aroundKent Magazine Vol 5 2015

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Akron Art Museum


Shining Light On

Multiple Sclerosis The Sounds Of The Summit Community Partnerships Reduce Hunger


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content volume 5 2015

publisher/photographer Matt Keffer 330.221.1274

art director

Susan Mackle

advertising/design services Debra Racey 330.329.2702

copy editor Mori Clark

contributing writers

Christie Anderson Lisa Armstrong Sue Arnold Michelle Culley Liz Felix Sally Heston Mark Keffer Joni Koneval David M. Krieger Gina Krieger Mark Masuoka Kerrie Murray Dr. Patrick O’Connor Debra Racey Ann VerWiebe Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or pictorial content of any manner is prohibited without written permission. aroundkent accepts no responsibility for solicited materials.

6 The Road Less Traveled


12 Akron Art Museum: Past And Present 18 The Brick House Tavern + Tap 22 W KSU 89.7: Northeast Ohio’s Award-Winning NPR Station

24 C ommunity Partnerships Reduce Hunger

12 28

28 Overwhelmed is the New Stressed 32 Visual Art Showcase 38 The Sounds of the Summit


43 We are Steel 50 T he Cuyahoga Valley Art Center: A Place For Art Lovers


52 F rom Kent to New York and Beyond:


Sabatino A. Verlezza

54 Seven Grains Natural Market 56 Shining Light on MS On the Cover: Tony Feher, Judith Resnik, 2014, painter’s tape, 134 x 88 in., Commissioned by the Akron Art Museum. Photo by Joe Levack/Studio Akron.



I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost Dr. Patrick O’Connor

Most creative, successful people have traveled very interesting paths to get to where they are … usually zig-zagging a lot, shifting gears, retracing steps, exploring new passions, revisiting previous experiences, maybe reinventing themselves and generally bouncing back often. All these experiences are part of their creative profile and serve to motivate and inspire them. This feature, The Road Less Traveled, tells that story. It answers the question; how did they get to where they are now? This version of The Road Less Traveled, describes the path of Marty Mordarski, Director of Research & Membership at the Employers Resource Council (ERC) based in Highland Heights. Marty heads up much of the ERC research, survey and information management agenda. He also leads the team responsible for the application and evaluation process for the NorthCoast 99 initiative (NC99) which recognizes outstanding workplaces in Northeast Ohio. Marty has learned many lessons in his life and likes to keep motivational thoughts with him daily. Some of those thoughts are included in italics (credit in parenthesis) throughout the following narrative.

in the third grade at St. Columbkille School in Parma. Little did he know that this would become the foundation for his love of playing and performing music. He also learned to play sports in grade school. These two activities, along with his academic success, provided him the self-discipline he relies on to this day. He has been quite successful in all three areas. And, he has learned how to transfer his love of classroom, field and stage to all aspects of his life including his current work with ERC and NC99. He has and is always setting new destinations. He performed as keyboard player and lead singer in high school and college. His band toured around the Midwest quite a bit and

Early Steps Life is about the journey so keep setting new destinations. (Pat Perry, President of ERC) Marty Mordarski is a local guy; he grew up in Seven Hills, Ohio. He learned to play the cello

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made a few compact discs. He learned many valuable lessons from his experiences in entertainment. He learned how important it was to manage different aspects of being a touring band. And, it became evident how important it was to establish good relationships and build networks. His music,

He had numerous jobs in high school, during summer breaks and in college. He worked jobs in custodial maintenance, as a soap builder, musician, sports/entertainment writer and he and a friend even ran a landscaping “business” one summer. One particular job he keenly remembers was changing Marty’s sons (Evan, Brayden), wife (Beth), and Marty; taken during the 2014 the light bulbs at an office Cleveland National Air Show [photo credit, Tracy Masterson (friend)] building. He kept his own hours which were usually off hours when the cubicles were empty. He could self described as “power pop”, was sort of a pretty much work at his own pace with little blend of influences that ranged from Billy Joel supervision. Surprisingly, he learned that no and Pearl Jam to the Barenaked Ladies and matter what pace he worked, there were always Butch Walker. He also excelled on the baseball light bulbs that needed to be changed. field during these years. He learned how important it was to do what you love, to work together and to seek your dreams. Think big … start small … move fast. (classmate)

Building on the Early Lessons In grade school he loved keeping track of numbers and statistics … mostly related to baseball as a player and fan. He also kept precise track of his extensive baseball card collection. In effect, he was showing information management interest and skill. He loved what numbers and statistics could reveal about performance and improvement. In the 8th grade he was deemed too heavy to play on the football team based on size/weight guidelines. The coach decided to convert him to the stats guy for the football team. It turned out he really had a love and interest for keeping track of performance of the players and the team. It’s the little things … attention to detail is essential. (Dan “Grandpa” Potopsky, coach)

He began to learn early on in life, from home and school, that his success was closely connected to other people. His accomplishments, in all areas, were and are very much about the people in his life. His family members, teachers, coaches, mentors, supervisors and associates are the reason he has enjoyed so much success. He practiced his whole life what he learned from his mother and father about work ethic.

Work ethic was very much alive in everyone and everything around Marty as he grew up. He learned to do the “American thing” … work hard … get a good education … and apply yourself in all the opportunities that come your way. This has been a constant for Marty. Everyone encouraged him to pursue the same American Dream they had worked so hard to achieve. The American Dream is a frequently used term though most people are unaware there actually is a definition for it. The term American Dream was defined by economist James Adams in his book Epic of America. Adams said the American Dream is where life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. Adams’ definition came out in 1931 as the American Depression was hitting stride. It’s okay to be happy but never fully satisfied … helps to keep you motivated. (Pat Perry, ERC)

Growing Pains Marty’s baseball success through high school (Parma Padua) led to the opportunity to play in college (Baldwin Wallace) and to tryouts with professional baseball teams in Cincinnati and Kansas City. Quite an accomplishment for a high school senior. The tryouts were a disappointment though since he was cut in the early rounds. However, they were an interesting learning experience. The thing you least want to hear may be the most important thing to hear. (Brian Sliwinski, coach)

One of the most interesting lessons he took away from the baseball tryouts was how the teams assessed performance and potential. In particular, it was Presenting at an ERC Member Orientation at ERC surprising to him how limited the player (2014). [photo credit: Ryan Morgan (ERC)]


Continued on page 8

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Continued from page 7 assessment actually was. The notion that all the players were at a certain experience and ability level meant that the teams would have to somehow determine who had the “intangibles” to be successful. It was the intangibles that separated the performance of people. Talent and opportunity are somewhat fixed … it’s what you do with them that really matters. However, the intangibles are often the hardest thing to measure. Though no longer as active in baseball, Marty continued to apply himself at his college studies in business administration, playing/ performing in his rock band and working various part-time jobs. In particular, his music and performing experiences were building his confidence and skill in how to make things happen. He learned how take an idea, work with bandmates and turn something small into something much bigger … something everyone could enjoy. He and other band members loved it when the song “grew up”. Be enthusiastically and unapologetically curious. (son) It was also about this time in his life that he began to learn the importance of pacing himself. He had a whole lot going on in college with work, the band and his studies … maybe too much. He started to prioritize his time and goals rather than trying to do everything. It is just as important to be efficient as it is to be effective. Have the courage to reinvent yourself. (sister)

Moving On During his junior year at Baldwin Wallace he began to search for his first internship. He had no idea where it would be or what he would be doing. An epiphany moment occurred for him when an ERC internship was announced. He quickly inquired only to find that it had

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a friend of the sister of the woman who interviewed him was involved in the decision to call him for an interview. It turned out she had been dating one of his bandmates at the time he interviewed. You never know what is coming around the corner! With Jim Tressel at ERC/ESPN Cleveland “Lunch with Jim Tressel” event at Quaker Station at the University of Akron in 2012 [photo credit: Ryan Morgan (ERC)]

already been filled. A bit dejected, he took the news in stride. And, he was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from ERC a few days later. It turned out that they still wanted to talk with him. Apparently, someone at ERC knew Marty and suggested they contact him. He interviewed and apparently they liked what they saw since they decided to create a second internship and offer it to him. As it turned out, the internship related to doing surveys and keeping statistics on employee and organizational performance. It was a lot like keeping sports statistics. The internship worked out really well which led to a full time position with ERC after graduation. This is quite common for college students to be hired into a fulltime position where they complete an internship. In fact, the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) and ERC partnered to study the relationship between college internships and fulltime positions. A recent report concluded that 52% of students who did an internship found full-time work with the organization that sponsored the internship! By the way, Marty found out after he started his internship that


Marty Today ERC ( is a Northeast Ohiobased professional services organization that assists companies with human resource (HR) services, soft skills and technical training, compensation surveys, engagement surveys, selections assessments, coaching and health insurance (ERChealth). Marty has guided the data/information/survey research efforts at ERC which are targeted at managing information to improve employee and organizational performance. Marty’s work keeping statistics for his 8th grade football team was good practice for his duties today. This work has evolved into guiding an organizational improvement program established by ERC in 1999. ERC sponsors NorthCoast 99 which is an annual recognition program that honors 99 great workplaces for top talent in Northeast Ohio. The goal is to recognize superior organizational performance and

With Chris Kutsko, Director of Learning and Development, ERC; and award-winner Robert Sullivan, VP of Human Resources; at ERC/CSHRM HR Awards at Landerhaven (2013) [photo credit: Ryan Morgan (ERC)]

With Mark Scott, Senior Associate Editor, Smart Business Network; and award-winner Douglas Dykes, HR Director, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District; at ERC/CSHRM HR Awards at Landerhaven (2013) [photo credit: Ryan Morgan (ERC)]

to attract and retain talented employees. This enables organizations and the people in them to grow and prosper. NC99 is also a major contributor in reversing the trend in the region known as “brain drain”. Brain drain is a term that refers to talented people who leave a particular area for better opportunities elsewhere. It can relate to countries, regions and even states. Leaders in Ohio have had a concern for many years that too many educated and skilled workers leave Ohio to seek livelihoods in other states. Many leaders have tried to reverse this trend to keep talent in Ohio. NC99 is part of that solution. Many of the top organizations in the region submit an application each year to be considered for this recognition. Each fall approximately 800 people come together at a banquet to recognize the 99 outstanding workplaces in the area. The banquet includes awards for large and small companies as well

as those that provide exemplary community service programs. A number of organizations have received this recognition consistently each year … some as many as 10 consecutive years (Legacy Winners). To view the recipients of the NC99 award since the inception of the program, view the archived lists on

Significant Lessons and People A major motivating factor for Marty has been to continue the work “my dad’s hands” and his family started when “they built Cleveland”.

He (Mordarski) wants people to “bust open doors” and create opportunities to be successful and find meaning in their lives. The majority of his family members were in the skilled trades as electricians, carpenters, pipefitters, plumbers and blue-collar workers. He and his family love everything about Cleveland. It’s no surprise then that he would wind up working on NC99 since it celebrates successful people and organizations in his beloved Northeast Ohio. Unconditional support and sacrifice for the people you love. (mom) Marty has Cleveland in his veins; this is his home and the home of his parents and grandparents. And, it is the home of his wife and children and hopefully other future family


members. He has learned many wonderful lessons over the years from many, many people. These lessons guide him daily in all his work and interactions with everyone. And, they are a constant reminder of the important people who taught him these important lessons. “Leadership is not about getting people to see things your way. It’s about seeing the way people get things … and adjusting accordingly.” (Marty)

Future Plans Marty wants to inspire and empower people to do their best … to discover and tap into their full potential. He wants people to “bust open doors” and create opportunities to be successful and find meaning in their lives. He feels fortunate to be in a position where he can leverage his collection of experiences, life lessons and skills to make a meaningful impact on people, organizations and things that are important to him. He hopes to pay tribute to the people who helped guide and direct him to where he is today. Pretty good for a third grade cello player.

With ERC team members Tara Haskett, HR Advisor (L), and Sam Marx, Training Services, Practice Coordinator (R); during a NorthCoast 99 application review session at ERC (2014) [photo credit: Ryan Morgan (ERC)]

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Akron Art Museum PA S T A N D P R E S E N T

Photos Courtesy of Sara Beatty Photography

Mark Masuoka

THE AKRON ART MUSEUM is a revolutionary organization. Over its ninety-three-year history, the art museum has been at the forefront of contemporary culture in northeast Ohio, and continues to bring artists, patrons and communities together. When the Akron Art Museum first opened its doors as the Akron Art Institute on February 1, 1922, it was located in two borrowed rooms in the basement of the public library. The institute had severely limited financial resources but ambitious founders. They hoped that in addition to offering art instruction and exhibitions, the institute would eventually possess a permanent home and a collection of historical and modern international art. Volunteers were the institute’s sole staff until 1924, when city support made it possible to hire a professional director. The Great Depression tightened finances and ended city funding, forcing the institute to again rely entirely on volunteers from 1931 to 1945. It functioned – much of that time in borrowed spaces – as an art institute, offering classes and exhibiting mostly local artists. The collection was small and eclectic – containing archeological artifacts and decorative art, as well as fine art – and was composed entirely of gifts. In 1937 the institute moved into its first permanent home; a historic mansion. Just four years later, a disastrous fire destroyed the building and much of the collection, threatening the institute’s existence.

After World War II, it arose, phoenix-like, from the ashes with a professional staff and a new focus: fine art and design. Strengthening the fine art collection became a goal, leading to the first purchases of art. To help educate the general public and encourage collecting, major loan exhibitions were organized, including contemporary design shows that garnered national attention. In 1950, the institute moved back to where it had begun – the former public library – this time occupying the entire building and solidifying its commitment to downtown. Re-examination of the institute’s mission began in the mid-1960s. Over the next fifteen years, the institute transformed from a school and art center into a museum. When the school closed in 1965, fine art became the institute’s primary emphasis. The goal of forming a distinguished, comprehensive collection was replaced with the more specialized focus of exhibiting and collecting art produced from 1850 to the present. This focus was, and remains, unique in the region. In October 1980, the importance of collecting was sealed by a name change. “Akron Art Institute” became “Akron Art Museum.” The following year, the art museum moved to its current home; a renovated former post office built in 1899. Over the next quarter-century, the art museum has continued to grow as an integral part of the rich cultural fabric of Northeast Ohio. In 2007, its eighty-fifth year, the museum more than tripled in size with the opening of the John S. and James L. Knight Building designed by the celebrated Viennese architectural firm Coop Himmelb(l)au, which integrated approximately 21,000 square feet of the 1899 building with a new 63,300 square foot building. In its iconic and vibrant downtown building, the Akron Art Museum continues to share a stellar collection of over 5,000 objects with the community in


its ever-changing collection galleries. Spanning three centuries, like the museum’s collection, together they symbolize the museum’s dual role as preserver of the past and herald of the future. Today, the Akron Art Museum is undertaking another transformation, redefining its role as an art museum. The new direction reflects the art museum’s commitment to engaging new audiences and building stronger creative communities. According to Mark Masuoka, Executive Director and CEO, “We are transitioning from a traditionally closed social and cultural ecosystem to a progressively open environment that focuses on reaching out to a broader spectrum of users, makers and supporters.” The Akron Art Museum understands the importance of serving the needs of our community by developing exciting programming for people of all ages. Free Thursdays attracts hundreds of visitors to the art museum each week to experience the exceptional art collection, as well as temporary exhibitions that provide new contexts and experiences. Art Babes, a program for young learners, engages children ages 0 – 2 with sound, music, color and tactile experiences. Family programs such as Story Times, Creative Play Dates and Family Days provide children and their caregivers the opportunity to grow and learn through open-ended play, explore their creativity and experiment with materials through art activities. Also part of Free Thursdays, the museum exhibits artwork by local students and members of community organizations during Night at the Museum exhibitions. Continued on page 14

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viewed the original scene he captured in paint. Some of the buildings seen in the painting, such as the FirstMerit Tower, are still standing today, making clear the contemporary relevance of this historic work of art.

Continued from page 13 The Akron Art Museum supports the educational success of local youth by providing free school tours, hosting over 9,000 students a year for firsthand experiences of the artworks in the museum’s collection and special exhibitions. In order to facilitate school visits, the art museum arranges free transportation and substitute coverage for educators to schedule tours. Education programs also extend opportunities for teacher enrichment with educator presentations such as TeachTalk and Teacher Workshops. Programs for adults include films, music, performances and the quarterly Reading Under the Roof Cloud Book Club, as well as gallery talks and lectures by local, regional and international artists, art historians and art scholars, all of which are regularly scheduled on Free Thursdays. The art museum continues to transform and redefine its public spaces by creating programming related to exhibitions including art activities, cooking demonstrations, yoga

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in the galleries and Slide Jam, a speaker series featuring members of the community who provide diverse, brief entertaining presentations on topics ranging from architecture to 3D printing to storytelling. As the art museum moves forward as a contemporary organization, it is changing its value proposition by asking its visitors and supporters to not only be creative, but to find ways to live creative. Additionally, the Akron Art Museum has begun bringing art out of the galleries into the community with Inside|Out, an innovative Knight Foundation funded program. We will install thirty high-quality reproductions of works in the art museum’s collection throughout the city over a two year period. In December 2014, a preview of Inside|Out was installed in downtown Akron, across from the historic Civic Theatre. A reproduction of Raphael Gleitsmann’s 1930s painting Winter Evening, which depicts a bustling downtown Akron scene, was placed where the artist would have


Today, culture-seekers expect to be directly engaged and want to understand how their investments in arts and culture are valued, delivered and ultimately experienced. The development of new exhibitions and programs is carefully linked to how the Akron Art Museum captures the imagination of its highfrequency users as well as those who are culturally disengaged. Its path to success is a non-linear sequence of events that requires a sense of urgency, adventure and introspection. The art museum’s civic engagement becomes both a gauge and conduit through which it receives and delivers visual content and information, resulting in community-inspired art projects and relevant public programs that bring people together in a meaningful exchange of ideas and inspired enthusiasm. Over the past year, the museum has begun the process of working directly with artists to create temporary projects within the museum’s public spaces and beyond its front doors. Extending art out from the museum’s galleries and directly into the community is a significant goal for the art museum. Whether it is a public art project, community engagement initiative or development of an outdoor public space, the Akron Art Museum continues to fulfill its mission to enrich lives through modern and contemporary art. With each and every exhibition, program and event, the museum takes full advantage of the opportunity to implement a new civic strategy that ensures the cultural health and wellness of the entire community. Mark Masuoka is Executive Director and CEO of the Akron Art Museum

Upcoming Programs CHILDREN Art Babes: Smoosh and Splatter (0 – 18 months and their grown-ups) Thursday, Feb 26 11:15 – 12:00 pm and 1:00 – 1:45 pm

Creative Playdate: Stack, Tumble, Fill and Dump (0 – 5 year olds and their grown-ups) Thursday, Feb 5 11:15 am – 12:30 pm (Free Thursday)

Kids Studio Class: How It’s Made: Intergalactic Sculpture (7 – 12 year olds) Saturday, Feb 7 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Living with Art Feb 5 – Apr 5, 2015 Art isn’t something just meant for museum walls. It is something we can (and do) live with! Working with local interior designer Karen Starr, we will transform the gallery into a living space, complete with seating, tables, lighting, and artwork from the museum’s collection.

Slide Jam: Beauty Reigns Thursday, Mar 19 6:30 pm What makes something beautiful? Hear six fun, moving, unexpected and accessible talks about beauty from artists and designers around Northeast Ohio. (Free Thursday)

Story Time: The Art of Collage Thursday, Feb 19 11:15 am – 12:30 pm (Free Thursday)

John Pearson: Intuitive Structures

Sunday, Feb 15

ADULTS Beauty Reigns: A Baroque Sensibility in Recent Painting Jan 24 – May 3, 2015 Rich color, luscious surfaces, intricate patterning and dynamic compositions characterize the work of the thirteen abstract painters in the exhibition. Beauty Reigns is designed to give viewers visual pleasure and present different approaches to and ideas about beauty.

Thursday, Feb 12 7:00 pm (Free Thursday)

Feb 14 – Jul 12, 2015 Altered Landscapes features art from the museum collection that utilizes landscape as a source for fanciful compositions, to share personal emotion, to convey social or political commentary, and to depict scenery that has been dramatically altered by human presence.

Through Apr 26, 2015 Cleveland artist Christopher Pekoc’s assemblages are distinctive among the work of Ohio artists and far beyond. Pekoc uses humble processes and materials – among them gelatin silver photography, Xerox prints, shellac, sandpaper and punches – in novel ways to create evocative images.

Family Day: SPARK! Family Film Fest

Film: Marie Antoinette

Altered Landscapes

Christopher Pekoc: Hand Made FAMILIES

White – discuss the role of beauty in painting today and what stimulates contemporary painters to use bright colors and layered compositions. (Free Thursday)

Through Feb 8, 2015 A key figure in the arts of Northeast Ohio and beyond, John Pearson has developed his style of geometric abstract painting for over 50 years. Pearson’s recent paintings feature unusual color combinations, which he selects intuitively to create pleasurable aesthetic experiences infused with visual tension.

Art Talk: Panel Discussion

Health: Yoga in the Galleries Thursday, Mar 12 6:30 pm Combine breath, flow and art in a beginner friendly introduction taught by a certified Nirvana Yoga instructor. (Free Thursday)

Book Club: On Beauty by Zadie Smith Thursday, Feb 5 6:00 pm Join us for a tour of the Beauty Reigns exhibition and a discussion of Zadie Smith’s 2005 Man Booker Prize nominated book. (Free Thursday)

Art & Ale Mar 13, 2015

For more information and to register for programs, visit

Thursday, Feb 19 6:30 pm Three of the artists featured in Beauty Reigns – Kamrooz Aram, Nancy Lorenz and Susan Chrysler


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Debra Racey

After sixteen years of living in a coastal resort community on Lake Michigan, I returned to Akron, Ohio in the spring of 2014. One of the things I’d missed about Northeast Ohio was its abundance of superb restaurants; from high-end, family style, and ethnic, to car-hop and diners; it was on my list to rediscover old familiar haunts and to test out the many new places that had sprung up in my absence. On a cool, mid-September Saturday afternoon I was heading back to Akron from Kent after a most enjoyable day spent with my mother, age 87. We were heading down Howe Avenue near Chapel Hill Mall when Mom suddenly declared – “I’m hungry, let’s eat!” I quickly glanced around and noticed the offerings the area had, considering the tried and true chain restaurants where we would easily find the standard soup and sandwich fare – and then my eyes landed on a new restaurant I was not familiar with. I suggested we try eating there. We pulled into the parking lot and walked past the attractive, large patio area (complete with fireplace) and entered The Brick House Tavern + Tap. We were greeted immediately by our hostess and her wide-open smile, and I glanced around, taking it all in. The place had atmosphere and what I’d refer to as “good energy”, so I looked over at Mom and asked if it met with her approval – and to my delight, she

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smiled back and nodded her head – yes! We were shown to a large, comfortable booth as I noticed the room’s attractive décor: brick walls, wood, steel, open air and comfortable seating options. I saw a good sized crowd in the bar area at the opposite end, several T.V.’s displaying any and every game being played, and another large and welcoming fireplace in the dining area. I smiled back at Mom and up at our server Nicole, who was asking us if we knew what we’d like to drink. The drink menu, with its sophisticated selection of cocktails and great list of beers and wines caught my attention, but I was about to order our usual two coffees with cream when Mom announced she’d like a martini with a lemon twist, Grey Goose preferably! Delighted by her enthusiasm, I ordered myself a glass of the house Malbec.


I admired the look of their menu and noted the ”Chef Inspired” offerings of: Greek Keftedes Meatballs (lamb and beef meatballs made from scratch, mint cucumber tzatziki on crostini, with basil pesto, goat cheese and baby arugula with creamy balsamic), the Sitting Duck Salad (roasted duck, savory greens, candied bacon lardons, brioche croutons, smoked cheddar and roasted shallot vinaigrette), their Deviled Eggs (farm fresh eggs, smoky bacon, hint of jalapeno and paprika) and the Kobe Burger (hand formed wagyu beef patty, sautéed onions, roasted tomatoes, spring mix, brie and roasted red pepper aioli on a knot bun). My brain said to my stomach, “YUM!” Our server reappeared and spoke to us about the charitable promotion they were having to benefit No Kid Hungry, and explained that for a five dollar donation, we would in return receive a coupon for any of their burger selections at a future return visit. I was impressed by the philanthropy and agreed to make a donation, knowing a return visit would include my twenty-something year old nephew as well. We started with the Greek Meatballs and my mother literally devoured them. I opted to try the Sitting Duck Salad and Mom decided their Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup (smoked cheddar, shaved brie, mozzarella, crispy prosciutto, grilled red onions and arugula with house made tomato bisque) was just what she’d been waiting for. I hadn’t had duck in

too many years and its moist, rich flavor was a delight to my taste buds. Mom’s Grilled Cheese and Tomato Bisque looked so tempting and the look on her face as she savored each bite was a pleasure to behold. A greeting by the assistant manager had me exclaiming how much we’d enjoyed the place and were both eager to bring back family and guests. I inquired further about the ownership and was given the business card of the General Manager, Douglas Hanes. As the Advertising and Design Services representative for aroundKent magazine, I knew this was a place I would love to see advertise with us. I took a good long look at the people who were enjoying their meals, and noted the varied crowd that was being served. The bar area had the usual enthusiastic mix watching college football on a Saturday afternoon; seated throughout the dining room were couples, foursomes and families of various ages and sizes. One large group was celebrating what appeared to be a grandparent’s birthday; all seemed to be having a wonderful time. It was a good crowd and one that was growing as our late afternoon turned into evening. We paid our tab and left both happy and wonderfully satisfied. Since that first discovery, I’ve had the pleasure of eating at Brick House Tavern + Tap more than a few times (though as of this writing, I have not had the opportunity to enjoy what appears to be a great brunch, though it remains on my “to do” list) and have entertained clients there

for lunch, along with joining friends and family there as well. I’m an admiring fan and wanted to learn more about them, their menu selections, and charitable affiliations, and had the good fortune to ask the following questions of their Director of Culinary, Tim Griffin. How does the Brick House Tavern + Tap differ from the typical chain restaurant? We have unique food items that you’re more likely to find in a gastro pub in Manhattan or Chicago than a chain restaurant. Right now our Thursday Daily Special is a Goat Burger with Harissa Mayo on a Naan Bun. Definitely not typical. Additionally, we offer unique Brunch menu items, both food and drink. The Southern Fried Chicken Benedict is hard to beat, and the sriracha bacon hollandaise that goes with it is made fresh from scratch. Ambitious menu choices; “Chef Inspired.“ What are the highlights and how did you decide to go with these choices? Clever proteins such as duck, goat, lamb are great to not only offer variety to our guests, but also offer them the opportunity to try something new. We like to take these items and make them approachable to everyone. For example, our Duck Wings is an opportunity for a wing lover to try a bird of a different feather. Are there any plans to add new items and or specials that may change seasonally? Continued on page 20


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Continued from page 19 Yes! We are always adding new items with the season. Our new menu is in the works and will be arriving in March 2015. We are planning on some new shareable items as well as some new spring time specials. We are also preparing an updated brunch menu with some exciting offerings.” Personally, I can’t wait to try these new selections and I’m seeing that brunch happening very soon in the near future. I wanted to ask the Akron locations General Manager, Douglas Hanes more about the charities they have supported, in addition to some of this location’s specialties. Do you purchase ingredients locally? Any relationships with local farms, Farmers Markets, etc.? Yes, absolutely! The local vendors always buy from local farms in season; two of the main ones being Zellers and Walcher. What are some of the charities that have benefitted from Brick House Tavern + Tap’s involvement in their fund raising campaigns? We have competed in the University of Akron’s Chili Cook Off for the past two years in support of the United Way. We’ve also donated a tree every year to the Akron Children’s Hospitals Holiday Tree Festival. We raise money for Operation Homefront, in support of our country’s military men and women and No Kid Hungry, which helps to fight childhood hunger here in America. We are also a proud member of the greater Chamber of Commerce.

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What are your best specials? We currently run our Happiness Hour, Monday – Friday from 2 – 6 p.m. There are drink and appetizer specials during those times. Additionally, we offer Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays which feature some fantastic menu items and $2 Mimosas, plus our delicious Bloody Good Mary! Why is Brick House Tavern + Tap the best place to watch a game? We have all the major sport packages, so even if you are from out of town, we will have your team on. We also offer reservations, so if you want a certain table and game, we’re happy to accommodate you. Our seating is very comfortable and we even have recliners where you can literally lean back and enjoy the game. Lastly, what would you like the public to learn about Brick House Tavern + Tap? We are here to Dispense Happiness through multiple avenues. We take great pride in serving fresh, made from scratch food and cocktails. In addition to our great food and drinks, our service is above and beyond. If you don’t see something on the menu that you like, we are willing to work with you. We want everyone to feel valued and appreciated. The Brick House Tavern + Tap 581 Howe Ave. Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44221 330.920.6244 (reservations are accepted) 11am – 1:00am

Advertising & Design Services

Ann VerWiebe

WKSU 89.7

Northeast Ohio’s Award-Winning NPR Station In October, the WKSU news staff took home 13 Ohio SPJ Awards from Ohio Chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), including Best Reporter in Ohio for Kabir Bhatia. These dozen-plus honors come at the end of a fruitful year that saw the WKSU newsroom and web team earn recognition regionally and nationally. Altogether, WKSU staff members took home 43 awards from seven contests for work produced in 2013.

The SPJ Award was Bhatia’s first for Best Reporter. A Kent State University graduate, he originally worked for the station as a newsroom student employee in the ‘90s. Bhatia, who currently lives with his family in Hudson, has been a professional jourKabir Bhatia nalist with WKSU since 2010. This year, he took home a second-place Ohio SPJ Award for Best Consumer Reporting for covering the push for drive-ins to convert to digital projection.

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Other stand-out awards this year include Vivian Goodman’s second National Gabriel Award for a story on Hattie’s Gardens that was first produced for her weekly Quick Bites segment, which focuses on food – eating, cooking and Vivian Goodman growing – in northern Ohio. The series also drew notice from Ohio Professional Writers (OPW) and the Press Club of Cleveland (PCC). OPW, PCC, Ohio Associated Press (AP), and Ohio SPJ all presented first-place awards to reporter/producers M.L. Schultze and Tim Rudell for Special Programming for coverage of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, practices in Northeast Ohio. The pair’s on-going reporting of this controversial issue consisted of short- and long-form pieces that examined the positive and negative effects of this expanding fossil fuel extraction process. Schultze took home other first-place awards for her feature

on young, homeless people in Cleveland and a breaking news alert following a gas leak in Canton. Rudell expanded his outlook to a new, botanical experiment with rubber production to pick up a first-place Ohio SPJ Award and a third-place prize from PCC. WKSU Morning Edition host Amanda Rabinowitz locked in best-in-show honors as Best Anchor from Ohio AP (Ohio SPJ named her second-place in the same category) and the Ohio Excellence in Journalism Award for Best Radio Newscast. Her news feature on hate crimes in the LGBT community in advance of the Gay Games was also award-winning. Reporter/producer Kevin Niedermier looked at the coming Gay Games through the lens of another sporting event visiting Cleveland, the Senior Games. His business-focused feature was twice honored. With his Exploradio series of news features, Jeff St. Clair shines a spotlight on area science breakthroughs, innovation and medical research. His series was rewarded with a first-place honor for Enterprise Reporting from Ohio AP, along with recognition for individual

stories on an outstanding fresh-water mussel population, experiments in tree storm strength and first-place recognition Jeff St. Clair from Ohio SPJ for Best Medical/ Health Reporting for “Engineering a Chiari Breakthrough” (also honored by PCC). The newsroom was not alone in its winning track record. WKSU Director of IT Chuck Poulton led the web team to an Ohio Excellence in Journalism Best in Show award for Best Web Site in Ohio and second-place honors in that category from Ohio SPJ. The Ohio AP recognized the website, as well as the station’s social media efforts on Facebook and Twitter and special projects like the prize-winning Quick Bites Facebook page, with the first-place award for Best Use of Multimedia.


The WKSU staff works diligently to serve the region – putting 22 counties in touch with the breaking events and developing stories that affect the lives of millions of people. From Canton to Akron to Cleveland and Norwalk to Kent to Thompson, WKSU reporters are charged with telling the stories of Northeast Ohio to those that call it home – and to listeners beyond state lines as an NPR member station. WKSU was runner-up as Best News Operation in the Ohio AP and Ohio SPJ competitions. Hear the latest reports from the WKSU news team daily during local broadcasts of NPR’s Morning Edition (M – F, 5am – 9am), All Things Considered (M – F, 4pm – 7pm and Sa – Su, 5pm – 6pm), Here and Now (M­– F, 12pm – 2pm), and Weekend Edition (Sa – Su, 8am­– 10am). Revisit stories online and find links to NPR news at Ann VerWiebe is WKSU’s Marketing and Public Relations Associate.

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Christie Anderson

Community Partnerships Reduce Hunger





ent Social Services is fortunate to receive food from many local restaurants and grocery stores to be reused creatively in nutritious meals to feed hungry members of the community. Food is picked up daily at restaurants as far away as the Chapel Hill mall area by a crew of volunteers. Excess food from church events, wedding receptions and catering services, such

as 7 Chairs, also arrives unexpectedly and is received with gratitude. Yes, we serve leftovers. But our Kitchen Coordinator, Bill Bowen, and a dedicated group of regular volunteers turn leftovers into encore presentations! Stop and consider how much you spend on food for just yourself on a typical day. In 2011, the average person in Portage County spent just over $7.00 per day on food, based on data compiled by Second Harvest. However, for someone who depends upon food stamp assistance, each person receives an allotment at a rate of $4.33 per day. Imagine the challenge in trying to spend just $4.00 for all of the food you consume in one day! It’s no wonder that people deplete their food assistance benefits by the third week of the month and need additional assistance. Even for households with a wage earner, the economic recovery has been slow and times

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are still difficult for numerous people in Portage County. Many people, especially younger parents, are facing reductions in work hours as former full-time positions are being scaled back to part-time without benefits. Food centers such as Kent Social Services and the Center of Hope in Ravenna are witnessing this firsthand, as a record number of new consumers are applying for food assistance who have never needed to seek help in the past. The reduction in work hours plus the government’s recent reduction in unemployment benefits and food stamp amounts is placing a greater demand upon local food resources. Many people don’t realize that Kent has a sizable low-income population. Thirty-eight percent of school children qualify for free lunches at Kent public schools. One in 6 children in Portage County are designated as “food insecure.” Economic realities pose a

challenge in particular for families with children and for seniors. Sadly, seniors on fixed incomes, people receiving disability benefits, and adults who earn low wages are forced to rely on food pantries to supplement their food needs. But fortunately, Portage County residents support 12 food pantries located throughout the County and two feeding sites – Kent Social Services in Kent and the Center of Hope in Ravenna.

Mission of Kent Social Services Kent Social Services is a warm, friendly center that offers a free nutritious meal and a smile to local folks in need. It’s primary mission is to supplement food and nutrition needs of

1000 households from the Kent area who are enrolled and eligible to receive groceries, but only about one-fourth of these visit the pantry regularly each month. Most pick up food only when times are particularly difficult. With the drought in western states prompting increases in food prices, everyone is spending more for food. Rising food prices harshly impact low-wage earners and those on fixed incomes, as they have no extra money that can offset added costs. Something must give – payments for medical fees, utility bills, car repairs or other necessities must be juggled. Often food becomes the easiest item to sacrifice as it won’t jeopardize housing and won’t hurt credit ratings, compared to the consequences of failing to pay other bills. Not surprisingly, the sacrifice of food affects the nutrition and health of individuals. Malnourished seniors are more likely to fall and are vulnerable to illness. Malnourished children will not flourish in school. Hunger is a community issue that impacts all of us.

Extraordinary Community Support

vulnerable people in Kent and surrounding area. KSS is a program of Family & Community Services, Inc., a non-profit agency with a comprehensive array of programs in Portage County, as well as programs in other northeast Ohio communities. KSS strives to fulfill its mission to reduce hunger through the operation of two programs – one offering hot meals and the other providing groceries through the Lord’s Pantry. The hot meal program serves over 450 meals a week, primarily to older adults. Approximately 580 people receive 3 days worth of groceries once a month. The households receiving groceries are more often families with children. There are almost

In recognition of the importance of reducing local hunger, members of the Kent area overwhelmingly step up and support the mission of KSS. In fact, KSS could not exist without the strong support of the community in terms of monetary contributions, food donations and volunteer labor. KSS is totally dependent upon the generosity of the community as it has no committed source of funding. Approximately 24% of funding is provided by local donations to the United Way of Portage County. The remaining 76% of the agency’s funding is derived from local contributions received directly from individuals, churches, civic groups and businesses. No government grants support the meal program, which enables meal guests to dine without


the humiliating process of divulging personal information or proving financial need. It’s been a financial struggle to keep up with demand for services over the past few years. Like so many other non-profit organizations, the economic downturn prompted more demand for assistance while donations decreased. Due to the ongoing generosity of local donors, KSS was able to keep its doors open and respond to the increased need. We are often asked whether it is more helpful to donate money or food. Both are vital to our operations. Monetary donations enable us to purchase food from the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank, which often saves as much as 70% compared to retail food purchases. However, the food inventory of the Food Bank is limited, so money, gift cards for local grocery stores and non-perishable food collected through food drives are invaluable in providing KSS consumers with a diversity of foods. The KSS “Choice Pantry” enables consumers to select their food products and offers a miscellaneous shelf containing donations of less common foods. No matter what food items are donated – anchovies, oysters or Spam – we will find a good home for them! Expired canned food is Continued on page 26

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Continued from page 25 also accepted up to two years past the expiration date. Annual food drives are conducted by many groups, including large food drives coordinated by: Kent Public Schools, KSU College of Public Health, U.S. Post Office, KSU student groups, Crooked River Community Time Bank members, and numerous businesses and churches.

It takes an enormous amount of manpower to collect, sort and distribute the 200,000 pounds of non-perishable food donated annually. With just 3 part-time employees working a combined total of only 60 hours a week, KSS serves over 23,000 hot meals and distributes over 21,000 bags of groceries. Assistant Program Manager, Marquice Seward coordinates over 400 separate individuals who provide in

Businesses Regularly Donating Perishable Food Acme Grocery of Kent Bob Evans of Kent and Cuyahoga Falls Chipotle of Kent Domino’s Pizza of Kent Kent State University Hotel Longhorn at Chapel Hill Mike’s Place of Kent Olive Garden at Chapel Hill Pizza Hut of Stow Ray’s Place of Kent Red Lobster of Cuyahoga Falls Sheetz of Kent Starbucks of Kent

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excess of 12,000 hours of volunteer time to KSS annually. Volunteers include individual adults, KSU students, Community Service workers, scout troops, church groups and students from Kent, Hoban, Streetsboro, Walsh, Brimfield and St. Vincent-St. Mary high schools. A rotation of 10 Kent churches takes turns preparing the evening meal every Thursday, and include: The Light, Riverwood Chapel, Christ Episcopal Church, United Methodist Church of Kent, Kent United Church of Christ, Newman Center, Presbyterian Church, Quaker Society, Trinity Lutheran Church. The employees of Kent Elastomer also participate regularly in the Thursday rotation. In addition, consumers benefit from fresh corn and potatoes that are gleaned by members of the United Methodist Church at local farms. With the guidance of Ann Gosky, Kent State University hospitality students and other volunteers took the initiative to start “Campus Kitchen,” a project that entails recovering excess food from across campus and turning it into gourmet meals delivered to KSS and the Center of Hope once a week. This savings in food has in turn, enabled KSS to offer hot dinners on Sunday evenings. With lunches provided by

Trinity Lutheran Church every Saturday, and a monthly dinner by the United Church of Christ, hungry folks can now benefit from one nutritious meal in Kent every day of the week. The hot meal program and the Lord’s Pantry could not exist without the incredible support of the local community. Kent’s response to the needs of hungry residents is truly collaborative and generous. The valued partners who are cited are only some of the hundreds of donors and volunteers who enable Kent Social Services to fulfill its vital mission. Residents of Kent and the surrounding area have very generous hearts, offering one more reason why Kent is a great place to live! Christie Anderson is Program Manager at Kent Social Services.

Hot Meal Sites

Pantries in Portage County

Kent Social Services 1066 S. Water St., Kent 330-673-6963

Brimfield Community Pantry Catholic Charities (Ravenna) Center of Hope (Ravenna) Crestwood 4 Cs Kent Social Services Lifepoint Church of Atwater Nelson-Garrettsville Community Cupboard Palmyra United Methodist Church Riverwood Community Chapel (Kent) Salvation Army (Ravenna) Streetsboro Church of Christ Trinity Lutheran Church

Center of Hope 1034 W. Main St., Ravenna 330-297-5454 “Like” KSS on Face Book

call 211 for details


Celebrating more than 77 years of Ray’s Place in Kent by Patrick J. O’Connor 27

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Michelle Culley M.Ed., LPC


f you ask people around this time of year how they are doing, many may reply that they feel, “overwhelmed.” And, indeed they are. They may be experiencing real anxiety producing stressors at work, at home, personally or all three. As a therapist who meets with people all week, I find myself amazed by the intensity of the struggles people deal with every day while carrying on with their lives. It used to be that we would say we were “stressed,” meaning we had a lot on our plates and wished we could get rid of some things, but we were handling it. It was understood that “stressed” was a temporary state and things would be back to a more manageable pace soon. But “stressed” no longer seems like enough to express the level of unrest many are experiencing in an almost constant state. “Overwhelmed” is the new “stressed.” So what’s the big deal? Well, when a system – like your car or your computer for example – is “overwhelmed”, it usually means the amount of input or distress being put into the system far outweighs the system’s ability to cope or recover. Drive around long enough with that

overwhelmed is the new stressed

“check engine” light on and it’s only a matter of time before your car won’t start. (Yes, I am speaking from personal experience here.) Keep pushing buttons on that computer and what happens? It freezes or crashes, unable to respond at the speed you are demanding of it. (OK, yes, I’ve done that too.) In our simplest form, our bodies are just a bunch of systems. Overwhelm a part of your system and your body will let you know in one way or another – much like the “check engine” light in your car. You may experience physical problems like chronic pain, digestive problems, unexplained skin irritations, insomnia or frequent migraines. You may also experience emotional distresses like bouts of depression or sudden panic attacks that last longer and longer each time. Drive your systems at that level of distress long enough and there is the very real chance of doing lasting damage to one or more of your systems. Short of giving away all your worldly possessions and moving to a tropical Island, it may feel like there is not much we can do to remove all the stressors from our lives. It is as if we are allowing a greater and greater amount of real stress to rule our lives – and my telling you to just get rid of that stressful job or ignore your many responsibilities is not really helpful. But there is a relatively easy way to get back in the driver’s seat of your own life. I recommend developing a meditation practice.

What is Meditation? We may think of meditation as a religious practice and indeed it is very central to some religious communities. The Buddhist tradition, for example, incorporates meditation, Yoga and sacred chanting. Practitioners in Tibet (called monks or nuns) live communally, supporting each other as they study and embody

the teachings of the Buddha. But the practice of meditation itself fits easily into our busy Western lives. Just like we have taken the ancient art of Yoga and made it accessible to so many people, meditation can be added to your self care routine. Simply put, meditation is the practice of turning your focus away from everyday thoughts, to focus attention on being present and really experiencing the current moment. It can involve movement, such as a walking meditation or Yoga, or it can be a seated and silent practice. The goal is to take your focus off what some mediators call our “monkey mind” thoughts – those thoughts that spin around and around in our heads like wild monkeys, distracting us from truly being present in the moment. Those nattering and annoying thoughts can be anything – from the constant listing of things we feel we need to accomplish for the day, to debilitating thoughts of guilt, blame or sadness. Sometimes “monkey mind” thoughts are those “what if” thoughts we have that fill us with anxious feelings. Meditation gently and purposefully guides our thinking into the much more useful thoughts of what is happening right in this minute. If we spend our energy worrying about the future, we cannot enjoy the present; likewise, if we spend our energy mentally beating ourselves up about something that happened in the past, we are denying ourselves full appreciation of the present. We have a handful of progressive thinking people to thank for introducing meditation as a practice to the United States. One person in particular is John Kabat-Zinn. An MIT scholar, Kabat-Zinn was interested in folding Eastern contemplative arts into the realm of science. Kabat-Zinn used his medical studies and formal


Buddhist teachings to develop and refine the concept of Mindfulness. Like Meditation, Mindfulness is the tuning your thoughts into the current moment with a gentle intensity, unlike that of our usually scattered focus. Kabat-Zinn would sometimes challenge his students of Mindfulness to take a full minute to eat a raisin while noticing all the subtle textures and layers of taste of the raisin that we usually miss while quaffing down trail mix. I came to meditation long after a very painful time in my life – in my teen years I was brutally raped. Fearing my family would be harmed as the perpetrator had threatened, I did not tell anyone what happened to me. I harbored that terrible secret believing then that there would come a time when I could just forget about it and it would fade away. Of course, just the opposite was true – it was all I could think about for many years. I reacted to the ever present pain and self blame by turning to substance abuse and falling into really dysfunctional relationships. I withdrew further and further into my own nightmare. As the years went on I dropped the drugs and the dysfunctional friends, and started going to therapy. There were many detours and false starts along the way, but I eventually managed to get to a healthier life. Therapy helped me heal the deep scars left from the rape and it helped me learn that I am a survivor of a traumatic event and not the worthless victim I felt I was. Later in my life – with the encouragement of my husband – I started to explore Eastern philosophies and traditions to better understand forgiveness. Forgiveness is usually a complicated step in the healing journey and I was very interested in the simplicity meditation seemed to offer. At first, it was not easy to sit Continued on page 30

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Continued from page 29 with my own thoughts for more than a couple of minutes. I would sit on a pretty cushion and quickly become irritated or bored but I really wanted to know what this meditation was about. During this quest, I found a local meditation community in Cuyahoga Falls that made all the difference in the world. The Akron – Canton Shambhala Center ( offers classes, talks and open meditation sessions within a warm and supportive community. Today as a mom of three and a therapist in a private practice, I turn to meditation again and again to center myself, and keep the really important things in life in perspective. Most mornings I meditate for 30 minutes before doing anything else. I feel better prepared to be fully present with my kids, my husband and my clients. My head is cleared of nonproductive negative thoughts and I can slow my breathing to a calming pace through meditation. Shedding those negative thoughts, even momentarily, allows me to really experience gratitude for all the gifts I have in this life.

How can you add Meditation and Mindfulness into your already Busy Life? Maybe it is because I was a high school teacher years ago, but I really love teaching others how to be their very best self. I am so honored when I see my clients discover something truly wonderful about themselves; it is a moment of joy

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when I get to see clients discover a new way of looking at their lives. I also really want to share the riches of all I have learned. As a result, I will be offering an ongoing Mindfulness Seminar. The seminars will be eight weeks long and will run throughout the year, beginning in mid February in my Kent office. Each week we will learn how our full-tilt lifestyles can be better managed through being more attentive to the present. We will also engage in a discussion about how to actually apply a more mindful approach to our lives. And finally, we will engage in a mindfulness activity or informal meditation session together. It is my hope that each participant discover if adding a formal or non-formal meditation practice to their lives would open up a new, more stress free approach to life. Participants of the seminar will receive a wealth of written resources about self-care, stress and anxiety reduction, while exploring meditation and mindfulness skills. The seminar is geared toward adults, but motivated teens are welcome as well. We will learn how to realistically add a meditative element into your life style. The cost for all materials and teachings for the entire eight weeks of the Mindfulness Seminar will be $240. But I also realize that you may not be sure if meditation is right for you. That’s why I will offer a 100% risk-free offer. If after your first class you do not wish to continue, I will refund 100% of the fee. Together we will experience how something as simple as watching our thoughts go by without judgment or reaction can lead the way out of our overwhelmed minds.


Imagine being truly present, in a relaxed state to appreciate all the wonderful things life has in store for you. If you would like to sign up for the Mindfulness Seminar, please call me at (330) 835-7477 or send me an email at You can also visit my webpage at I look forward to hearing from you. Together we can stop being so overwhelmed.

Visual Art


The breadth of diversity in approaches to art making in Kent and NE Ohio is impressive. Traditional modes and materials are often seen alongside new media and thinking; a surprising number of sensibilities can make sense in relation to one another today. An effort is at work to find maximum creative potential in whatever the artist’s chosen direction, allowing for a healthy sense of artistic freedom. Covered here are artists exploring distinct paths in photography, painting and fiber sculpture.



Lori Kella’s photographs of her constructed landscapes work on several levels. There’s a back-and-forth play between the real and the artificial that stimulates thoughts about the nature of reality and her fantasy-tinged, almost surreal, variations of it. There’s the pure esthetic beauty of her creations and the peculiar materials she utilizes. There are also interesting questions raised about the nature of photography in contemporary art, and there are, of course, serious metaphoric and socio-political implications. Much of her recent work was influenced by a trip she took with a group of fellow artists to Wyoming to examine the impact of hydraulic fracturing on public lands. As she states: “Inspired by this terrain, I reconstructed models of the land and photographed these dioramas. I was particularly interested in what could not be seen, the network of underground pipes and reservoirs. These elements were in stark contrast to the pristine beauty of the observable vistas. The resulting photographs show the vast wilderness that is visible along the horizon, and a strange hidden geology that is

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Crossing the Divide archival pigment print, 30”x 40”, 2013


Mark Keffer KSU Class of ‘88

Fracktopia archival pigment print, 40” x 30”, 2013

omnipresent below ground. My most recent work, Strange Crossings continues to explore what lies below the surface. … these images highlight what cannot be seen, however, these photographs focus on personal narratives of migration; tracing the arduous journeys many make to cross these barriers, or conduct research in remote sites.”

Tidal Wetlands archival pigment print, 40”x 30”, 2014

Lori Kella received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Cornell University. She is currently an Assistant Professor (part-time) at Kent State University and has taught at other institutions including Cleveland Institute of Art, Oberlin College, University of Akron and Cornell. She has exhibited her work extensively in the region – including recently at the William


Busta Gallery in Cleveland – and in various cities nationally. She is the recipient of the Creative Workforce Fellowship from Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, as well as multiple grants from the Ohio Arts Council.

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Visual Art




Joshua Rex is an artist that works in painting, writing and music. Painting and writing form a complimentary balance for him, allowing for a symbiotic flow of energy between the two. Music is a form of release that provides pure enjoyment. An organic relationship is struck that keeps the different disciplines rich in creative vitality. Featured here are examples of his recent paintings on paper, in which pop-tinted imagery addresses thoughtprovoking social realities. Rex is currently developing two such bodies of work. He describes them as “a further exploration and reflection of my continuing frustration with the indifference of contemporary culture. In the trash paintings – a series loosely titled “Still Lives” – I’ve ‘recycled’ common garbage into human institutions/concepts recognizable either through form or title, perhaps in an attempt to communicate the notion that despite our elevated ideals of ourselves as an advanced civilization, what we’re leaving behind suggests the opposite. As for the execution of the work, I feel that hyper-realism best conveys these ideas.

The City gouache and acrylic on paper, 30” x 48”, 2014

“In the second series called "Gentrified", I'm using a silhouette of the German writer Johannes Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832), which in its day represented the ideally proper male form and posture, as Moment of Creation gouache and acrylic on paper, 36” x 48”, 2014

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a symbol of how contemporary society deconstructs the past. Some of the other images in this series involve the figure being cut up and reassembled, heads added, the middle subtracted so that only a pixelated outline remains. After finishing "Obstruction" in the series, I spent a long time regarding the painting, considering whether it was the figure or the orange barrel that the observer would find 'in the way' as it were…" Joshua Rex is currently living and working in Cleveland. He received a BA in History/ French from Bowling Green State University and an A.S. from Johnson & Wales University. As well as having had solo exhibitions and numerous group shows in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Ohio, his writing has been published in anthologies, on-line journals and podcasts.

Photography by Paul Sobota

Obstruction gouache and acrylic on paper, 48” x 36”, 2014


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Visual Art




There was a time when fabric and textiles, while having clear esthetic properties, were primarily used for functional purposes. It is difficult to pinpoint just when these materials began to transcend function and stand alone as the basis for expressive and thought-provoking contemporary sculptures. Rebecca Cross is an artist, based in Oberlin and teaching at Kent State, who uses this medium for just such ends: “I am interested in the ephemeral nature of beauty, the permanence of love, and the interplay between the two. By way of analogy, silk fabric is diaphanous and strong, delicate and sturdy; it survives multiple permutations and transformations, while retaining its fluidity and luminescence. Such contradictions, which function at both a material and a metaphorical level, fascinate me.

Embrace 2 detail

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(foreground) Embrace 2 silk and dyes, approx 18’ x 2’, 2014

Untitled detail

I primarily use the traditional techniques of Japanese shibori, a shape- and color-resist immersion dye process. Shibori embeds memory in fabric through color and form and echoes the way in which life experiences create multiple palimpsests as one proceeds forward in time, while continually registering the accumulations of the past.” Rebecca Cross was born in Texas and raised in Japan and Alaska. She received an MFA from Kent State and has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, including recent solo exhibitions at The Sculpture Center and Morgan Paper Conservatory in Cleveland. Much of her work involves collaborations; she has worked extensively with her husband – composer Randolph Colemen – and the Double Edge Dance Company – Kora Radella and Ross Feller, artistic directors. Cross is the recipient of the Textile Society of America New Professional Award and has participated in artist residencies in Budapest, Hungary and Johnson, Vermont, among others. (foreground) Untitled silk and dyes, approx 10’ x 3’, 2014


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Liz Felix




hen I arrived at 91.3 The Summit as the new Music Director in 2008, the station was a busy stop for artists on the road. Everyone from John Mayer to Akron native Joseph Arthur and a then-unknown local band called the Black Keys had come to the station for interviews and live performances. I had just come from a commercial radio station with a similar format. We also hosted a wide range of artists in our studio, and when I was

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there, I produced a compilation CD of our in-studio recordings. I thought we might be able to do something even more special with our studio recordings at The Summit. As I was contemplating the station’s indebtedness to its members (as a non-commercial radio station, a good chunk of our operating budget is dependent on listener support), an idea began to form to include supporters in the excitement of in-studio sessions. General


Manager Tommy Bruno suggested the use of our neighboring television studio, the home base for APS-15, as a possible performance space. In early 2009, Studio C opened its doors to an audience of station members for the first time. Within a year, we had welcomed more than 20 artists to Studio C, including Amos Lee, Brett Dennen, Ingrid Michaelson, Jessica Lea Mayfield (stopping in before a hometown show

at the Kent Stage), and Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney’s side project (the appropriatelynamed local “supergroup” Drummer). They did interviews with Summit DJs and recorded intimate three-song concerts, which were then aired on the station. The audience was limited to station members – the core idea being that Studio C sessions were our way of thanking members for their support. But two years after we started hosting Studio C sessions, it was clear that we were growing beyond the capacity of our space. The Stow, Ohio company Audio-Technica had signed on as a business underwriter for Studio C, and their help with microphones and other audio gear bolstered our ability to get bettersounding recordings. But the television studio was never really intended to host an audience, not to mention a rock band, and the sometimes last minute nature of artist bookings was becoming a burden for the television staff. So we started to look around for a new home for Studio C. We experimented with hosting sessions off-site and even considered renting a space that we could retrofit to meet our needs. But none of those solutions turned out to be viable, and we continued to make do with the television studio. This problem coincided with another growthrelated issue we were having at The Summit: the expansion of our instrument donation program, Music Alive. A few years earlier, we had started working with the Akron Symphony and Taylor Band and Orchestra to collect and refurbish musical instruments. Those instruments, once repaired, would go to students in need at Akron Public Schools (who hold the license to the radio station and house our studios in an administration building).

We had begun talks with the Canton Symphony Orchestra and Pellegrino Music Center to start the same donation program for our Canton listeners. We were contemplating ways to expand the program to our Youngstown listeners at 90.7 FM, too. With so many new musical instruments coming our way, we began looking around the 100-year old school building we call home for a place to store donations. Enter “Room 4.” A former meeting space, Room 4 had become an afterthought and general storage area for Akron Public Schools. With its threadbare carpet, white brick walls and harsh fluorescent lights, Room 4 seemed like an unlikely candidate for our new performance space, but we thought it might be useful for storing the instrument donations for Music Alive.


Then a chance conversation between GM Tommy Bruno, Program Director Bill Gruber and station supporter and underwriter Skip Summerville opened up some new possibilities. Summerville’s business, The Office Place, specializes in office furniture and refurbishment. He and his staff helped us transform Room 4 into a new Studio C space and an appropriate home for the Music Alive program we were so proud of. After four years, we were ready to open Studio C to Summit members for the second time. Our first session in the new studio was with Ohio-based band Red Wanting Blue. Our videographer, Todd Volkmer from Wasted Talent Media, was on hand to capture the event for Continued on page 40

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Continued from page 39 our YouTube page. It was jam-packed; the band generously offered to play two sets to accommodate everyone who wanted to see them in Studio C that day. The re-opening of Studio C was one of the best moments I’ve experienced in my time at The Summit. And there have been many since that day. We’ve hosted sessions with top-notch national acts, including Bela Fleck, Walk the Moon, JD McPherson, and The Hold Steady. Joseph Arthur has returned several times, once with Mike Mills of R.E.M., who joined him on the road in 2013. That Studio C session stands out as one of the best we’ve ever recorded.

One of the great things about Studio C is that it provides a place for Ohio talent to perform and be heard, not just by the station members in the room, but over the Summit airwaves. Some of those artists (like Joseph Arthur, Over the Rhine, and Jessica Lea Mayfield) already have the attention of a national audience. Many other local Studio C visitors (like The Strange Familiar or Kent-based band The Speedbumps) are primed to get there soon.

support our radio station with their memberships. I consider it a privilege to have so much access to music at my job. I’m very grateful that I get to share that music with our listeners on the air every day. But there’s really nothing like getting to see the impact that music has on a live audience. And luckily for us at The Summit, members make that experience a regular occurrence in Studio C.

Ultimately, for the station staff, Studio C is about supporting the musicians, local or national, who play at our local venues, and about saying thanks to the listeners who



Amos Lee


Joseph Arthur (with Mike Mills of R.E.M.)

Brett Dennen

The Old 97’s

JD McPherson

Dr. Dog


ZZ Ward

Jukebox the Ghost

Vance Joy

Fitz and the Tantrums

Jessica Lea Mayfield and David Mayfield

Bela Fleck Scars on 45 Red Wanting Blue Walk the Moon The Hold Steady

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Over the Rhine Ingrid Michaelson



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We are steel!

Lisa Armstrong


hen the doors opened for the first day of classes at the new Steel Academy in August of last year, the Akron area was introduced to a new type of educational experience for students struggling with learning differences who have had difficulty finding success in traditional school environments. The Steel Academy, operated by United Disability Services, is a free, public, notfor-profit community school with a fully accredited academic program focusing on serving children in grades 6 – 12 with ADHD, Asperger’s and autism spectrum disorders, as well as gifted students simply needing to be challenged. The school also offers many extracurricular activities including the opportunity to participate in the fine arts and sports, and is also home to its signature traveling and performing steel drum band, the Steel Angels.

“Our students learn differently so we use proven methods that integrate academics with the arts to creatively engage students in learning,” said Lawrie. “Our learning model takes a handson approach where music and the performing arts are incorporated into all subjects. Classes are also small in size and shorter in duration to help our students maintain their focus and attention throughout the day.” Lawrie had the vision for the school but needed funding and a building to make her vision a Continued on page 44

The idea for the school began to take shape four years ago when founder and now principal Angel Lawrie, a 25-year public school teacher, started a 40-member steel drum band to integrate the arts into core subjects like math, science and language arts, and began to see the positive results in how her students were learning.


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Continued from page 43 reality – no small task. Enter Kent-area resident Gary Knuth, president/CEO of United Disability Services in Akron. Knuth met Lawrie at a meeting of the Akron Rotary Club in 2013 where her steel drum band, the Steel Angels, had just finished performing for its members. “When I first met Angel I was inspired by her passion, commitment and demonstrated success in educating children who are having a difficult time achieving in more traditional academic settings,” said Knuth. “I was so impressed by this extremely talented group of kids and what Angel had been able to help them accomplish.”

We had been looking for an opportunity to fill the education component of our services since closing our preschool more than 10 years ago and a partnership with The Steel Academy seemed like a logical fit and the perfect complement to our current programs and services,” said Knuth. After months of looking at potential locations, the school found its new home in the former North Akron Catholic School located at 1570 Creighton Avenue in Akron’s North Hill area. With a first year enrollment of 100, the school has a 10 to 1 student to teacher ratio, and is proud of its 97% student attendance rate. The school would eventually like to reach its goal of 250 students within the next three years.

“We are steel!” is what each member of the Steel Angels enthusiastically shouts at the end of each of the band’s performances. It is an expression of strength, resilience and hope for all students struggling with learning differences. For more information about The Steel Academy, to schedule a tour or to enroll, call 330-633-1383 or visit A new website dedicated to information about the school is in development and will be available the beginning of 2015. United Disability Services has program locations in Kent, Akron and Twinsburg. For more information on any of the services offered by the agency call 330-762-9755 or visit

“I began thinking about United Disability Services and our own 65-year history which began with serving children with learning differences. After all, the very genesis of UDS was a preschool started by a small group of parents looking for educational opportunities for their young children with special needs.

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In just a few short months, it is not uncommon for the teaching staff to hear comments from parents grateful to have found a school where their children feel like they fit in and where they see a noticeable improvement in their attitudes and behavior. The support of parents and families is evident in a strong and involved parent group that volunteers with school events and fundraising activities.



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The Cuyahoga Valley Art Center Sally Heston

EIGHTY YEARS AGO a small group of art enthusiasts in Cuyahoga Falls formed “The Arts and Crafts Club” as a place to provide painting classes for the community. Over the years that group grew into what is today the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center, a very important regional art center serving all of northeast Ohio. Currently located on Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls, the art center provides peer support, art instruction, and exhibit space for area artists and students of all ages. Throughout the year a varied schedule of child and adult classes is offered in many art forms.

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A Place For Art Lovers These classes welcome students from many locations including other countries. There are open studio opportunities for those artists who don’t want to take a structured class but wish to interact with peers. The center serves all ages, including school children and home schooled students, adults and senior citizens. Non-college credit continuing education is available in some classes. Scholarships may be available to some students as needs arise and funds are available. In a time where we see reduced funding for art programs in area schools, CVAC provides an opportunity for


younger students to experience the same sorts of activities that they might have learned in a school art class in past years. There are currently 19 instructors employed at CVAC. All are seasoned artists with varied educational and art career backgrounds. Many have advanced degrees in art and art education and are award winning artists who belong to groups like the American Watercolor Society, the Portrait Society of America, the Pastel Society of America, the Salmagundi Club, American Artists Professional League, and the Ohio Watercolor Society to name a few. Their

professionalism and dedication have inspired countless numbers of students, many who have become award winning artists themselves and who return year after year to study with these mentors. Along with these ongoing classes the art center also hosts several week long workshops each year and has provided opportunities in the past for study with nationally known artists and art instructors like Albert Handell, Charles Reid, Frank Webb, Ted Nuttall, Frank Francese, and Tom Lynch, among others. Several new workshops are planned for 2015. The mission of CVAC remains strong today. It is to provide active interest, involvement, and a strengthened appreciation of fine and applied arts within a supportive community for individuals of all ages. Our classes are

reasonably priced, and exhibits are free and open to the public. As a non-profit agency it is currently staffed by a paid director with help from a group of volunteers from the community and art center membership. Volunteers act as receptionists, help with bulk mailings, hang art exhibits, and assist the director as needed. Classes, workshops and most art exhibits are open to participation by anyone. Dues paying art center members receive reduced rates and the opportunity to show their work in the annual members only exhibit. Membership is open to anyone. Member volunteers also receive the benefit of credits to pay tuition for classes based on the number of hours worked. A small Women’s Auxiliary group supports the art center through fund raising and promotional activities.


Many members and visitors have related how impressed and intrigued they were the first time they came to the art center. They know it is a welcoming place that has allowed them to experience and share art on their own level and to grow as an artist along with like-minded peers. For further information and a class schedule contact: The Cuyahoga Valley Art Center 2131 Front Street Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221 Gallery open 9 – 5 weekdays 330-928-8092 Email: Website:

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Joni Koneval

From Kent to New York and Beyond: Sabatino A. Verlezza


he alumni of Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance are scattered throughout the world working in theatres, in television and film, with dance companies, on cruise ships, and in countless other venues. While the School is often associated with its better-known alumni like Tony Award winning actress Alice Ripley and 30 Rock composer and producer Jeff Richmond, it is the successes of more recent alumni that truly showcase the training that the school provides. One such alumnus is Sabatino A. Verlezza, a 2012 graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and a company member with RIOULT Dance NY. Sabatino grew up in Shaker Heights and began dancing at a very early age, following in the footsteps of his parents Sabatino Verlezza and Barbara Allegra Verlezza who had danced professionally with the May O’Donnell Dance Company. “Growing up in the studio and backstage was mesmerizing,” Sabatino recalled. “I began training under my parents in the technique of modern dance pioneer May O’Donnell and at around age 13, I began formally training in classical ballet at The Cleveland School of Dance.” When asked about his time at Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance, Sabatino described his experience as “the best four years of my entire life. I had the support of my professors and a tight knit group of peers to grow and pursue my goals,” he explained. “One of the key elements that my professors instilled is an ability to speak eloquently about my field.

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The knowledge I gained about dance from anatomy and body mechanics to professional aspects and production all helped in my transition into my professional career.” Following his graduation in 2012, Sabatino joined the RIOULT Dance NY Company as an apprentice and became a full company member in the fall of 2014. “I fell in love with the company and Pascal [Rioult]’s work while still a student at Kent,” Sabatino explained. “I had taken multiple workshops during our summer and winter breaks and had seen the company perform.” Since joining RIOULT Dance NY, Sabatino has traveled across the world with the company. He has performed across the United States and in Germany and Mexico. This spring he will travel with the company to perform in France, Italy, and Luxemburg. His experience with RIOULT has certainly lived up to his expectations. “I work with the most amazing group of people,” Sabatino described. “My fellow colleagues are some of the most hard working and inspiring professionals in the field. I continue to learn and grow on a daily basis.” In addition to the time he spends rehearsing and performing with RIOULT Dance NY, Sabatino also teaches as an ACE certified Group Fitness Instructor. “I have a true love for teaching and have become very passionate about working with non-dancers,” he explains. “The gift of movement is something that everyone deserves to experience.”

Sabatino A. Verlezza

Photography by Sofia Negron

Se v e n G ra ins

Natural Market

David M Krieger & Gina Krieger


even Grains Natural Market is a locally owned and operated natural food supermarket. Just a short drive from downtown Kent, Seven Grains has spent the past 15 years growing and expanding into one of the area’s largest and most comprehensive homes for everything natural and organic. From their large, fresh produce department, to their full service meat, poultry, and seafood departments, to aisles of grocery, organic wines, beauty and wellness products and more, Seven Grains Natural Market is a one-stop shop. The Seven Grains mission is simple: To provide natural and organic products at prices the average family can afford in an environment that’s not intimidating. “We looked around and

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the options to shop organic were always the same – too expensive and too out of touch for the working family. Healthy, organic foods shouldn’t be for just the select few,” says owner David Krieger. “We felt it was important to offer the products and lifestyle we believe in, at prices that aren’t out of reach. It’s tempting to sacrifice one for the other – so many businesses do it. We were determined from the beginning not to give in.” Co-owner Gina Krieger echoed that sentiment, “We insisted on maintaining that level of transparency to our customers when it comes to authenticity of ingredients, labels and claims. So many businesses are making claims about everything from the products they carry to the name on the front of their building. Being legit and keeping it within the reach of the average person was crucial to us and we’re both proud to be able to say that we’ve done that.” This is particularly true within their fresh meat department. Cut and ground daily on premises, Seven Grains features fresh certified organic beef that is 100% grass fed for the life of the animal. “Our organic beef program is really


superior to virtually anything else out there, says David. “Nowadays, so many places make the grass fed claim. And unfortunately, if a cow was given grass once in its life or fed some grass and then finished on grain the last couple of months, it can be called grass fed. If a cow was fed grass then finished with hay, it can be called grass fed. Unfortunately, hay does not contain the same nutrients that fresh green grass does. It’s the CLA and enzymes found in green grass that produce such healthy meat – lower in cholesterol and fat.” Once the grass is harvested and dried and becomes hay, those aspects no longer exist. “We really focus on educating our customers so they truly understand what makes our beef different and better,” added Gina. In addition to a department that offers certified organic beef, you’ll also find Ohio raised antibiotic and hormone free poultry and pork, as well as a wide selection of fresh seafood and there’s plenty of variety in their large, fresh organic produce department featuring Ohio grown favorites in season. Seven Grains also cooks a wide variety of

homemade entrees and soups daily using their organic beef, free-roaming poultry and pork, and organic veggies. Customers can take home a cup or a quart of hearty, homemade hot soups like sausage, bean and kale, steak chili, New England clam chowder, or vegetarian bean and veggie. And their customers love grabbing one or a combination of homemade entrees and sides like no gluten added chicken pot pies, stuffed peppers, sautéed veggies, carrot soufflé and salmon cakes. “We make virtually everything from scratch, including many of the ingredients used within our recipes like our homemade barbeque sauce, or the breadcrumbs in our chicken cordon bleu and meatloaf,” says Gina. Seven Grains kitchen staff also bakes yummy treats like pumpkin chocolate chip bread, full fruit pies, cookies and crusty organic French or whole wheat loaves or baguettes. Seven Grains Natural Market also boasts an extensive gluten free section with over 2500 gluten and allergen free options from which to choose. They’ve got it all from the basics to hard-to-find items like homemade pizzelles,

canoli shells, croissants, spinach pies, calzones, and lots of fresh-frozen pastas and entrees – including their homemade ¼ sheet heat and eat three-layer lasagna! Seven Grains also has a wonderful selection of vegetarian and vegan options from entrees and meat substitutes to baked goods, plus hard to find items like beefree honey and vegan caramel sauce. Add to that aisles of organic and natural grocery, large frozen and perishable sections, bulk foods, eco-friendly cleaning and paper products, pet products, beauty and image, and quality herbs and vitamins and you’ll see exactly why Seven Grains Natural Market is indeed, a one-stop shop. Oh, and it gets better! Seven Grains is also the home of Northeastern Ohio’s largest selection of Organic Wines with over 90 varieties and 20 priced at or below $10.99! Seven Grains Natural Market is so easy to get to and just 15 minutes from downtown Kent. From Route 43 Take Route 261 West and head towards the circle in Tallmadge. Seven Grains is located at 92 West Avenue just a ¼ mile off the circle.


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shining light onMS Chances are when you hear MS (multiple sclerosis) you or someone you know has the illness. According to the National Institute of

Sue Arnold

Kerrie Murray

Neurological Disorders and Stroke, MS is the second most common debilitating illness in young adults. But what is MS? Multiple Sclerosis means many scars and is a chronic neurological disorder that affects the Central Nervous System (CNS), namely the brain and spinal cord. In the CNS, nerve fibers are encased in a layer of insulation called myelin. MS damages myelin, and the nerves it surrounds, resulting in interrupted or distorted nerve impulses. Think of a phone cord when the plastic coating is cracked or missing causing an incomplete signal and trouble using the phone. It’s the same thing with MS! The myelin is missing so the signal from the brain can’t be completed correctly. Symptoms can range from numbness and tingling to serious physical disability. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to the next. There are some 20,000 people living with MS in Ohio alone; more than any other state. No one knows why, but northeast Ohio has an abnormally high number of MS cases. Most often, MS strikes patients in the prime of their family and career lives between the ages of 20 and 50 years old. MS also affects women two to

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three times more often than men. MS has not been found to be hereditary. However, a person with an immediate family member with MS is more likely to develop the disease themselves. MS patients are your neighbors, friends, coworkers and members of our communities.

MS does not affect the goals that you choose in your life. It just affects the way you reach them. — Susan, MS Patient at the Oak Clinic

They truly need your support to cope physically and emotionally with this potentially devastating disease. If you or someone else is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Ohio is a great place to be. Because of the increasing number of cases in areas in Ohio, it has become an excellent area for MS resources and care. Some of the latest and greatest research and treatments are being done right here. Cleveland Clinic has a building


specializing in MS called the Mellen Center. At the Mellen Center they are doing MS research all the time. Another local treatment facility is The Oak Clinic for Multiple Sclerosis and is located in Uniontown, Ohio. In the year 2000, a patient, his caregiver, a doctor and a nurse opened the Oak Clinic for Multiple Sclerosis: a non-profit out-patient facility that strives to treat and empower individuals living with multiple sclerosis regardless of their ability to pay. A multidisciplinary team of professionals give quality medical care, carry out psychosocial needs assessments, and provide educational and supportive services to their clients and their families to improve the patient’s health, functioning and overall quality of life. In addition, the Oak Clinic participates in local and national clinical trials to give patients access to the newest methods for treating MS. Nothing about the disease of multiple sclerosis is easy – not the diagnosis of it, not the treatment of it and not living with it. Oak Clinic strives to work with patients from the first

two hour office visit right through their lives to treat the whole person – not just the disease. And because no two MS patients are alike, the Oak Clinic helps individuals to become advocates for themselves and learn to communicate their interests, desires, needs and rights. This allows patients to make informed decisions about their treatment. And because of the unpredictability of the disease, it affects the whole family. A MS patient may feel fine when retiring for the day and awake in the morning unable to walk. The symptoms usually reside after several days or a week but the effects can deeply impact children and spouses. For this reason, the Oak Clinic has begun an in-school awareness program to help children understand MS. Vanita Oelschlager, wife of Jim Oelschlager who founded the Oak Clinic, just published a book entitled The Electrifying Story of Multiple Sclerosis to be used with older children in schools to better understand the disease and to help them learn how they can offer support.

MS patient Kerrie Murray’s Story Finding out you have MS can be devastating and makes you want to give up. I know for me as a nurse spending most of my career taking care of MS patients at the hospital level, I was scared to death of what I had coming. But holding on to hope – especially hope for a cure – can give those of us who have been diagnosed, the strength to carry on. Years ago, the diagnosis of MS meant plan to end up in a wheelchair. Luckily today, with advancements in medicine, there are many options available to slow down the progression of the disease. Many of the medications have horrible side effects, so sometimes treatment can be a difficult choice. But considering when a MS patient experiences an attack, otherwise known as an exacerbation, recovery will only happen once the attack goes into remission; preventative treatment is definitely the recommended course of action. Currently there is no cure for MS! There are only medications to lessen the amount of attacks one will experience and thus, lessening the number of attacks will greatly increase a person’s chances of living a normal life. Obtaining a diagnosis can be extremely hard also. One can go many years seeking answers for symptoms they may be experiencing with only being told it’s all in their head. This is why MS is often described as an invisible illness. Many symptoms we experience are only felt, not seen. We live every day not knowing if the day is going to be good or bad. We live every day wondering if we’re going to be able to walk. There is no one test that can give you a diagnosis. It pretty much is a process of elimination. There are many tests one must go through to be diagnosed but the MRI is the most definitive because it will show lesions or areas where the nerves became bare causing misfiring of nerve signals. The hope I have for myself and others diagnosed with MS is that we all can stay strong. One has to learn to keep your head up and not let the fear of the unknown destroy you. Sometimes anticipation is far worse than reality. Just like any other struggle in life we need to take it one day at a time. Staying healthy with diet, exercise, and keeping up with treatments can make living with illness more manageable. As a society we need to continue to increase support and awareness for those living with illness within our communities.

Continued on page 58


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Continued from page 57 There are several reasons that the Oak Clinic is a unique facility: • Oak Clinic only treats adults with multiple sclerosis. Currently, it serves some 2,000 patients. 52% of those patients reside in Summit County, 20% live in Stark County and the balance of the remaining 28% of patients live in 27 other Ohio counties. • The Oak Clinic staff is made up of two doctors; Dr. Timothy Carrabine, a certified specialist in the disease of multiple sclerosis and Dr. Christopher Sheppard, a neurologist who practices exclusively in the field of multiple sclerosis. There are also two nurses, Patti Blake, RN and Melissa Rojas, LPN. Both of these women have an intimate understanding of MS as they were both diagnosed with the disease. There are also two medical secretaries, a practice manager, two nurses serving the infusion clinic and a development staff member. • The Oak Clinic prides itself in offering worldclass medical care to patients regardless of their ability to pay and over 50% of patients seen at the Oak Clinic are not able to fully pay

MS is a scary, crazy disease … completely unpredictable. I never know what body part will not cooperate with me on a given day. MS is chaotic and at times, unforgiving. With the Oak Clinic, I’m taking control. They help pick up the pieces and keep things in order. I, personally, cannot express how much of a difference in care I’ve found in the Oak Clinic. They’ve become family! — Kerrie, MS Patient at the Neurocare Center

for their care. The disease of MS is the second most expensive disease to treat in the US, falling behind cancer (1st) and before heart disease (3rd). Unlike many diseases, MS requires customized medical treatments on a patient by patient basis and necessitates focusing on each patient’s need for social

services, quality of life strategies, and very often, financial assistance. The average cost of MS medications for a patient is $5,000 a month but can run as high as $13,000 a month. The staff at the Oak Clinic, and particularly Tricia Jones, practice manager, work tirelessly with pharmaceutical companies to assure that all patients get the medications they need, even when they cannot fully pay for the drugs. • The Oak Clinic staff is available to all MS patients and their family members via telephone on a daily basis. Many MS patients have great difficulty in travelling to the physical location of the clinic. To accommodate these patients, consultation, referrals and many other services are provided via telephone on an as-needed basis. • The Oak Clinic provides in-clinic administration of Tysabri in order to treat multiple sclerosis patients suffering from relapsingremitting MS. • Patient outreach and education is an important component of the care offered to Oak Clinic patients. Exercise classes including yoga, land exercise and water exercise are provided at no cost. Stress and mood management seminars are ongoing and taught by a licensed therapist. A Bladder Clinic was opened within the Oak Clinic in 2014 and a partnership was formed with a local urologist and UTI Medical to assist over 90% of MS patients with bladder dysfunction issues. • Finally, the Oak Clinic offers HOPE to the patients that it serves. Every Oak Clinic patient and their families are treated with special care and attention. Patients are given the time they need to understand the treatments available to them and make an informed decision that is based on their particular situation. The Oak

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What is Multiple Sclerosis? Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often disabling and unpredictable disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s own defense system to attack myelin that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers of the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. The damaged myelin forms scar tissue and often damages the nerve fiber. When the myelin or nerve is damaged or destroyed, the nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are disrupted. More than 2.3 million people are affected by MS worldwide. In Ohio, there are more than 20,000 people with MS. MS is typically diagnosed in the prime of life when people are building careers and starting families. Generally, MS is diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with two to three more women than men contracting the disease. However, the disease has been diagnosed in children as young as three, with an estimated 8,000 — 10,000 children under the age of 18 living with MS. Clinic is proud when patients refer to the facility as their “home” and the medical staff as their “family”. Earned revenues at the Oak Clinic pay less than 55% of the total operating expenses. The deficit is covered by generous donors that allows the clinic to administer holistic medical care to the patients. On behalf of the MS patients and staff of the Oak Clinic, we send THANKS to these charitable givers and invite all to learn more about the clinic by visiting or calling 330-896-9625.

Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatments are helping to improve the quality of life for people living with MS. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. We address the challenges of each person affected by MS by funding cutting edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, and providing programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. We are investing more than $8.5 million over a three-year period in Ohio institutions for 23 MS-related research projects at Athersys, Inc, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Kent State University, and the Ohio State University – one of the highest investments nationwide.

Sue Arnold is the Director of Development at the Oak Clinic for Multiple Sclerosis.

The Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society strives to improve the quality of life for people living with MS. We are driven to serve the constantly changing needs of those affected by MS and their families by providing essential programs and services to over 14,000 Ohioans affected by MS in 64 Ohio counties. There are many programs and services available that promote knowledge, independence, and improved health. Our fundraising efforts such as Walk MS, Bike MS, Run MS, and the Dinner of Champions help to fund programs, services, and MSrelated research.

Kerrie Murray is a registered nurse and MS patient at the Neurocare Center.

For more information call 1-800-FIGHT-MS (1-800-344-4867) or visit the web site at

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Ohio Buckeye Chapter is another great resource for information and assistance with anything MS related. They also provide many support groups locally and online. Their fundraising efforts raise millions for MS research and services. Visit their website at Another resource is The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation at


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