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

photo of floodplain between 14th street and Wolf Creek
GOOGLE EARTH

Some Barberton residents who live in a flood-prone area of 14th street will have the opportunity to relocate thanks to a $595,000 federal grant.

The grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be used to acquire and demolish 15 homes in the low-lying area next to Wolf Creek. Mayor William Judge said that area will be turned into greenspace.

a photo of the Freedom Trail
SUMMIT METRO PARKS

Voters in Summit County will decide in March whether to increase funding for Summit Metro Parks. The Park District is seeking renewal of a 1.46 mill levy that is currently on the books and adding .54 mills for a total levy of two-mills. The additional millage would cost the average homeowner an extra $1.58 per month.

Metro Parks spokesperson Stephanie Walton said the proposed levy will bring in another $6 million dollars to the parks each year.

photo of traffic on Ohio roads
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohioans who have their driver’s licenses suspended often face prohibitive fees to get their licenses back.

The state has offered temporary amnesty programs. Now a bill proposed by two Cleveland-area lawmakers would make permanent a reinstatement program to get people driving legally again.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Voters in Akron elected three new members to the Akron Public Schools Board of Education Tuesday. One of them made history.  

N.J. Akbar is the first openly LGBTQ Muslim elected in Ohio. Akbar is the assistant dean of University College at Kent State University. He said he was encouraged to run by a colleague at the university.

With his new position, Akbar wants to examine equity policies, increase flexibility in the academic calendar and be transparent about how the board operates.

A photo of Mustard Seed Market in Solon
GOOGLE EARTH

With CBD products rising in popularity and more farmers beginning to grow hemp, the USDA this week released its first set of proposed regulations for the hemp-derived oil.

One local retailer is welcoming that move.

CBD products were so popular at Mustard Seed Market, they couldn’t keep them in stock. The retailer  created an e-commerce platform to sell its own brand, Hemp Luxe.

a photo of a child with a nurse
ALLISON SIEGEL / CREATIVE COMMONS

An increasing number of Ohio children have no health insurance coverage. A report from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families indicates the number of uninsured children in the state increased by 28% from 2016 to 2018. That amounts to nearly 30,000 children.

The Center’s Director Joan Alker authored the report. She cited policy changes as a reason for the loss in coverage.

Manufacturing
WIKIMEDIA / WIKIMEDIA

A report from the Commerce Department finds manufacturing’s share of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) has shrunk to its lowest level in 72 years. Manufacturing made up 11% of GDP in the second quarter. It hasn’t been that small since 1947 and rose to a quarter of the overall economy in the 1960s.   

But an industry advocacy organization says manufacturing remains a central driver of Ohio’s economy. Matthew Fieldman is the vice president of external affairs for the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) and says the sector is thriving here.   

a photo of the new Boston Mill Visitor Center
ANDREW MEYER / WKSU

Cuyahoga Valley National Park has opened what it’s calling its first “Front Door."

The Boston Mill Visitor Center is on Riverview Road in Peninsula. Park Superintendent Craig Kenkel hopes the new center will bring some new faces as well.

"We see this as being a place for those first time visitors who know nothing about Cuyahoga Valley and Northeast Ohio, but it’s also a place where returning visitors and local visitors can come and learn more about our interpretive scenes and the stories that comprise the National Park as well as its connection to Cleveland and Akron."

Aging Akron Police cruiser
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

A new dispatch system launched this month in Summit County will improve emergency response.

Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) replaced aging, DOS-based technology that had been used by the county, the cities of Akron and Green and the University of Akron.

Brian Nelsen is chief of staff to Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro. He said the new system will enhance how first responders react to emergencies.

Photo of a person vaping
LINDSAY FOX / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A recent outbreak of Lung Disease linked to vaping has prompted pulmonologists at the Cleveland Clinic to explore the link between the two.

Doctors began conducting lung biopsies on patients with a history of vaping. Director of Pulmonary Pathology Sanjay Mukhopadhyay led the study.

"Some people who vape definitely get lung damage, and that was not known before on a microscopic level and we have proved that in this study beyond a reasonable doubt," Mukhopadhyay said.

photo of Akron Children's Hospital
/ WKSU

Akron Children’s Hospital is leading the way in developing national guidelines for prescribing pain medication to children after surgery.

The process has led to a 44% reduction in narcotic prescriptions.

Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Kerwyn Jones says his team developed the new guidelines after looking at prescription practices at five medical centers.

A photo of a football player with a head injury
COURTENEY / CREATIVE COMMONS

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are looking into how kids can get back to school faster after a traumatic brain injury like a concussion.

Psychology professor Angela Ciccia said they will work with schools to identify students and observe their academic performance and behavior after injury.

They’re modeling their approach after a Pennsylvania program called BrainSTEPS.

photo of Judge Oldham meeting with school children
Akron Municipal Court

Judges in Akron want to clear up questions about how the judicial system works for people in the community.

Akron Municipal Court has launched a new program called Have Gavel, Will Travel, to connect judges with schools, churches, scout troops and other community organizations.

photo of paddlers on Summit Lake
ROSALIE MURPHY / THE DEVIL STRIP

Summit Lake is enjoying a revival, but it’s about more than just the body of water itself. The community's  turnaround is the focus of a new story in The Devil Strip “Revival of the People and the Souls on the Shores of Summit Lake.”

J.B. SILVERS
JEFF ST. CLAIR / WKSU

Healthcare providers across Ohio have taken steps to raise wages for their lowest-paid workers. Akron Children’s Hospital announced this week that its minimum wage will increase to 15 dollars an hour by next year.

University Hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and MetroHealth have planned similar increases.

J.B. Silvers teaches healthcare finance at Case Western Reserve University. He said this is part of a nationwide push to raise the minimum wage.

A photo of the Cleveland Orchestra
/ THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA

Music is big business in Northeast Ohio. The Cleveland Orchestra commissioned a study to determine just how big.

It found the orchestra’s activities at Severance Hall and concerts at Blossom Music Center – which it owns – generated more than $135 million in spending in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

The orchestra’s President and CEO Andre Gremillet says he wants to increase that impact in the coming years.

Perry nuclear power plant seen from the south
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

The drive to halt the new law that bails out Ohio’s two nuclear power plants and put it before voters next year is running up against a high profile blitz to shut it down.

Each side is expected to be spending at least $3 million – to gather signatures, or on ads and fliers. Spokespeople for both sides discussed their thoughts on  the campaign.

photo of the entrance to the Bellwether Music Festival
DAVID GIFFELS

There’s a relatively new music festival near Dayton that bears the nickname many political watchers have given Ohio: Bellwether. For author David Giffels, who’s working on a new book about what's on the minds of voters ahead of next year’s presidential election, that was enough for him to include it in his travels around the state. In this month's check-in with Giffels, we talk with him about his recent trip to the Bellwether Music Festival.

a photo of flooding on a highway
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION / FACEBOOK

Flooding victims in Wayne and surrounding counties will have access to federal help when the Small Business Administration opens an office in the Wooster Red Cross Tuesday. In late July heavy rain damaged homes and businesses in and around Wooster.

The SBA will be taking applications for low-interest loans for two weeks. Public Affairs Specialist Carl Dombek says the loans aren’t limited to businesses.

photo of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

With congress back in session, Republicans say they are ready to pass the United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says he expects to reach a deal with House Democrats this month on modifications to the U.S.M.C.A.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown introduced Lighthizer and supported his nomination. But Brown says the current deal isn’t strong enough at enforcing labor standards.

a photo of a Vindicator newspaper box
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

A digital news project in Youngstown says it won’t be chasing day-to-day stories. Editor Mark Sweetwood, formerly of The Vindicator, will lead the Mahoning Matters newsroom, staffed by two former Vindicator reporters.

Sweetwood says they will focus on topics people in the Youngstown region care about.

Photo of medical marijuana
Shutterstock.com

Since the state passed a medical marijuana law in 2016, not many growing sites, processing facilities and dispensaries have been approved by the state. This delay is slowing down the expansion of the cannabis industry. 

Tess Bennett's article "A Budding Industry" in the Devil Strip outlines the state of the medical marijuana industry in Akron. She said the state's not to blame because of how new the regulation process is for Ohio. "Road bumps are to be expected," Bennett said.

photo of money
MARK BELOKOPYTOV / FLICKR

As productivity continues to grow in Ohio, wages have remained stagnant. That’s among the findings in a new report from Policy Matters Ohio analyzing Ohio’s labor market.

photo of voting booth
ANDREW MEYER / WKSU

There’s a big push underway by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose to make sure that voter rolls are accurate and inactive voters are removed. September 6th  is the deadline for some 235,000 inactive voters to get in touch with the state. Jen Miller, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio  discussed her group’s concerns with what’s going on.

photo of trucks on highway
SHUTTERSTOCK

A new report finds that compared to the rest of the country, Ohio’s highways are getting better.

The study comes from the Reason Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank focused on market oriented solutions. It measured traffic fatalities, congestion and construction costs. 

Baruch Feigenbaum is the lead author on the report. He says Ohio’s overall ranking has improved.

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