Business news

Snowstorm Impact on Northeast Ohio Air Travel

Jan 22, 2016
photo of Akron-Canton tower

Thousands of flights are being cancelled nationwide due to the major snow storm hitting the east coast. Akron/Canton Airport CEO Rick McQueen says United Airlines flights to Newark are canceled, and all American Airlines flights to Charlotte, Washington D.C. and New York City are also halted.  He says over the last several years the airlines have been more proactive in cancelling flights in advance of big storms.

Hildebrandt building

A father-daughter team in Cleveland has launched a business to preserve good food that grows nearby. They say they make fermented food because it’s healthy for consumers and helps local farmers. But they also hope to spur the local economy. 

Wake Robin Fermented Foods operates in the centuries-old Hildebrandt Building not far from 

the  West Side Market.

It’s re-purposed factory space that’s become a hub for artists as well as food entrepreneurs like Pat Murray.

photo of a Pipeline link

A Massillon company is getting international attention for developing a new way to protect natural gas pipelines and offshore drilling rigs from corrosion -- at a molecular level.  

They’re using carbon nanotubes. 

Energy infrastructure tends to be continuously exposed to the elements, making corrosion a constant challenge along with the potential for leaks, spills and worse.


 Ohio's U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says progress is being made on Lake Erie issues like algae blooms and Asian carp, but there’s still work to be done.  Portman spoke today at the annual meeting of the Lake Erie Marine Trade Association. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports.

Photo of a FirstEnergy coal power plant

Utilities FirstEnergy and AEP want state regulators to approve plans that allow them to hike their customers’ bills to ensure energy production and guarantee income for their struggling coal plants.

But as Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, a new energy player wants to crash the party.


slicing dried pulp

Evan Delahanty says making fruit leather with acai pulp from the Amazon combined with fruits grown in the Akron area is a relatively simple process.

“We just mix them together and then we pour it onto a tray and put it in the dehydrator. And then when you pull it out, it looks like this. I have had some people compare it to roof tar when they see it for the first time.” 

With what looks like a pizza slicer, the dried pulp is cut into strips for packaging.

Delahanty's father Michael, a retired Akron doctor, watches the process with a big smile on his face.

The Cleveland Browns Have Another New Head Coach

Jan 13, 2016

Ten days after firing head coach Mike Pettine, the Cleveland Browns have hired his replacement. Yesterday the team announced Hue Jackson, who was with the Cincinnati Bengals this past season as offensive coordinator, will be the Brown’s eighth head coach since 1999.                                                                

As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, Jackson says Brown’s owner Jimmy Haslam made him feel comfortable, despite the team’s reputation for not keeping coaches for long.


Airfares at Cleveland Hopkins airport dropped about 20 percent last spring compared to 2014, and that could stem from United’s closure of its Cleveland hub. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.



Clearance sales at the Macy’s at Chapel Hill Mall in Akron begin Monday. And as WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, the vacancy it will leave behind, along with other store closings, has some people concerned about the future.

Macy’s announced last week it is closing 36 stores nationwide. That’s about five percent of its stores, and the location at Chapel Hill is among the bottom five percent of Macy’s, sales-wise. The mall itself entered receivership in 2014.


  The Consumer Electronics Show is happening now in Las Vegas, and as WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, one Northeast Ohio company is there promoting their vision of a wireless future.

Cleveland Browns' Losses Cut Into Hotel Stays

Jan 6, 2016

The Cleveland Browns failings on the field this season were felt by hotels in the city.  WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, fewer fans spent the night in town for home games than in previous years.

tax form

  The national Better Business Bureau released the top 10 reported scams of 2015, and tax-related fraud tops the list. Ohio Public Radio’s Andy Chow reports.

Nearly one-in-four scams reported to the Better Business Bureau were tax-related. The BBB says imposters would call people, pretend to be with the IRS, and tell the victims they would be thrown in jail if they didn’t pay them.

The Intersection of Healthcare and Innovation

Dec 29, 2015

 During the last decade, Northeast Ohio’s stature as a bio-medical innovation and production hub has grown to rival Minneapolis, the historic Midwest frontrunner. As part of our series, “The Business of Health,” WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier looks at what’s fueling the rising economic role of the region’s bio-medical industry.

After searching the country for a place to start a business, in 2009  Jake Orville chose Northeast Ohio.

Northeast Ohio Home Sales are up in 2015

Dec 27, 2015
For sale sign

Northeast Ohio home sales are up about 14 percent from the same time last year. That’s according to the Northern Ohio Regional Multiple Listing Service, which lists properties for 18 counties. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports.

Carl DeMusz of the Northern Ohio Regional Multiple Listing Service says in recent years the region has seen a slow but steady home-sales increase.  But in the last year he says the number of homes on the market has increased considerably.

FirstEnergy protest

About 20 protestors showed up at FirstEnergy headquarters in Akron today to send a holiday message to CEO Charles Jones. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports.

FirstEnergy is asking the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for a new rate plan that would subsidize its Sammis coal plant near Steubenville and the Davis-Besse nuclear plant.

But the protestors gathered by the Ohio Organizing Collaborative say that’s a bad deal for consumers. They made the point by bringing FirstEnergy CEO Charles Jones a stocking filled not with coal, but with LED bulbs.

photo of Josh Mandel

The Ohio treasurer's searchable website tracking expenditures includes many local and state agencies, but some entities had been missing. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, that's changed now. 

In a span of just five days, Treasurer Josh Mandel went from having just one state pension system on his site to having all five. He says that makes Ohio the first state to have this kind of transparency with all its retirement systems.


Half-a-dozen Cleveland buildings are on the list of state historic tax credit winners announced today. One of the Downtown Cleveland recipients is the Huntington Bank building. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports.   

A Florida development group wants to spend $270 million converting the Huntington Building into apartments, a hotel and retail space. That project was awarded $25 million in historic tax credits.   

 Terry Schwarz is director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. She says historic tax credits are responsible for much of the renovation in downtown areas nationwide. And she says of the six structures on Cleveland’s latest list, the Huntington Building is the most significant.

“Because that building has been under-utilized for some time. And with the growing residential demand for the core city, it’s such a great opportunity to bring more people and contribute to the downtown revival.”

Downtown’s Cleveland Athletic Club also received a historic tax credit to help with its conversion into apartments. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company headquarters in Akron missed out on a tax credit. Developers want to convert that building to mixed use.

photo of Sherrod Brown

 The Omnibus spending bill now in Congress includes language preventing the Army Corps of Engineers from dumping dredged material into Lake Erie.

Ohio's U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown acknowledges that dredging the Cuyahoga River is needed to maintain shipping lanes, and says dredging should be used only as a last resort, and even then only with permitting by the EPA. He adds that much of Lake Erie is simply too shallow for dumping to be an option.


Akron-based FirstEnergy's proposed rate plan is still being reviewed by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, a proposal that's drawn criticism from environmentalists and even clergy and some business groups.  WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports.

The eight-year agreement asks that FirstEnergy’s subsidiaries buy all the power from its Sammis coal plant near Steubenville and the Davis-Besse nuclear plant, since the company says those plants cannot otherwise remain competitive and would have to be closed.

Davis Besse

More hearings have been scheduled by the Public Utilities Commission on FirstEnergy's proposed rate plan, a plan that's drawn criticism from environmentalists, clergy and some business groups. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports.

Akron-based FirstEnergy wants an eight-year agreement that forces its subsidiaries to buy all the power produced by its Sammis coal plant near Steubenville and the Davis-Besse nuclear plant. The Public Utilities Commission has another round of hearings scheduled to start Jan. 14, a year after it began considering the plan.

east side market sign
Vivian Goodman

Ward 8 Councilman Mike Polensek says it’s clear from where he’s standing at the corner of East 105th and St. Clair Avenue.

“This section of Glenville is a food desert.” 

Glenville residents are among 23.5 million Americans who live in what the USDA calls a “food desert.”

That is:  a low-income neighborhood where at least a third of the population lives a mile from a grocery store.

“We need a grocery store here,” says Councilman Polensek.    

Supermarkets deserted the food desert

Photo of Vaghul
Kavya Vaghul / Twitter

A new study by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth shows student-loan debt and delinquency rates vary greatly in the U.S.

The study breaks down average student loan balances and delinquency rates by zip code.

In Cleveland, the average student-loan balance ranges from “moderately low” to “average.” The average delinquency rate, however, ranges from “somewhat high” to “very high.”

Richey Mixon building


It’s being called an inventor’s paradise. 

ThinkBox is a fully outfitted makerspace on the Case Western Reserve University campus with millions of dollars’ worth of equipment free for students and the public to use.

In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St. Clair tours the place that’s providing tools for Northeast Ohio’s newest entrepreneurs.


Two sides of the brain

Organizational theorist Richard Boyatzis was recently named one of the world’s most influential thinkers in human resources management.

But Boytzis does not think of employees as "resources."  He says they’re people, and effective managers treat them that way.  

In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair sat down with Boyatzis to learn how a manager’s way of thinking can either motivate people or shut them down.