Akron school board examines district’s poor performance grades in first phase of report card

By Nick Shook
Beacon Journal staff writer
Read full story on Ohio.com

Akron schools earned poor grades in graduation rates and K-3 literacy, board members learned at their Monday meeting.

In a presentation given by assistant superintendent Ellen McWilliams-Woods, the board examined the three grades currently available: graduation rate, K-3 literacy, and the prepared for success measure. Seventy-four percent of students in Akron Public Schools graduated in four years, earning a letter grade of F, while 83.8 percent of students graduated in five years, resulting in a letter grade of D.

The state is releasing the school district report card grades in two steps — a process that is usually done in one. Monday’s presentation was the first phase. Continue reading

Two-day event to revive mall in Falls

By Nick Shook
Beacon Journal staff writer
Read full story on Ohio.com

Two Cuyahoga Falls natives are hoping to bring long-term energy to a portion of the city’s Riverfront Pedestrian Mall with a Better Block experiment like one that was so successful in Akron’s North Hill area last year.

With a $10,000 grant from Torchbearers, Samantha Coldwell and Getta Cornici are working with the Texas group Better Block Foundation and the city of Cuyahoga Falls to conduct an event Aug. 26-27 at the north end of the mall. Continue reading

Two local pastors to be honored by Ohio Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission

By Nick Shook
Beacon Journal staff writer
Read full story on Ohio.com

Two community leaders in Summit County will be honored for their efforts to improve race relations.

Although 2015 was a tumultuous year for race relations locally and nationally, the Rev. Mark Ford and the Rev. Joe Coffey did not waver, and the Ohio Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission took notice, choosing Ford and Coffey as recipients of two of its eight annual awards. Continue reading

James ‘Jim’ Strayhand remembered for love, support for family, Alcoholics Anonymous

By Nick Shook
Beacon Journal staff writer
Read full obituary on Ohio.com

James “Jim” Strayhand Jr. served many, but if you are not someone he helped, you may not know his name.

Those who did receive his compassion won’t forget it.

“He was very supportive, lots of fun to be around and just an all-around good guy,” daughter-in-law Chandra Pannell said. “He lived a big life in a quiet way.”

Mr. Strayhand, 78, of Copley Township died Dec. 31 of a heart attack.

The Goodyear retiree spent his final moments at a meeting with fellow members of Alcoholics Anonymous, a group he needed and one that often needed him. Continue reading

Nick Shook on Fantasy Football: One last week for all of the marbles

By Nick Shook
Beacon Journal copy editor
Read full column on Ohio.com

Some of you have seen the season end, many in disappointment, and fewer in unadulterated holiday jubilation. But there are a portion of you who have what I consider the true fantasy championship: a two-week, winner-takes-all showdown for eternal bragging rights.

I am here for you fine folks.

This is the last fantasy column of the season, so before we get into my final picks, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has turned to this page to read my thoughts each week, and on Ohio.com twice a week. I couldn’t have helped you win (or lose) your fantasy title without your loyal readership. Continue reading