Upon hearing the news of the demolition of Harris Elementary School, I realized how much that school had meant to me. This wasn’t just a place where I learned how to read and write. It was the launching pad to the person I became.

From the earliest days of being a timid child in Mrs. Parks’ kindergarten class to the final days throwing cream pies in Mr. Schuber’s class, I was fortunate to be surrounded by the best teachers money could buy.

I learned a strong work ethic, creating a “computer” to learn my state capitals and presidents. I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment seeing it work for the first time.

Once in Mrs. Bucy’s class, going over vocabulary words, I too dramatically read aloud, making the other kids laugh. Since that moment, I have been addicted to making people laugh. My love for writing was spurred by my teacher reading a story I wrote about a runaway dog.

This was the only place I ever saw the real Santa Claus. He came to my kindergarten class, donning the very same watch as my father, and he wore the same cologne as him. It was a tradition my father carried on long after I left those hallowed halls.

It was the place where I met lifelong friends. Sure, if it weren’t for social media I would have lost them forever. But I will always consider them my friends. We laughed hysterically at our principal, Mr. Mittiga, as boxes fell on his head during the first sex education class.

We played. We fought. We climbed in and out of the “Big Cheese.” We felt the sting of basketballs hitting our noses. We played “Head’s Up Seven Up” on rainy days and kickball and four square on fairer days. It’s the kind of bond that scraped knees form.

We experienced our first national tragedy together watching the Challenger explode. I just remember the silence was so strong you could hear the hum of the television when they turned it off.

Harris Elementary was more than a school. It was the frustration of fractions. It was the pride of a scratch-and-sniff sticker on a test. It was standing single file, boy-girl. It was surviving dodge ball. It was going home for lunch to your mother’s homemade pizza. It was holding your hand over your heart every morning saying the Pledge of Allegiance. It was costume parades at Halloween and melting popsicles on the last of school, Field Day. It was trading Velcro for laces.

It is remembering friends and teachers, some of whom are gone forever. It is the joy in my heart. Thank you, Harris Elementary School.

Jake Stoltz


Trust in ?Rich Swirsky

The Beacon Journal faced an interesting decision on whom to endorse in the Democratic primary in Ward 1. It could have done better by selecting Rich Swirsky.

Having lived in Ward 1 near Highland Square for over 35 years, I’ve seen Swirsky’s intense involvement in numerous issues facing Ward 1 and the city.

Whether it was maintaining the integrity of Highland Square by helping to block a fast-food chain restaurant with a drive-through window or working to preserve the environment by working with industry in the city, he has shown that he cares about his community.

His concern for the safety of our neighborhoods and for helping to maintain effective services from the city has shown that he is truly interested in helping people have a good quality of life. His active involvement for more than 30 years, in politics, the community and the functioning of city government, make him an ideal choice to represent Ward 1. He understands the problems we face and how to solve them.

When calling our council representative with a concern, we need someone who knows what is happening and has happened in the ward, a person who has a history of involvement as well as a knowledge of the community.

It comes down to a matter of trusting that our interests are effectively handled. That trust is best placed with Rich Swirsky.

Richard King


Stand up with ?Bruce Kilby

Akron City Councilman Bruce Kilby is running for an at-large seat for his first time.

I have known Kilby for over 15 years; he is a good man. It is no secret that the City Council is controlled by the mayor, but Kilby’s lone voice provides scrutiny to the political process.

It takes a brave man to stand up for what he believes is right, in spite of the odds. Kilby fights the good fight, for more police, safer neighborhoods, maintaining streets, sewers and water lines, a balanced budget and an efficient city government.

Kilby is against spiraling sewer fees. He wants to look for a better way; again, he is the lone voice. The mayor and council spend more time studying the food truck issue than, how to pay the exorbitant cost of sewers.

Join me in voting for Bruce Kilby on Sept. 10, and help set the right course for Akron. This is your chance to speak.

Robert G. Smith


Laugh lanes

When I saw the letter concerning the Copley Road traffic crunch (“Traffic crunch on Copley Road,” Aug. 26), I had to laugh.

The same situation has just gone into effect on South Main Street in Coventry Township between Portage Lakes Drive and Turkeyfoot Road.

Two lanes of traffic in each direction were necked down to one lane in each direction, with a turning lane, and then expanded to two lanes in each direction again.

Then, throw in a hill near Firestone Country Club for winter pleasure. Pure genius.

Jim Huber


A right not ?worth protecting

An Aug. 14 letter, “Real war on women,” stated that there is virtually no danger in abortion, and that it is safer than a penicillin injection. The writer also inferred that abortion is a political issue, a Republican-led war on women.

As a woman and a very strong advocate for life, I can tell you that abortion is a violent and immoral end to an innocent human life. It can be extremely dangerous to the mother, as well as being fatal to the child.

The research and facts proving this are endless, and I invite the writer to visit our website to view at least a small portion of the data that is available and to also view videos of abortion procedures. He might not be so argumentative afterward.

In addition, abortion facilities have always had to obey at least a minimum of health standards. Those that have been ordered to close have had multiple violations over an extended period of time, and have escaped closer detection, most probably, due to lack of enforcement.

Dr. Gosnell’s facility in Philadelphia was not the exception. Animal clinics have stronger enforcement than abortion facilities. Abortion is a black mark on humanity in general, the government allowing a mother to kill her unborn child.

The writer says that if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. According to this distorted logic, if I don’t like taxes, should I just not pay them?

Abortion is not a right that needs protection, and it is definitely not health care. The U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow abortion through a “right to privacy” is just as faulty as the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which said that slaves were the “property” of their owners.

The court was wrong then, and it is wrong now. We must stop abortion just like we stopped slavery. It was once legal to kill slaves, too.

Denise Leipold

Executive director

Right to Life of Northeast Ohio


Passion and energy ?of Donnie Kammer

When Donnie Kammer was elected as the Ward 7 councilman, he had a tough job ahead of him. Kammer gained my support when he first ran in 2011 by his passion and hard work for the residents of Firestone Park.

While I am not a resident of Ward 7, I spend ample amounts of time in his ward visiting family and working.

Kammer is not just involved, he reaches above and beyond to help the citizens of Ward 7. During his two years in office, his record speaks for itself.

He has continued to create several block watches and bring new jobs to Ward 7. His other main focus has been demolishing boarded up houses within the ward. In 2012, 25 houses were demolished. So far this year, 15 more have been demolished.

Along with these accomplishments to create better neighborhoods, Kammer has taken the time to ride with Akron Police Department to get a feel for what they are dealing with in his ward.

Finally, Kammer fought hard to keep traffic lights near McEbright Community Learning Center on Cole Avenue after concerned parents contacted him.

Kammer has the passion and energy to keep Firestone Park moving in the right direction because he knows the area like no other. Kammer deserves to be re-elected as Ward 7 councilman on Sept. 10.

Eric Poston