Abigail Bottar

News Intern

Abigail Bottar is a junior at Kent State University. She is pursuing a major in political science with a concentration in American politics and minors in history and women's studies. Additionally, Abigail is starting her second semester copy editing for The Burr.

Ways to Connect

A photo of MetroHealth main campus.

A recent study has found that heart attack cases in the U.S. have fallen by 50 percent during the pandemic. However, the death rate from heart attacks has doubled in some locations. Fear of going to the hospital because of COVID-19 could be causing greater health consequences.

A study from JAMA Cardiology that looked at 1,400 patients in six states found a significant increase in the death rate from heart attacks.

Mike and Melissa Keleman on Keleman Point Farm

New sustainable farmers have taken over one of the long-term leases in Cuyahoga Valley National Park as part of its Countryside Initiative. The change is a rare occurrence for the program.                                      

A photo of Senator Sherrod Brown

Sen. Sherrod Brown is joining political scientists, ethicists and others in criticizing elements of the Republican National Convention. President Donald Trump accepted the nomination Thursday at the White House, where a number of convention activities took place. Brown is questioning the ethics of having campaign events there.

“It frankly mocked much of what this country stands for, the separation of campaigns and the grandeur of the White House and the presidency,” he said.

A photo of the women's suffrage panel in Massilon Museum's new local history gallery

Massillon will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment Wednesday night by illuminating downtown in purple lights. The 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote, and purple was a color suffragists frequently used.

Massillon is joining a nationwide celebration called Forward into Light that is highlighting landmarks of the movement in purple and gold lights.

Author David Giffels spent a year traveling around Ohio with the idea that by getting a better understanding of Ohio, he might get a better understanding of the nation as a whole this election year. The people he encountered in his journeys and what he learned from them are in his new book, "Barnstorming Ohio: To Understand America." Giffels said he wrapped up his research just as the coronavirus pandemic shut down the state and the country. 

A photo of the RNC stage.

Editor's note:  This story has been updated.  The Republican National Convention starts tonight. And for the first time ever, due to the pandemic, it’s virtual.  John Green, director emeritus of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, discusses how Republicans will use this convention to gain momentum heading into November’s elections. 

A picture of an elementary school classroom.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a lot of uncertainty about how to restart normal activities, including school. Administrators, teachers, parents and students have been grappling with what school in the fall should look like for months.

A photo of a girl playing soccer.

A local athletic director is relieved with Governor DeWine’s directive that allows fall sports to move forward.  St. Vincent-St. Mary Athletic Director Willie McGee says he has confidence state leaders have consulted extensively with experts and are acting on the best information available. 

A photo of David James

Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James has announced he will retire from the position next June.  

James has been with the Akron Public Schools for almost 29 years. He's been superintendent for the past 12 years. 

"It's time," James stated in a press release. "This has been challenging and fulfilling for me. I have been honored to work with students, parents, dedicated educators and community leaders who have all come together to make Akron Public Schools stronger than it was 12 years ago." 


The Democratic National Convention gets underway today. However, the usual mix of in-person pomp and circumstance and politics is being replaced by a virtual four-day event due to the pandemic. One of those who was supposed to be there watching everything that's going on was Dave Cohen, interim director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University Akron, but, remotely, he’s still keeping tabs on what’s going on. 

A photo of the University of Akron.

The University of Akron’s Board of Trustees passed a budget Wednesday that includes 178 layoffs; 96 of the layoffs are union faculty.

Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant in Ottawa, Co., OH

Cleveland City Council passed a resolution Wednesday allowing its finance committee to investigate the actions of entities involved in the recent House Bill 6 corruption scandal.  The resolution includes the ability to issue subpoenas for witnesses.  

A photo of the blimp

An Akron business owner is optimistic about the potential impact of a new app being launched by the city to support local businesses.  Called the Akronite, the app aims to increase community engagement and connect residents with local retailers. It incentivizes “Akronites” to shop locally with a rewards system that features a blimp.

A photo of the University of Akron.

The University of Akron’s faculty union rejected a contract that included concessions and layoffs. Out of 343 votes cast, those against outnumbered those for by just 25 votes.

A photo of Sen. Rob Portman.

An Ohio Senator says the chamber’s failure to pass a new stimulus bill to help Americans adversely impacted by the coronavirus is disappointing. Senator Rob Portman says Democrats and Republicans want similar things in the bill. “Everybody seems to be for the $1,200 rebate checks, the PPE expansion people are for that is for small businesses.” Portman says tax credits to help people and businesses are also receiving widespread support as are more resources for healthcare workers and increased testing.

A photo of Joe Biden.

Former Vice President Joe Biden kicked off a statewide virtual tour of Ohio Tuesday with a roundtable discussion in Kent. The goal is to promote Biden’s “Made in America” plan and presidential campaign promise: a commitment to fight for American workers and to create more than five million new jobs in areas such as manufacturing.  Kent City Councilwoman Gwen Rosenberg, who’s a local businesswoman, participated in the discussion.

A photo of Sherrod Brown at the Press Club

A new stimulus bill in the Senate may benefit a group that missed out on stimulus checks in March.  College students did not necessarily benefit from the CARES Act. A high number of students are still claimed as dependents and were therefore unable to qualify for the checks. Others qualified but were still claimed anyway and did not receive payment. Sen.

A photo of Perry Nuclear Plant

The head of an energy research nonprofit in Cleveland hopes the corruption scandal surrounding a utility bailout will ultimately help Ohio move forward. Sandy Buchanan is the executive director of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

She wants to see House Bill 6, the bailout that saved FirstEnergy’s nuclear plants, repealed but not replaced.

She said the bill is poor policy and holds Ohio back.

A photo of Patricia Shipe.

One of the region’s largest school districts is considering making a big change about fall instruction. Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James said Monday the district may need to look at starting the school year entirely remote, citing concern about the rise in coronavirus cases.

A photo of the Gorge Dam.

The city of Akron is getting a $1 million grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to help pay for removing the Gorge Dam from the Cuyahoga River. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the funds during a visit to Akron Tuesday.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said the city will continue to work with stakeholders and partners to help secure the rest of the funds for the $65 million project.  

First Energy downtown Akron

Federal authorities allege the speaker of the Ohio House ran a massive scheme to pass an energy bill that bailed out Akron-based First Energy’s two nuclear plants.

The U.S. attorney for the southern district of Ohio, David DeVillers, says the $61-million racketeering enterprise dates back to March 2017.

He says Larry Householder created a 501(c)(4) called Generation Now to launder money contributed by an entity identified as Company A, widely known to be First Energy.

photo of Summa Health coronavirus testing

The Ohio Department of Health plans to open two COVID-19 popup testing sites Tuesday in Northeast Ohio. A site in Alliance will offer tests today only. Another site at NEOMED in Rootstown will be open through Saturday, July 25.

Tests are being offered for free to anyone. No appointments or referrals are needed, but quantities may be limited.

photo of Akron Public Schools headquarters

It’s been eight years since Akron Public Schools passed a levy, making a new one a necessity even without the financial pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a special meeting on Monday, the board of education took the first step toward putting a levy on the November ballot. The board unanimously approved three resolutions that will allow Chief Financial Officer Ryan Pendleton to develop projections for how much the levy will cost citizens based on three different millages—6.9, 7.9 and 8.9.

A drawing of the overall site plan for the Residences at Good Park.

A proposed new housing development in Akron involves an organization with a history in the city. This project takes them in a new direction.

The proposed Residences at Good Park development in West Akron is a step away from one of Alpha Phi Alpha Home’s goals to provide housing for Akron’s low-income, elderly population. Instead, Executive Director Tom Fuller said the developer is aiming to create an economically integrated community with properties starting at $195,000.

a map of mask complaints

Cuyahoga County has been under a mask mandate since last week when the Ohio Department of Health issued one for all counties at a Level 3 public emergency.