NEW YORK: The flu vaccine is doing a poor job protecting older Americans and others against the bug that’s causing most illnesses.

Preliminary figures released Thursday suggest the vaccine is 36 percent effective overall in preventing flu illness severe enough to send a patient to the doctor’s office. There’s only been one other time in the last decade when the flu vaccine did a worse job.

Most illnesses this winter have been caused by a nasty kind of flu called Type A H3N2. The vaccine was only 25 percent effective against that type.

This kind of virus tends to cause more suffering and has been responsible for the worst recent flu seasons. But experts have wondered whether low vaccine effectiveness is another reason for the surprisingly severe season hitting the United States this winter.

Based on these numbers, the answer is yes.

“The fact that the vaccine doesn’t work as well as we would like is clearly a contributing factor,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert.

The estimates were published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers are a snapshot taken in the middle of a frantic flu season. They are based on relatively small numbers of people and they are considered preliminary. Numbers may change as the season continues and more patients are added to the study.

And experts say it’s still worth getting a flu shot. It still provides some protection, it can lessen the illness’s severity, keep people out of the hospital, and save lives. There are as many as 56,000 deaths connected to the flu during a bad year.

“Any type of vaccine is better than none,” said Scott Hensley, a University of Pennsylvania microbiologist who has led studies that raised critical questions about the vaccine.

The effectiveness estimates come from the tracking of about 4,600 children and adult patients in five states. To make the effectiveness calculations, researchers tracked who got the flu, and who among them had been vaccinated.

The vaccine provided good protection — 67 percent effective — against another common kind of flu virus, Type A H1N1, which has not been seen much this winter. And it was 42 percent effective against Type B flu viruses.

The vaccine worked relatively well in young children, but it performed worse in older people, including seniors who are most vulnerable. Against H3N2, the vaccine was 51 percent effective in children ages 6 months to 8 years. In every other age group, the numbers were low.

NEW YORK: McDonald’s is taking cheeseburgers and chocolate milk off its Happy Meal menu in an effort to cut down on the calories, sodium, saturated fat and sugar that kids consume at its restaurants.

Diners can still ask specifically for cheeseburgers or chocolate milk with the kid’s meal, but the fast-food company said that not listing them will reduce how often they’re ordered. Since it removed soda from the Happy Meal menu four years ago, orders for it with Happy Meals have fallen 14 percent, the company said. Hamburgers and Chicken McNuggets will remain the main entrees on the Happy Meal menu.

The Happy Meal, which has been around for nearly 40 years, has long been a target of health advocates and parents who link it to childhood obesity. McDonald’s has made many tweaks over the years, including cutting the size of its fries and adding fruit. Most recently, it swapped out its apple juice for one that has less sugar.

It’s been especially important as the company tries to shake its junk-food image, since McDonald’s is known for getting more business from families with children relative to its traditional rivals, such as Burger King and Wendy’s. McDonald’s doesn’t say how much revenue it makes from the $3 Happy Meal, but the company said 30 percent of all visits come from families.

McDonald’s will make the changes, including new nutritional standards for the Happy Meal changes, by June in the United States.

“It’s a good step in the right direction,” said Margo Wootan, the vice president for nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “We would love to see many more restaurants do the same.”

McDonald’s said Thursday that it wants all its Happy Meal options to have 600 calories or fewer and have less than 650 milligrams of sodium. It also wants less than 10 percent of the meal’s calories to come from saturated fat and the same percentage to come from added sugar.

The cheeseburger and chocolate milk didn’t meet those new standards, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said. It is, however, working to cut sugar from the chocolate milk and believes it’ll be back on the Happy Meal menu eventually — but doesn’t know when that will happen.

Trudy Munk, a mother of three from Lombard, Illinois, who was at a McDonald’s with her 3-year-old niece on Thursday, said she wasn’t sure if the changes would make much of a difference.

“I just feel like if you are coming to McDonalds, you’re not necessarily looking for the healthiest option,” she said. “I see it as a treat and I don’t mind getting my kids French fries or the cheeseburgers.”

There will be other tweaks: The six-piece chicken nugget Happy Meal will now come with a kids-sized fries instead of a small, lowering calories and sodium from the fries by half. And bottled water will be added as an option to the Happy Meal menu, but will cost extra. Currently, the Happy Meal menu lists milk, chocolate milk and apple juice. Soda does not cost extra.

For international restaurants, McDonald’s Corp. said that at least half of the Happy Meal options available must meet its new nutritional guidelines. The company said some are adding new menu items to comply, like in Italy, where a grilled chicken sandwich was added to the Happy Meal menu.

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Associated Press video journalist Carrie Antlfinger in Oak Brook, Illinois, contributed to this report.

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Contact Joseph Pisani at http://twitter.com/josephpisani

Fussy Cleaners was not involved in the wedding dress mix-up that could prevent a Cuyahoga Falls teacher from wearing her mother’s veil at her own wedding.

The Akron-based dry cleaner couldn’t have been, because Fussy does not seal wedding dresses it preserves, said Jason Long, general manager at Fussy. He explained last week a bit about preservation and provided tips to safeguard wedding wear.

There are two philosophies for wedding gown preservation: Sealed and unsealed.

The idea behind a sealed preservation is to protect the wedding garment from light and moisture to prevent it from yellowing or falling apart. It works, Long said, but there are potential drawbacks.

Cleaners often depend on third parties to seal the gowns into opaque boxes. When the packages are delivered back to local cleaners, neither the cleaner nor customer knows whether the right wedding garb is in the box unless they open it, which defeats the sealed preservation.

Additionally, if any damaging moisture accidentally made its way into the sealed box, a family will only find out, often decades later, when it opens the box.

Fussy opts for an unsealed preservation.

It labels each gown with a bar code and sends it for cleaning at a central Akron facility before packing the gown and other items to be preserved into acid-free boxes.

At pickup, Fussy customers are encouraged to open the boxes to make sure they have the right gown. After that, Long advises customers to replace the lid and store the gown in a cool, dark space like a closet shelf.

Customers should open the box at least once every five years. If they notice any yellowing, Long tells them to bring the dresses back to Fussy for a cleaning fix.

No matter who preserves the gown, Long advises: Find a preservationist that friends and families trust; make sure the company uses tracking software for gowns through the cleaning and boxing process; and, if you opt for a sealed preservation, find a company that will let you inspect your wedding clothes after they have been cleaned, but before the box is sealed.

NEW YORK: McDonald’s is testing the use of fresh beef in another burger, the latest move by the fast food chain to swap out frozen beef as it seeks to improve its image.

The company said Tuesday that the new burger, called Archburger, is being tested in seven McDonald’s restaurants in Tulsa, Oklahoma. McDonald’s held similar tests for fresh beef Quarter Pounders for about a year before announcing in March that it would roll it out to most of its 14,000 restaurants by the middle of this year. McDonald’s said the latest test is limited, and it is seeking feedback from customers and its restaurants.

McDonald’s Corp. has made several changes to its menu in recent years in an attempt to appeal to Americans who are increasingly concerned with the ingredients in their food. The world’s largest burger chain, for example, has cut artificial preservatives from Chicken McNuggets and switched out the apple juice in its Happy Meals for one with less sugar.

Fresh beef is a big change for the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company, which has relied on frozen beef patties for more than 40 years.

The Archburger test could mean the company is open to expanding the use of fresh beef to even more menu items, analysts at Nomura said in a note to clients Tuesday. The analysts also said the rollout of fresh beef Quarter Pounders later this year could boost a key sales figure at the chain.

At less than 3 ounces, McDonald’s said the fresh beef patties used in the Archburger are slightly smaller than those in the Quarter Pounder and larger than the ones in its hamburgers and cheeseburgers.

LOS ANGELES: Sue Grafton, author of the best-selling “alphabet series” of mystery novels, has died in Santa Barbara. She was 77.

Grafton was surrounded by family, including husband Steven Humphrey, when she died Thursday after a two-year battle with cancer, her daughter, Jamie Clark, posted on the author’s website.

“Although we knew this was coming, it was unexpected and fast. She had been fine up until just a few days ago, and then things moved quickly,” the posting said.

Grafton began her “alphabet series” in 1982 with A is for Alibi. Her most recent book, Y is for Yesterday, was published in August.

“Many of you also know that she was adamant that her books would never be turned into movies or TV shows, and in that same vein, she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name,” her daughter wrote. “Because of all of those things, and out of the deep abiding love and respect for our dear sweet Sue, as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.”

Humphrey said Grafton had been struggling to find an idea for “Z” while undergoing treatment for rare and usually fatal cancer of the appendix, which was discovered in a routine colonoscopy.

“Nothing’s been written,” he told the Associated Press. “There is no Z.”

He added with a laugh, “Nobody in this family will ever use the letter Z again.”

The fictional heroine of the series, Southern California private detective Kinsey Millhone, was Grafton’s alter ego, she told the Seattle Times earlier this year.

“I’m an introvert, so doing half of what Kinsey [does] is beyond my poor capabilities,” Grafton said. “But it’s fun to get to live her life without penalty.”

Her husband agreed that Grafton was Kinsey.

“Yes, as Sue said, ‘We’re one spirit in two bodies, and she got the good one,’ ” Humphrey said.

While Grafton aged, her heroine didn’t quite as much.

“So when I started, she was 32, and I was 42. Now, she is 39, and I am 77. So there’s a little bit of injustice there, but she is single,” she told NPR in an interview earlier this year. “She’s been married twice. She has no kids, no pets, no house plants.”

She said she was looking forward to reaching the end of the alphabet with Z is for Zero.

Lisa Scottoline, author of legal thrillers, tweeted that she was sad to hear of Grafton’s death.

“She forged a path for women in crime fiction, and all of us followed and adored her,” she said.

Crime writer Lawrence Block called Grafton a wonderful writer “graced with vision and integrity and a generous spirit.”

“That never-to-be-written Z book is the least of what we’ve just lost,” Block tweeted.

Grafton began writing at 18, and completed her first novel at 22. A is for Alibi was the eighth novel she wrote, and the third she had published.

For our latest Focus On… photo challenge we asked readers to show off their best holiday photos. As always, you delivered. Check out the gallery of holiday cheer above and stay tuned for a next challenge.

TOLEDO, OHIO: A brewery in Ohio is making a batch of green-colored beer called “Algae Blooms” to draw attention to the toxic algae that’s been fouling Lake Erie.

Maumee Bay Brewing Company says water is the main ingredient in its beers and that access to clean water is essential.

The Toledo brewery uses the city’s tap water sourced from Lake Erie. Algae outbreaks over the past summers have become an ongoing threat to drinking water.

Maumee Bay brewery manager Craig Kerr says its new beer looks like algae-contaminated water but doesn’t taste like it. He says the brewery used a powdered green tea and kiwi to give the beer its color.

The Ohio Environmental Council says the goal of the algae-inspired beer is to promote the need to invest in safe water.

History buffs, genealogists, librarians, teachers, students and researchers have reason to smile. The search for information just got so much easier.

The Akron Beacon Journal, its weekly predecessor, the Summit County Beacon, and four defunct Akron publications have been added to Newspapers.com, an online database operated by Ancestry.com.

The Utah-based website digitizes historical newspaper microfilm and allows readers to browse old articles and conduct specific searches of names and dates. It contains more than 5,300 newspapers from the 1700s to the present with nearly 300 million pages available for research.

All that information is now available at your fingertips via computer or smartphone. In cinematic terms, this is the equivalent of the ape man touching the monolith and gaining instant knowledge in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Among the publications of local interest that are available for research or perusal on News­papers.com:

• Akron Beacon Journal, 1872-2017, 2.99 million pages.

• The Summit County Beacon, 1840-1904, 14,281 pages.

• Akron City Times, 1884-1889, 1,294 pages.

• Akron Daily Democrat, 1892-1902, 14,691 pages.

• Akron Times-Democrat, 1900-1902, 1,197 pages.

• Akron Evening Times, 1913-1920, 29,544 pages.

The website also has plans to digitize the Akron Times-Press (1925-1938), the Beacon Journal’s main competitor, which folded after the two newspapers merged.

Users can print, save and share articles that they find on Newspapers.com. When you search for a name, you never know what you’ll find.

For example, here is an impassioned plea about Beacon Journal comic strips in December 1978: “Mark Price, 15, of north Akron, is ‘tired of all this talk’ about Spider-Man, Hulk and Superheroes ‘being too violent.’ ‘There is a lot more violence on television,’ he said.”

What a nerd.

Doing a few simple searches, I learned that my father, Joel E. Price, then age 19, was charged with driving through a red light in 1953 in Massillon, and that my mother, Angela Bollas, then a 16-year-old student at North High School, received honors at the Akron Science Fair in 1957 for her miniature solar system.

There is no end to the random searches that can be conducted. What was the price of milk on the day you were born? What was the name of that long-forgotten restaurant on Mill Street? When did Frank Sinatra perform at the Akron Palace Theater? Who played catcher for the Akron Yankees?

Visitors to News­papers.com can plug in their street addresses to learn details about their homes, including when they were built, who lived there previously and what events may have transpired there. The website makes it easy to look up engagement, wedding and birth announcements as well as obituaries.

If you want to research a family anecdote or legend, this is a good place to start. But beware: Newspapers.com can unearth skeletons that have been safely hidden in closets for generations.

For example, I discovered that my great-great uncle George faced an alimony petition from his destitute wife, Melea, in August 1913. She married him in Greece in 1907, had a baby in 1909 and moved to this country at his request in 1912 — only to discover that he had skipped town a few days before she arrived with their child. George reportedly was “in the company with another woman.”

What a lout.

Newspapers.com is not flawless. If a name was misspelled in the original article, it might not show up under a modern search. Also, if there are any imperfections in the source material — scratches, blotches, shadows, dark print, etc. — the searched word might not show up. Furthermore, blurry or fuzzy words in old articles can cause false hits. For example, if you search for “internet” in the 1880s, the word “interest” might pop up instead. And some editions and pages are missing.

Still, the search for old, hard-to-find information is easier than ever.

A basic subscription to Newspapers.com costs $7.95 a month or $44.95 for six months. There is a seven-day free trial subscription available, so you can check out the database before committing.

Here is the link to the Beacon Journal editions through Newspapers.com: http://www.ohio.com/archives .

You can do a basic search without being a subscriber, but you won’t be able to pull up the articles if you find anything interesting.

And you will find something interesting. Don’t be surprised if Newspapers.com becomes your latest obsession. There’s nothing like catching up on old news.

Mark J. Price can be reached at 330-996-3850 or [email protected].

Miss out on the Szechuan Sauce this weekend? You weren’t alone.

After Rick and Morty fans packed McDonald’s restaurants nationwide – including here in Akron – and were disappointed to find limited quantities of the sauce, the chain has some good news.

“Szechuan Sauce is coming back once again this winter,” McDonald’s announced via Twitter. “And instead of being one-day-only and limited to select restaurants, we’re bringing more – a lot more – so that any fan who’s willing to do whatever it takes for Szechaun Sauce will only have to ask for it at a nearby McDonald’s.”

Check out the full release below.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Need some reinforcements in the battle of the stink bugs? Here’s a story from March 2016 written by former Beacon Journal home and garden writer Mary Beth Breckenridge. 

I’ve had it with stink bugs.

Like lots of Northeast Ohio homes, my house has become a haven for the creepy crawlers for the last few winters. Apparently, Chez Breck is the Sarasota of the local insect population.

A day doesn’t pass that I don’t spot one someplace — buzzing around a lamp, crawling on a wall, startling me in the shower. The other day, I flicked one off the bathroom faucet and tried to wash it down the drain, but it kept crawling back out like some six-legged Rasputin.

Luckily, my infestation is minimal compared to some folks’. I’ve gotten emotional calls from readers whose homes are overrun by the primordial-looking creatures.

Gross. And I’m not even phobic about insects.

The brown marmorated stink bug became a big nuisance in our area about five years ago, sometime after arriving on this continent from its native Asia. Its numbers have multiplied because there just aren’t enough predators here to keep the bugs in check.

They come indoors in the fall to get out of the cold, and they spend the winter in places like attics and wall cavities. They leave when the weather starts to warm — if they can find a way out. If not, they die indoors.

The good news is they aren’t known to be harmful to people or pets, except that large numbers can add to airborne allergens. And they don’t make little stink bugs while they’re living the easy life inside your walls.

The bad news is they often invite their friends to spend the winters with them. I recently learned that when a brown marmorated stink bug finds a cozy spot to stay, it emits a chemical signal that serves as a sort of party invitation.

Hoping for some miracle solution, I called Dave Shetlar, Ohio State University’s “Bug Doc,” for guidance on dealing with the insects.

He said we’re seeing a lot of stink bugs this winter because our yo-yo temperatures are confusing the bugs. Whenever we get a warm spell, bugs that had been lying low in our attics or walls think spring has arrived, and they set off to try to find a way back outdoors. But because their little bug brains have a hard time remembering how they got inside in the first place, they wander into our rooms looking for an exit.

It’s only an annoyance for me to scoop up the occasional bug and usher it outside, but I know that a lot of people with big infestations wish they could bug-spray the critters to insect heaven.

Unfortunately, there’s just no good insecticide option, Shetlar said.

The bug bombs and kill-on-contact sprays available to consumers might kill the bugs they touch, but they don’t reach into the hiding places where most of the bugs are overwintering, Shetlar said. Even the insecticides that pest-control professionals apply around the outside perimeter of a house are limited in their effectiveness, because the claws and hairs on stink bugs’ feet raise them above the residue. Any insecticide the bugs do pick up is unlikely to be ingested, because stink bugs don’t clean their feet as some other insects do.

There’s another problem, too: Even if you can kill the bugs — say, with an insecticidal dust — the dead bug bodies can become food for carpet beetles, the Penn State Extension points out. Unlike the annoying, but fairly harmless stink bugs, carpet beetles can do damage to woolens and dry goods in your house, so you certainly don’t want to feed them and cause a carpet beetle population boom.

About all you can do is try to keep the bugs out in the first place.

Stink bugs often make their way from wall cavities to rooms through cracks behind baseboards, around window and door trim, and around exhaust fans and ceiling lights. Caulking those openings can block their access to your living spaces, so at least you won’t have them crawling across your TV screen or dropping into your Cheerios.

Then once the weather gets warmer, you should make a concerted effort to tighten up your home so stink bugs can’t find a way in next fall. That means doing things like using caulk or spray foam to seal cracks and holes in the exterior surfaces and making sure window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair.

Roof and soffit vents are common entry points for stink bugs, so make sure those are screened, Shetlar said. It’s also a good idea to screen your fireplace chimney, he said, but you’ll need to remember to remove the screen before you build a fire so you don’t restrict the air flow.

Finding those openings in your home’s exterior can be a challenge, but a home energy audit or assessment can point out many of them. After all, if an opening is letting heated or cooled air get out, it’s probably also letting bugs get in.

If you’re a customer of Dominion East Ohio, you can get an assessment for $50 through its Home Performance with Energy Star program. Details are in the “Ways to Save” section of http://www.dom.com, or call 877-287-3416.

You might lower your heating and cooling bills as a result.

Then you can thank the stink bugs.

 

Sob along with ‘This Is Us’

Get out the industrial-strength Kleenex: NBC’s breakout hit This Is Us returns for its second season at 9 p.m. If you need a refresher, we left off with Jack splitting after a major blowout with Rebecca that jeopardized their marriage, Kevin landed a role in a big movie, Randall pitched the idea of adoption to Beth, and Kate realized she wanted to be a singer like her mom. The present-day story will pick up a couple months later with the adult siblings celebrating their 37th birthday. The past story resumes one day after the big argument, and creator Dan Fogelman says the opener will include a “big, giant piece of the puzzle” about Jack’s death.

Catch ‘Little Vixen’ performance

It’s your last chance to see the Cleveland Orchestra’s innovative production of Leos Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, which blends animation with the live performance, at 7:30 p.m. at Severance Hall. Tickets are $39-$165 at http://www.clevelandorchestra.com.

Learn how to be an organizer

Showing Up For Racial Justice Akron (SURJ:Akron) offers a training session on building power in community organizations from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, 3300 Morewood Road, Fairlawn. Participants will learn how to use one-on-one conversations as an organizing tool. Refreshments and child care will be available; pay what you can at the door. http://www.surjakron.org.

‘Dancing with the Stars’ is back

ABC kicks off (sorry) its fall TV season with the 25th season of Dancing with the Stars at 8 p.m. Among this year’s celebrities are husband-and-wife Nick and Vanessa Lachey (paired with husband-and-wife pro partners Maks Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd), Drew Scott of Property Brothers, athletes Terrell Owens and Derek Fisher, and ’80s songstress Debbie Gibson. See the full cast at http://abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars.

Constitution Day at Kent State University

Kent State University will mark Constitution Day with a public reading of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at noon in front of the University Library on Risman Plaza. The public is welcome to participate as a reader or listener, and pocket editions of the Constitution will be handed out. Park in the Kent Student Center visitor’s lot on Summit Street. http://www.library.kent.edu/events/day/2017-09-18/celebrate-constitution-day-university-libraries.

Thriller author Black at Hudson Library

Author Lisa Black appears at 7 p.m. at the Hudson Library. The former forensic scientist for the Cleveland coroner’s office has written a number of thrillers drawing on her expertise, the latest being Unpunished. Copies will be available for purchase and signing. Register at http://hudsonlibrary.org, 330-653-6658.

Take your best friend to Bow Wow Beach

Let your dog have one last swim for the season at Bow Wow Beach as Paw Fest takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be dog-related vendors, activities and food; parking is $1 per car or a donation of used eyeglasses to the Stow-Munroe Falls Lions Club. Bow Wow Beach is at 5027 Stow Road, Stow. http://www.SMFLions.com.

Watch St. V-M and Hoban sports documentary

The Akron Holy War, a new documentary about the football rivalry between St. Vincent-St. Mary and Hoban, premieres at 7 p.m. at the Akron Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St., Akron. Tickets are $10, $18 for VIP, at 330-253-2488, http://www.akroncivic.com.

Listen to jazz at Akron benefit for Shaw JCC

Blu Jazz+ hosts “An Evening of Jazz for the J” to benefit the Shaw JCC, featuring Willie Jones III, Terell Stafford, Steve Davis, Ralph Moore, Eric Reed and Gerald Cannon. Shows are at 7 and 9 p.m. at the club, 47 E. Market St. Tickets are $45, $80 couple, $25 students at http://blujazzakron.com.

Celebrate all things apple in Clinton

The Clinton Historical Society Applefest runs from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday on Main Street in Clinton, with food, music, raffle, a car show, vendors and artisans. Kids can play old-fashioned games and there will be free guided tours of the Rhoads-Harter House. http://www.clintonohiohistoricalsociety.org.

Laugh with two well-known comedians

Expect a lot of comedy, plus some singing, dancing, banjo music and who knows what else as Steve Martin and Martin Short share the stage at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 at http://livenation.com.

Marching band show at Canton football stadium

Fourteen high school marching bands will face off on the field of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton during Music for All’s Bands of America Northeast Ohio Regional Championship. Firestone High School is the host, and Canton McKinley will also perform. The preliminary competition runs from noon to 4 p.m.; gates will open for the finals at 6:15 p.m. with performances beginning at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $18-$27 at the gate; discounts are available. http://musicforall.org.

Listen to chirps in park program

Listen to the “summer symphony” of katydids, crickets and cicadas and learn their language while sitting by a campfire from 7-9 p.m. Firestone Metro Park, Tuscarawas Meadows Area, 2620 Harrington Road, Akron. 330-865-8065.

Arts and jazz fest in Wooster

The Wooster Arts and Jazz Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on three stages in downtown Wooster. Performers include the Savoy Big Band, David Gerals, River City Jazz, Zydeco Kings, Blues Reveler, Victor Samalot, Tim Dvorkin, Standard Time, Just Jazz, Blu Monsoon and All That Jazz. For a schedule, go to http://www.woosterartsjazzfest.org/jazz-music.

String group at Tuesday Musical

Tuesday Musical opens its season with the Escher String Quartet at 7:30 p.m. at E.J. Thomas Hall, 198 Hill St., Akron. On the program is Homeland Portraits, a new work by University of Akron composer James Wilding. Concert tickets are $40-$45, free for students; a pre-concert party with open bar, raffle and silent auction starts at 5:30 p.m. and costs $165 for both party and concert. 330-761-3460, http://www.tuesdaymusical.org.

String quartet at Akron museum

Hear a world-class musical group for free as the Escher String Quartet offers a Decompression Chamber concert at noon in the Akron Art Museum’s Bud and Susie Rogers Garden. Bring your lunch or purchase it from the museum cafe. The series, presented by Tuesday Musical, will continue over the next two years for employees and clients at hospitals, government offices, factories, social service agencies and other high-pressure sites. If you like what you hear, the quartet will open Tuesday Musical’s 130th season Saturday at E.J. Thomas Hall. http://www.tuesdaymusical.org.

Festival at Summit Artspace

The new High Arts Festival asks visitors to vote for their favorites in 12 categories of visual art, music and short films. It kicks off Friday with a party at Summit Artspace at 5:30 p.m., with a cash bar, food trucks, live painting, music and dancing. Events continue through Oct. 7 in the arts district and Northside area of downtown Akron; $24,000 in cash prizes are up for grabs. Download the High Arts Festival app to cast your votes, and find the full 23-day schedule at higharts.org or at facebook.com/highartsfestival.

Music acts fill downtown Kent

The Kent Round Town Music Fest runs from 1 p.m. until the wee hours, with dozens of musicians playing at more than 30 locations all over downtown Kent. And it’s free. Find a schedule at http://www.kentroundtown.org.

Outlaw Music Festival at Blossom

Willie Nelson and two of his sons anchor the Outlaw Music Festival, which begins at 5 p.m. at Blossom. Also on the impressive bill are Sheryl Crow and the Avett Brothers. Tickets are $25-$87.50 at 800-745-3000, http://livenation.com.

Could bicycles be the key to building a stronger town-gown connection in Akron?

Some behind a free, new bike-share program at the University of Akron hope people who live, work or attend class on campus will pedal beyond academia’s boundaries and discover other things the Rubber City has to offer.

UA on Wednesday unveiled the program, open to students, faculty and staff.

University President Matthew J. Wilson kicked off the bike share himself, taking one of the 20 red bicycles available for a ride. Each bike has a bell, a basket and a large sign showing it’s part of the university’s ride-share program.

Anyone with a Zip Card can borrow one of the bikes from the university’s Student Recreation and Wellness Center or parking services next to Simmons Hall.

In recent years, UA officials said most students walk the campus or use long boards, roller skates or hover boards. But they anticipate biking will make a comeback through the sharing program.

The bike-share is a collaboration of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Summit Cycling Center and UA.

Weathervane Playhouse presents farce

It’s your last chance to see the nutty backstage farce It’s Only a Play at Weathervane Playhouse. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at 1301 Weathervane Lane, Akron; tickets are $10-$22 at 330-836-2626, http://www.weathervaneplayhouse.com.

Take your dog to visit a bog

Your dog will love taking in all the exotic smells of the outdoors on a hike from 6:30-8 p.m. at Springfield Bog Metro Park, 1400 Portage Line Road, Springfield Township. Pets must be on leashes (8-foot max) and under owners’ control at all times. 330-865-8065.

Galaxy offers a ‘Tour of Italy’

The Galaxy Restaurant in Wadsworth will host a “Tour of Italy” wine tasting from 7 to 9 p.m. with appetizers. Cost is $45. For reservations, go to http://www.galaxyrestaurant.com or call 330-334-3663. The Galaxy is at 201 Park Centre Drive, off state Route 94 and Interstate 76.

Author to speak in Cuyahoga Falls

Cleveland author Jill Grunenwald will talk about her book Running with a Police Escort at 7 p.m. in the Sutliff Room of Cuyahoga Falls Library. Grunenwald writes about her decision to get healthy and start running, eventually losing more than 100 pounds and learning to love running, even though she usually finishes at the back of the pack. 330-928-2117, ext. 154, [email protected].

38 Special in concert at Rocksino

Southern rock stalwarts 38 Special will be Rockin’ Into the Night beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. Tickets start at $42.50 at http://www.hrrocksinonorthfieldpark.com.

‘Wrath of Khan’ in theaters

Kirk bellowing “Khaaaaaaannnnnnn!” Ricardo Montalban’s interstellar mullet! “I have been … and always shall be … your friend.” The Wrath of Khan is considered one of the best of the Star Trek movies, and it’s back to mark its 35th anniversary at 2 and 7 p.m. at cinemas including Cinemark Portage Crossings, Cuyahoga Falls; Hudson Movies 10;Montrose 12, Akron; Tinseltown USA, Jackson Township; Cinemark 15, Macedonia; Valley View 24; Movies 10, Wooster; and Cedar Lee, Cleveland Heights. http://www.fathomevents.com.

See sunken World War II ship

The USS Indianapolis, sunk during the waning days of World War II, was recently discovered on the ocean floor. PBS stations will broadcast and live-stream a tour of the wreckage beginning at 10 p.m. See it on local stations WNEO/WEAO (Channels 45/49) and WVIZ (Channel 25) or see http://www.pbs.org/uss-indianapolis/home/.

David Gilmour Pompeii concert showing

As part of its rock documentary series, Cleveland Cinemas presents David Gilmour: Live at Pompeii at 7:30 p.m at the Capitol Theatre. The Pink Floyd guitarist/vocalist played two shows at the ancient amphitheater with lasers, pyrotechnics and other effects (which surely would have baffled the first-century gladiators who used to do battle there). The Capitol is at 1390 W. 65th St. http://www.clevelandcinemas.com.

‘Book of Mormon’ returns to Cleveland

Hello! My name is Elder Price. And I would like to share with you this most amazing … musical, The Book of Mormon, which returns to Playhouse Square in Cleveland for eight shows through Sunday. (While it’s been called “the funniest musical of all time,” be aware that it contains very adult language and subject matter, as you might expect from the minds behind South Park and Avenue Q.) Tickets are $30-$150 at http://www.playhousesquare.org.

Vinyl enthusiasts meet at library

The Firestone Park branch of the Akron-Summit County Library hosts the “Vinyl Revival Listening Group” at 6 p.m. The club meets to play full-length albums front to back and talk about them. They suggest to “bring an open mind.” No registration required. The library is at 1486 Aster Ave., Akron. http://akronlibrary.org.

Cuyahoga Falls Community Gardens

It’s never too early to plan for next year’s garden season. Learn about Cuyahoga Falls Community Gardens at 6:30 p.m. at the Falls Library Sutliff Room. Meet other gardeners and coordinator Carole Rice, and bring your questions. 330-923-4524, [email protected].

Learn about Fall Hiking Spree

Take a hike and learn about this year’s Fall Hiking Spree with Summit Metro Parks Executive Director Lisa King from 5 to 6 p.m. at the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, Visitors Center, 1828 Smith Road, Akron. 330-865-8065. (This item was erroneously listed Monday.)

Visit aviation festival at airport

The Props and Pistons Aviation Festival continues at the Akron-Fulton Municipal Airport. There will be aviation talks, displays and related activities. Among the aircraft slated to be on display include a 1930 D-25 Biplane, an Akron-built Corsair, a CH-47 Chinook, Akron Children’s Hospital Air Bear and Metro’s Life-Flight. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Akron-Fulton Municipal Airport, 1600 Triplett Blvd., Akron. $10 adults, $5 children ages 6-17. http://www.flyohio.org.

Hear a real pipe organ

Electronic keyboards will never quite match the sound of a real pipe organ. Dexter Kennedy shows off Westminster Presbyterian Church’s Schantz organ in a concert at 5 p.m. The church is at 1250 W. Exchange St., Akron. A freewill offering will be taken.

Look for birds in Metro Park

Birds have begun their fall migration, so it’s a good time to spot these travelers. Take the “Birds and Blooms” hike through woods, meadows and wetlands along the Meadow Trail, at 9 a.m. at Munroe Falls Metro Park, Tallmadge Meadows Area, 1088 North Ave., Tallmadge. 330-865-8065.

Take in Civil War weekend

Zoar Village’s Civil War weekend continues today with battles, tours of camps and shops, food, music and more. Admission is $10. 330-874-3011, 800-262-6195 or http://www.zoarcivilwar.com.

See harvest fest at Case-Barlow

Case-Barlow Farm’s Fall Harvest Fest runs from noon to 5 p.m. and includes artisan demonstrations, kids’ activities, animals, square dancing, pumpkin bowling, a dessert competition and more. Admission is $8, $6 children. The farm is at 1931 Barlow Road in Hudson. http://www.casebarlow.com.