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police on steps of justice center
JOSH TROCHE

The phrase “defund the police” has become one of the battle cries of protesters across the country since George Floyd was killed in May by Minneapolis police. 

Floyd’s death has sparked a new push for police reform, which many say is decades overdue.

The city of Akron, like many cities, is in the early stages of what could add up to significant change for the police department.

photo of 1099 form
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

As employees return to work in Ohio, questions remain about how 2020 tax returns could be affected by the stimulus money that many Americans got as part of the CARES Act. We ask an expert in this edition of “OH Really?”

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.”

CLEVELAND CLINIC

Testing for coronavirus has become widespread in Ohio with pop-up stations and drive-through sampling sites.

Those labs use a nasal swab to test for an active case of COVID-19.

Another type of test is also becoming available.

It uses a blood sample to see if you may have already had the disease.

A Cleveland Clinic researcher says this antibody test is not something we should put much faith in.

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. 

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. 

Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland are planning millions of dollars in aid for tenants who haven't been able to pay their rent during the coronavirus pandemic, just as the city’s housing court begins to accept eviction filings after a three-month pause.

The county is cuing up $6.8 million in eviction relief, and the city plans another $11.3 million. The nonprofit CHN Housing Partners will manage the aid for both local governments, aiming to launch the program in July.

photo of Pinery Dam
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

For decades, supporters of cleaner water have been working to rid the Cuyahoga River of its dams, which impede the flow of water.

Restoring that flow is improving water quality and providing new opportunities for wildlife and recreation on the river.

The latest project -- removing the Brecksville Dam -- has revealed a bit of history that dates back almost 200 years.

a drawing of the grocery store
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

It’s been decades since people in southeast Canton have had easy access to a grocery store. Next month, that changes.

The effort to plant a new seed in the food desert has been both hampered and boosted by the pandemic.

photo of Pinery Dam
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The Brecksville Dam removal project hit a milestone this week, as waters receded enough to reveal the historic Pinery Dam that’s been submerged since the 1950s.

The older, wooden dam is nearly 200 years old and was intended to divert water from the Cuyahoga River to the Ohio & Erie Canal just to the east. It’s currently being studied by Cuyahoga Valley National Park historians.

Marnie Behan got a surprising message last month from Ohio’s Department of Jobs and Family Services about her ongoing unemployment payments. Instead of sending her next unemployment payment, they said she needed to pay the department.

zoom meeting image
ZOOM

Akron City Council has had a busy week, and it's just getting started, said Akron City Council President Margo Sommerville.

On Monday, council unanimously declared racism a public health crisis. In separate legislation, council banned chokeholds by police.

“There’s a lot of reform that we can make that will bring pretty good changes,” Sommerville said.

ASIAN SERVICES IN ACTION

The coronavirus is bringing time-tested techniques for controlling the spread of disease front and center.

For decades health officials have been using contact tracing to manage outbreaks of TB, measles, STD’s, and Ebola.

The practice of reaching out to everyone who comes in contact with a positive case is one of the best tools to beat COVID-19.

photo of Shawn Mansfield
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The protests over the killing of George Floyd continued in downtown Akron today. Several groups held events calling for an end to racism and police brutality.

protestors near the police station
JOSH TROCHE

A Tallmadge teen is recovering after being hit by a pickup truck during protests last Saturday in downtown Akron.

Sam Borrell, 18, and some of his friends had gone to Akron during the day to participate in a peaceful demonstration protesting the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  Akron police are continuing their investigation into what happened. The driver of the pickup is not facing charges at this point.

Borrell talked about his experience.

a photo of a zoo animal
ELENA BELL / AKRON ZOO

Governor Mike DeWine announced Thursday that zoos may reopen June 10. The Akron Zoo is ready. Members can purchase tickets beginning June 9 for a member-only preview,  and on June 10 the general public can begin purchasing tickets for admission beginning June 17. 

The Zoo last week was inspected by Summit County’s Public Health department, which approved its reopening plan.  

A photo of the Kent Stage
THE KENT STAGE

Across the state of Ohio, local music venues are struggling as the coronavirus pandemic has forced these entertainment hotspots to keep operations at a standstill. Local musicians who rely on live performances to earn a steady income have suffered with planned concerts canceled or postponed indefinitely.

A photo of protesters in downtown Akron
ROSALIE MURPHY / THE DEVIL STRIP

Around 1,000 people took to the streets in Downtown Akron over the weekend to protest the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The organizer of Saturday’s peaceful protest was Ryan Stull, a 30-year-old father of two from Akron.

He said the protest he planned was over well before incidents of property damage and clashes with Akron police. He tells WKSU the protest meant to inspire justice reform and changes for how police are vetted and trained.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has extended the curfew in Downtown Cleveland until 8 p.m. June 2. It was set to expire Monday at 8 a.m., but Sunday night, the mayor issued the extension. He also expanded the curfew zone to include the Market District on Cleveland’s Near West Side. No vehicles or pedestrians are permitted in these areas. Ward 3 Cleveland City Councilman Kerry McCormack represents the Downtown, Ohio City and Tremont neighborhoods.

PHOTOS: Protests Continue For A Second Day In Downtown Cincinnati

May 31, 2020

Downtown Cincinnati saw its second protest on Saturday following one on Friday that was largely peaceful but escalated into violence. Protests in honor of George Floyd, an African American man in Minneapolis who died in police custody, are taking place all over the nation, as well as throughout Ohio. 

Cleveland Under Curfew After Protests, Violence Downtown

May 30, 2020

Updated: 10:20 p.m., Saturday, May 30, 2020.

a photo of CVS in Kent
MARK AREHART / WKSU

Starting Friday CVS locations across Northeast Ohio will offer drive-thru coronavirus testing.

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.

photo of Brecksville Dam
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

It was the beginning of the end of the Brecksville Dam today. Crews started the process of deconstructing the dam. That began with notching a hole for sediment to flow through the concrete structure.

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