Sean Fitzgerald

News Intern

Sean Fitzgerald is a senior journalism major at Kent State University working as a 2020 summer news intern. Sean has been with Black Squirrel Radio, Kent State's student-run radio station since the spring of 2018 as a sports show host and co-host, a web article contributor and sports department coordinator. Sean hopes to pursue a career in sports journalism once he finishes school. 

Ways to Connect

a photo of Terry Francona
ERIK DROST / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Major League Baseball players begin reporting for spring training Wednesday, with a shortened 60-game season beginning later this month. It caps months of contentious negotiations between players and owners to start the season amid the pandemic. The MLB used its right to implement a season where the players receive 100 percent of their salary for each game played. 

On Monday, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona addressed the media, and WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said he had some tough words about the state of the league.

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.

an image of the ad for NoHi pop up restaurant
EXCHANGE HOUSE / FACEBOOK

An Akron group is trying something new to help local food entrepreneurs and celebrate the city’s cultural diversity.

The North Akron Community Development Corporation will open a rotating restaurant next month in Temple Square on North Main Street. The NoHi Pop-Up project has lined up eight chefs who will each take a weekend to serve lunch and dinner.

North Akron CDC Director Katie Beck says it’s a good opportunity for food entrepreneurs to experiment and look into opening their own restaurants.

Tim Evanson / Wikimedia Commons

High school sports are resuming activities for the first time since March, when seasons were canceled amid the pandemic. But the Senate Athletic League for Cleveland schools has been slow to get students back on the field. 

Sports commentator Terry Pluto says school sports are about much more than competition.

Photo of a person vaping
LINDSAY FOX / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A new study by Cleveland Clinic Children’s finds that teens who regularly vape THC are likely to develop a serious condition associated with vaping known as EVALI, or e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury.

Since late last year, hospitals have seen a rise in the number of teens and adolescent patients seeking help for acute lung injury not only in Ohio but other parts of the country.   

Dr. Fariba Rezaee says teens who vape believe it is safer than smoking, which is part of the problem.

Salvation Army Logo
Salvation Army Summit County

The Salvation Army in Summit County has set up a fund to help families avoid losing their homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s setting aside a pool of $50,000 to draw on to cover a monthly mortgage payment.

Spokesman Major Steven Stoops says while there are federal programs to provide rent assistance, there’s nothing comparable to help with mortgages.

“There wasn’t anything for that home owner that is lower-middle class or just struggling, but loving that they have their own home," Stoops said. 

a photo of Cuyahoga Valley National Park sign
WKSU

A plan to address a backlog of maintenance needs at America's national parks has been approved by the U.S. Senate. The Restore Our Parks Act is part of a broader legislative effort.

The bill provides nearly $2 billion for long-delayed maintenance needs in the national parks. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) says the measure will also create a big economic boost.

a photo of Kyrie Irving
ERIK DROST / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The NBA’s plan to restart the season with 22 teams at Disney World in August hit a snag this week. Former Cavs star Kyrie Irving is leading a coalition of players pushing back against the deal that’s already been approved by the league and its players union.

WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says the social justice movement can benefit from players back on the court. 

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 Cavs players
R.J. ORIEZ/88TH AIR BASE WING / WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB

The NBA has agreed on a plan to restart the season that was halted by the coronavirus pandemic in March. Twenty-two teams will compete at Disney World in Orlando beginning in August. But the Cleveland Cavaliers, last place in the Eastern Conference, are among the eight teams that didn’t qualify. 

WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says the Cavs should still get a chance to play outside of the league's restart. 

an image of Cedar Point
GOOGLE EARTH

With Governor Mike DeWine's announcement that larger entertainment venues can begin to reopen, Cedar Point has announced plans to welcome back visitors next month.  

The park will open initially to season passholders, then resort guests and visitors who pre-purchase tickests. 

Season, Gold and Platinum pass holders will be able to enter the park July 9 and 10. Cedar Point Resort guests will be admitted beginning July 11. 

The park is instituting safety rules including required reservations, health screenings and social distancing. 

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 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.

An image of St. Vincent St. Mary High School in Akron
/ GOOGLE EARTH

Northeast Ohio high schools could resume sports skills training last week. Many of them have been taking the reopening process slowly.

At St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, director of communications and baseball coach Anthony Boarman says that once facilities start to open, there will be a ramp up in the number of athletes allowed in.

photo of Sen. Rob Portman
/ U.S. SENATE

Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) says Ohio will not likely need the military force President Trump is threatening to deploy to quell violence in some states.

Portman says the National Guard is doing a sufficient job of keeping the peace in Ohio.

"I would want to see us continue to rely on local law enforcement and those who are trained to deal with these kinds of situations, you know our Ohio National Guard," Portman said. 

Portman says he can’t speak for what type of action might be needed in other states. He says now is the time for calm and for dialogue.

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.

a photo of the roundabout outside University of Akron student union
GOOGLE EARTH

The University of Akron is hosting a drive-by distribution for Spring 2020 graduates.

The University invites them to drive through the roundabout at the Jean Hower Taber Student Union between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. this Friday and Saturday. They will be able to pick up diploma covers, honors medallions, academic cords, and other celebratory items.