As one of the new arts leaders here in Summit County, I applaud the GAR Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for commissioning the Arts & Culture Assessment for Summit County (“Arts, culture in Summit County get new evaluation,” Jan. 14).
The information gathered will go a long way toward strengthening the connection between the arts sector, the corporate community and all of the arts patrons who share in an ever-deepening desire for a vibrant cultural life.
Residents of Summit County are blessed with abundant opportunities to experience world-class art — from modern masterpieces on display at the Akron Art Museum, international stars presented by the Tuesday Musical Association, touring Broadway productions presented at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, first-class musicians at the Civic Theatre, and of course our very own Akron Symphony Orchestra — there is an opportunity to experience a high level of artistic excellence available almost every night of the week right here in Akron.
Furthermore, the sheer amount of local talent, from musicians like Zach to artists such as Don Drumm, the summer concerts at Lock 3, and the incredibly vibrant Highland Square area, only emphasize how deep and rich the arts run through the lifeblood of this community.
As an organization, we are acutely aware of the fragile nature of our business. We could not do what we do without the incredibly generous help of our individual donors, foundation and corporate partners and community leaders who support what we do.
The information gathered in this study is long overdue and much needed to guide the next steps that we take toward long-term sustainability.
I am very grateful for this opportunity to help build an even stronger and more vibrant community in a deeply personal way that only a strong arts sector can.
Greater Akron Musical Association/
Akron Symphony Orchestra
Death of Rolling Acres
I remember the Rolling Acres Mall of the 1970s and ’80s. (“Final store leaves Rolling Acres,” Dec. 31). What a great place it was to shop. You could buy anything from a pair of socks to an entire wardrobe; from a coffee cup to a house full of furniture; from a screw driver to an entire workshop. During the Christmas shopping season, you couldn’t find a place to park even in that huge parking area.
It was a great place for people-watching. With Akron police walking the hallways and in the stores and patrolling the parking area, we all felt safe and secure.
Then the powers that be decided that the security of uniform officers was too expensive and they needed to cut back.
That was the beginning of a change in the mall. Groups of unruly kids began to run wild in the hallways, theft in the stores increased. Customers felt hassled and threatened in stores and hallways. Cars were broken into in the parking lots.
The money-spending customers began to look for other places to spend their money. Stores closed; other stores tried to replace them to no avail, and they eventually also closed.
At one time, my family and I went to Rolling Acres at least once a week. It became about once a month, then maybe twice a year. About six months ago I was there for the first time in about two years. During this time, being a law enforcement officer, I would no longer go to the mall without a sidearm, and my wife would no longer go without me.
Last month the last store closed in the mall. What a sad thing it is to remember how such a great thing became an empty place.
Gerald C. Wise Sr.
Union in a state
In recent years, I’ve often wondered why we still refer to the speech that our president gives in front of Congress in January as the “State of the Union” address.
No one ever asked me if I wanted to belong to this so-called Union. Belonging to a union implies that compromises must be made between two parties with opposing views and that the parties have a common interest in providing a strong economy for all Americans. It’s well known that compromise is a dirty word to the extremists we elected to office (while sober, I presume).
The title of the annual speech should have an appropriate modifier that best describes the party of the speaker, for example, “State of the Confused Democracy” or “State of the Misguided Republic” address. That way leaders of both parties can be elevated and insulted at the same time.
There should be no need for any member of our esteemed Congress to tell the rest of us when the president is lying while sitting in a den of liars, for that would be redundant.
Such accusations should be saved for the “rebuttal” in which the opposing party must wait its turn before it can enlighten us with its own brand of baloney.
Some of the road signs on the horizon seem to lead to an oxymoron known as a “civil war.” Hopefully, that will never happen unless some of us are waiting for some kind of “State of the Confederacy” address in our future.
If that day ever comes I’ve got my arsenal of weapons ready, which includes two squirt guns filled with Holy Water.
Michael J. Walzer
Past the tipping point
Mother nature is currently being polluted and pillaged at a rate that cannot be sustained. The list is endless. It includes the decimation of many fish species due to overfishing; millions of albatross dying due to bellies full of plastic that was mistaken as food; pristine forests lost to palm plantations; honeybee colonies dying off from overuse of weed killers and pesticides; an ever increasing blanket of carbon dioxide that is warming the earth and our waters filling up with sewage, garbage and chemicals.
The Earth already is past a tipping point in the amount of consumption per person. We are currently depleting the Earth’s resources faster than they can be regenerated (1.5 times faster is a generally accepted estimate) and Americans are the worst offenders.
So why do we continue down this road of unsustainability that under any logical analysis will have catastrophic consequences?
The answers are many. Many people are unaware. Some are aware but apathetic. Many are misled, while others are quite aware but simply have no conscience. They knowingly support practices that yield profits at the expense of current and future generations.
Due to the combination of over-population, over-consumption and pollution, the Earth is at a critical juncture. If more people do not soon realize this and take appropriate actions and support common sense regulations to address these issues, then the future will indeed be bleak.
Now that President Obama’s crack staff has negotiated a plan with Iran to reduce enrichment of uranium, I feel much safer.
I wonder what the Iranians will buy with the billions of oil dollars that were frozen that they will get back. Do you think they will need a background check to purchase a nuke from North Korea?
Maximum penalty for such crimes
The photo of a child’s hand on Avery II, the trial-support dog, is truly heartrending (Beacon Journal, “Trained dog helps girl testify in Summit rape,” Jan. 14).
That any person is capable of such a crime against a child is nearly inconceivable. And yet perpetrators are out there and active every day.
I hope Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands, and everyone else on the judicial bench, imposes maximum sentences under the law, without any allowances for “good behavior” or parole or anything else that lessens the sentence, in cases like this.
No matter when the perpetrator’s sentence ends, the child’s “sentence” will continue. Alternatively, I propose the perpetrator be released to the general population, time and place to be announced, three consecutive days prior.