''NewsNight Akron'' has picked its local newsmaker of the year. Here's the announcement:
Melinda Elkins, the woman whose remarkable efforts in support of her jailed husband, Clarence, led to his release in mid-December, was named 2005 Akron Newsmaker of the Year by panelists of the PBS 45 & 49 program NewsNight Akron. The award recognizes the greater Akron individual whose work has had the most positive effect on the area over the past year.
The panel made the unanimous decision after a lively debate about seven nominees during the show’s Thursday, Jan. 5 taping at Northside restaurant in downtown Akron. The show airs tonight at 9 p.m. and repeats on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 5 a.m.
Panelists for the show were Vincent Duffy, director of programming and operations at WKSU/89.7; Jody Miller, owner and publisher of Bath Country Journal; Steve Hoffman, editorial writer at the Akron Beacon Journal; and Ed Esposito, news director at WAKR/WONE/WQMX. They cited Melinda Elkins’ nearly eight-year battle to prove her husband’s innocence in the rape of Melinda’s mother and niece and the murder of her mother. “Here is a woman who waged the ultimate battle on behalf of truth and justice and the American way and really made a change that does impact every citizen in the long term,” said Esposito.
Other 2005 nominees were LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers player and Akron native; Robert Keegan, chairman and chief executive officer of Goodyear; Carol Cartwright, retiring president of Kent State University; the Akron City School board; Luis Proenza, president of The University of Akron; and Rev. Samuel Ciccolini, executive director and founder of Interval Brotherhood Home. ... This is the fourth year that the show has presented the Akron Newsmaker of the Year Award. Past recipients are Dan Dahl, Rev. Curtis Thomas, Mayor Donald Plusquellic and Connie Humble.
I find that ''positive effect'' note in the selection criteria interesting. If not for that, they probably would have had to pick Cynthia George...