Edward L. Esposito

Edward L. Esposito

Edward "Ed" Esposito is vice-president, information media for the Rubber City Radio Group. He oversees news and public affairs programs for www.AkronNewsNow.com, 1590 WAKR, 97.5 WONE and 94.9 WQMX. He is Secretary-Treasurer of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation; a former chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association and Foundation and a former president of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Association. He's also served as a member of the Akron Press Club , Kent State University Student Media Advisory Board, Ohio Open Government Coalition, Northeast Ohio AMBER Task Force. He's lectured on broadcasting and journalism for the University of Missouri in China, as well as across the country for RTDNA and RTDNF. You can reach Ed through the newsroom at 330-864-6397 or by email eesposito@rcrg.net

Monday, 12 August 2013 12:06

Zips Coach Steps Down

The longtime coach of the University of Akron's cross country programs -- including as coach of the women's distance runners that led to his recognition as Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year in that sport twice -- has resigned.

Scott Jones led the program for 17 seasons and helped build a program that earned 19 championships.

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(University of Akron) After leading the Zips cross country program for the past 17 seasons, Scott Jones, a two-time Mid-American Conference Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year, has resigned from his position, University of Akron head track & field coach Dennis Mitchell announced Monday.

"Scott Jones has done so many great things for our program," Mitchell said. "He was a big part of moving both the cross country and track programs from the bottom of the MAC to winning a combined 19 championships. Furthermore, he helped change the culture of the entire program. So many of the significant things he did for this program on and off the track will be missed."

Jones, who coached the women's distance runners at UA, had served as the Zips head cross country coach since 2007.

Jones, who inherited a women's cross country program that had finished last or second-to-last in the league the previous four seasons, led the Zips to MAC Championships in 1999 and 2005. Furthermore, the UA women enjoyed a seven-year run from 2003 to 2009 that saw the team place in the top three of the league each season, including runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2008.

In all, Jones' distance runners contributed to eight of the last nine MAC Women's Track and Field titles and completed the initial leg of the league's first "Triple Crown" in 2005-06 when the Akron women won the conference's cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field championships. Since arriving on campus in 1996, Jones developed a pair of All-Americans and 13 All-MAC runners, earning 25 all-league honors, on the women's cross country side alone.

Jones' impact transcended the UA campus as, during his time at Akron, he established track indexing standards that are currently used by the NCAA to convert times from 200m flat, 200m banked and oversized tracks so that running results can be compared across different types of facilities. He also worked diligently with the Metro Parks to design a cross country course, which is currently in construction, with the hope that it will be used to host NCAA Regional and NCAA Championship meets.

Jones came to the Zips from the University of Illinois, where he served as an assistant coach for women's track and field and cross country for two years. While at Illinois, the Illini women captured three consecutive Big Ten team championships, sweeping the 1995 season and winning the 1996 Indoors before finishing second at the 1996 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Jones also coached at Cornell University from 1991-92, working with both men and women on the track and field and cross country teams. In 1991 and 1992, the Big Red women finished fourth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, while the men's team placed 19th in 1992.

A 1982 graduate of Duke University with a degree in geology, Jones has done post-graduate work at Indiana University and, in 1989, received a Ph.D. in earth sciences from the University of California-San Diego. At Cornell, Jones was a post-doctoral research associate in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering. At Illinois, he was a visiting assistant professor of theoretical and applied mechanics.

Sunday, 11 August 2013 15:00

COMMENTARY Lessons From Food Freedom

We had an extraordinary experience at the Akron Radio Center Friday, with a half-dozen street food operators from the greater Akron area selling their wares on our private property -- steps away from the public sidewalk and public street. We were parking lot legal because there's no street legal in Akron.

Not that we're advocating setting up food trucks on busy West Market Street -- we aren't suicidal -- but the irony isn't lost that the only difference between legal and illegal operation of these trucks was the width of a sidewalk. What I found most interesting (along with the creative food) was the optimism and positive attitude these food truck operators had in going about their business. 

Juan Gonzalez of Wholly FrijolesPeople like Juan Gonzalez, seen at left, who runs his Wholly Frijoles Mexican Street Food truck out of Cuyahoga Falls; Ken Oppenheimer, who has his Sushi on the Roll restaurant in Medina but takes the fish on the road in his Mobile Sushi Bar; Jeff Winer and Steve Sabo, who pursue their passion for cooking out of Norton's Orange Truk; Jeff Neel, who took his experience on the range on the road after jumping on the chance to buy a truck and drive it home from Florida to start the Stone Pelican Rolling Cafe; Johnny Schulze, who went from executive chef at Wadsworth's Galaxy Restaurant to King of Cajun in the Zydeco Bistro to bring N'Awlins to N'Ohio. And Faith McNutt and Brian Hill, turning a hot dog stand into Get Stuffed, a solar-powered hotspot for innovative dogs and spuds you won't find anywhere else. 

They aren't the only ones. One of the toughest businesses to be a success is also one where we see, smell and taste the result of innovation and creativity from oven to table. There are great success stories in Akron.

Think of the men and women who operating catering businesses. I think of people like Joe Catalano of Tallmadge-based TLC Catering; he brings his mobile grill once a year for a lunch we enjoy at the radio stations, and sit-down lunches when we take one day a month to celebrate birthdays of our co-workers. The difference between Joe's excellent food and the street trucks? He's not cooking in the van on the way to his gig but he works just as hard preparing, presenting, and serving just as any other catering company, food truck or brick and mortar chef does. And he's on wheels at some point, too.

Or Vaccaro's Trattoria mobile wood-fired pizza oven, photo at left from their Facebook page, serving up hot pies in four minutes from start to finish at the Taste of Akron. The "Pop Up Pizza Shop" comes from a sit-down restaurant, highlighting caterer and mobile food combined.

Akron's already embraced the food trucks.

"Taste of Akron" featured five food trucks, even serving as a debut for Swenson's truck, and they were all a big hit. They're showing the vision, and they are hardly street rebels looking to put permanent restaurants out of business. 

They ARE the permanent restaurant. 

Northeast Ohio isn't exactly a hotbed of positive thinking; we are harsh critics of the policies and missteps that handcuff economic growth here. These individuals we met Friday, and their teams who keep the food coming through that window or under the awning, turn that NEO-negativity on his head with their energy and attitude. They do it over hot griddles, steaming pots, deep fryers and out of chilly refrigerators one order at a time. This is what they share with their colleagues and friends who do it in a building, not on wheels: the belief they can do better by serving it up to us. 

City Hall has some decisions to make on either continuing using downtown interests as a stranglehold over the rest of the city, pushing protectionist policies that keep Akron's streets off-limits to street food or updating their approach to allow these locally-owned small businesses to flourish and co-exist with their brick and mortar counterparts. Because they have more in common than counter. It was good to see Council President Garry Moneypenny and At-Large Council's Jeff Fusco, head of the committee studying food trucks, visiting Friday with these small business men and women and exchange more than just pleasantries. That's a good step forward as the city knows it has to come with something to bridge those who say no with those who realize yes is going to happen whether it's wanted or not.

Akron doesn't have to look far for examples; Canton and Cleveland encourage the food truck culture. Suburban neighbors such as Medina, Norton and Fairlawn too; Norton's food truck roundups have attracted thousands of people eager to sample high-quality food in a unique atmosphere. Medina's Sushi on the Roll restaurant, owned and operated by Mobile Sushi Bar's Oppenheimer, will host a roundup August 28th; Fairlawn is holding a huge Labor Day Sunday festival with more than 18 trucks and bands. Akron should be concerned their neighbors are taking the lead.

Big cities from Boston to New Orleans were once citadels against the winds of such change; they've learned having more choices leads to more excitement, that having more in the community believe in those choices leads to more foot traffic in the downtown and neighborhoods. More foot traffic means more business opportunity, more livable spaces, more growth. It's the real "cool" Akron looks for and needs, not manufactured "hip" factor we talk about so often.

Just like Akron and Cleveland's park systems, just like the region's Cuyahoga Valley National Park, just like the Towpath Trail and development of the Canalway, these are the jewels that make people not only want to live here but stay here. Isn't that a message Akron wants to send?

It is an unmistakable trend of today's culture to have food trucks in cities, suburbs and even rural areas. To not revise the city's policy in the face of such momentum flies in the image of Akron as a place where innovation and entrepreneurs can forge the future on their own terms. We call ourselves a city of innovation, even name roads and buildings to highlight our past and future. It worked for the tire barons; the city's banking it will work for a smaller but more dynamic rubber and polymer industry. It can work with something like street food.

If cities are truly engines of economic growth as government leaders insist, those with vision and passion should be encouraged. Especially if they're doing it on their own time and their own dime. Compromises can be reached between competing business interests such as food trucks and restaurants with physical plants. Nobody is saying a grilled cheese food truck should be allowed to park in front of the Lock View to serve Lock 3. Common sense can apply as it has in other communities. They've already done the hard work. We're not plowing new ground here; not treating this in a more timely manner sends a message Akron isn't friendly to new ideas and approaches. That's a bad position to be taking.

Through all of this, advocates note they've tried to influence change only to find a deaf ear controlled by interests who think they have to protect the status quo and the fragile nature of downtown's rebound. The Akron Beacon Journal's Lisa Abraham has been championing that cause, often to blank stares the past four years. She's been serving as a sort of "fairy godmother" to the food trucks, to the point where the debate can't be ignored anymore.

Here's the central question: whether City Hall serves the greater good by thinking it can pick winners and losers, instead of concentrating on the overall environment where winners will make their own way?

That's the messy thing about entrepreneurial capitalism: with good performance one can realize great reward, but if the performance doesn't meet the bar then you and your investors are holding the bag. The focus here should be more on districts and an atmosphere where the players aren't as important as the game, which is to have an attitude that growth doesn't depend on dependence.

Don't let another season go by with this still on the burner. To Akron's Downtown Partnership, stop blocking the way to the grill. Help, don't hinder. Move off to the side and leave these chefs to do what they've already shown they can do: start cooking.


Thursday, 08 August 2013 21:33

Food Truck Friday: We're On!

The Post Office operates under the guidance of "...neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night..." as it's fundamental mission. Apparently, the owners of Akron's local food truck businesses take delivering their food fare just as seriously.

After a day of watching heavy rains roll across greater Akron and weighing just what "isolated showers" mean, the Akron Food Truck Coalition gave the go-ahead for the Friday Food Truck Radio Roundup starting at 11:00 tomorrow morning in the front parking area of the Akron Radio Center, 1795 West Market Street. The event last until 1:00 p.m. or whenever the food runs out.

The idea for Food Truck Friday originated after Akron Beacon Journal food editor Lisa Abraham took up the food truck standard when the City of Akron wouldn't let them operate on city streets, citing a municipal regulation prohibiting sale of products from vehicles. The issue has grown into a political main course, with Akron City Council forming an advisory committee to study lifting some of the restrictions and regulating food trucks on public rights of way. The committee includes at least one critic of the concept, Akron's Downtown Partnership; while it does not include a food truck operator committee head Jeff Fusco, at-large councilman, has said he wanted the operators to have real input in the process.

Oh, and what started with five food trucks is now six. 

Added to the mix of the local foodies is the "Get Stuffed Mobile Eatery" based in Wadsworth. The business features stuffed hot dogs with menu items such as pulled pork, bacon and cheese and other unique fare such as the "potato sundae" made with whipped potatoes and a wide variety of toppings.

The Get Stuffed Mobile Eatery is operated by Faith McNutt, who hails from Dover, and Brian Hill of Wadsworth (seen at left.)

It's a high-scale next generation food station much more advanced than your more familiar hot dog street food cart.  It's a solar powered mobile eatery running refrigeration, light and water while propane provides energy for cooking on location. 

About the food trucks - all can also be found on Facebook:

The Orange Truk - The Orange Trük is N.E.Ohio's newest chef run gourmet food truck. The Orange Trük is run by two classically trained chefs and specializes in fresh farm to table cuisine. They bring the practice of creating high quality artisan food to the streets of Akron, as is shown in their gastropub menu including Arancini, an Italian rice ball! His are filled with cheesy risotto, provolone & pork tenderloin. Or try the fish tacos with blackened tuna, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, queso fresco cheese & his always amazing avocado creme fraiche! Cooking is their passion and their life. 
The Stone Pelican - Stone Pelican Rolling Cafe is bringing lunch classics to the streets of Akron Ohio. Serving up gourmet Sandwiches, Paninis, Wraps and more, some of their signature items include the Portobello Mushroom wrap, Fresh Fish tacos, and warm hand crafted Apple Cider. New delights are always being developed for the menu, so stay tuned for specials such as pulled pork, shrimp, chicken tenders, and breakfast burritos.
Sushi on the Roll - Established in 2007, Sushi on the Roll evolved from a vision to bring sushi to the masses. Specifically, to bring a fresh sushi product to corporate America cafeterias as another healthy option for lunch. We immediately began setting up new infrastructure to facilitate the processing of sushi at our state-of-the-art kitchen to produce a high volume of sushi. We also secured a high profile retail outlet right in the heart of a large corporate parkway in Akron, Ohio. Our quality product is recognized as the pinnacle of excellence for taste, freshness, consistency and value for money. This has assured continuing company growth as the popularity of the sushi product has and continues to escalate beyond all expectations.
Wholly Frijoles - Wholly Frijoles Mexican Street Foods Truck Brings the Cleveland & Akron area Mexican street food with an innovative twist. We sell tacos, burritos, gorditas, quesadillas and other Mexican and Latino cuisine made with the freshest ingredients and spiced up. It might sound like traditional fare, and you'd be right -- but with an inspired and personal touch. Chef Juan Gonzales and his team are putting together a great lineup capped off by the Mexican dessert flan -- custard with a light caramel sauce.
Zydeco Bistro - unique Cajun and Creole inspired restaurant owned and operated by chef Johnny Schulze form Baton Rouge Louisiana who trained in New Orleans. His restaurant experience is in high-end restaurants; Atlanta GA, Hartford CT, Nantucket MA and Wadsworth OH. Chef Johnny was the former executive chef at the Galaxy Restaurant in Wadsworth, Ohio for the past ten years. He is now the owner and chef of Zydeco Bistro, a mobile restaurant. 
Thursday, 08 August 2013 16:08

Coughlin Goes To SUPCO For Relief

The fight over former State Senator Kevin Coughlin's bid to run as a non-partisan candidate for Clerk of Stow Municipal Court is heading for a showdown -- but not in Stow, and not in Akron.

Coughlin is appealing the decision by Summit County's Board of Elections to remove him from the ballot in disputes over his status as non-partisan and squabbling over campaign report filings with the Ohio Supreme Court.

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Former State Senator Kevin Coughlin today petitioned the Ohio Supreme Court to compel the Summit County Board of Elections to certify his nominating petitions as a candidate for Stow Municipal Clerk of Courts in the November general election.
On July 15,  the Summit County Board of Elections rejected Coughlin's nominating petitions to run for the office based on its position that Coughlin's history as a Republican disqualifies him from running as a non-partisan.  Ohio law, however, authorizes non-partisan candidacies for municipal judges and clerks of court.  Candidates who seek to be nominated as non-partisans are not required to be unaffiliated with a political party.
Coughlin issued the following statement:
"Ohio law gives clear instructions regarding the nomination of municipal clerks of court. The Board of Elections blatantly disregarded the law and abused its power to reject my candidacy.  To make matters worse, they certified the petitions of another non-partisan candidate whose nomination is governed by the same law.  I feel very strongly that the members of the Board are using their positions to target and harass me.
"The party bosses in Summit County will stop at nothing to keep the courthouse from becoming a political-free zone.  I am running to modernize and professionalize our judiciary. They may not like that I'm running, but they cannot deny my legal right to run. 
"But this issue is bigger than me.  It sets a dangerous precedent in our state.  Board of Elections are designed to allow the two parties to watch each other.  We are now seeing what happens when the two parties conspire together.  If a Board can pick and choose which candidates may run for office regardless of the law, what is to stop them from rigging an election?  The Summit County Board of Elections has set our system of free and fair elections on a very slippery slope and every voter in Ohio should be concerned.
"The Board's rejection of my candidacy was outrageous.  Luckily we live in a country with the rule of law and I have faith that my petitions will be certified."
The full text of Coughlin's filing can be found as soon as it is available on the Ohio Supreme Court's website. The case number is 13-1264.
On the web: Ohio Supreme Court http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 08:29

Castro House Now History

The house in Cleveland where Ariel Castro kept three woman hostage as his personal slaves for a decade is now nothing but rubble, taken down to the ground by demolition crews who barely waited for the first rays of the sun to start excising 2207 Seymour from the neighborhood.

Castro's now calling an Ohio prison cell home for life, plus a thousand years. He kept Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus imprisoned, sometimes locked up and bundled in chains, after kidnapping them and using them to satisfy what he himself called his sexual urges prompted by a addiction to porn.

One of those victims -- Knight -- was on the street this morning with onlookers, thanking some of the neighbors who helped the trio escape and handing out balloons to be released. Neighbors say she wanted them to remember all missing children.

Google Maps actually beat the demolition crews to the punch, using digital editing to erase the horror house from it's street view option.

View Larger Map


Tuesday, 06 August 2013 10:04

FirstEnergy "Solid" With Q2 Loss

Akron-based FirstEnergy reporting "solid" second quarter results with a net loss of $164 million dollars and revenues of $3.5 billion on the books, primarily the cost of deactivating coal-fired plants that wouldn't meet updated environmental regulations. The company reported second quarter net income of $188 million on revenue of $3.8 billion for the quarter last year.

For the first sixth months of the fiscal year, the utility reports net income of $32 million on revenue of $7.2 billion compared to $494 million and $7.7 billion for the same period in 2012.

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(FirstEnergy) FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) today announced second quarter 2013 basic and diluted earnings of $0.59 per share of common stock on a non-GAAP basis. These results exclude the impact of the special items listed below. This compares to basic and diluted non-GAAP earnings of $0.60 per share of common stock in the second quarter of 2012.

“These solid second quarter results are in line with our expectations, and we are reaffirming our 2013 non-GAAP earnings guidance range of $2.85 to $3.15 per share,” said FirstEnergy President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony J. Alexander. “We continue to focus on targeted growth opportunities in our competitive and regulated businesses, while taking additional steps to further reduce costs across the company in light of the continued sluggish economy in much of our region, weak market prices for power, and environmental mandates.”

On a GAAP basis, the company reported a basic and diluted loss of $0.39 per share of common stock in the second quarter of 2013 on a net loss of $164 million and revenue of $3.5 billion. Second quarter 2012 basic and diluted earnings were $0.45 per share on net income of $188 million, with revenue of $3.8 billion. The loss in the second quarter of 2013 was primarily the result of plant deactivation costs, which reduced earnings by $0.85 per share.

Second quarter 2013 non-GAAP results benefited from reduced operating costs and higher residential distribution deliveries. Results were negatively affected by higher taxes, lower capacity revenues, and increased depreciation expense. Total distribution deliveries decreased by 1 percent compared to the second quarter of 2012. Commercial deliveries decreased 3 percent and industrial deliveries decreased 2 percent, while sales to residential customers increased 3 percent compared to the prior-year period.

Contract sales at the company’s competitive segment grew 7 percent compared to the second quarter of 2012 as a result of the continued successful implementation of FirstEnergy Solutions’ multi-channel sales approach. These gains were offset primarily by lower capacity revenues, which drove the reduction in commodity margin. For the first half 2013, the company reported net income of $32 million, or $0.08 per basic and diluted share of common stock, on revenue of $7.2 billion. This compares to net income of $494 million, or basic and diluted earnings of $1.18 per share,
on revenue of $7.7 billion in the first six months of 2012.

Monday, 05 August 2013 08:16

Four Popped On Theft Charges

Streetsboro PD putting a quartet of suspected thieves in lockup after finding them in a car loaded with stolen property.

Police say Timothy Porter, 18, of Streetsboro and three others tried to hide in a Chevy Cavalier when a caller on Dunlap Drive called to report suspicious activity. The others were a 17-year old boy from Ravenna and 17-year old and 15-year old girls from Streetsboro. All four face felony charges for receiving stolen property.

Police say they've been following a string of robberies since Independence Day with most of the thefts targeting GPS and other portable electronics from cars.

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(Streetsboro PD) On Sunday August 4th,  around 3:30 a.m. the Streetsboro Police Department received two phone calls from residents on Dunlap Dr and Kendall Ln. reporting suspicious activity in the neighborhood.  The caller on Dunlap reported seeing two people in his driveway.  A short time later, the caller on Kendall reported an unknown vehicle parked in his driveway.  Officers responded to the Kendall address and located a red Chevy Cavalier in the driveway with four individuals attempting to hide inside the vehicle. 

Upon investigating further, officers located several GPS units and other electronics inside the car that were linked to thefts from vehicles both from that night and from reported thefts on other nights.  The estimated value of the recovered property was approximately $1,760.  One of the individuals was an 18 year old male, Timothy Porter, of Streetsboro. 

The others involved were a 17 year old male of Ravenna, a 17 year old female of Streetsboro and a 15 year old female of Streetsboro.  All four were charged with Receiving Stolen Property, a fifth degree felony. 

Since July 6th, the Streetsboro Police Department has taken 13 reports of property being stolen from vehicles.  Most of those thefts involved GPS units or other electronics.  We would like to remind everyone to lock your vehicles when unattended and do not leave valuables inside.

It's no secret the PGA loves Firestone South. It's also no secret Bridgestone has a major commitment to the Akron area, with the Firestone Technical Center just one example. Now there's another.

"This sponsorship agreement reconfirms out commitment to golf fans worldwide, the PGA tour and the area of Akron," says Bridgestone Americas CEO Gary Garfield joining with corporate leaders and PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem making the announcement today. 

The deal includes a four-year extension, meaning a total of five years (including this year) for more of the world's best golfers planning their early August schedules around the fabled South Course just south of downtown Akron.

LINK HERE for the latest from the PGA Leaderboard scoring

LINK HERE for Round 4 Tee Times

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(WGC Bridgestone Invitational) PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, representing the International Federation of PGA Tours; Masaaki Tsuya, Bridgestone Global CEO and Chairman of the Board; and Gary Garfield, CEO and President, Bridgestone Americas, announced today that the International Federation of PGA Tours and Bridgestone have reached an agreement to extend Bridgestone’s title sponsorship of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club through 2018. Finchem, Tsuya and Garfield made the announcement during a press conference prior to the leaders teeing off for the final round of the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational.
Bridgestone, a world leader in tire innovation and technology, first began sponsoring the Bridgestone Invitational in 2006, and the current title sponsorship agreement runs through 2014.  The Bridgestone Invitational is played at the famed Firestone Country Club’s South Course in Akron, Ohio. 
Bridgestone also extended its Official Marketing Partner relationship with the PGA TOUR through 2018 and will remain as the “Official Tire of the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour.”  The agreement gives Bridgestone opportunities to introduce a distinguished consumer demographic to high-performance Bridgestone tire technology equal to that which they have come to know from its products on the golf course.

“Golf’s increasing global reach, as well as the international scope of the World Golf Championships align closely with Bridgestone’s long history in the sport and our position as the world’s largest manufacturer of tires and rubber products,” said Maasaki Tsuya, CEO, Bridgestone Corporation. “This sponsorship will further enhance the power of the Bridgestone brand and continue to provide additional worldwide channels for us to grow.”
“Bridgestone has been part of the PGA TOUR and World Golf Championships family since 2006, and we are so pleased to extend what has been such a successful partnership through 2018,” said Finchem.  “Coupled with their Official Marketing Partnership extension, Bridgestone represents one of the largest partners within the PGA TOUR family.  They utilize the PGA TOUR platform on a global scale, activating in impactful and innovative ways, not only in the United States but across Asia and most notably in Japan.  Of course, the Bridgestone Invitational, thanks to the leadership and commitment of Bridgestone, continues to showcase the very best in professional golf to the world.  It also brings tremendous economic and charitable impact to Northeast Ohio, aligning perfectly with Bridgestone’s commitment to the Northeast Ohio community, which has spanned generations and cannot be understated.”
“Our sponsorship of the Bridgestone Invitational is a tremendous vehicle to promote the Bridgestone brand. It also reconfirms our commitment to the PGA TOUR; worldwide golf fans; and our Akron-area neighbors,” said Gary Garfield, CEO and President, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. “As proud corporate citizens, we are thrilled with the impact the Bridgestone Invitational has in the region.
Saturday, 03 August 2013 22:21

VIDEO Tiger Stands Tall After Third Round

There's a reason Tiger Woods enjoys Firestone Country Club's South Course so much.

This year, it's actually 1,500,000 reasons plus eight.

The top purse looks like a lock for Woods, who's already staked claim to the title here seven times and looks to repeat as an octo-winner barring any major mishaps after a confident and consistent round extended his -13 lead at the start of Saturday's play into a commanding performance to hold at -15 under and a seven-stroke lead over the nearest challenger, Henrik Stinson. 

Players went out in threesomes Saturday on later tee times between 11:00 and 1:10 p.m. due to threatened storms in the morning that never really materialized. Overall, a half-inch of rain fell on the course overnight leaving greens moist enough that nearly every ball hitting them left marks. The sun and moderate winds through the afternoon, however, left the putting game faster as the day wore on and the course in great shape.

Even with a 68 round most would give their eye-teeth for, Woods says he was "just grinding it" to finish atop the leaderboard close to the lead he built after Friday's remarkable 61 score.

(Video PGA Tour)

Round 4 tee times for the leaders pair Woods and Stinson at 2:05 p.m. with Jason Dufner and Luke Donald ten minutes earlier. Gates open at 7:00 Sunday morning and the first golfers will tee off in pairs at 8:10 a.m. Sunday's forecast is expected to bring perfect temperatures for both players and spectators with sunny skies, winds out of the northwest around 10 miles per hour and an unseasonably-cool high of 72.

A reminder: The WGC Bridgestone Invitational now has marshals charged with enforcing strict cell-phone use restrictions when golfers are on the tees and approaching greens, as well as in the fairways making shots. Phones will be confiscated -- even if just used for texting or taking an illicit photo prohibited by the PGA. Owners are given claim checks to recover their property at the main gate, but not until the end of play. The phone enforcer teams can be spotted wearing neon lime-green caps.



Friday, 02 August 2013 15:50

Pitts Indicted For May, Putra Murders

An Akron teenager accused of murdering a high school friend and father of the friend has been indicted on murder and other related counts. Bryan May and his son, Jeremy Putra, were found stabbed to death in their Akron home by police answering an early morning call. Pitts was a high school classmate of Putra and reportedly had been taken in by the May household.

Robert Thomas Pitts, Jr., 19, formerly of South Rose Boulevard faces four counts of aggravated murder, two murder counts, two counts of aggravated robbery and an additional charge of injuring animals. The aggravated murder indictments include a possible death sentence if convicted.

Pitts allegedly stole May's vehicle, which was later found in Ashtabula County, and fled to Chicago where he was arrested. He is being extradited from Illinois back to Ohio.

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(Summit County Prosecutor) Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh today announced that Robert Thomas Pitts, 19, of South Rose Boulevard in Akron, has been indicted in the murders of Jeremy Putra and Bryan May.

Pitts is charged with:

  • Four counts of Aggravated Murder, each with two death specifications
  • Two counts of Murder
  • Two counts of Aggravated Robbery, both felonies of the first degree
  • Injuring Animals, a misdemeanor of the second degree

If convicted of any count of Aggravated Murder with at least one death specification, Pitts can be sentenced to death.

“Bryan May and Jeremy Putra generously opened their home to Robert Thomas Pitts, who was a longtime friend of Jeremy’s since childhood,” said Prosecutor Walsh. “This is truly a senseless tragedy, and my office will do everything in its power to seek justice for Bryan May and Jeremy Putra.”

Pitts is being extradited from the Cook County Jail in Illinois. Arraignment is set for August 7.