Monday, February 28, 2011

Wahoo Week, morning 1 in the books. Talking with Tribe's Masterson, Santana, Brantley http://ping.fm/NtUX6
Long list of highway headaches from flooding: http://ping.fm/13Zzp
Black River, Garfield/Portage closed but otherwise flooding delays at local schools. http://ping.fm/grkEO
Some roads are closed throughout the area due to flooding conditions. http://ping.fm/vk5KN
Did you miss the Oscars? Don't worry! We have a complete wrap up! http://ping.fm/eDyLf
WAKR Ray Horner Show LIVE from Indians spring training this week. Online: http://ping.fm/b0qJP

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Loaded on-air schedule @WAKR today: OSU at 4p, Cavs join in progress and the full Indians-Reds after Cavs-Sixers. Whew!
Mike Hargrove to toss out first pitch to open Cactus League for Indians Reds in Goodyear, AZ. All remembering the late Bob Feller.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Stark County Job & Family Services' Midtown Building at 221 3rd Street SE in downtown Canton is closed due to a lobby incident. http://ping.fm/8Grty
Winter Storm Watch goes into effect at 9 p.m. http://ping.fm/EUZPs
The Winter Weather Advisory has been canceled early, but there's a Winter Storm Watch coming later today. http://ping.fm/ysG1f
More wintry weather is on the way with forecasters predicting between 4 and 8 inches of snow mixed with ice. http://ping.fm/nijZo

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Akron's Water Gets Kosher

The campaign season is upon us -- before the campaign season even opens.

It's been a busy week for the news release writers at Akron City Hall -- and the week wasn't even halfway over yet.

Seven news releases. Even considering two of them were weather-related due to Monday's blustery blizzard-like conditions that left a stretch of I-76 from Norton to the Medina County line more like Jacknife Alley than interstate highway, but it's still an impressive showing of media might coming off South High Street.

The five remaining non-weather items since Monday:

Israeli Company in Akron Contracts With City -- all about the water service, it turns out. Hey, at least it provided an opportunity to post an eye-catching headline;

City to Offer Free Parking -- just in time for post-holiday sales time; it gives us all 65 minutes of freebie time to do business in the City;

City Brings More Housing Downtown -- the key to downtown prosperity clearly shows it needs to be a neighborhood, and there's no neighborhood without neighbors;

Mayor to Deliver State of the City Address -- it's the 24th, just in case you are keeping count;

German Manufacturing Firm Picks Akron -- as any politico will tell you, the road to political support clearly runs through the economy first.

What will Thursday and Friday hold?

This burst of news energy from the Mayor's office shouldn't come as any surprise.

2011 is a municipal election year, and the Mayor has already announced he is running for re-election. In his bid for a seventh term, Don Plusquellic will have company on the ballot; Council-at-Large representative Mike Williams will toss his hat into the primary ring on Monday evening, about an hour prior to the next City Council meeting.

Don't be surprised if others announce a run; from a political strategy position, a more crowded field generally benefits an incumbent but others may see opportunity for themselves if the two biggest names on the ballot target each other.

The tone of the election is likely to hinge on the tone both Plusquellic and Williams decide will forge their campaigns. One has shown himself to be a strong leader, with a sometimes strong personality that can be as off-putting as it is charming. The other has shown himself unafraid to challenge the conventional political stance, with questions sometimes raised regarding his work ethic.

A recent Akron Beacon Journal commentary by Steve Hoffman noted voters weren't deciding if they wanted a beer with Don -- there is far more at stake than whether we personally like the person running the City. Those behind the 2009 recall made the Mayor's personality an issue, and the electorate clearly wasn't biting. Their efforts resulted in more than three-quarters of those voting to keep the Mayor.

One thing is for sure: just as with the Mayor's re-election campaign four years ago, and the recall election where he rolled to a dominant win, there will be an impressive push to build an atmosphere of momentum. A rule of politics is to avoid having your opponent define you or your campaign, and the first lesson is staking out the media landscape yourself before the other side has a chance to do so.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

UPDATE traffic now moving, ODOT and Norton PD reopen 76/224; some motorists stranded up to seven hours. http://ping.fm/Worqn
More closings, delays for Tuesday streaming in: http://ping.fm/vSbrU
The 76 Snowache: best bet is to get off ANY ramp and work around. http://ping.fm/bOv7x
76/224 Update: it's a semi trailer forest with jacknifed trucks. Police say take first available ramp to get out of it. Up to 5 hour waits.
Tuesday schools: Barberton first in, will have 2-hour delay tomorrow morning. http://ping.fm/qjcnl
Traffic: a mess. I-76/U.S. Route 224 closed Norton to Medina line. http://ping.fm/uKmuK
UPDATE ODOT has closed I-76 from Norton/Cleve Mass Road to Medina County line until further notice.
No letup on I-76/Route 224 west of Barberton/Norton area into Medina and Wayne Counties. 2-3 hour delays, cops want drivers to avoid.
UPDATE University of Akron closing all locations tonight -- Akron, Medina and Wayne. Here's the latest list: http://ping.fm/UToU2
Brutal: delays of 2-3 hours reported by motorists on U.S. 224 west of Akron. Up to 8" snow forecast, now Winter Storm Warning.
Parking bans, closings and no classes -- oh my!
http://ping.fm/jLbBv
Keep 'em coming! Closings piling up tonight: http://ping.fm/hWne1
A whole mess of accidents and some whiteouts, live updates at AkronNewsNow.com: http://ping.fm/qTexl
Snow and ice covered roads have resulted in a number of accidents and slow traffic on area highways. http://ping.fm/84iqs
A Winter Weather Advisory is now in effect through 10 a.m. Tuesday. http://ping.fm/j6t1e

Friday, February 18, 2011

Streaming LIVE now on WakrNewsNow -- Summit Executive Russ Pry State of the County. http://ping.fm/ntscr

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Resending with link: Ohio Gov. Kasich apologizes for "idiot" and meeting with cop target of tirade. http://ping.fm/PTS61
Not calling people idiots means never having to say you're sorry. Gov. Kasich apologizes to Columbus cop:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Governor & Officer Idiot

Once again, Ohio's public officials don't disappoint when it comes to providing examples of ironic rhetoric.

In this particular case, Governor John Kasich is lecturing a group on adopting a more civil tone with those we deal with.

All the while calling a cop "an idiot" as an example of the government not treating the client with respect.



I swear, I couldn't make this kind of thing up with even the most highest octane rated spring water wonder from Tennessee.

So let me get this straight: you're making the point about treating people with respect by calling them idiots? Over something that happened more than two years ago? And it still bothers you enough, at this day, to bring up as an example of customer service? When you are trying to get the collective bargaining rights for public employees -- including cops such as Officer Idiot -- taken away?

I'm not weighing in on collective bargaining for public employees -- there are plenty of far more learned opinions to be had on that topic, although I will say I'm troubled by the pension load all of us taxpayers will have to share for a system that seemed built on never saying no.

The Governor's choice of how to make a point about customer service, however, seems like the perfect thing to weigh in on. Maybe the Governor would do well to spend a few weekends working with a green apron at Starbucks, or the blue vest at Wal-Mart, to get a better idea of what his constituents really consider lessons in civility.

Without calling cops or the rest of us idiots.
Richfield PD charge local woman for DUI in death of dog-walker neighbor Tuesday night. She says she never hit anything. http://ping.fm/d8r5q
The Pee Man of Columbus gets off the hook: http://ping.fm/VO6nm
Rev. Sharpton still on schedule for Akron tomorrow night, but organizers hoping for deeper discussion on education gap.

Friday, February 11, 2011

BREAKING: @AkronNewsNow Chris Keppler reports Plusquellic "not cut and run"; WILL run for a seventh term.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Revere school renewal levy a big winner in final, unofficial returns: 75% FOR, 25% AGAINST
Revere schools renewal levy coverage: FOR leads in absentees, 68-31 percent
Governor Kasich wants Parole Board to review Akron school mom case. @AkronNewsNow http://ping.fm/BFwm0
Authorities have re-opened I-76 West near Route 532. All lanes were closed for quite some time do to a crash earlier this morning. http://ping.fm/sM5ew
Authorities have closed I-76 West near Route 532 due to a crash. Drivers indicate it is an overturned vehicle. http://ping.fm/vQ3Jr

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

We've taken down the closings scroller. The hamsters were getting awfully tired of powering the page. Ready for next week...
Not a KWB-free weekend: Letters To The Editor responds to ABJ's "Lessons"... http://ping.fm/YiiSo

Failed Lessons In The Williams-Bolar Case

Ever notice how the phrase "personal responsibility" has been sorely missing from those who would support giving Akron school mom Kelley Williams-Bolar a walk?

The list of supporters is pretty extensive, albeit not so much here at home where Akron and Copley-Fairlawn parents and citizens are no doubt suffering from reader's fatigue at this point.

But it is the story that won't go away, partly because these issues large and small run so deep and personal.

My friend Steve Hoffman of the Akron Beacon Journal -- and yes, I still consider him a friend even while I call out their editorials -- did the best job yet of laying out the big picture case. It's the second paragraph from Thursday's column I'm having a bit of trouble digesting:

"The first, learned the hard way by Williams-Bolar, the Copley-Fairlawn schools, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh and Judge Patricia Cosgrove, is that the punishment (felony convictions) far outweighed the crime (tampering with documents)." - Akron Beacon Journal February 3, 2011

Steve's point is the lessons learned from this whole fiasco. Unfortunately, it highlights just how much further Williams-Bolar apologists need to go in learning their lessons.

Just to review -- again:
  • supporters think it wasn't "proportional" to charge Williams-Bolar with felony counts, apparently ignoring Ohio law that defines records tampering as a felony. There's no doubt she lied on records again and again. That's records tampering;
  • supporters think Prosecutor Bevan Walsh and Judge Cosgrove should have stepped in and ignored the state law and bumped the charges down to misdemeanors, apparently ignoring the willful, continued and tenacious refusal of Williams-Bolar to show even the slightest contrition for breaking the law;
  • even if a plea bargain deal had been arrived at -- and it didn't come up, sources tell me, until the week before the three-year old case went to trial -- let's remember it takes more than one to tango. Williams-Bolar still doesn't admit to wrongdoing, shows no remorse, and when pressed says she should be exonerated.
Copley-Fairlawn schools investigated, held hearings, presented Williams-Bolar with their evidence, sent multiple invoices for tuition, offered a payment plan most parents would have killed (as opposed to lying) for and spent the better part of three years trying to work out the issue as adults. Put an ear to the speaker and listen to the residency hearing for a taste of just what tenacity sounds like. It's not the schools; it is those who broke the law and wouldn't take individual responsibility for their actions.

Attorneys working for Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh didn't make up the felony records tampering charges; they were doing their job, following the law and the evidence you can see with your own eyes. It included an absolute decision from Juvenile Court Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio rejecting a petition for power of attorney request from Edward Williams. Note in the paperwork you can read for yourself: Williams used the petition as evidence in his exchanges with Copley-Fairlawn schools, even though it was never true.

Judge Cosgrove, who along with Prosecutor Bevan Walsh has suffered the worst injustice to their reputations through this entire sordid affair, certainly showed far more compassion and respect for the defendant than Kelley Williams-Bolar showed for the justice system.

Critics say the sentence and felony charges weren't "proportional" to the crime.

Cosgrove could have sentenced Williams-Bolar to five years in prison; she didn't choose five, four, three, two or even one year. Cosgrove didn't sentence Williams-Bolar to six months, 90 days or even 30 days in prison. She sent an unrepentant and in-denial Williams-Bolar to the Summit County Jail for 10 days -- and even worked to let her out after nine days. She expressed the opinion she wished there had been a deal for a misdemeanor. The Judge might want to reconsider in light of continued revelations on the depth of the lies of this case.

There could have been an order requiring Williams-Bolar to pay at least some of the tuition benefits taken by fraudulent means from Copley-Fairlawn schools, yet not one dime of restitution was ordered. Probation of two years will cost the State of Ohio far more to administer than the inconvenience to Williams-Bolar.

The Williams family should thank God they had Cosgrove hearing the case.

Much has been made of the felony convictions now part of Williams-Bolar's record. She earned them. A jury found her guilty, and voted 11-1 to convict her of theft. Could these have been dealt down to misdemeanors? We won't know because one of the first steps of a plea deal -- admitting guilt to something, anything, was not part of the strategy Williams-Bolar has followed since Day One. Admission and apology are part of a plea deal.

Much has been made of the felonies prohibiting her from working as a teacher, yet the law doesn't prohibit her from working. It's Akron's policy regarding teachers with a felony, and in point of fact the Akron Public Schools will welcome Williams-Bolar back to the fold without even a hearing.

I'm not one of those who think she shouldn't be hired back. To the contrary, I don't believe this crime -- even as a felony -- warrants dismissal. That would be too severe, but not even a personnel hearing? It is disturbing the Akron school administration ignores its own policies regarding employees with felony convictions. Talk about lessons learned; will that outlook still hold true for the next APS worker in a jam? Is the lesson to teachers, students and workers to deny everything? Is cherry picking discipline really the lesson you want to send the children?

We hear much about personal accountability, but in a case where it would have avoided so much heartbreak there has been none.

To the apologists, I'd appreciate your answer to these questions:
  • do you really think this case would have gone this far had Williams-Bolar not dug in her heels and piled lie upon lie atop a foundation of lies?
  • does it impact you in any way that Williams-Bolar still refuses to accept responsibility?
  • if you had been in the same shoes as Williams-Bolar, would you have taken responsibility?
Note I'm not asking how you feel about school choice, open v closed enrollment, equality in education, or school funding. This case isn't about any of those issues. Williams-Bolar says it wasn't about quality of education, it was about finding a safer place for her kids when they weren't in school.

The lesson plan is: what would you do?
Coming up at 9 on WAKR: the first residency hearing unplugged with Copley & Williams-Bolar.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How did the School Mom case start? Listen for yourself - audio: http://ping.fm/fX5Ea
Prosecutor Bevan Walsh with FAQ on KWB: http://ping.fm/paOi7

An Open Letter To Karen Kasich

I was struck by this week's announcement Ohio Governor John Kasich wanted a better understanding in the case of The State of Ohio v Kelley Williams-Bolar. He says his wife "alerted" him, along with a call from Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.

Mrs. Kasich, here's more information you should include in your next "alert."

Dear Karen -- can I call you Karen?

It is not surprising as a mother with daughters attending public schools that you would sympathize with the Akron school mother in the swirl of controversy over the lengths she went to bypass residency to get her children in a neighboring school district.

As a mother, your heart must go out to a woman portrayed in the national media as a victim of a system that would punish her for seeking a better education for her daughters -- regardless of the fact Williams-Bolar herself says Copley isn't a "better" education than Akron, the district where she's employed.

But as a mother, I ask you to look beyond the first heartbeat and examine the record. You will not find this a "Rosa Parks" moment in the debate over education; you will not find this a case of a parent making a mistake and seeking to correct a wrong. You will not find this an example of an adult taking responsibility for what is, in large measure, the residency Ponzi scheme this is quickly becoming.

Your family performs public service to our state and nation; you understand we are a country where laws govern all of us, and the means exist to address wrongs through debate, deliberation and action. That action does not include lying and cheating. That's not the message you would want your daughters to take from this case, despite the rhetoric from ill-informed commentators who have taken neither the time nor effort to examine the facts.

When talking to Governor John and alerting him of cases such as these, please take a moment to consider the following; I've included links if you would like to dig a little deeper:
  • This column from the Akron Beacon Journal's Bob Dyer, showing the history of Edward Williams, Kelley's father, charging people with racism (among plenty of other charges) to the point where he's banned from filing in Cleveland's U.S. District Court;
  • This blog from Jay Williams, a Washington, D.C. freelance writer who actually took the time to look into the case and weighs in on the message we send as opposed to the excuses some would make;
  • This story compiling much of the information the actual jury, which convicted on the tampering with records charges, considered when handing down the verdict;
  • This decision (it's a .pdf file; give it time to load) by Summit County Juvenile Court Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio turning aside a petition seeking to establish custody in Copley while Williams-Bolar continued to live with her daughters in Akron;
  • This .pdf file on one of the many bills sent to Williams-Bolar, frankly begging her to resolve the issue. I'm sure you know Ohio families who have loved ones serving our nation overseas; it's worthwhile noting the "deployed overseas for 18 months" is one of the many lies established in this faulty deck of cards supporters of Williams-Bolar use to excuse her actions.
I'm sure you and Governor John will be taking time to wonder why this case went to trial as a felony, and why prosecutors didn't plea bargain the charges down to a misdemeanor. Karen, remember it takes two to tango when deciding to accept a plea deal.

Talk with prosecutors and ask them how often they "deal cases down" when the offending party -- and Kelley Williams-Bolar is clearly an offender in the eyes of the same laws your husband swore to uphold -- refuses to take responsibility for their actions.

Please alert the Governor's lawyers to talk with the attorneys on both sides, and gain a better understanding of why any talk of a misdemeanor came only with a week to go before trial, and even then without a clear representation it would be acceptable to Williams-Bolar and she was prepared to admit wrongdoing and accept the consequences. Make sure they get an answer from the defendant herself, who still maintains she and her family did nothing wrong when lying to the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, Copley-Fairlawn Schools, or Summit County Juvenile Court.

Ask your daughters if they think adults who break the law should be exonerated, to use the description in a recent Akron Beacon Journal interview, even when they refuse to admit they did wrong. Ask yourself and your husband if that's the message you want the people of Ohio to hear, those who play by the rules and don't try to play the system.

Karen, I have no doubt you and your family have the best of intentions when debating and crafting public policy. Remember the dozens of families who stood up, took responsibility, and did the right thing when discovered by Copley-Fairlawn schools. Encourage the public debate on closed v open enrollment; urge your husband to truly address education reform in Ohio instead of the usual application of lipstick on a pig we've had to settle for. Craft public policy that respects the expectation society should be able to set a standard of truthfulness.
Akron public school superintendent David James delivers his State of the Schools message this afternoon. We've got his full speech. http://ping.fm/wBXKb
PREVIEW: Akron school chief annul state of the schools says "a lot of good"... http://ping.fm/RdY2Q

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thursday closings: Here. We. Go. Again. http://ping.fm/241RR
Updating the list that keeps on giving, including a key Paprikash event. http://ping.fm/BjfuC
The List: more closings ahead of icy afternoon in Akron. http://ping.fm/937Tf
Gotta check this video; webmaster Lyndse skates on the street... http://ping.fm/yhj8W
A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued through 4 p.m. http://ping.fm/UZgQH
Do you have a good wintry weather picture? Send it to us - news@rcrg.net. Include your name and location!
The Akron Zoo is closed today due to the inclement weather conditions.
The Winter Storm Warning for our area has been canceled. http://ping.fm/vcYDc
Many schools are closed for the day. Is yours one of them? http://ping.fm/rwJVf

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The closing list for Wednesday is growing...and growing...and growing. http://ping.fm/vnwEe
Akron jumps the winter shark: no school and offices closed Wednesday. http://ping.fm/MFZiq
5,400 flights cancelled today; more than 8,000 scrubbed for Wednesday. Hope you don't have Super Bowl tickets...
And the closings keep comin' -- right along with forecasts of ice, snow and blizzard warnings. http://ping.fm/Ys9KN
Ohio.com - Judge Brenda Burnham Unruh to retire, effective 2/28. http://ping.fm/TfNs4
Drivers: If you see any accidents out there, want to report icy conditions or have any other traffic tips, interact with us on our Facebook page or call the traffic line at 330.864.6397. Thanks!

And also, if you want to send us any winter photos dealing with the winter weather and the rough commute, send them to news@rcrg.net
Happy days here again? Dow Jones closes above 12,000 mark.
Closings continue to pile up ahead of ice and snowmageddon: http://ping.fm/YLIy4
Akron police have closed Route 8 South at Tallmadge Avenue due to a crash. They anticipate the closure until 1:30 p.m. http://ping.fm/G0Rlr
Akron police say I-77 South at Wilbeth is closed until further notice due to a crash with multiple vehicles. http://ping.fm/zd7BG
In addition to dozens of schools closing for the day, a few cities have issued snow parking bans. http://ping.fm/gbWd8
Many schools are closed for the day -- including Akron Public Schools. http://ping.fm/Pu9jK