They’re raisin’ heck out in Akron, Colo.
Now, you might think that would be difficult in a town of only 1,700 clumped together on a seemingly endless expanse of land at the far western edge of the Great Plains.
But when I visited the place in 2003, I noticed that virtually every restaurant in the region contained at least one photo of John Wayne.
Maybe that helps explain why Akron and Washington County joined four other contiguous counties last week in voting to withdraw from Colorado and create their own state.
The folks in Akron are angry that the city slickers over in Denver — the heart of the “Front Range,” where 80 percent of the state’s residents live — have been doing ridiculous things with the state laws, such as allowing gay unions, legalizing marijuana and limiting the size of ammunition magazines.
Akron residents have had enough. Liberal ideas are not welcome in their neck of the union, where most folks make a living through farming and ranching.
Like a setting in a John Wayne movie, the region’s crossroads are almost exclusively dirt, and so few exist that they are lettered, rather than numbered.
Like their movie hero, Akron residents live large. The town’s primary street, Main Avenue, is 80 feet wide, even though there’s only one lane in each direction and angled parking on each side.
The town’s airport has a landing strip long enough to accommodate a 737, even though nobody in a 737 would ever want to land there.
In Colorado’s version of Akron (named after our city at the suggestion of a railroad engineer’s wife, who grew up here), they don’t worry about drive-by shootings or lunatics in shopping malls. They worry that the 15-round limit on ammo clips might hamper their ability to kill the rattlesnakes in their yards and the coyotes that gobble up their pets.
Supporters of secession know their odds of succeeding are roughly the same as the odds of Akron installing a subway system. Most of the voters were simply trying to send a message.
Message received, according to the Associated Press.
Gov. John Hickenlooper said, “We understand that some rural areas still feel underrepresented and are not being heard. We remain committed to listening more and working with local communities all across Colorado.”
Well, as The Duke used to say, “A man deserves a second chance, but keep an eye on him.”
If you thought the big angry duck on the eight-story banner promoting the Akron RubberDucks baseball team was odd, you haven’t driven by the John S. Knight Center lately.
Akron’s 19-year-old convention center also has a new banner, draped on its north side.
All of the words are lowercase. The top reads, “the center of your all america city.”
The bottom has the word “john” in huge blue type, then “s. knight” in miniscule black type, then the word “center” in huge red type.
In other words, out-of-town visitors could be excused for thinking the place is an enormous rest stop.
From the police blotter in ever-dangerous North Royalton:
“Police were called to the area of Ridge and Edgerton roads on Nov. 3 for a report of a small brown-and-white cow walking around. The cow, named Big Red, was returned to its home on Edgerton Road.”
Beacon Journal copy editor Monica Thomas wondered whether that police action should have been classified as a “steak out.”
A reader wrote to tell me about a bad experience she had with a utility company. When I asked whether she had complained to the company, she said no, that she was “just caulking it up to experience.”
Quipped Metro Editor Rich Desrosiers: “Our lips are sealed.”
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.