Saturday, June 16, 2007

Catching Up

I didn’t mean to disappear for a full week, but I was out of town for a few days and had a few other obstacles that have kept me out of the office. Anyway, lots to chat about so here we go:

Well I went 1-for-2 on the University of Akron expansion. We all certainly knew that something more concrete needed to be laid out on the stadium deal considering the team is already telling recruits that they’ll kick off at the new place in September 2009. I didn’t see the Quaker Square deal in any crystal ball or wild dream. I do remember talking with owner Jay Nusbaum a year or so ago about the future of the operation. He told me that the coming years didn’t look bright and that a change was needed to survive. I just had no idea he meant to sell the place! I think city hall’s initial quiet, supportive response to the deal is a good sign. No reason to panic or paint yourself into a corner when the hotel will still be open for a year+. Still, we’d better find another Motel 6 or stable-with-a-view soon or future downtown events will be that much more difficult to schedule. Remember 10 years ago when Hollywood wanted to blow up one of the old Goodrich Buildings as part of an action movie? The deal fell through because we didn’t have enough hotel rooms. Would hate to see history repeat itself, unless of course we’re blowing up a parking deck.

This missing woman story in Stark County is really upsetting. I know I’ve posted on this in the past, but when people ask me about my most memorable story, I usually always respond with “Teresa Andrews.” The two weeks+ I spent living in Ravenna in the fall of 2000 from the day the expected mother disappeared to the day her body was discovered to the moment her baby was released from the hospital just overwhelmed my emotions. To this day I still get anxious and sad when thinking about speaking with Teresa’s husband and her parents. I pray this latest missing woman is alive, and while I realize the circumstances here are different, we’re still talking about a woman whose nine months pregnant. I doubt there’s ever a time that a woman feels more vulnerable.

I had my first chance recently to catch up with Carol Sullivan (formerly Chandler) as she returned to TV3. Carol left her post as morning anchor a year+ ago to follow her husband’s football coaching career. When her hubby got hired by the Browns as an assistant, Carol (a new mother as well) moved back to town and back to reporting two days a week in our Cleveland office. Our paths don’t cross much in the news operation, but it’s great to see Carol back in the game. She’s one of the sharpest journalists and story-tellers I know.

I keep hoping another candidate or two will emerge for the upcoming opening as Summit County Executive. It’s an important position that flies under the radar of a lot of media, but the impact is significant. I wonder if John Donofrio wouldn’t consider the opportunity. Maybe even one of the local state representatives. No one inspires me right now. I think that’s the problem.

A full school year is now over and there weren’t nearly as many complaints about Akron’s speed cameras as I’d anticipated. I think drivers learned to either avoid the school zones at all costs or got the message to just slow down. I’m still interested to see how the courts decide the legality of it all, but for now, I’m just surprised I didn’t get as many drivers showing up at the newsroom door with complaints that they’d been unjustly photographed by Big Brother.

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