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Mary Beth Breckenridge, who was the home writer for many years for the Akron Beacon Journal, is now a real estate agent for Howard Hanna. She knows her subject well, whether she's writing about it or discussing it with home buyers or sellers. On today's show, she talked about the state of the home market in Akron. It's strong, she says, with property values up for the first time since 2005. And there are a lot of incentives for people to move into the city, as well as a great deal of interest on the part of buyers. You can meet Mary Beth in person at an open house she's hosting on Sunday, Aug. 6, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Morewood Rd. in Fairlawn. For more information, call the Howard Hanna office at 330.836.9300. You also can visit Mary Beth's Facebook page or her website.

Architect Hallie Bowie, owner of New Leaf Home Design, noted that Akron is doing a fantastic job of making home ownership more affordable for people who want to buy or improve a home in the city. She expounded on the city's residential tax abatement, which is one of the incentives that Mary Beth mentioned. Hallie also talked about the Sustainable Homes Network of Northeast Ohio, which has grown to 120 members. She says that you can go to Meetup to join them for meetings and tours of local energy-efficient homes. Speaking of energy efficiency, one of Hallie's recent projects was building an eco village for Hiram College. It serves as residential quarters for students who are interested in environmental matters. You can see Hallie in her other persona as a singer when she performs on Aug. 19 with her husband, Scott, during Highland Square's Porch Rokr. They'll be playing at 11 a.m.; to find out on which porch, visit Scott & Hallie Music on Facebook. To reach Hallie at New Leaf, visit her website.

Dane Leisure, founder and artistic director of Rubber City Theatre, gave away two tickets to Pippin, his company's next production. The musical, which essentially is about finding one's purpose in life, usually is staged in a circus-like setting. Rubber City, which takes a fresh approach to all its productions, is staging Pippin as a vaudeville show instead. It runs Aug. 11 (opening night  is free or by donation) and continues through Aug. 27 at the former First Presbyterian Church, 647 East Market St. in Akron. Then in October, Rubber City returns to Shakespeare, where it started in the first place, with a production of Hamlet set in contemporary times. For more information about the company or to buy tickets, call 234.252.0272 or visit the website.

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Michael Roizen, MD, of Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute talked about the health benefits of coffee. Numerous studies have shown that daily coffee drinking among people who have fast metabolisms may actually help boost longevity by decreasing cancer and cardiovascular disease rates, lessening the risk of developing Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and improving control of type 2 diabetes, among other benefits. How do you know whether you have a fast metabolism? It's easy to figure out, Dr. Roizen says: If you can drink a regular cup of coffee and not develop ill effects like heart palpitations or a stomach ache within the hour, you are a fast metabolizer. Two other points to keep in mind: Filter your coffee through paper and drink it black. Dr. Roizen is a wellness expert and the co-author of many books, his latest of which is Age Proof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip. It's available wherever books are sold. For information about the Wellness Institute, visit the website.

Don Drumm is Akron's best-known artist whose metal sculptures can be found not only all over town but in other cities around the country. One of his recent commissions was for the Highland Square library on Akron's west side. A big fish, fabricated in corten steel, the outdoor sculpture is about 8 feet long and 3 feet high and is designed to be an interactive piece. Children can whack the scales with sticks to create metallic sounds. This is definitely one of Don's most fun pieces but not necessarily his favorite. "My favorite commission is always the next one," he says. Among his many other projects, Don designed a 5-foot stainless steel cross for the Visitation of Mary Church in Akron. He's also ruminating over the design of his next Christmas ornament for One of a Kind Pets; creating aluminum wall sculptures in the shapes of leaves for residential and commercial settings; and making tiles for cremation boxes commissioned by Billows Funeral Homes and Crematory. And he's  contemplating whether to accept an invitation to do a show in China. More on that another time. You can see some of Don's work along with that of many other North American artists at Don Drumm Studios & Gallery, 437 Crouse St. in Akron. For more information, call 330.253.6268 or visit the website.  

Author and speaker Christine Zust talked about the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. She says that there are six primary lessons that were learned from that hippie summer in San Francisco. They are: 1. Find and share your voice -- basically, stand up for what you believe  2. Remain civil  3. Show compassion  4. Encourage others  5. Invite diversity in -- engaging with people who are different from you provides a fresh perspective and helps you grow  6. Persist peacefully -- be patient because change isn't easy and can take time. Christine suggests that we embrace these lessons because they remind us about the changes that love can spark in our society. Christine is the author of the career guide Everything I Do Positions Me: The Simple Path to Professional Success. To learn more about Christine's work and the business she owns with her husband, Mark, visit their website.

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Jeffrey Paul, the founder of Wigs for Kids, called in from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, where he was celebrating the organization's 35th anniversary with a walk-run 5K fundraiser. Jeffrey started Wigs for Kids when his young niece was diagnosed with leukemia and begged her Uncle Jeff, who was a hair stylist, to restore the hair she lost during treatment. Jeffrey created a beautiful and versatile wig that allowed her to look good and even participate in gymnastics. Since then, his organization has helped countless children who have lost their hair due to disease or trauma. One of them is Leah, who also spoke by phone from the fundraiser. She received her first wig when she was in kindergarten; now, Leah is about to turn 16 and is the "fashion leader of her school," Jeffrey said. Leah expressed her gratitude. "I don't know what I would do without Jeffrey Paul and Wigs for Kids," she said. Jeffrey and his nonprofit organization provide wigs and all products for free. Learn what you can do to help the cause by visiting their Facebook page or their website.  

Michael Purdy co-owns Blimp City Bike & Hike, which is having a fundraiser to benefit the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Called Pint Night, the event is taking place on July 28 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the store, 1675 Merriman Rd. in Akron. No reservations are needed. Just go to the store, which is the only bike shop actually on the Towpath Trail, Michael says, and buy a $10 ticket on the night of the event. In return, you'll get two pints of craft beer from the R. Shea Brewery, which is across the street, and a free raffle ticket for a chance to get a new bike or other prizes. For more information about the bike shop and its events, visit the Blimp City Bike & Hike Facebook page. The store also has a website.

Carol Haines is on the board of Keep Akron Beautiful and is chairing "Green the Scene," the organization's annual fundraiser. It supports KAB's community beautification projects including the city flowerscapes, graffiti removal, litter pickup and clean-up days. The Aug. 30 event takes place from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in the Bud and Susie Rodgers Garden at the Akron Art Museum. There will be free beer and wine, the Swensons Food Truck, a silent and live auction, and much more. Tickets are $45 each and can be purchased online or by phone at 330.375.2116.


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Dee Schafer is the author of Don Drumm: The Sculptor-Designer Craftsman. She gave away a signed copy of her book along with a decorative dish made by Don with his signature sun design on it. Dee will have a book signing next Saturday, July 22, at Don Drumm Studios & Gallery, 437 Crouse St. in Akron. The signing is in conjunction with an exhibit of full-size cars that are painted wildly. Dee will be there from 3 to 5 p.m., but if you don't happen to make it that day, you can get copies of Dee's book on Amazon or ebay for $18.99; you can email Dee directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and buy a copy for $15 plus sales tax; or you can make a purchase any day at Don Drumm Studios & Gallery and also buy a copy of the book for $12.

Tom Wolski is the owner of the Epoxy Shoppe, 2884 S. Arlington Rd., Suite B, behind the Arlington Road Starbucks in Akron. Tom sells kits for do-it-yourselfers who want to install epoxy surfaces on their floors, counter tops or even furniture. He and his crew also will install them for you if you're not inclined to do the work yourself. Epoxy surfaces are chemical-, heat- and UV-resistant, and they're reasonably priced compared to many other surface materials. The first question that homeowners ask Tom after he installs an epoxy surface is how to clean it, and Tom used to tell them to buy a PH-neutral cleaning agent. But now he has an even better solution for them: Sofia's Soy Floor and All-Purpose Cleaners. Tom, who is a chemist, teamed up with another chemist to develop the products, which are environmentally friendly, highly effective and produced in Akron. They're available at the Epoxy Shoppe. For more information, visit the website.

We've had members of the Munroe Falls Paranormal Society on the show before, and most of the time they've talked about the vast majority of their investigations in which they debunk notions that paranormal activities are going on. Not this time. Eric Haney and Jessica Toth told a couple of hair-raising tales from their investigations into strange occurrences at the old Masonic Temple on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland and, closer to home for Akronites, at Thursday's Lounge near the University of Akron. The Akron investigation is the subject of the group's upcoming episode of their show Mysterious Midwest on YouTube. It's released July 26, the day of a watch party that's open to the public at Thursday's Lounge. To find out more information about the watch party, visit the group's Facebook page. For general information about the Munroe Falls Paranormal Society or to reach someone about investigating a possible ghost, visit the website. The group does not charge for its services. The members are in it for the satisfaction of scientific inquiry. 




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Doreen Lazarus, volunteer extraordinaire for Happy Tails Cat Sanctuary in Chesterland, talked about the no-kill shelter's upcoming benefit that will celebrate 35 years of rescuing cats that have been abandoned, neglected, abused or orphaned. The event takes place Saturday, July 22, at the American-Croatian Lodge, 34900 Lakeshore Blvd. in Eastlake. Tickets are $35 each and cover dinner and nonalcoholic drinks; there also will be a cash bar, a silent auction and raffles. As a nonprofit, Happy Tails depends on volunteers and donations to keep doing good work on behalf of needy felines. For more information on how to support Happy Tails, visit the website. Event reservations are due by July 16; for tickets, call or text Doreen at 440.759.0076 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Donna Skoda, Health Commissioner for Summit County Public Health, provided an illuminating overview of the array of services that her department provides. Who knew, for instance, that you can call the department if you're contemplating buying a foreclosed home. Donna has stories about people thinking they got a great deal on a home only to discover after the fact that it has costly septic or well issues. Speaking of septic systems and wells, the department also has a program that can help homeowners offset the cost of fixing or replacing their systems. Essentially, Donna says, her department is in the business of reducing harm to the populace, and that includes saving you money. Another surprising fact about Summit County Public Health is that it runs its own dental clinic where patients pay on a sliding scale. Quickly becoming the "denture capital of the world," according to Donna, the clinic is located at the department's main office, 1867 W. Market St. in Akron. To reach Summit County Public Health, call 330.923.4891; to learn more, visit the website.

Ali Rose started Cocoa Joe's, a company that specializes in handmade chocolate-covered confections, when she was still a student at Kent State University studying entrepreneurship. The venture, which she named in memory of her sweets-loving grandfather, quickly took off. Ali, short for Alexandra, keeps adding new treats to her offerings; her latest, she says, are espresso beans -- covered in chocolate, of course. To learn more or to place an order, call 216.571.7600 or visit the Cocoa Joe's website.




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