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 Donna Skoda.
/ YOUTUBE

As cases of COVID-19 increase across Ohio, Summit County Public Health is warning residents to be safe this holiday weekend. As of today, there are 54,166 total cases, an increase of 1,301 from Wednesday. Total deaths attributed to COVID-19 stand at 2,903. Officials fear these numbers will rise due to July 4 festivities.

During the Summit County Public Health weekly briefing, commissioner Donna Skoda asked residents to remember how we can control the spread of the virus. 

photo of Akron Water Reclamation plant
MARK AREHART / WKSU

Help is being made available for Akron water and sewer customers struggling to pay utility bills due to economic hardship from the effects of COVID-19.

A photo of Akron's reopen and recover graphic.
AKRON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Akron school leaders say a plan it’s developed for reopening this fall involved input from across the district. The school board got a first look at the plan this week. More than 140 teachers, parents, community members and school principals collaborated on its creation.

a photo of Mark Pennell
/ WKSU

After almost 24 years on the air at WKSU and more than four decades in radio, Mark Pennell is retiring.

On the day of his last shift here, we wanted to take a moment  to look back at that time in radio and some of the history he’s witnessed during that time.

a photo of the Endurance truck with Mike Pence and Steve Burns
YOUTUBE

Vice President Mike Pence rode onto a Mahoning Valley stage Thursday as Lordstown Motors unveiled its all electric pickup truck, the Endurance. 

The company says it already has orders for 14,000 of the Endurance trucks.   

A picture of tunnel boring machine nicknamed Rosie
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Akron has reached a major milestone in its billion-dollar sewer overhaul.  The city announced the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel is 100 percent connected. 

All of the downtown sewers will now flow through the new tunnel.  Pat Gsellman, who is overseeing the project, says the new 63-hundred-foot long tunnel will have a positive environmental impact.

“So all that overflow that would have eventually ended up in the Cuyahoga River, we’re capturing around 500 million gallons a year of flow that will now be treated at the waste water plant.”

A photo of people painting the phrase "Black Lives Matter" on the intersection where Na'Kia Crawford was fatally shot.
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

Akron police have issued three warrants for suspects they say were involved in the murder of Na’kia Crawford, 18, a recent graduate of North High School who was shot to death Sunday afternoon in her car while stopped at a red light at North and Howard Streets in Akron. 

A photo of Caitlyn Lenhoff, a masters student in computer science at Kent State University, demonstrating how to use the team's helmet based augmented reality system.
JIM MAXWELL / KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

A team of Kent State University students is working on an idea that could become part of NASA’s future missions to the moon and Mars.

Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Health Lance Himes has issued a new order allowing for the reopening of county fairs, with exceptions to protect the health of participants. The order is effective immediately and will remain in place until 11:59 on October 21, 2020. 

a photo of St. Thomas Aquinas School
GOOGLE EARTH

Two Cleveland Catholic elementary schools are being saved from closure by a management organization that has successfully operated seven similar schools in New York City. Partnership Schools will take over operation of the two schools next month. 

Partnership Schools assistant superintendent Christian Dallavais says Archbishop Lyke and St. Thomas Aquinas, both K-8 schools, fit their mission.

A photo of Sherrod Brown.
WKSU

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is supporting a federal proposal to reform police. The Justice in Policing Act calls for greater accountability and better training for officers, among other things.

Brown says he does not see recent calls to defund police as a call to disband law enforcement. 

A photo of the entrance to the Summit County Courthouse.
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Summit County has received a grant for a new domestic violence intervention program.

The Achieving Change through Value-based Behavior, or A-C-T-V, program aims to reduce recidivism rates for domestic violence offenders.

Judge Kathryn Michael, presiding judge of the Summit County Domestic Violence Intervention Court, says she's been working to increase access to programs like this since she was elected last year.

A photo of the Career Services Facebook live.
STARK STATE COLLEGE/FACEBOOK

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the highest levels of unemployment since the Great Depression. In Ohio, April’s unemployment rate was close to 17%.  Stark State College wants to help those in need of work. It’s offering free career services to community members.

People can get help exploring career paths and job opportunities, improving resumes and interviewing.

In a Facebook live session, Career Services Coordinator Natalie Harrington described their assistance as more personal than getting help online.

a photo of a protester in Cleveland.
TAYLOR HAGGERTY / WCPN

Cleveland has been under a curfew since Saturday, when protests against the police brutality in Minneapolis that led to the death of George Floyd, turned violent.

The curfew restricts activity from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the Central Business District and the W. 25th Market District and is in effect until tomorrow, at this point.

A picture of Senator Sherrod Brown on June 8, 2018.
BROWN.SENATE.GOV

Sen. Sherrodd Brown (D-Ohio) is cosponsoring legislation that would add teeth to laws intended to end racial profiling. The End Racial and Religious Profiling Act would strengthen existing equal protection laws.

Following the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes, Brown says it’s important to dismantle all racist systems and not just focus on police brutality.

A photo of a factory worker.
/ CONSUMER ENERGY ALLIANCE

The manufacturing industry has suffered during the economic shutdown caused by the pandemic. A new report from the Institute for Supply Management expects the industry won’t return to pre-recession levels until 2022.

Joe Biden
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Like just about everything else these days, political campaigning has had to rely on virtual connections. This week, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) held an organizing call to rally support in Ohio for Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

Photo of Sherrod Brown at the Press Club
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Sen. Sherrod Brown wants to hold President Donald Trump to comments he made recently on a Toledo radio show. Trump acknowledged his election was due in part to promises made about American manufacturing jobs and said Americans should make the products we use.

Brown says his American Cars, American Jobs Act would support that effort. He wrote the President last week asking him to support the bill, which would incentivize the domestic production of cars. Brown says Trump’s support is integral. 

A photo of Children's Akron campus
AKRON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL

Health care providers locally and around the country are seeing a steep decline in the number of children being brought in for well visits.

Akron Children’s Hospital stopped offering well visits for children over the age of 3 in late March. Over the last two weeks it’s begun returning to full capacity.

photo desks and chairs
/ STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The coronavirus pandemic has led to unprecedented economic concerns for state government. In early May, the governor ordered state departments to cut spending by $775 million through the end of June. Cuts to education funding could affect the state’s charter schools.

a photo of Zach Friedhof
ARTSNOW / FACEBOOK

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many artists unemployed due to the cancellations of large gatherings for the last few months as well as the economic downturn. ArtsNow, a Summit County nonprofit that works to connect the arts and the community, is working to change this.

Grace Myers, corporate and community liaison for ArtsNow, says they are launching two virtual series to bring local talent into community members homes. 

photo of East CLC
EAST CLC

The COVID-19 pandemic has left high schools scrambling to create a commencement ceremony that follows social distancing protocols. While some schools have resorted to a virtual or drive-in ceremony, Akron Public Schools has come up with a way for more than 1,000 seniors to graduate in person.

map of Summit County
GOOGLE MAPS

There’s a new pot of grant money for small businesses in Summit County struggling to survive during the coronavirus pandemic. The hope is that more of them will be able to qualify for this round of funding.

a screen capture of the plain dealer front page
CLEVELAND.COM

The coronavirus pandemic could bring changes to the Cleveland media landscape. A recent article in Crain's Cleveland Business speculates the city's print newspaper, The Plain Dealer, could within the next few years be printed only on Sundays. 

More than two dozen reporters and editors at the paper, run by the New York-based Advance Publications Inc., have been laid off in the past few months. 

photo of students during the 1974 Annual Commemoration of the Kent State shootings
"1974 Commemoration: Photograph" / Kent State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives

Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the day National Guardsmen opened fire on Kent State University students protesting the Vietnam War. 

The university planned a number of events for the days leading up to and including the anniversary of the May 4th shootings. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the school has shifted to a roughly hour-long virtual commemoration

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