Amani Abraham

Amani Abraham

Amani Abraham is the morning web editor and also tracks morning drive traffic for 1590 WAKR, 97.5 WONE and 94.9 WQMX during weekday mornings and is a reporter/anchor. She's no stranger to, having worked as an intern with Rubber City Radio Group as a producer for the Daily Vodcast and other video projects.. Amani is a 2011 graduate with a Communications degree from the University of Akron, where she excelled in her work on the student radio station WZIP-FM and Z-TV, the University's television program. You can reach Amani through the newsroom 330-864-6397 or by email

Wednesday, 26 November 2014 11:41

Akron Zoo Welcomes New President, CEO

The Akron Zoo has picked its new president and CEO. The zoo's board of directors announced today that Doug Piekarz will take over the new position at the start of 2015. Piekarz, who has spent 17 years at the zoo, is currently the Vice President of Planning and Conservation. He'll be taking over as president and CEO, a position left vacant by Pat Simmons who left to begin a new journey at the North Carolina Zoo as as their deputy director and chief operating officer.


(Akron Zoo - Press Release) AKRON, Ohio – The Akron Zoo Board of Directors announces the selection of Doug Piekarz (p-ah-kosh) as its new President & CEO after an extensive nationwide search.

Piekarz, is currently the Vice President of Planning & Conservation at the Akron Zoo and follows Pat Simmons, who in June, after 31 years at the Akron Zoo, announced she was leaving for the North Carolina Zoo to take a position as their deputy director and chief operating officer.

Piekarz will start in his new position January 1, 2015. In Piekarz's 17 years at the Akron Zoo, he has held various positions including four years in his current position. Piekarz has a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from Rutgers University and a Master's of Science degree in biology, ecology and evolution from Montclair State University.

He recently received the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) outstanding service award for his work on the AZA Green Scientific Advisory Group and AZA Climate Initiative Task Force. Piekarz is currently a member of AZA's Executive Leadership Development Program, an AZA accreditation inspector and a member of various AZA national committees. He has 27 years of experience in the zoological industry starting his career at the Wildlife Conservation Society and Bronx Zoo. "I am humbled by the Board of Directors confidence in me to lead the Akron Zoo," commented Piekarz.

"I look forward to keeping the Akron Zoo as a leader in conservation as well as a thriving asset for our community. I am excited to continue to work along side such a talented and dedicated group of staff and volunteers."

"After talking with many local and national candidates during our search, we felt Doug was the right person to lead the Akron Zoo as the next President & CEO," said Bob Littman, chairman of the zoo's board of directors.

"Doug has great passion and dedication to the Akron Zoo, the community and conservation. He has earned the respect of the Board of Directors, his peers and zoo staff through his extensive work in exhibit design and construction, animal welfare and sustainability efforts."

A Board of Directors Search Committee, chaired by Jim Snider, has been working
with the search firm of DHR International for the past four months to select the right

According to Snider, "We owed it to our community to make sure we did our due diligence and hire the best person." The zoo received applications from several other AZA accredited institutions across the U.S. "Piekarz was selected as President & CEO due to the breadth of his experience in wildlife conservation, sustainability, strategic planning and community involvement," commented Snider.

The Akron Zoo is open 361 days a year. Winter hours are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and admission is $7.00 per person. Children under two are free. The parking fee is $3.00.

Coming Attractions Bridal & Formal was at the center of the Ebola-scare in the Akron area in October after nurse Amber Vinson visited the store for her upcoming wedding. Now --- Vinson is no longer planning to purchase her bridesmaid dresses at the shop and is requesting a refund.

"Right away, what came to my mind was, 'Oh, they're probably sending some kind of apology for what we've gone through," said Younker.

But that wasn't the case. Vinson's attorney, Stephen Malouf, sent a letter to shop owner Anna Younker stating that they wanted "minimize additional public scrutiny" by choosing another bridal shop to purchase the dresses and to keep the process confidential.

Vinson's lawyer did not immediately return WAKR's request for comment.

"If she doesn't want anything to do with our store anymore, she could easily just walk away and we can pretend like this never happened. But to ask for a refund, when I'm already losing money, is such a slap in the face."

Vinson is requesting that Coming Attractions issue a refund to four of her bridesmaids -- two bridesmaids made a deposit of $107 each and two others paid the full amount of about $132 each. In total -- around $479.84.

"For her to even turn around and have her lawyer draw up this letter, I mean, I bet you that costs more than the refund she's requesting. She could've easily picked up the phone and I could've helped her, talked to her and worked the situation out."

Younker voluntarily closed her shop for several weeks after Vinson's visit in October. Younker says she's still trying to make ends meet and doesn't intend to issue a refund.


Previous Coverage: 

AUDIO: Coming Attractions Seeking Healthy Return

Akron Bridal Shop Ready To Reopen

Summit County: Still No Ebola, Calls Down Significantly

Saturday, 22 November 2014 13:36

PHOTOS: Honoring Fallen Akron Police Officer

Law enforcement officials, family and friends came together Saturday for the funeral service held for slain Akron Police Officer Justin Winebrenner. 

NOTE: If you're unable to view the photos on your mobile device, click here.

Created with flickr slideshow.
Thursday, 20 November 2014 17:24

Jackson Man Charged With Making Child Porn

A 58-year old Jackson Township man has been charged with producing child pornography following what may have been a series of events over a 32-year period involving an unknown number of boys.

Police say Joseph Kolp had a habit becoming friends with juvenile boys and eventually getting them to undress and pose for pictures. The first report came in 2002 from a 31 year old man who said it happened to him in the 1980s but similar reports have been made since then.

Police say Kolp would allow the boys to do work around his house, then he would ask them to go water skiing, and had them change clothes on his boat. The charges are directly related to an alleged water skiing invitation to a couple of North Canton boys, ages 6 and 9 a few months ago. Police say they think there may be more victims that could come forward.

Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:42

Weather Pushes Back KSU, UA Football Games

The weather in the Buffalo area is having a ripple effect with sports schedules.

Kent State was supposed play Buffalo last night but it was called off because of the snow. That game will instead by played Friday afternoon. Kent was supposed to host Akron next Tuesday night, but with such a quick turnaround between games, it's also been pushed back. The Wagon Wheel game will be played next Friday afternoon at 1pm.

"We've got to have an adequate number of days between when you play games, quite frankly, said Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner of the Mid-American Conference. "And there simply isn't a sufficient recovery time on Kent State's side of it, so we had to push the game."

Steinbrecher said a truck filled with the team's equipment didn't make it to Buffalo, which is why the games were moved.

"If the equipment truck had gone were it was instructed to go, we would've played the game as scheduled.

The television schedule has yet to be released.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 13:31

Sold Out: Blue Lights Flying Off Shelves

If you've been searching for a blue light bulb to honor fallen Akron police officer Justin Winebrenner, you may have had a tough time getting your hands on one.

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Nearly 11,000 people on Facebook have joined the "Lights On" event to show their support to Winebrenner, his family and local law enforcement by turning on their porch light each night for a week and through memorial services. Any light bulb can be used, but a blue light is preferred to represent law enforcement.

"We don't have exact numbers, but they sold out fast," said Scott Norris, local operations manager with ACE Hardware Stores.

One of the major issues is that the stores usually don't stock up on a large amount of blue colored lights.

"A dozen or so per store is normally kept in stock at any one time," said Norris. "They sold out fast. So we definitely got more on order at all three stores to try and keep up with the customer's demand."

The blue light bulbs are also flying off store shelves at Home Depot in Akron and Lowe's in Green. A store manager at Lowe's on Arlington Road said they sold out of the bulbs on Monday evening and still receive about 20 to 30 calls a day from customers checking to see if the blue bulbs are in stock.


Editor's Note: In honor of fallen Akron police officer Justin Winebrenner, 1590 WAKR, 94.9 WQMX and 97.5 WONE, have teamed up to give out free blue light bulbs to residents. They are available during business hours at 1795 West Market Street in Akron while supplies last. Donations are also welcome for the Winebrenner Family Memorial Fund.

More information:

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 09:40

Ivery Pleads Not Guilty In Death Of Akron Cop

The man accused of murder in the shooting death of Akron police officer Justin Winebrenner entered a not guilty plea in Akron Municipal Court this morning.

NewsChannel 5 was in the courtroom when 35-year-old Kenan Ivery appeared before Judge Julie Schafer via video at his arraignment. No bond was set at the hearing, but Ivery is due back in court on December 3.

Ivery is facing an aggravated murder charge and five counts of felonious assault.

According to Akron police, Ivery walked into Papa Don's Pub on East Market Street early Sunday morning and was asked to leave after "being very unruly." He returned, brandishing a firearm. Police said officer Winebrenner, off-duty at the time, took it upon himself to get involved to protect the patrons at the bar. Winebrenner was shot and later died after he was taken to a local hospital. Four other individuals were also injured in the shooting.

Ivery was arrested in a nearby field with the help of a police dog.

On the web:


Previous Coverage:

Chief Nice Remembers Fallen Officer

Akron FOP: We Want Ivery Dead

"Lights On" Event To Honor Off-Duty Officer Killed In Akron

Akron Police Officer Killed At Bar



Monday, 17 November 2014 12:35

Teens Charged With Vandalism In Streetsboro

Streetsboro police they have charged three juveniles with vandalism nearly five months after the department received more than two dozen reports in the city.

Police said the teens spray painted cars, fences, and homes, causing hundreds of dollars in damage.

The three teen boys, two from Streetsboro and one from Tallmadge, have been charged with one count of vandalism each, a fourth degree felony, in Portage County Juvenile Court. 

In one case, the juveniles reportedly painted the words "Find me cops." According to police, they did. 


It's not just the local community showing support and honoring fallen Akron police officer Justin Winebrenner who was shot and killed while off-duty at an Akron bar over the weekend. A "Lights On" event hosted by the Heroes Memorial Foundation is using social media to reach beyond the Akron area to show support to a fallen hero.

Jeannie LeMaster with the non-profit organization said those who want to join the "Lights On" event can do so by simply turning on their porch lamp each night for a week and through memorial services. If possible, LeMaster says a blue bulb is preferred to represent law enforcement.

LeMaster said it's important to recognize those who died trying to protecting their community -- whether on officer was on or off-duty.

"In a community as tight as Akron, as condensed as it is, everybody knows who the police officers are in and out of uniform. They look to you to protect them, whether you're getting paid to do it or not," said LeMaster.

Akron police officer Justin Winebrenner is listed as the 100th officer killed in the U.S. this year.

Friday, 14 November 2014 09:06

A Bite Around Town: PizzaFire

They call it the "Chipotle of Pizza" for a reason.

PizzaFire is a casual, fast-fired pizza restaurant in Akron and the first of its kind in Northeast Ohio.

Is it possible to get a fresh, fast and authentic Neapolitan pizza in three minutes or less? Yes, according to CEO Sean Brauser.

Brauser is not new to the pizza world. He's also the CEO and founder of Romeo's Pizza. He wanted to create a new restaurant that gives people the option to create their own pizza with their own toppings. Brauser says they have 40 different toppings to choose from including a variety of cheese and sauce options.

PizzaFire also features 72 Margherita pizzas per day. Each pizza is made with authentic 00 Neapolitan dough, fresh mozzarella, basil, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil and parmigiano reggiano.