AKRON'S ICON OF DEATH

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News from Akron in the New York Times:

Robert and Carolyn Conley, two Akron schoolteachers, said they never thought much about the [All-America, a.k.a. Y] bridge until 2006, when their son, Kevin — who had been an A student, a wrestler, a practical joker and a compelling Macduff in a school production of “Macbeth” — jumped off the bridge at the age of 20. Kevin, whom the couple adopted from Korea when he was 2, “lost his way” at 16, they said.

As the Conleys drove to his funeral, which drew more than a thousand people, they passed a sign at a restaurant. “It said, ‘In honor of Kevin Conley, fence the bridge,’ ” recalled Mrs. Conley, 60, who teaches first grade.

A year and a half later, Mr. Conley, 59, who teaches middle school, said they were ready to begin publicly advocating for a fence.

[Mayor Don] Plusquellic said he became convinced several years ago that a fence was needed not just to prevent suicides, but also to protect the people in the neighborhood below from falling bodies. He tried in vain for several years to secure a federal earmark to build a fence. Then the stimulus bill passed.

And now people are arguing over whether the fence is a good use of federal money. Read the whole thing here. Incidentally, the article links to Scene's ’05 report, "Suicide Bridge."

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