Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pot luck Wednesday

Too much today ... I feel like a fire fighter trying to put out six house fires at once .. just not enough extinguishers and hoses to go around. A few items to pass along:

The state's final report on documents with drivers' personal information found in the dumpster at the Fairlawn BMV appears to have been delayed by mother nature. A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety tells me that his bosses have been out in the field managing the response to the severe flooding. While the investigators' written reports and interviews are complete, state leaders won't make any rulings until they come back from the flood zones to review the investigation, which will include the stories we aired on Channel 3 News on August 13th.

Mayor Plusquellic's news conference set for 11 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday) has now been delayed. DP was all set to talk about the biomedical corridor, but that was before Stark County investigators announced a 10 a.m. press conference for Thursday to talk about indictments in the Jessie Marie Davis case. Since the local media can't be two places at once (and obviously it's an election year) the Mayor opted to reschedule his event.

I'm keeping tabs tonight on this new Fox TV show "Anchor Woman" .. about a blond bombshell whose given a shot to anchor the evening news in Tyler, Texas. The show is hilarious as a television program ... but sad and degrading as television news. I really enjoyed when Polly Purebread told the producer that she didn't want more than seven stories in any one news block. That's pure fiction my friends. Coincidentally, one of our Akron news assistants recently left the competing station in Tyler to return to her hometown. She was offered a job at the Fox station being featured tonight, but when she heard that she'd have to work with the Barbie doll, she said goodbye to the yellow rose of Texas.

Here's a phrase I never thought I'd say: "Boy did I have fun at Grace Park!" Honestly, I did on Saturday. My son's theater group was performing at the Arts Festival, and I'll admit I was apprehensive about what to expect considering Grace Park is located so close to a homeless shelter and has a history of arrests and trouble. I was so surprised at how clean and friendly the park looked and felt. There was plenty of shade and room to move around. The artists brought quality work and the bands were great too. It wasn't quite as big as the "Art In The Park" event from Hardesty Park a few weeks ago, but city leaders did a good job with the Grace Park venue.

Leaders at the Knight Center and the Summit County Convention and Visitors Bureau are speaking out about comments made on NewsNight Akron and here in my blog. A few feel the panelists -- and me as host -- have misspoken about the success of the downtown convention center and other activities that have come to town. Honestly, I look forward to reviewing their literature and talking with them further. I'd love for them to prove me wrong and somehow convince folks that our community is somehow missing the big picture. Did someone invite the circus to town and not tell me???

I've been trying to help some folks who have real gripes, but I haven't had much time to address their problems. For starters, I have a passionate local mother whose daughter just found out that she wasn't renewed for open enrollment at a district she's been attending for the last five years. This even though she'd already received a welcome letter in June telling her when to show up for orientation. Now, there's no time to search for a new school and she can't get a straight answer out of the district's school board.

Additionally, I've been corresponding with a couple in Ashland County who are due to leave for their honeymoon in Mexico. The bride's passport arrived on time, but the groom's is MIA -- Missing in Ashland. Unfortunately, we've been so "flooded" with flooding stories that there's been no way to do much with their plight. One of my colleagues called them back and tried to help but to no avail. Later, my fellow reporter suggested to me, "tell them Mexico got nailed by Hurricane Dean so they don't want to go there .. tell them to try Toledo instead and go to the Hot Dog Festival!" Now that's a romantic getaway, eh?

I had a conversation this week with a retired Akron Police officer who told me his monthly health care premiums have gone up from two-digits to four. He's now back working for a county agency in order to pay his bills. Not sure how many other retirees this hike has affected, but this warrants more investigation for sure. I remember a wise man who once said, "there's a special place in hell for those who mess with the benefits of retirees." I'll letcha know what I find. Eric

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