The return of ICYMI | News n’ stuff that happened in Akron between June 24 and July 8


Tom-SawyerToday’s Tom Sawyer gets high on you… he gets by on you

When former Akron mayor Tom Sawyer withdrew from the upcoming mayoral race, he told the Akron Beacon Journal “…it came down to the fact that my presence complicated the race and I really didn’t clarify any problems.” But, complicated for whom? In theory, his presence complicated things by splitting the vote between himself and Dan Horrigan (and to a lesser extent, Frank Comunale), which would make it easier for Mike Williams to become mayor.  No matter his reasons for dropping out, Sawyer’s absence, in effect, makes this a race between Horrigan and Williams. Meanwhile, despite efforts by local Democratic leaders to convince Jim Jeffries to dropout , the Ward 4 race remains the same. Jeffries, who lost in 2007 by 102 votes to the late John Jeffers in a race for Hudson’s Ward 4 seat, will face off in the primary against Eufrancia Lash and the incumbent Russ Neal, who lost his effort to become council president after the Moneypenny “thing.” Should be an interesting summer.

Hey AK, Say Cheese!

Child Guidance & Family Solutions, who host Food Truck Fridays and the Growing Up Akron event, have just launched a photo contest that concludes, July 22. To participate, just snap a photo of what Akron means to you and then hashtag it growingupakron when you post it to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. (You can check out examples of this on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook if you’re curious.) Take a shot of yourself or an iconic location, some of the city’s famed food, one of our cool events or anything else, as long as it captures how you feel about Akron. (This means, it can be a photo you took before the contest started, too. Just don’t steal someone else’s work.) Prizes include reservations for two to Growing Up Akron on August 14 at Thirsty Dog Brewery, a $25 Mustard Seed Market gift card and Sunday brunch for two at the Montrose location, and a $25 Nuevo gift card. Visit for details about the event, or by finding them at

149The way you look tonight…

If you’ve noticed a lack of litter, illegal signs and graffiti around town, you’re not alone. Keep Akron Beautiful released the results of their Community Appearance Survey, using a tool designed by Keep America Beautiful. On a scale from 1 (hardly anything) to 4 (lots of bad stuff), Akron rated at a 1.14 for litter, 1.27 for illegal signs placed on public land, and 1.07 for graffiti.  With the city’s overall litter score dropping from last year’s 1.3, all ten of the city’s wards scored below a 2 for litter, but Ward 1 was the best. Graffiti ticked up slightly from 1.06 and illegal signs up from 1.08. By land use, Akron’s educational and recreational areas were the most litter-free. So good job, Akron.

At play, the Akron Zoo way

Maybe the only thing the Akron Zoo doesn’t have right now are primates, but that’s changed (kinda) now that they’ve opened up Nature’s Play, a playground where kids get to “monkey around,” imitating primates in the wild. Set between the Tiger and Red Panda exhibits, the area features natural tree stump stepping stones, a rope walk, a rope climb, a rope web, a nest and a fire hose hammock. This playground is free once you’ve paid for admission. You can learn more about Nature’s Play and the Akron Zoo, which is open from 10 am to 5 pm, at or by calling 330-375-2550.

It’s Friday, we gonna get you a ride today

Now, on every Friday through the end of August, you can ride the METRO buses for free on line-service routes. We’re not talking about the premium services though, like METRO SCAT, Northcoast Express or Call-A-Bus, but still. Normally, you pay $1.25 to ride—or drop $2.50 for a one-day pass. METRO sees free fare Fridays as an opportunity to give back to their current riders, but if you’ve been on the fence about using public transportation, here’s your chance to try it. You know, like they do in the big cities where people prefer not to drive.

The ol’ Chicago surprise

Our friend Jessica Morris, who shared her excellent photos of early Black Keys performances at the Lime Spider and in Kent in our second issue, got engaged in one of the coolest ways possible. At a concert in the Windy City, Kurt Anshutz, her soon-to-be-future fiancé, colluded with The Hold Steady to surprise Jessica from the stage where he could pop the question. His voice a-quivering, Kurt asked her to do him the honor of letting him become her husband. (She said yes.) Congrats, y’all!