The familiar sound of the clicky-clack of a roller coaster inching its way to the top of a lift hill.

The blurring sight of carousel horses going round and round.

The smell of yummy fried food.

It may not be summer yet, but the region’s amusement parks either have already opened their gates or are just about to open for the season.

Kings Island has been open on weekends for a week now, and Memphis Kiddie Park in Cleveland will open on Saturday.

They will be followed soon by Cedar Point, Kennywood and Waldameer.

And this summer will usher in some pretty neat and terrifying new rides from the gentle Thomas the Train Engine to what is being billed as one of the fastest and wildest roller coaster experiences in the country.

Kings Island

A trip down Interstate 71 toward Cincinnati offers the region’s first chance to catch some summer fun as Kings Island is now open for weekends.

The park is still riding high after last year’s opening of the fun-themed Mystic Timbers wooden roller coaster.

This summer it all about food at the park.

The park has hired James Major, the two-time winner of the Food Network’s Chopped cooking contest and a contender on Alton Brown’s Cutthroat Kitchen to be its executive chef.

Kings Island will have a new restaurant, the Coney Bar B Que, this season. It will offer smoked St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork, rotisserie chicken and Queen City Sausage and fresh side dishes.

The eatery will be situated in the park’s Coney Mall area next to the Scrambler.

Kings Island’s gate ticket price is $69. More info: visitkingsisland.com.

Memphis Kiddie Park

A Cleveland tradition opens this weekend.

The beauty of Memphis Kiddie Park, situated at 10340 Memphis Ave. in Brooklyn, is that little has changed since it first opened its gates to pint-size kids in 1952.

It still boasts 10 kiddie rides, all either original to the park or the era.

But at the start of this season there will be an obvious change.

The train station that has stood from opening day is gone.

Workers are now building a new one for the popular train ride that makes its way around the small park.

President Russell Wintner said the old structure simply could no longer be repaired so a new one was needed.

The goal was to get the work done by opening day on Saturday, but Wintner said this past brutal winter delayed construction so the train will not be up and running for a bit as they still have to put down the track.

“We removed the track where the station was,” he said. “We will create a new rail bed at the right elevation for the new floor as well as re-level the existing track to meet up with the rail in the station at the correct elevation.”

Single tickets are $2.50 with discounts offered on books of large quantities. More info: memphiskiddiepark.com.

Cedar Point

This is a big year for Cedar Point.

The park in Sandusky is gearing up to shatter a long list of records when it unveils its much-anticipated hybrid roller coaster, the Steel Vengeance, to the public on Opening Day, May 5.

The ride will have a soft opening April 27, with a First Rider Benefit to raise money for the LeBron James Family Foundation.

The Steel Vengeance has risen from the wooden timbers of the old Mean Streak and now boasts a 200-foot drop, four inversions, a top speed of 74 mph and a record amount of airtime.

The coaster will set 10 world records and rack up another five for the park, including having the most roller coaster track at one amusement park (57,865 feet or 11 miles), and being home to the most rides: 71.

The park plans to introduce new costumed characters who will interact with guests in and around the coaster based on folks who reside in FrontierTown.

Cedar Point also will have new shops, restaurants and games in and around the Steel Vengeance and the return of Chick-fil-A to the park.

The park’s gift shop at the main entrance is getting a complete redo in the offseason and will sport a beach theme when the park opens in May.

The BBQ Shack on Frontier Trail will now be called Frontier Foldovers and offer folded brisket, chicken and Italian meat sandwiches.

And Sidewinder Sue’s, near the FrontierTown train station, will offer “twisty” fries with meat toppings of pulled pork, brisket or chili.

A new eatery, Miss Keat’s Smoke Shack, located by the Last Chance Saloon in FrontierTown, will feature barbecue brisket, pork, wings, sausage and sides.

The FrontierTown Shooting Gallery with animated scenes and sounds will be outside of the Jitney Arcade.

The popular basketball shooting game will become a game of H-O-R-S-E where guests have to attempt to sink baskets from strategically-placed spots on the midway.

There will also be an outdoor stage — the Gossip Gulch — that will feature live entertainment, including the park’s Bluegrass Jamboree band.

The Palace Theatre in FrontierTown will feature Lusty Lil’s French Revue, a family-friendly show with live music, comedy and can-can dancers.

The stage in the park’s Celebration Plaza will feature the show Vertical Impact with acrobats and dancers.

Another new show will be Snoopy’s Dog Days of Summer, featuring the Peanuts gang on the Main Midway near Pagoda Gift Shop.

The 2018 ticket price for an adult at the gate will be $72. More info: cedarpoint.com.

Kennywood

Kennywood amusement park outside of Pittsburgh will mark its 120-year anniversary with one of its most ambitious and expensive additions ever.

A Thomas the Tank Engine themed area will be added to the park, which is already on the list of National Historic Landmarks.

The Thomas Town will feature five new rides, including a Thomas train ride, a stage show, special themed play and entertainment areas and a store.

Park spokesman Nick Paradise said construction continues on what will be the second-largest Thomas-themed attraction in the country.

Paradise said an exact opening date has not yet been set but they hope to open it this summer.

The themed area will be in a section of the West Mifflin Park that sits atop a bluff and overlooks the Monongahela River and the Edgar Thompson Steel Works.

Paradise said the setting is not unlike that of Thomas’ Island of Sodor.

The rides will be in and around the Olde Kennywood Rail Road that will be re-themed to tell the Thomas & Friends story. The train attraction dates back to 1945.

The rides and attractions will include characters from Thomas to Diesel to Cranky the Crane to Harold the Helicopter. Sir Topham Hatt, the Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor, will make daily appearances.

Kennywood will open for the season May 5.

The 2018 ticket price for an adult at the gate will be $48.98. More info: kennywood.com.

Waldameer

This gem of an amusement park not far from Presque Isle State Park just outside of Erie, Pa., is adding about $1 million in improvements for this season.

Waldameer is adding a Balloon Race ride in its Kiddieland. The ride will spin kids inside of colorful hot air balloons around and up and down. It will be situated by Bonnie’s Cookie House and the Happy Swing.

For those kids at heart and those looking for some wet thrills, Waldameer is adding a CannonBOWL slide to its water park.

The new slide will be located next to Liquid Lightning and Awesome Twosome slides, and will feature a series of drops, twists, and turns before ending with a big splash.

Riders will use tubes and can ride alone or with a friend.

Waldameer opens for the season on May 5 and the water park on May 25. The 2018 ticket price is $39.50 for both the amusement park and water park. For more, visit waldameer.com.

Craig Webb, who can’t wait to lose his voice screaming on the Steel Vengeance, can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

The folks who run Cedar Point always like to say guests vote with their feet when it comes time to deciding whether a ride stays or ends up with a tombstone in the Midway graveyard on Halloweekends.

The park recently released a list of its most popular rides based on ridership numbers last season — and ones that will likely be around for quite a while.

No surprise here, all of the Top 5 were roller coasters.

Coming in at No. 5 with 1,151,349 riders is the Raptor.

This one is a relative senior citizen in coaster years having opened in 1994.

But with some six inversions over 3,790 feet of track, the Raptor still offers thrills.

I have to admit, it is not among my favorites.

For one, it usually has an intimidatingly long line. I often forget about it and pass by its entrance in my haste to get to the far reaches of the park.

Next up at No. 4 is the Valravn clocking in with 1,418,584 riders in 2017.

I have to say it is a hoot to sit in the front row and dangle over the edge of the hill for what seems like an eternity before being let go.

But this is one I try to avoid in the middle of day and wait until the wait is a reasonable amount of time, usually at the end of the night.

The Magnum XL-200 had 1,450,892 riders and came in at No. 3.

Every time I visited the park in 2017, the third train was not running, leaving a pretty crowded platform and a long wait.

Dating back to 1989, this is the oldest ride on the list but it still packs a punch.

It also has a rich history.

The Magnum XL-200 was once the tallest, fastest and steepest roller coaster in the world and the first hypercoaster — a coaster to top 200 feet.

It is hard to miss the second most popular.

The GateKeeper is the first ride to greet guests as it whisks itself over their heads at the front gate.

Some 1,588,646 riders last year climbed aboard the winged roller coaster that opened in 2013.

The lines can be long at times, but with two separate entrances to the platform it moves pretty fast and sometimes if you are lucky at closing time you might even be allowed to ride a second time if no one is waiting to ride in your particular row.

The top ride at Cedar Point in terms of ridership is no surprise: The Millennium Force.

And quite frankly, it would not surprise me if it is still No. 1 after this season, ahead of the park’s highly anticipated new wood/steel hybrid coaster Steel Vengeance.

The Millennium Force had 1,672,584 riders in 2017 and I’m pretty sure none of them walked away disappointed.

With a top speed of 93 mph, it reaches a height of 310 feet and even coined the new term of “giga-coaster” when it opened in 2000.

This is a ride best enjoyed twice.

Ride it in the morning to take in the spectacular views of the park and Lake Erie, then return after dark for the sheer terror of blindly whisking over hills and through dark tunnels.

Staff writer Craig Webb loves amusement parks and writes for Pulse. For more on Cedar Point, visit cedarpoint.com.

They would not be the first basketball shoes to honor LeBron James’ alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.

But they would be the first ones in recent memory to be made available to the public.

The sneakerverse exploded Tuesday when photos were leaked on nikelebron.net — a website dedicated to all things pertaining to James’ shoes — showing a version of his signature Soldier line that pays homage to where that “kid from Akron” made a name for himself on the national level.

The all-white high-top “SVSM Home” basketball shoes feature the school’s signature green as an accent along with its mascot name, the Irish, on the front.

Stitched on the side is a silhouette of James making one of his signature dunks. Inside the shoe is the school’s mascot, a fighting Irishman complete with a halo, a“V” and an “M.”

There is no timetable from Nike of when, or even if, the Akron-centric version Soldier 12 shoe will ever be released.

Nike and James are notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to the release of such shoes. Attempts to reach both were not returned.

Previous incarnations of James’ Soldier shoes have retailed for $130 to $180 or even more.

This would not be the first time James has looked for inspiration from his high school when designing a shoe. But the previous Irish incarnations have been given as exclusive gifts to athletes at the school to wear at sporting events.

Gino D’Andrea, the school’s director of advancement, said they had not heard that Nike and James were looking to release a shoe nationally to honor the private Catholic school, but that doesn’t mean it is not in the works.

D’Andrea said they are proud of James’ accomplishments and his work over the years to support the school, including a $1 million donation to renovate the school’s gym. James graduated in 2003 and the Cavs made him the No. 1 pick in the draft that year.

“This is a pleasant surprise,” D’Andrea said.

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

Sunday’s rain was enough to fill buckets in Akron.

The National Weather Service says some 2.14 inches of rain fell in Akron during the day on Sunday.

This combined with continued showers into Monday were enough to flood streets and sent some rivers and streams over their banks causing road closures throughout the region.

Saturday also brought a 37-degree temperature difference from a high of 78 degrees to a low of 41 degrees.

And Sunday’s temperature swing was a high of 63 degrees and a low of 39.

By the time Tuesday rolls around snow showers could leave as much as two inches on the ground before it turns over to all rain later in the day.

The snow won’t stick around for long with highs rebounding to the 50s by Wednesday.

It has certainly been a rainy stretch of late in Akron.

The weather service says some 7.89 inches of rain has fallen in the city since March 1.

This is about three inches above the normal rainfall expected this time of year.

With 15.44 inches of rain since Jan. 1 — that’s 5.74 inches above the average.

It should be noted that last year was also exceptionally wet with 15.40 inches of rain haven fallen over the same period.

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

Follow reporters Malcolm X Abram and Craig Webb, and photographer Mike Cardew, as they cover the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cleveland on Saturday. We’ll have the latest from inside Public Hall, and from the scene outside and at the Rock Hall watch party.

The grand ol’ dame of a theater in downtown Akron will dazzle April 20 with what is believed to be one of the largest gatherings ever of drag queens and female impersonators in the Rubber City’s history.

Like the Civic, which is known for its exaggerated architecture and extravagant design, the inaugural Drag Battle and Show promises gussied-up, over-the-top performers.

There’s a lot at stake at the show and competition. The winner will be crowned Miss Akron Pride Festival and reign over the city’s Aug. 25 event that will raise awareness of the area’s LGBTQ community.

After the success of last summer’s Akron Pride Festival, spokesman Phil Montgomery said, organizers looked for ways to continue to grow the event, and a drag queen battle seemed like a good start to build excitement this go-round.

Montgomery said they have lined up Raven of RuPaul’s Drag Race and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars to host the evening, with doors opening at 8 p.m.

At press time, 14 queens were scheduled to compete at the Civic. The contestants will be judged on everything from costume design to runway lip-sync to fielding questions and answers.

The panel of judges include Cody “Poundcake” Brown of The Alan Cox Show on WMMS radio, pageant professional Antonio Stanton, State Rep. Emilia Sykes, lifestyle blogger Dina Younis and Beacon Journal features editor Lynne Sherwin.

Montgomery said the show will have an edge to it but they have made sure it is family-friendly.

“This should prove to be a very entertaining evening,” he said.

Akron’s Kaleigha Diamond is among those planning to take the stage.

She is considered a female impersonator, and is in the midst of transitioning from male to female.

Most don’t know it, Diamond said, but there are drag shows just about every day of the week in Akron and the surrounding area. And Diamond performs at most of them — thankfully they are usually late at night, so it doesn’t interfere with studies at Stark State. She usually performs to singers like Beyoncé.

“This drag queen thing is growing every day,” Diamond said. “There’s probably not a bar in Ohio that I have not performed at.”

Dustin Conrad — aka Ashley Adams Andrews — said he used to perform all the time, too. But after 14 years, Conrad said, he’s stepped back a bit and struts the stage one or two days a week.

Most shows feature five or six performers, Conrad said, so having as many as 15 on the stage is a pretty big deal.

“This is really cool,” he said. “I think this is a good opportunity to open this up to a lot of people.”

A week out from the event, more than 300 tickets have already been sold. Tickets are $15 and are available at akronpridefestival.org.

Conrad, an Akron resident, said he’s ordered some new stuff for this competition and plans to incorporate some of his old costumes for the show at the Civic.

As for the theme of his performance, he said, he waits to see what he’s “feeling that night” to draw on everything from R&B to hip-hop to Top 40 hits.

“I’m not crazy over the top when I perform,” Conrad said.

Akron’s Rosita Estefan is considered old school. And it is not just because she’s been performing here since the 1970s.

Estefan said she draws her inspiration from more traditional drag genres, impersonating greats such as Barbra Streisand.

At Friday’s show, she is toying with idea of performing to a number from the musical Sunset Boulevard.

For her years of dedication to the craft, Estefan will be given a Lifetime Achievement Award. She began her career as a folk singer and her act evolved into drag performance art.

Estefan was once crowned Miss Gay Classic USA and has performed to raise funds for everything from breast cancer awareness to a children’s charity to the David B. Cook Fund and Violet’s Cupboard.

She’s seen a lot over the years.

“We have a whole generation of new performers,” Estefan said. “There’s a different feel. They perform to new music.

“A lot of the young people today do not even know who Streisand is.”

That said, Estefan said, it is great that there is a new generation keeping the craft alive and well.

“It’s like one generation handing down to another,” the Akron hairdresser said. “Some [performers] today are bit more comedic and bizarre. But it is totally entertaining.”

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

Cleveland: The most exciting play in the first inning of the Indians’ home opener was not just all the runs scored.

Fans had their eyes on the stands as some Indians fans summoned their MacGyver-like skills to retrieve Kansas City Royals designated hitter Lucas Duda’s bat that flew out of his hands during an at-bat and landed high in the protective netting behind home plate.

Season ticket-holder Shawn McCall of Hudson quickly devised a plan to retrieve the ultimate game-day souvenir.

With the help of some crutches from a fan sitting nearby, McCall used them like tweezers to pluck the bat from the net.

After some failed attempts that captured the attention of thousands of fans in the stands, McCall flipped the crutches over and used the bigger top half to nab the bat to thunderous applause.

“I’ve caught a lot of foul balls but never a foul bat,” said McCall who is president of U.S. Foods in Twinsburg.

He has big plans for the pine-tar bat that is engraved with Duda’s name and his number — 21 — and an Opening Day story for life.

“I plan to put it in a case and hang it in my sports bar in the basement,” McCall said. “It’s not every day you get a bat in the upper deck.”

As for Dennis Berry, he’s just glad he could lend a crutch.

Berry, who lives in Columbus, said he is recovering from foot surgery after breaking it in three places during an adult rec soccer game on Valentine’s Day.

“Yeah, my wife wasn’t too happy,” he said.

He doesn’t have a bat to remember Opening Day but still has three plates and nine screws to remember the end of an amateur soccer career.

“I just supplied the crutches,” he said. “They did all the work.”

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

Just another typical Opening Day in Cleveland.

Temperatures in the 40s.

A threat of snow.

High hopes for playoff baseball in October.

And protesters trading barbs with fans of Chief Wahoo.

Friday was the controversial team mascot’s final Opening Day appearance on a Tribe uniform.

The team and Major League Baseball agreed in January to retire the mascot from the field of play by the start of the 2019 season.

It is hard to spot the caricature inside the ballpark, a Block C now takes center stage along with the script Indians.

There was still plenty of the grinning team mascot to be found on everything from hats, to shirts to jackets on fans filing their way inside.

The mascot dates back to the 1940s when former Indians owner Bill Veeck turned to artist Walter Goldbach of Medina to come up with a primary logo for the club’s patches. Goldbach died in December.

Some fans went out of their way to show off their Chief Wahoo to protesters gathered at two entrances to the ballpark.

A small number even waved a middle finger or two to catch the attention of the protesters, who numbered about 50.

Jon Brittain caught the attention and ire of the protesters as he motored by on his wheelchair wearing a traditional Native American Indian headdress.

The Lakewood resident said he’s been wearing headdresses to games since the 2007 season.

He said fans are supportive of his team spirit and often stop him and ask to take a selfie.

At a typical game, he will pose 20 or more times and at one game, some 40 people wanted a snapshot.

Brittain said he’s only been confronted once by another fan offended by his headdress — this is the third one he has owned — but he dismissed that as one of “those Cubs fans.”

Carrying a “We Are Not Honored” sign, Robert Roche, a member of the Apache nation living in Parma, said it is sad that he once again has to gather outside a Cleveland stadium as he had to do since 1971.

Roche said the ballclub has no intention of banishing Chief Wahoo, as the mascot will likely continue to appear on merchandise long after it disappears from players’ uniforms.

And the team will continue to call itself the Indians.

“This is the city of racism,” he said. “We are not mascots. We are humans. They continue to dehumanize us.”

Walking not far away was a counterprotester.

Angelo DiSiena of Cleveland didn’t have a ticket for the game.

He made his way to the ballpark to show his support for Chief Wahoo.

He carried a large tapestry of the chief he purchased in Mexico a few years ago.

“I don’t see why they would want to get rid of him,” DiSiena said. “It’s not that insensitive. Every­one I see is wearing him.”

Joseph Patrick Meissner has a long history of fighting over the mascot.

As an attorney, he was part of a bitter protracted legal battle in the 1970s to force the team to get rid of the mascot and team name and compensate Native Americans for money made from related merchandise.

Meissner, who carried a “People Are Not Mascots” sign, estimates that the team owes the tribal nations somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 billion.

“And that might be conservative,” he said.

For some fans, Chief Wahoo is not a political thing but more of a personal thing.

Matt Coleman started his Opening Day at a cemetery in Tiffin with his wife and kids.

They gathered to honor his dad, Leroy, a longtime season ticket-holder in Section 182 and Tribe fan, who died in December.

Matt said he wore his dad’s Indians Santa hat that has a Chief Wahoo in the front to honor his father and his love of the Tribe.

“We stopped by his grave and let some balloons go,” he said. “His seats are better than mine this Opening Day.”

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

It’s hard to think there’s something new inside a place that is so old.

But with a wealth of history to draw upon and a treasure trove of family artifacts to pick from, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens always seems to find a way to reinvent itself each season.

So when the big old mansion doors swing open Tuesday to start its season, there will be some new things to see and do.

The first change is in the Carriage House where a redesigned orientation room has been set up just off the admissions desk. This will serve as primer for new guests to the estate and those who want to brush up on the history of F.A. Seiberling, co-founder of Goodyear Tire & Rubber, and his wife, Gertrude.

There is a timeline with photos that tell the estate’s history along with a family tree explaining who is who. A video will play on a loop helping to fill in any gaps.

A large photo screen on one wall offers a glimpse of what the space looked like back then. The photo is of the Seiberlings’ chauffeur Arlie Cross standing in the entrance of the garage full of the family’s vintage cars.

Sean Joyce, the historic site’s new president and executive director, said the staff found that guests had a lot of the same basic questions on tours. The hope is the orientation room will address a lot of those so folks can better enjoy the splendor of the mansion.

There is one section of a wall dedicated to those questions that are asked the most. A common one is just who was Stan Hywet and whatever became of him.

For the record, Stan Hywet was not a person but the name the Seiberlings gave to the estate that roughly translated from Old English as “stone quarry” or “stone hewn,” in homage to the property’s earlier use.

Another common question that will be answered in the display is just how much it cost to construct the home. To build the stone mansion cost around $500,000 in 1915 dollars when it opened, or about $12 million today. The furnishings cost roughly $300,000, around $8 million in today’s dollars.

It also lists the size of the Manor House — 64,500 square feet with some 65 rooms, 23 bathrooms and 23 fireplaces.

“This will hopefully help them have a better experience when they get to the house,” Joyce said.

Room restoration

Inside the Manor House, a lot of work has been going on in the offseason since the Christmas tours wrapped up. Much of it centered around a continuing $1 million effort to renovate two rooms per year.

“Part of the excitement each year is unveiling each of the rooms and restoring them to what they looked like when the family moved in,” he said.

Inside the Solarium, where the family would play parlor games, curator Julie Frey said pieces of furniture have been restored and reupholstered.

Great care was taken to use colors and materials authentic to the era, and birds were incorporated into the pattern, since it seemed to be a popular choice of the Seiberling family in other decorations found throughout the house.

The biggest changes will be evident in the adjoining Music Room, where the family entertained guests and hosted performances.

New historically accurate curtains, sheers and valances were created to replace and match threadbare ones that were falling apart or taken down years ago.

Stained-glass experts have spent months restoring and repairing the 14 sconces that adorn the walls of the Music Room. The challenge aside from sheer complexity and number of individual crystals involved — each one has 415, Frey said — was determining the exact shape of the sconces.

No two were alike, though they should have been; repairs and jostling over the years had bent the brass that held them together.

Frey said the experts picked one that seemed to be in the best shape and historically accurate to model the most “consistent” pattern of crystals for the restoration. Missing pieces had to be handcrafted. “This was a huge undertaking,” she said.

When they removed the sconces, it was discovered that some unusual materials such as paperclips and floral wire were used over the years to keep them intact and the crystals from falling off.

“There were some crystals that were hanging on by threads,” she said.

They are also reintroducing shades to the sconces in the Music Room. The original shades from when the home was built had become fragile over time and began to break down from the heat of the old incandescent lights, to the point that they were breaking apart and became a fire risk, so they were removed years ago.

Joyce said a recent effort to install more environmentally friendly and cooler LED lights throughout the Manor House is allowing them to reintroduce the shades.

A lamp shade restorer was hired to build new shades modeled after the old ones using fabric that was custom-dyed to match the original color. Frey said care was also taken to mirror the historical pleat pattern and match the shade’s original pink trim.

Children’s tours

To help bring history alive for younger guests, Stan Hywet on June 1 will begin offering a Youth Tour at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. The tour, geared for those 10 or younger, will focus on what life was like at the estate some 100 years ago.

It is told from the perspective of the Seiberling couple’s youngest son Franklin and will highlight 14 rooms in the Manor House and will include interactive stations incorporating everything from musical instruments to kitchen utensils to sporting equipment. It will cost $17 for adults and $7 for kids ages 6 to 17.

Each season, the estate adopts an overall theme and this year is “Health & Wellness, A Life Well Lived,” Joyce said.

He points out the Seiberlings could be considered early health nuts.

When planning the estate, they included an indoor pool dubbed the “plunge,” a fully equipped gymnasium, a painful shower with needle-size holes that pelted out water to improve circulation, and sleeping porches where they could snooze in the fresh air, he said.

The grounds included a tennis court, a swimming hole and paths for long strolls through gardens to promote good health.

A display set up in the Adams Bedroom shows off some of the family’s sports equipment, including odd-looking ice skates and snowshoes and gadgets the family acquired to keep fit.

Since electricity was in its infancy, Frey points out many of the so-called healthy gadgets involved getting zapped. She said many of these devices are not unlike strange fitness crazes today.

On display is the so-called Violet Ray, which would send an electric charge into the body for “therapeutic purposes,” and a pair of electric warming slippers that had to be plugged into the wall.

“Guests will hopefully have fun in this space and see some of these wacky inventions,” she said.

From owning several farms in the surrounding area to providing produce and milk for the estate, Frey said, the Seiberlings took a healthy lifestyle to heart to the point of acquiring an orange grove in Florida.

They even had an early juicing machine in the estate’s kitchen. “It is crazy to me to think the family knew what juicing was way back in the 1930s,” Frey said.

The family’s greenhouse on the estate will highlight some of the plants, fruits and vegetables that were grown there and used to promote fitness.

Joyce said the couple must have been doing something right because they both lived long lives. F.A. died in 1955 at the age of 95. Gertrude died in 1946 and lived to be 79.

“They really believed in a healthy lifestyle,” Joyce said.

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

They gathered in Berea on Monday to mark the end of a pretty remarkable NFL career.

But they might as well have gathered some 58 miles to the south in Canton where Joe Thomas’ 11-year career as a Cleveland Brown is expected to be forever immortalized.

Thomas said he never considered himself a Hall of Fame-caliber player when the Browns first drafted him as a third overall pick in 2007 but he made sure he played like one.

“I wanted to make sure my goals were as high as they possibly could be,” he said.

Thomas’ play on the field makes a pretty compelling argument for a bronze bust in the hall.

He was a 10-time Pro Bowler, one of just five players in league history to be invited in each of their first 10 seasons.

He had a remarkable streak of 10,363 consecutive snaps that ended Oct. 22 when he suffered a career-ending torn left triceps against the Tennessee Titans.

He had 167 NFL starts for the Browns from 2007 to 2017 and helped protect 20 Browns quarterbacks.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said if there was ever a Browns player who should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the first year of eligibility — you have to be out of the game for five years before consideration — it is Joe Thomas.

He likened Thomas to other Browns greats in the hall, including Jim Brown and Lou Groza.

“Five years from now, we will all make the trek down to Canton to the Hall of Fame,” Haslam said.

The Browns will honor Thomas by inducting the number 10,363 in the team’s ring of honor at a home game next season to honor the streak.

And the city of Cleveland plans to honor him by declaring it Joe Thomas Day in the city on July 3 — to honor his jersey No. 73.

Thomas joked during his farewell speech at the Browns training facility Monday that he will now have an excuse to party for two days since the Fourth of July is the very next day.

In a speech mixed with jokes and reflection, Thomas said he took his job seriously as an offensive lineman and will take his new role as the team’s No. 1 fan just as seriously.

He joked about advice he got about whether to hang up his cleats.

Thomas quipped that he got a text from former Browns General Manager Ray Farmer but it was during a game.

And he added he got a phone call from former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel from a nightclub.

But of all the real messages and tweets he received after announcing his plan to retire last week, Thomas said, one from Cleveland’s other sports legend and future hall of famer, LeBron James, was the coolest.

It was actually Thomas’ second tweet from Akron’s favorite son as the Cavs star also tweeted when the streak of consecutive snaps hit 10,000.

“I’d like to tweet back at him someday when he retires,” Thomas said. “But hopefully that doesn’t happen soon because I love to watch him play.”

Thomas was at Quicken Loans Arena to watch James play Monday night and was welcomed by a hug from James and a standing ovation from the crowd.

As for what plans he has for the next chapter of his life — aside from trying out the new fishing pole that was a fitting gift from the team given he was out fishing with his dad when he first learned he was drafted by the Browns — Thomas was circumspect.

“Do they have any jobs where you don’t show up and get paid lots of money?”

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

Corned beef is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish. But what to have for dessert?

Malley’s Chocolates and Cleveland Pickle are hoping to start a new, albeit odd, Northeast Ohio tradition by offering chocolate-covered pickles for the official day to celebrate all things Irish.

The Cleveland-based chocolatier cranked up its assembly line Thursday morning and created just 30,000 of the fresh dill pickle treats.

The pickles will be available while supplies last at its 23 Northeast Ohio retail outlets, including Bath Township, Stow, Medina, Brunswick, North Canton and Aurora, starting at noon Friday.

Dan Malley said the chocolate company has been working with Cleveland Pickle since January to come up with just the right pickle.

“We did not want it to be too soggy when we coat it with our chocolate,” he said. “We wanted it to be crunchy, juicy and salty — the perfect trifecta.”

Malley’s is known for its fresh chocolate-covered grapes and strawberries that are traditional gifts around Valentine’s Day but this is the first time that it has offered chocolate-covered pickles since it began creating confections back in 1935.

The pickles will come in a box of four spears and will cost $9.99. They should be kept refrigerated.

Craig Webb, who will stick with chocolate-covered bacon, can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

Some kids from Akron will be among the first to ride Cedar Point’s new scream machine and also benefit from sales of special tickets to be on the inaugural runs of the new steel on wood roller coaster.

Amusement park enthusiasts across the country say the May opening of the record-breaking Steel Vengeance is one of the most anticipated new rides to open this summer season.

Cedar Point announced Tuesday that the LeBron James Family Foundation will be the benefactor of tickets sold for the Steel Vengeance First Rider Benefit set for 6-10 p.m. April 27.

Tickets are $75 per person and will go on sale Monday at cedarpoint.com.

For those who want to be the first to ride what is being billed as a hyper hybrid coaster, the park is offering $250 tickets to be on the first train to leave the station.

Park spokesman Tony Clark said tickets for the event are limited and likely will sell out quickly.

The Steel Vengeance is rising from the timbers of the park’s old Mean Streak wooden roller coaster and is not only taller but will break numerous world records.

Ticket holders will get exclusive ride time on the new coaster and have the chance to ride the Maverick roller coaster. There will also be complimentary food and beverage and a commemorative souvenir.

“We’re excited to once again be working with Cedar Point on another exclusive first rider event,” Michele Campbell, executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation, said in a statement. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for participants to experience this incredible roller coaster first, and the event helps us continue to create positive change for students and families in Northeast Ohio through our programming that continues to grow every day.”

This is not the first time the foundation has been the benefactor of Cedar Point’s newest attractions.

The partnership started several years when the NBA All-Star was floating the idea of leaving the Miami Heat to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cedar Point General Manager Jason McClure tweeted an offer to name a coaster after James should he return to play for the wine and gold.

Instead, the park and James forged a partnership that included the foundation holding its summer family reunion at Cedar Point, where kids in its program to keep Akron school children on the path to graduation could enjoy a free day of fun.

Last summer, some 7,000 kids and their relatives traveled from Akron to Sandusky and were treated to a special show starring James, teammate J.R. Smith and singers Jordin Sparks and Usher.

After the first rider night, season and platinum passholders can attend a Passholder FrontierTown Hoedown from 4 to 10 p.m. April 30, May 1 and May 2.

The event will include rides on the Steel Vengeance, Maverick, the Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad, Cedar Creek Mine Ride, Skyhawk, Antique Cars and the Wave Swinger.

The event is open only to season and platinum passholders and will require a ticket that will be available starting April 10 at cedarpoint.com. To secure a ticket, a valid 2018 season or platinum pass ID number is required.

The special events are all in anticipation of the opening of the Steel Vengeance, which boasts a 200-foot drop, four inversions, a top speed of 74 mph and a record amount of airtime.

Cedar Point opens its gates May 5 to the public for its 149th season.

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

The view from her office window is quiet … for now.

But soon the concourse at Canal Park will be bustling with baseball fans and an odd mascot or two.

Opening Day for the Akron RubberDucks is Friday, April 13, when the Trenton Thunder come to town, kicking off some 70 home dates of baseball and the crazy promotions that are synonymous with minor-league baseball.

There’s a new creative mind behind all the zaniness this season in Akron.

Sara Varela is the team’s new coordinator of promotions and must come up with and execute a slew of events and giveaways, from 23 fireworks nights to seven bobblehead giveaways.

A native of Los Angeles, Varela graduated from Boston University with a journalism degree and cut her teeth in creating fun for fans as the assistant director of marketing and fan engagement for Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

But she admits it’s a whole new ballgame in baseball’s minor leagues compared to the more traditional and staid college ranks — particularly at a small Catholic school.

“I could not have gotten away with midget wrestling or chucking T-shirts in the crowd there,” she said.

This doesn’t mean she’s a stranger to shenanigans like the Rumble City Kickboxing Night set for April 18 at Canal Park.

She spent a summer with the minor-league Quad City River Bandits in Davenport, Iowa, helping with promotions and even wearing the Rascal Raccoon mascot costume.

Varela, 24, remembers a particularly sweaty and memorable trip to an elementary school. It was her job to act out a story read to children.

Aside from perhaps being a little “too into her character,” Varela said, her second mistake was sporting a headband to keep her long hair contained.

By the time it rolled around to “high-fiving” each and every one of the kids, Varela said, her headband had slipped down over her face under the giant mascot head.

“I could barely see, the headband was covering my eyes,” she said. “I was convinced I was going to bop one of the kids in the head.”

But it is these accidental memories and experiences that make baseball fun.

“There’s never a dull moment in minor-league baseball,” she said. “How could this job not be fun?”

The challenge in crafting a promotional calendar, she said, is keeping the popular classics like Irish night, the royal tea party and promotions like midget wrestling (that’s what the athletes who participate in the sport prefer to be called).

Being a millennial, she also wanted to add a few things to attract fans like her to Canal Park. And that’s how Avocado Toast Appreciation Night on April 30 came about.

She is quick to point out that you shouldn’t knock it until you’ve tried it, and you can do just that when the RubberDucks play the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

“It’s one of those food trends,” she said.

There will be a series of social media nights, the first one May 1, to have some fun and build the team’s brand. Fans can play games and win prizes by using certain hashtags with a goal to get ones like #QuAkron trending that evening.

Some old favorites have been tweaked to offer something new.

The first Bark in the Park night June 13, when fans are encouraged to bring their four-legged friends, will feature dog yoga.

Like avocado toast, Varela said, you have to try it before passing judgment.

“It takes some work to get them into position,” she said. “I’ve done it before with my dog. By the end they are very relaxed — just like people.”

So as the days count down to the first cry of “play ball,” Varela said she plans to get to know her new city better in the meantime. She arrived in January and has already visited Luigi’s. And, yes, she got a salad with cheese.

“I always love the hometown feeling of the Midwest,” she said. “This is something I didn’t experience growing up and going to college in big cities.”

Craig Webb, who is a sucker for Christmas-themed fireworks and is marking his calendar for the July 14 game, can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

Summer fun just got a bit more expensive.

When Cedar Point opens its gates May 5 to the public for its 149th season, those who wander up to buy a ticket in person will have to fork over $5 more.

The 2018 ticket price for an adult at the gate will be $72.

Cedar Point officials point out you can always save money and time by purchasing your tickets ahead of time online at cedarpoint.com.

The amusement park rolls out specials regularly and right now there’s a deal where adults can buy tickets at the kids price of $45.

The amusement park is banking on a big summer in Sandusky as it is rolling out its revamped former Mean Streak roller coaster.

The old wooden roller coaster has been converted into what has been called a hyper-hybrid – the world’s first steel-on-wood hybrid roller coaster to stand more than 200 feet tall.

The new Steel Vengeance coaster will stand some 205 feet at its peak — a world record for a hybrid and taller than the old Mean Streak.

And the records don’t stop there once workers from the Rocky Mountain Construction Co. complete the final work on the coaster in anticipation of a sneak preview for season pass holders and opening day.

The coaster will set 10 world records and rack up another five for the park, including having the most roller coaster track at one amusement park at 57,865 feet or 11 miles, and being home to the most rides at 71.

The coaster will reach a top speed of 74 mph and boast some 27.2 seconds of out-of-your-seat airtime — another record — through a record-breaking four inversions for a hybrid coaster.

Cedar Point has announced other changes this season including new shops, restaurants and games in and around the Steel Vengeance in Frontiertown and the return of Chick-fil-A to the park.

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

This season is bringing Hamilton to Cleveland.

And for the 2018-19 season, another hot Broadway production will be making its debut appearance at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square.

The new KeyBank Broadway Series was announced Tuesday night and Tony-winner Dear Evan Hansen is getting top billing.

The popular musical, based on the book by Steven Levenson with a score by the red-hot team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (The Greatest Showman, La La Land), will be in Cleveland June 11-30, 2019.

The musical tells the story of a letter written by high-schooler Evan Hansen that fantasizes about a life he wishes he could live and a friendship he never had. The letter is made public and Hansen’s life gets swept up in the lie.

A national tour of Hello, Dolly! with Betty Buckley will launch in Cleveland with a run from Oct. 2 to 21.

Buckley has said she wept with happiness when she saw Bette Midler starring in the Tony Award-winning revival on Broadway and can’t wait to take the stage at Cleveland’s Connor Palace.

Season tickets to Playhouse Square’s 2018-19 season are now on sale and packages for all seven shows start at $150. For more information, see http://www.playhousesquare.org.

A week after Hello, Dolly! departs, Les Misérables arrives in Cleveland from Oct. 30 to Nov. 18. The story of French peasant Jean Valjean’s quest for redemption in the midst of revolution features a score by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil.

Another Boublil/Schönberg musical is next in the Broadway Series after the holidays, when Miss Saigon arrives Jan. 29 to Feb. 17.

This musical, which debuted in the early 1990s and is based on Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly, was recently revived on Broadway. It depicts the love story of a American soldier and a young woman in the waning days of the Vietnam War.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock will be in Cleveland from March 5-24, 2019.

The musical based on the Jack Black film of the same name made its Broadway debut in 2015 and tells the story of a misfit substitute teacher who teaches a class of straight-A kids how to be rock stars.

Composer Alan Menken’s 2016 musical adaptation of the play and film A Bronx Tale will be in Cleveland from April 23 to May 12.

The story is set in the Bronx in the 1960s and follows the story of a young man caught in an emotional struggle between the father he loves and the mob boss he wants to be.

Rounding out the season will be Come from Away, July 9-28, 2019, which explores the impact on the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, when some 7,000 people arrived by planes grounded there after the attacks on 9/11.

The musical follows how townspeople and passengers from 38 planes worked together through the crisis.

At Tuesday night’s announcement at the Connor Palace, Colby Dezelick and Lianah Sta. Ana from Miss Saigon and Julie Reiger from Come From Away were among those who performed for a crowd of more than 2,800. Special guests included Beverley Bass, the real-life pilot featured in Come From Away, and Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri, whose real childhood story is brought to life in A Bronx Tale.

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

And so it begins.

The rumblings and grumblings over whether Akron’s LeBron James will remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers after this season have been simmering since the start of the season.

Los Angeles.

Miami.

Even (gasp) Golden State has been speculated.

But a home remodeling business based in Chester, Pa., ratcheted things up Monday by putting up three billboards along Interstate 480 in Cuyahoga County pitching Philadelphia as a potential place for James to take his talents.

The billboards are strategically placed not far from the Cavs practice facility in Independence.

The number is no coincidence and is a takeoff on the movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

The timing is no coincidence either as the Cavs face the 76ers in a nationally televised game on Thursday.

The Philadelphia team is not behind the plea but rather the owners of an East Coast remodeling firm, Power Home Remodeling Group.

The company’s co-CEO, Asher Raphael, said publicly that they are passionate about Philadelphia sports and just want to see the “best athletes” play in the city.

The first sign along the interstate has the number 23 on it with a crown on a court alongside of the numbers of 76ers Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Robert Covington.

The next billboard — just a really, really long 3-point shot down the road — says, “Complete The Process.”

The final parting shot is the hashtag “#PhillyWantsLeBron.”

If this all sounds familiar, it is.

Back in 2010, a group put up billboards in Chicago that said “Chicago Wants LeBron Unfinished Business.”

There were also billboards put up by fans in Cleveland, including one by James’ house in Bath, pleading for him to stay with the Cavs.

And after his stint in Miami, a radio host bought billboard space in Akron poking fun at his decision to return to the Cavs. The billboard featured a picture of a pair Miami Heat championship rings with the phrase, “You’re Welcome, LeBron,” signed “Sincerely, Miami.”

This followed a “Come Home LeBron” campaign by fans here that included a billboard by St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, where he graduated and played basketball before turning pro.

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

The first week of school after a shooting rampage in a Florida high school has ended with anxious parents and students all across the Akron region and weary law enforcement officials responding to dozens of threats.

From Lodi to North Canton and in school districts in between, an unusually large number of threats and rumors to end the week kept everyone on edge and some students staying home out of fear.

A perceived threat even prompted a Catholic high school in Akron to close at noon on Friday.

The troubling week for educators and students included a serious incident at a middle school in Jackson Township where a student shot himself in a bathroom on Tuesday.

The student, who police say had distractionary devices in his backpack, later died.

A majority of Summit County school districts have had at least one threat against students or faculty over the past week.

The same is true in other surrounding counties with the total known threats numbering around two dozen or so for the region.

The spate of alarms follows the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 students and educators died when a former student returned to school with a semi-automatic rifle.

But it was a particularly busy Thursday and Friday as the number of threats and rumors spiked, keeping police departments in the region busy.

Barberton schools

A Norton student linked to a “concerning” social media message had to be “dealt with,” according to Barberton Superintendent Jeff Ramnytz.

A recorded message to parents said a Norton student has been tied to a “concerning text with a social media post on it” prior to the start of classes Friday morning.

The student in question attended Barberton through the Four Cities Compact, a regional learning cooperative. The unspecified threats were made toward Barberton and Norton school districts. Barberton police increased school patrols Friday.

Falls schools

A 17-year-old high school student in Cuyahoga Falls was charged with inducing panic Thursday after writing a threatening message on a computer at the school.

There were no actual weapons involved.

North Canton schools

North Canton police increased patrols at schools on Friday after a threat was made through “an anonymous social media post.”

The threat remains under investigation.

Akron schools

A discredited online threat of school violence in Pennsylvania somehow made its way to Akron on Friday, prompting a public school to beef up security and a private school to close early.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM school in downtown Akron brought in extra officers and a metal detector Friday and nearby St. Vincent-St. Mary — known nationally as the alma mater of LeBron James — closed at noon.

Akron Police Lt. Rick Edwards said the threat appears to have originated in the Central York school district in Pennsylvania where schools closed Friday for the third day as police tried to sort out what was happening.

Somehow that Pennsylvania threat appears to have spread through Twitter and onto a Facebook page that belongs to an anonymous person using a vulgar phrase as a name. People in Akron saw the threat and although it does not mention Akron, the STEM school or St. Vincent-St. Mary, fear nonetheless began to spread.

Waynedale High

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office investigated a threat written on a bathroom wall at Waynedale High School in Apple Creek.

“The threat outlines some violence that was going to be taking place Monday of next week,” sheriff’s Capt. Doug Hunter said Thursday in his daily Facebook video update.

Patrols in the district were increased on Friday, and deputies will return Monday.

Cloverleaf schools

Cloverleaf Local Schools Superintendent Daryl Kubilus said they found nothing after two “separate, unsubstantiated threats made by students regarding our high school” on Thursday.

“With the tragic events in Florida last week, we are on the highest alert regarding the safety of our students,” Kubilus wrote in a message on the district’s Facebook page.

Coventry schools

A 37-year-old township woman is accused of spreading false information on social media about a gun being found in a locker at Coventry Middle School and school officials not notifying parents.

Erin Croghan, of Coventry Township, was charged with inducing panic, a first-degree misdemeanor. She was issued a summons and will appear in Barberton Municipal Court, Summit County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bill Holland said Friday. Croghan is accused of posting on Facebook that there was a gun found in a locker in November, even though she knew the information wasn’t true, Holland said.

School officials had talked with her and told her that the gun incident was not true, but she continued to post and be critical of the district, he said. The district received numerous calls from concerned parents.

Croghan is a parent of a Coventry student but not at the middle school, he said.

Stow schools

Police and school officials are investigating a threat made on social media Thursday night by a middle school student in the Stow-Munroe Falls City School District.

Officers went to the student’s home after being alerted by school officials about the threat, Superintendent Tom Bratten said in a call to parents.

No weapons were found, he said.

Bratten said the district and police plan to pursue disciplinary and legal action against the youth.

“No threats or inappropriate behavior of this kind will be tolerated,” Bratten said.

St. Mary Akron

Sixth- and seventh-graders at St. Mary School, a private Catholic elementary school in Akron, notified Principal Pat Nugent of perceived threatening Snapchat and Facebook messages.

Nugent said the messages went something like: “I’m going to shoot just like the kid in Florida.”

Nugent said police couldn’t link the Akron-centric threat to her school or any other in the area.

Highland schools

Highland Local Schools Superintendent Catherine Aukerman notified parents Friday afternoon of an incident at the high school.

A student reported around 11:40 a.m. that another student was in possession of a firearm at the high school.

Aukerman said they notified the Medina County Sheriff’s Office, which responded to the school “within minutes.”

“It was determined that the student was in possession of a small orange-tipped Airsoft pistol,” Aukerman told parents via social media. “The student was immediately placed into the custody of the Sheriff’s Department and was removed from the premises.”

Medina schools

Two threats Thursday and Friday centered on the Medina school district’s middle schools.

The first arose when a threat was discovered written on the wall of a restroom at Claggett Middle School.

Medina police increased patrols at the school on Thursday.

Superintendent Aaron Sable said the second threat alert to parents came Friday morning when a Root Middle School student was threatened.

“We were able to identify several students involved and investigated the incident with the Medina and Montville police departments,” he said.

Sable said there has been a rash of threats since the Florida shootings.

“School safety has been a major issue for schools across the country during the past week,” he told parents in an alert. “I have no doubt that you have seen in the media that many of our surrounding districts are combating similar safety issues. I believe that this is due to copycat situations because of the media coverage as well as students, staff and parents being more vigilant with recognizing and reporting safety concerns.

“As I have stated previously, ‘It takes a village.’ I encourage our community to continue to be a watchdog for our district and student safety. ‘See Something, Say Something.’”

Staff writers Rick Armon, Doug Livingston and Amanda Garrett contributed to this article. Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

It seems there’s a fair amount of Akron in Cleveland’s history.

The newest exhibit at the Cleveland History Center, put together by the fine folks at the Western Reserve Historical Society, traces the history of the city from its humble beginnings in 1790 to today.

The Cleveland Starts Here exhibit tucked inside the museum’s main floor in Cleveland’s University Circle is dominated by the giant, old, lighted Chief Wahoo sign from Municipal Stadium.

It has a nice mix of videos, pictures and interactive displays that tell the city’s history with some cool artifacts thrown in, like the podium that Donald Trump used for practice before his acceptance speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and a postcard addressed to celebrated crime fighter Eliot Ness.

There’s even a restored DeLorean — remember that car from Back to the Future? — celebrating that one of the original dealerships of ill-fated auto manufacturer John DeLorean was run by his brother Charles in Lakewood.

This drives home the point that Cleveland’s history and what is found in the exhibit go way beyond the city itself.

And to trace the origin of a surprisingly fair number of the items, you would have to take Interstate 77 south to Akron.

He wears the jersey of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but ask LeBron James where his heart lies, and he’ll be quick to drop his signature line that he’s “just a kid from Akron.”

But there’s no denying the Cavs bringing home the first championship trophy in generations will always hold a special place in Cleveland’s history and the museum’s exhibit.

James’ size 15 leaves a pretty big footprint in the display with not just one, but two artifacts on display.

The first is a LeBron bobblehead from the 2004 season, situated just below another Cleveland icon, an American Splendor comic book by the late Harvey Pekar.

Not too far away, just past a wooden replica of the Terminal Tower and a lunar descent engine, is James’ second piece in the collection. Donated by the LeBron James Family Foundation is a black pair of signature Nikes that he wore March 18, 2016, in a win against the Orlando Magic.

The game was just one step in the magical season that ended with the Cavs overcoming a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA title.

On a wall not too far away is another name synonymous with Akron.

A display tracing Cleveland’s industrial successes and dominance includes an early Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. advertisement complete with a signature Wingfoot logo that is now featured on the Cavs jerseys.

On a nearby pillar — fittingly enough — are the “Faces of Cleveland,” which includes pictures of notable residents including another Akronite. Astronaut Judith Resnik, who was killed in the space shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986, is featured prominently. Resnik also holds the distinction of being the first Jewish American in space.

Kelly Falcone-Hall, Western Reserve Historical Society president and CEO, said the exhibit stands as “a celebration of the past and the present” and a way for visitors to “make connections to their lives.”

The permanent exhibit opened in late November and was part of the Western Reserve Historical Society’s celebration of its own 150th anniversary.

Admission to the Cleveland History Center includes access to Cleveland Starts Here, two historic mansions, the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, Chisholm Halle Costume Wing, the Research Library, the Kidzibits Playzone, Community History Galleries, and two rides on the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel.

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

Swing those short-sleeved shirts high in the air.

You were officially part of weather history as a record high was set Tuesday in Akron.

The not-so-old record of 67 degrees for Feb. 20 set in 2016 was broken shortly before noon at Akron-Canton Airport when the thermometer hit 68 degrees.

And it didn’t stop there.

The temperature rose to 74 degrees shortly before 3 p.m.

Tuesday’s high marked the region’s second-warmest February day in history.

On Feb. 24 last year, the thermometer climbed to a balmy 76 degrees.

Akron’s weather records date to 1887.

The unseasonably warm temperatures will continue for part of Wednesday.

But it looks like the record high for Feb. 21 of 69 set in 1997 is safe for now.

The National Weather Service says rain and even a thunder­storm are possible as a cold front moves through Northeast Ohio and ushers in a brief shot of colder air.

After a hitting a high near 60 degrees early Wednesday, temperatures are expected to fall into the 40s by the afternoon commute, the weather service says.

As much as a half-inch of rain is possible Wednesday before switching over to a mix of snow and freezing rain early Thursday morning.

Little, if any, ice or snow accumulations are expected.

There is a risk for some flooding.

Temperatures are expected to rebound into the 50s on Friday and into the weekend, the weather service predicts.

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.

LeBron James is not the only one representing the city of Akron at this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

There are 23 Akron teens — no coincidence in the number — who also made the trip.

The 330 Ambassadors serve as mentors and role models working with Akron youngsters who are part of James’ I Promise program with a goal to keep the select group of kids in school and on a path to not only a high school diploma, but also a college degree from the University of Akron.

This is not the first time James has brought ambassadors from his foundation to an All-Star Game.

Jackson Tankersley, a senior at Akron’s National Inventors Hall of Fame Stem School who made the trip to L.A., said he also had the honor of traveling to New Orleans thanks to James when the All-Star Game was held there last year.

A highlight of last year’s trip was working with an organization that is helping to rebuild homes there devastated by natural disasters.

He was so moved by the experience that he came home and helped organize a trip back with his church youth group.

“I think it is hard to do something like this and not leave a changed person,” Tankersley said.

The trip to the West Coast this weekend included a career day visit to WME, a powerhouse in Hollywood representing talent including Emma Stone and Denzel Washington, and a chance to talk to workers on the Warner Bros. lot.

The teens spent Friday working in the Lower Topanga State Park with the group the TreePeople, planting trees and plants in an area devastated by wildfires.

Tankersley said it was great to make an immediate difference on such a stark landscape.

“You can really see the fruits of your labor instantly,” he said.

The final day of the trip was Saturday, when they were James’ guests as Team LeBron practiced for Sunday’s game.

They also took a campus tour at the University of Southern California and met with college counselors. The day ended with a dinner on the beach in Malibu.

For D’Onjai White, a senior at Akron’s Early College High School, this was his first All-Star trip as a 330 Ambassador.

White said he and the others each planted 12 trees and 16 plants that will hopefully make a permanent difference for that community in California to not only reforest the area but also help prevent erosion and fire dangers.

He said the trip was great but he thanks James for the opportunity to work with Akron kids year-round “to do positive work and help the students make good choices.”

“This is something I will keep forever,” White said. “I will hold these memories forever.”

Craig Webb can be reached at [email protected] or 330-996-3547.