
Rep. Jim Renacci stopped by The Jasen Sokol Show on Monday to answer those questions, talk about why Republicans couldn't get a bill passed, and talk about what Congress will focus on next.
"Race car drivers aren't athletes."
I hear that one all the time. I know better because I've been a race fan my whole life. And I'm almost certain none of the people who say it have ever been in a race car at speed before.
Thursday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, I had that opportunity.
Thanks to the Pirelli World Challenge and K-PAX Racing, I was able to get in the passenger seat of a McLaren GT two seater with pro driver Bryan Sellers at the wheel as part of the runup to the series' two races at Mid-Ohio this weekend. It was one wild ride.
Sellers says the car gets up to about 160 mph in the high speed portions of the Mid-Ohio road course. But you don't really feel the speed until you're under braking. The rapid deceleration ahead of the corners slams you forward into your seatbelt and really makes you appreciate just how fast you were going.
We only took one lap but I got out of the car exhausted and drenched in sweat, the G-forces and heat taking their toll in less than two minutes. It was an experience I'll never forget.
Check out video of Jasen's ride and an interview with driver Bryan Sellers:
A new study of the brains of more than 200 former football players finds almost all of them show signs of the brain disease known as CTE.
The study, led by Boston University neuroscientist Dr. Ann McKee, doesn't confirm that CTE is common among football players. But the percentage of brains studied that had CTE went up with the level of play.
1590 WAKR football analyst Jay Brophy, who played at the University of Miami and with the Miami Dolphins, joined Jasen to talk about the study, what football teams and leagues are doing to combat brain injury, and what high school teams should be doing to protect young players.
The All American Soap Box Derby is this Saturday at Derby Downs. But it isn't all American.
Two champs from New Zealand will join competitors from Canada and Japan among the more than 350 racers taking to the hill. Maddie Pester will compete in the Masters division, while Kaythi Finn will race in the Super Stock class.
Pester, Finn, 2016 International Division champion Sam Pester, and New Zealand team member Caitlin Pester joined Soap Box Derby President and CEO Mark Gerberich on The Jasen Sokol Show to talk about making it to Akron, what they're looking forward to doing off the track, and how they're preparing for the big race.
Now that the Republican health care bill has died in the Senate, many are wondering if GOP congressmen will reach across the aisle to try to get a bill passed and whether Democrats will work with them. Jasen talked to Rep. Tim Ryan Wednesday about what parts of health care reform he would be willing to work on with Republicans and what can be done to reduce the sticker price of health care.
The Senate health care bill fizzled out Monday after two more senators announced they wouldn't support it, bringing the total to four and leaving Republicans with less than 50 senators who would vote yes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then announced that he would put forward a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act after a two year transition period.
Rep. Jim Renacci joined Jasen Tuesday to give his thoughts on the health care bill, why he will support a repeal bill in the House, and what should be done to fix the health care system.
It hasn't exactly been a secret that Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor is planning a run for Governor. But she officially launched her campaign Friday in a City Club Forum in Cleveland. She joined Jasen on Monday to talk about the campaign and her ideas on the opiate crisis, jobs, and education.
Akron officials are making the case for the proposed 0.25 percent income tax increase that is expected to appear on the ballot later this year. The $16 million projected annual revenue increase will be earmarked for police, fire, and road improvements.
Chief Clarence Tucker of the Akron Fire Department joined Jasen to explain the dismal condition of several of his firehouses, discuss additional needs that could be fulfilled by the added tax revenue, and talk about what his department has done to be fiscally responsible.
The Akron Public Schools announced the elimination of 93 positions Monday, including 31 teachers and 35 tutors. Much of the blame for the layoffs was placed on the merger of Kenmore High School and Garfield High School.
Akron School Board President Patrick Bravo and School Board member Lisa Mansfield joined Jasen Tuesday to talk about what the layoffs will mean for students and whether some of the laid off staff members could still get jobs within the district.
Reaction came fast Thursday to Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan's proposal to raise the city income tax from 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. Akron City Council President Marilyn Keith (D-Ward 8), Budget Committe Chairman Mike Freeman (D-Ward 9), and Councilwoman Tara Mosley Samples (D-Ward 5) joined Jasen to give their thoughts on the plan and respond to concerns raised by the listeners.
Greg McNeil from Cover2 Resources hopes test strips that detect fentanyl in heroin will soon be as available as Narcan and needle exchanges.
Inspired by a similar program in New York City, McNeil is working with the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County to implement a pilot program in the Cleveland area. The strips, which cost around $1, only detect fentanyl but a similar strip to detect carfentanil is in the works.
McNeil joined Jasen to talk about the program.
There is no shortage of ideas about what to do with the land opened up by the removal of part of Akron's Innerbelt. An event held this weekend at Kent State University helped to work through some of those ideas.
A design charette, defined by Merriam-Webster as "the intense final effort made by architectural students to complete their solutions to a given architectural problem in an allotted time or the period in which such an effort is made," drew architects, designers, and community stakeholders to work on concepts for the soon vacant plot of land. Architect Craig Thompson said he hopes to have similar gatherings in Akron neighborhoods soon to gauge how the community wants the land used.
Thompson joined Jasen to discuss what the charette participants came up with.