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Liz Lenke and Heather Jalbert, co-chairs of the 36th Annual Holiday Tree Festival, talked about the event that they described as Akron Children's Hospital's gift to the community. This extraordinary gift, made possible by more than 1,400 volunteers and community members, kicks off with a gala on Friday, Nov. 17, and continues Nov. 18-26 at the John S. Knight Center, 77 E. Mill St. in downtown Akron. In addition to 165 decorated trees -- the most ever in the history of the event -- the Holiday Tree Festival features wreaths and other holiday decorations, a gift shop for kids, plenty of opportunities to meet Santa and all kinds of festive ways to support Akron Children's Hospital. The festival is free. For hours, tickets to the gala and other information, visit the website

Bruce Yacko, creator of J.A.W.S. (the Just Add Water Cleaning System), says that he reads all the testimonials his company receives and they warm his heart. Here are just a couple: The kitchen cleaner "cleans the microwave, stovetop, counters, barbecue grills -- just about anything you can think of. I will never buy anything else." Another happy customer says this about the J.A.W.S. shower product: "Finally a nontoxic bath cleaner. Works great on tub and shower walls. I also use it on the large shower head to remove buildup, and it looks new. It is nice to use a cleaner in a small space and not die from the fumes." Bruce is running an online promotion today and tomorrow during which you can buy all four products in the J.A.W.S. line for $19.99 and get free shipping by using this code: Andy. Also, J.A.W.S. products are available anytime at Discount Drug Mart locations and online

Greg McNeil, founder of Cover2 Resources, started his foundation after the death of his son Sam, who used heroin for the last time on Oct. 23, 2015. Greg and his wife created the foundation to help educate and advocate for communities and families dealing with the opioid epidemic, which claimed the lives of 64,000 people in the U.S. in the last year alone. Greg has a series of 141 podcasts on this subject. The series is called Cover2PPT, for people, places and things making a difference in the opioid epidemic. For more information, visit his website.

 

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Akron Municipal Court Judge Kathryn Michael, who runs the court's domestic violence docket, talked about the importance of stopping the cycle of domestic violence. Judge Michael notes that domestic violence runs across all lines. While some offenders may have mental health or addiction issues, for example, the one commonality is that they witnessed domestic violence as children. That's why she's passionate about helping people stop the abuse cycle now, to prevent future violence from occurring.For more information, visit her page on the court's website.

Michael Savene and Bob Jenkins, founders of the Akron Comicon, are looking forward to this year's edition of the popular event, which celebrates the comic book industry. It takes place next weekend, Nov. 4 and 5, at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron. Doors open both days at 10 a.m., closing at 6 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday. This year is the 40th anniversary of Black Lightning, the first African-American D.C. superhero, created by Akron's own Tony Isabella. The entire Black Lightning creative team will be at next week's Comicon, along with more than 100 booths. Fans can bring their favorite comic books and even have them signed by the creators in attendance. Tickets to the family-friendly event cost $10 for one day and $15 for both. Kids 13 and under are free, and there's free parking in downtown Akron on the weekends. For more information, visit the website.

The Munroe Falls Paranormal Society helps countless families who think they're experiencing paranormal activity in their homes. Nearly 99 percent of the time, the investigators -- including Eric Haney, Scott Wells and Jessica Toth -- can find earthly and rational explanations for the goings-on. But the tiny percentage of incidents that can't be explained rationally are truly spooky. Eric and his team do the investigations for free. You can contact them by visiting their website. And you can tune in to their Mysterious Midwest series on YouTube or visit their Facebook page.

 

 

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John Trunk, superintendent, Summit DD, talked about the importance of Issue 3 to the more than 4,700 adults and children served by his organization. This is not a new tax but a renewal that will continue great programs that fund athletes who compete in the Special Olympics; assist teens as they transition to adulthood; and help individuals of all ages with day-to-day living. For more information, visit the website

Ken Hammonds, owner of KC Hammonds Building Solutions, has the solution if you're looking for a wooden or steel structure for your property. Ken has five acres of buildings that can be finished to your preferences, from a 6-by-6 shed to a grand guesthouse and everything in between. KC Hammonds Building Solutions is located at 8880 Norwalk Rd. in Litchfield, Ohio. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and anytime by appointment. For more information, call 330.631.7690 or visit the Facebook page.

Kally Vernon, co-owner of West Point Market, said that the store's open house next week is going to be a great big thank-you to all the customers who have waited patiently as she and her husband Rick rebuilt and recreated the well-loved West Point experience. Come hungry, she says, because there will lots of samples of food and wine on Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 33 Shiawassee Ave. in Fairlawn. The store will be decked out for Halloween, and Kally promises she'll be in costume, too. West Point Market is open seven days a week. For more information, call 330.864.2151 or visit online

Dermatologist Gary Lichten, MD, is the developer of the CompariSkin app, which is probably the best $1.99 investment that you can make for your health. The app allows you to take a picture of any moles on your body and then compare the pictures over time. The photos present objective evidence of whether a mole is changing. The app is available for iPhones and iPads. Dr. Lichten practices in Akron. He can be reached at Allied Dermatology, 866.337.6631.  More information about the app, go online.

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Fred Zumpano, owner of Fred Zumpano Design & Construction and a member of the board of trustees for the Home Builders Association of Portage & Summit Counties, talked about the HBA's seminars on "Planning to Build Your Dream Home." They will take place at four local libraries and will feature experts covering everything from finding a site and financing your project to designing your home and having it built. The seminars, which last one-and-one-half hours, are Thursday, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Northwest Akron Library; Saturday, Oct. 21, at 9:30 a.m. in Green; Thursday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m. in Kent; and Saturday, Nov. 4, at 9:30 a.m. in Hudson. The seminars are free, but attendees are asked to register at the HBA website.

Jarrod Hartzler is executive and artistic director of Tuesday Musical, which this season is celebrating its 130th anniversary.This Akron musical gem brings in world-class musicians such as the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble, which is performing this Thursday, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at E.J. Thomas Hall. Tuesday Musical also has a series of Decompression Chambers, which take place in high-stress workplaces. A recent Decompression Chamber performance was by the New York City-based Escher String Quartet at Cleveland Clinic Akron General. For information about Tuesday Musical performances, visit the website. Students of all ages get in free.

Pierre Lapointe, violist for the Escher String Quartet, gets a kick out of how Jarrod thinks of all kinds of unusual places for his group to play, including a recent gig in an Akron parking lot. The Escher String Quartet plays all over the world, so it's a real treat for area residents to be able to see the quartet play locally. And, like Tuesday Musical, the Escher musicians want to cultivate a new generation of classical music lovers. They'll be back in Akron to do some more musical cultivation by performing at places such as the Stow-Munroe Falls Library on Feb. 13. You can hear their music anytime by going to iTunes or buying one of their CDs. For more information, visit their website.

Cris Prillaman is the marketing and development director for New Destiny Treatment Center, which helps people with addiction problems. The center has a 13-acre campus in Clinton, Ohio, where it provides outpatient services for both men and women and also has an in-patient program for men only. Cris talked about its fundraiser coming up on Thursday, Oct. 19 -- a popular day for great events. As a clever promotion for the event, Cris dressed up as her alter-ego "Money Pearl, Minnie Pearl's lesser-known cousin," and had her daughter shoot a video of "Money" talking up the event. Cris posted it on Facebook, where the video almost immediately got 600 hits. It is a fun promotion for an event that addresses a serious problem. The fundraiser starts at 5:30 p.m. in the gymnasium on the New Destiny campus, 6694 Taylor Rd. in Clinton. For more information and to buy tickets by the Wednesday, Oct. 18, deadline, visit the website or call Cris at 330.825.5202.

 

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Emily Durway is a defense attorney in Akron and a photographer who is in the midst of a cool project in which she takes at least one photo a day for five years. She selected 366 photos that she took in 2016, a leap year, to exhibit at Summit Art Space. They are on display through today at 4 p.m. as part of the High Arts Festival and also can be seen on Facebook and Instagram by searching for ESD Photography, which are her initials, or search for her name. Emily will be at the Akron Art Museum this evening for the concluding event of the festival. Stop by if you can.

We met Emily through her friend, Zane DeLong, an artist, videographer and sound man who also takes still photos. He vouches for Emily's work. Her photos, he says, are beautiful.

Johna Economou is the third-generation owner of Pearl Coffee, which was started by her grandfather and his three brothers on May 22, 1919. The brothers learned the art of coffee roasting when they worked for a coffee company in Egypt after leaving their home country of Greece. In Akron, they passed their skills down to Johna's father, John Economou (known as the Head Bean), who taught them to Johna. Visit the store at 675 S. Broadway in Akron to try a Pearl Coffee sample and buy whole or ground beans to take home. You can visit the company's Facebook page to learn more and to give Johna ideas for ways to celebrate the county's official Pearl Coffee Day, which is Nov. 5.

Jen McGraw is the owner of McGraw's Paws, which is a pet-sitting and dog-walking business on Cleveland's west side. Mostly, though, she was on the show to talk about her Facebook page, which has attracted more than 8,200 members in only two years. It's called Weirdo Cat Ladies  (of all genders and non-genders) of Cleveland. Clearly, you don't have to be a lady to join, but you do have to answer a few questions to prove that you're not a robot. To get to her page, log into Facebook and search for the Weirdo Cat Ladies of Cleveland. You also can find McGraw's Paws on Facebook. Jen was voted the best dog walker in Cleveland this past June.

 

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