David Williams

intern

David Williams is an intern at WKSU for summer 2019. A junior at Kent State, Williams is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism. Williams has reported for The Kent Stater, the university’s student-run newspaper, since spring 2018. His interests include history and politics.

Ways to Connect

a photo of Springfield Bog Metro Park
SUMMIT METRO PARKS

Summit County voters resoundingly approved a 2-mill levy for Summit Metro Parks.

The tax is a renewal and an increase. Homeowners currently pay $3.47 per month for a home valued at $100,000. This levy will raise that rate by $1.58 per month.

Summit Metro Parks spokeswoman Stephanie Walton said the funding this levy provides is essential for them to continue operating.

social distancing measures outside of Butcher and Sprout in Cuyahoga Falls
David Williams / WKSU

Cuyahoga Falls is joining the city of Akron in canceling large summer gatherings. That includes the Riverfront Irish Festival and the Festa Italiana. Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters said guidance from state and local health officials led to the decision.

While he’s disappointed, Walters doesn’t think the cancellations will hurt local businesses because in the past they’ve managed to stay busy even without large events bringing people in.

a photo of Lock 3
SHANE WYNN / AKRON STOCK

As Ohio works toward lifting its stay at home mandate, Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said allowing large gatherings will be among the last steps taken in a return to normal. That's leading to the postponement or cancellation of many concerts, festivals and other events originally scheduled for this summer.

In Akron, Lock 3 will not host major gatherings this summer. But Deputy Mayor James Hardy, who runs the city's Office for Integrated Development, say smaller events may still take place.

photo of Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank
AKRON-CANTON REGIONAL FOOD BANK

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved a food distribution program to help expedite the process of feeding hungry families in Ohio.

Dan Flowers is the CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

He said that prior to this approval, volunteers needed to conduct an intake process which involved exchanging paperwork with clients.

That has the potential to spread coronavirus to volunteers, many of whom are seniors.

photo of Todd Diacon in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design
/ KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

Kent State University’s Board of Trustees approved a special tuition rate for out-of-state graduate students who earn their bachelor's degrees in Ohio.

President Todd Diacon said the lower rate came in response to a challenge from Gov. Mike DeWine.

photo of cash
SHUTTERSTOCK

Summit County is working with the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce to set up grants intended to help public and private businesses make it through the period of shutdown brought on by the coronavirus.

Chamber CEO Steve Millard said businesses can use grants of up to $5,000 to cover payroll, rent or other operating expenses.

Akron Symphony
Akron Symphony Orchestra

The Akron Symphony Orchestra has canceled the rest of its current season.

Executive Director Paul Jarrett said the orchestra’s mission, which is to enhance the quality of life in the community through music, hasn’t changed. He said the orchestra came up with some alternatives to continue its mission.

a photo of a stark hunger task force truck
STARK COUNTY HUNGER TASK FORCE

The Stark County Hunger Task Force is taking steps to make sure people won’t go hungry because of COVID-19.

Executive Director Maureen Kampman said the pantry's new drive-thru food pantry will provide people with nonperishable groceries.

photo of children eating lunch at school
USDA

With schools closed during the pandemic, districts are trying to not only educate students, but feed them as well.

In Akron Public Schools, Child Nutrition Coordinator Laura Kepler said the district has had to adapt the types of food it is providing, but the schools still churn out 9,000 meals a day.

That’s about a third of what they do when students are in school.

a photo of briefing room at Summit co public health department
DAVID WILLIAMS / WKSU

Summit County has its first case of COVID-19. A woman in her 50s is currently hospitalized.

Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said this is the first case of community spread detected in Summit County. But she warns that people feeling symptomatic should consult their doctor first.

photo of Kent State
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

Kent State President Todd Diacon announced Friday that the University will suspend in-person classes for the remainder of Spring Semester.

The announcement comes just days after face-to-face classes were suspended through April 12th to slow transmission of COVID-19.

Professors began remote instruction of in-person classes earlier this week and will continue teaching students online for the rest of the semester.

Diacon said students living on campus will receive an appropriate refund of room and board if they move out by March 30th.

photo of Thomas Grace
SARA DONATO / KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

Spring Commencement at Kent State will feature two speakers who were wounded during the May Fourth shootings 50 years ago.

Kent State President Todd Diacon said historian Tom Grace will deliver remarks for graduate students, and fellow Kent State alum Dean Kahler will speak at Kent State’s Commencement for undergrads across all eight campuses.

Kahler was shot in the spine on May 4 and although he remains paralyzed, Kahler competes in 5K and 10K wheelchair races.

a photo of a firefighter and fire truck
CHICOFD / CREATIVE COMMONS

Fire Departments in Northern Summit County could see greater collaboration. Richfield Fire Department is exploring a merger with Valley Fire, which provides fire services for Peninsula, Boston Township and Boston Heights.

Richfield Village Mayor Michael Wheeler said they already provide dispatch services to several communities to share costs, and he wants to see cooperation like that wherever possible.

Sherrod Brown
WKSU

President Donald Trump unveiled his 2020 budget this week, and Congress is taking a critical look at his cuts to safety-net programs.

Ohio's Democratic Senator, Sherrod Brown, criticized $75 billion in cuts to Social Security disability insurance. In a call with reporters Wednesday, Brown said the plan will make it harder for people with disabilities to get the assistance they need.

photo of Sherrod Brown, Connie Shultz
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Reporters covering the Senate Impeachment trial have been dealing with limited access to the proceedings.

C-SPAN, which usually televises Congressional proceedings, was denied permission to use its own cameras to cover the trial, leaving only one camera which is controlled by the senate.

Senator Sherrod Brown says the restrictions are part of Senate Republicans' strategy.

photo of bill barrow examining images
MARK AREHART / WKSU

A project to catalog historical images of Cleveland is asking for the public’s help.

The Cleveland Memory Project, housed at Cleveland State University, has been working since the mid 1990s to make local history available online.

Special Collections Librarian Bill Barrow said they have more than 500,000 images from the old Cleveland Press Newspaper.

He said they need help adding information to each image.

a photo of an eviction notice
DOUBLETREE STUDIO / SHUTTERSTOCK

Akron Municipal Court is clarifying two proposed amendments related to the city’s eviction process. Judge Jon Oldham said coverage of the amendments has caused some confusion.

photo of a snowy owl
PURPLE TULIPS (GRACE AND RAY) / CREATIVE COMMONS

Researchers at Black Swamp Bird Observatory near Toledo are studying the migration patterns of snowy owls as part of a research effort called “Project SNOWstorm.”

Research Director Mark Shieldcastle helped tag one owl, which they named Wolverine, with a new tracker after it was recaptured at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Walsh University Campus looking east
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Walsh University is putting a four-year freeze on tuition for incoming freshmen starting this fall.

Rebecca Coneglio is Vice President of Enrollment Management at the private university. She said the freeze is part of Walsh’s Four-Year Graduation Guarantee.

“We’ve worked with all of our academic schools and divisions. If students really commit to us, we’re committing to them and we feel like we can get students to graduate in four years so then they can get out and join the workforce or go on to graduate school.”

Senator Mitch McConnell says he now has the votes to move forward with impeachment proceedings. One of those votes is Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) who says he’s open to hearing from witnesses.

“The first stage of this is hearing the opening statements, seeing the evidence from both sides, you know, both House managers and the president’s lawyers having the opportunity to make their case and then to see where we go from there," Portman said. "So it doesn’t preclude witnesses and you know I’m not opposed to witnesses if that’s necessary to get the information that’s needed.”

photo of Rob Portman
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

In a break with President Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper rejected threats to attack cultural sites in Iran should the country respond to a drone strike which killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Senator Rob Portman supported the strike on Soleimani, but says he is opposed to attacks on cultural sites.

photo of trucks on highway
SHUTTERSTOCK

The abrupt closure of an Akron trucking company last month came at the end of a difficult year for the industry.

GDS Express shut down, putting 75 drivers out of work right before Christmas. Last Spring, Falcon Transport in Youngstown closed suddenly.

Photo of Freddie Kitchens
WKSU

The Cleveland Browns are once again searching for a new head coach. After leading the Browns to a 6 - 10 season, Freddie Kitchens is out of the role he held for less than a year.

a photo of a library read-in
ROD LIBRARY / CREATIVE COMMONS

A new study shows young people of color in Ohio have fewer opportunities for economic advancement. The national study done by the Institute for Child, Youth, and Family Policy at Brandeis University measures the opportunity index in 100 of the United States largest metro areas.

Photo of flooding in Kent
LYDIA TAYLOR / WKSU

A Summit County judge is ordering the formation of the Yellow Creek Conservancy Court to determine whether the flood-prone area in western Summit County warrants its own watershed district.

After heavy rains flooded homes, residents in the Yellow Creek area stepped up to do something about it.

Mark Spisak is the director of the Yellow Creek Foundation. He said establishing a conservancy district will make it easier to manage the creek’s flow and curb erosion.

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