Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Around town

A number of notes to pass along tonight ...

ON THE STREET: I spent some time this afternoon on East Market Street with the picketing members of the Akron Blind Center. They're upset that the center's Board of Trustees isn't running the place the way many would like.

As I was leaving, a number of the demonstrators stopped me to talk. One woman in dark glasses said, "you probably don't remember me, but I was on the news a few years back."

I knew immediately it was Phyllis Cottle, although she acted surprised that I was able to recall her name. I was still in high school when she was attacked, blinded, and left to die in a burning car. Phyllis survived and eventually put her attacker behind bars. Her name and case are well-known in the area, but not everyone ever gets to speak to Phyllis, who is an inspiration to all who have been the victims of violence. She was quite kind, and I enjoyed our few minutes together.

CONDOLENCES: Our lead story tonight was about 45-year-old Joey Albanese of Akron, who died in a construction accident in Cleveland. His name immediately struck a connection in our newsroom with Akron Councilwoman Terri Albanese. She called just before news time to tell us that Joey is her husband's first cousin. I also received email that Joey is the nephew of Tony DeLuca, who so many know with the Soap Box Derby among other local organizations. Certainly condolences to all of the family members and others who knew Joey.

A BIT LATE? Some press releases are better off not being sent. The Greater Akron Chamber sent us one today detailing Summit County Engineer Greg Bachman's selection as "Summit County's Elected Official of the Year." The cyber release included a nice photo as an attachment. Still, a closer look at the release shows that Bachman received the award at a luncheon on November 9th. Five weeks ago. Now, I realize that not every story qualifies as "breaking" or "this just in," but it's going to have to be a very, very, VERY slow news day to squeeze that one in.

Here's a tease for you: A local public relations official .. one many of you know .. is in the midst of quite a practical joke. Can't wait to bring this one to you once the cat is finally out of the bag ....

Here's another: An area government agency is finally going to spend money to begin the process of replacing part of a municipal building that thousands of people use every year. Gotta wait just a few more days to spring this one ...

EMAIL DEJOUR: A nice woman from Hartville emailed me a picture of her cat, Oreo, who was missing .. and asked if we'd put him on the news. Fortunately, Oreo was found before I had to make that tough, ethical decision of how much coverage to provide.

NNA: I'm getting ready for my first go-around with News Night Akron's "Year in Review" and "Citizen of the Year." It's been such a monster year of news that I can't imagine what to use for the 30-minute YIR (airs Dec. 28) .. and have even less of a good feeling on the CIY (airs Jan. 4) -- although many panelists say Don Plusquellic's stock rose big time in the second half of 07 with his narrow election victory and the Goodyear deal. But coming up with a top 10? or top 5 even? I'd love to hear some of your ideas ...

GETTING SMARTER: A good friend of mine reminds me that Miller South is NOT the only Akron School that requires auditions, as I had been spouting. Firestone's IB and Arts programs mandate auditions. So I'm coming clean that I'm getting educated.

Still, the hardest part of the discussion on school uniforms and whether one school deserves to be an exception to the rule is finding an apples-to-apples comparison. None of the high schools are facing mandatory uniforms, so it's not a good comparison with Miller South .. and none of the other middle schools in Summit County are Arts-based or require auditions. I think my sons, among others, will adapt quickly and it won't be a big deal a year from now.

I just wonder why less than four months after a new dress code (one that took a lot of meetings to come up with by the way) was put in place, now the board scrapped that plan and went straight to mandatory uniforms. How are we to ever know if the new dress code made an impact?

FINALLY -- I've received a half-dozen "I've been elfed" emails .. if you haven't seen any yet, you don't know what you're missing. It's an free, on-line site by OfficeMax that lets you upload four photos of people's faces which are added to animated elf bodies who dance to Christmas music. The address is http://www.elfyourself.com/. Try it for a good laugh. If any of you make a really good one .. say with the faces of Akron's leaders for example .. please post a comment with the link so we can all get a holiday laugh.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Being a UA person, I have a couple of nominations for "top 10". Gary Taylor (Chairman of Infocision) who gave a significant chunk of change to help build the Infocision Stadium AND Zippy, shall I say more? She rocks!

Tim in Akron said...

If you go back to the original discussion of the school "uniforms", I believe many on the Akron School Board wanted the stricter uniform code approved for this school year, but state law prevented the institution of specific clothing without it being implimented at least 6 months prior to the start of school, so they instituted a system wide dress code for 2007-2008, with the intention of moving to a clothing specific uniform for 2008-2009. Though opponents cried they had little time to discuss the issue, in reality there has actually been discussion on the issue for at least 12 months.

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