A News Experiment Begins in Youngstown

Oct 14, 2019
a photo of the Mahoning Matters staff

An experimental local news project is up and running in Youngstown. has officially launched with the goal of helping to fill the void left when Youngstown’s 150 year old newspaper shut down over the summer for economic reasons. 

a photo of the petition

A group that wants Ohioans to vote on an energy law that bailed out Ohio's two nuclear power plants has one more week to get enough petition signatures. They need nearly 260,000 valid signatures to put the law before voters next year.  

But supporters of the bailout are waging an unrelenting fight to stop that. 

The pro-bailout Ohioans For Energy Security has been urging people not to sign petitions that would put the bailout on the ballot – first with ads and mailers linking the campaign to China, and now targeting the people who’ve been hired to gather signatures. 

Otterbein University

Otterbein University is preparing for thousands of people to flock to its campus Tuesday to watch the fourth Democratic presidential debate. The party sees this as an opportunity to try to win over a block of voters who usually favor Republicans. 

Otterbein University has about 3,000 enrolled students. And its population could almost double as thousands pour in for the national presidential debate.

Several locations around the country were vying to host the event. But University President John Comerford says Otterbein was able to pull ahead for a number of reasons.

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

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.”

Summit County Leaders Prepare for Opioid Trial

Oct 9, 2019
a photo of Greta Johnson

Pharmaceutical maker Johnson & Johnson recently announced a settlement in a lawsuit Summit County filed over the opioid epidemic. For more on this development and the county's legal action, WKSU's Jennifer Conn talked with Greta Johnson, assistance chief of staff for Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro and an attorney.  She explained where things stand, but could not specify the defendants in the suit by name because the case is ongoing.

The Cleveland Browns can’t seem to build much momentum five games into the season. They’re 2-3 after an embarrassing 31-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said from the coaching to the quarterback, nothing about the Browns looked good this week.

A photo of a Monarch Butterfly

Local agencies are encouraging people to help grow the food source for a beloved butterfly. The Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District and the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative have teamed up to collect Milkweed Seed pods, the food source of Monarch butterflies.

SWCD Program Manager Amy Roskilly says that the Common Milkweed is not as common as it used to be.


a photo of Amy Acton, director of Ohio Department of Health

The top doctor in state government says she’s keeping an eye on legislation involving vaccinations and abortion. Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton is concerned with one measure that opponents say have some dubious medical science behind them. 

Acton says she’ll weigh in on vaccinations. There’s a House bill that would demand schools post information about vaccine exemptions just as they put up immunization requirements.

historical photo of Swensons

It's a joint that's spun into one of the region’s most popular fast-food chains. But at some point during its 85-year history, something about Swensons changed.  Many people probably never noticed, but one man did, and he reached out to us. In this installment of “OH Really?,” we try to solve the case of the missing apostrophe.

A photo of voter machines.

If you want to vote in this November’s election, it’s a good idea to make sure you are still on the voter rolls. 

Last month, 194,207 voters were removed from voter rolls. Most of those voters were thought to be dead or have moved out of state. But some inactive voters were removed too.

Those are voters who are on record as not casting ballots in the past six elections. And that includes primary elections which are held at least once a year.

Ohio Public Employees Retirement System building.

Ohio’s largest public pension fund is asking state lawmakers to allow it to cut a future benefit increase for more than 200,000 retirees.  

Erik Drost / Flickr

The Cavs begin training camp this week with a new head coach and some new faces. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said this Cavs season is much more low-key than in the recent past, and that’s because they’re essentially starting from scratch.

a photo of Gary L Miller

The University of Akron is experimenting with new ideas to enhance sustainability and foster a better relationship with the City of Akron. Faculty and students are working together to establish a plan to make it happen. Anthropology professor, Carolyn Behrman, said they’re focusing on four areas including water, polymers, food, and the university’s identity as it prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary. She said the launch of the nine-month effort coincides with the arrival of the university’s new president Gary Miller.

Kerry Jo Bauer, interdisciplinary professor at Kent State University, poses for a portrait in the Performing Arts Center of the university. Kent, Ohio. Sunday, Sep. 15, 2019.  Bauer worked as part of a team of costumers in the design department for the se

Viewers who watch a recently released Netflix series will see the work of a local woman.

Kerry Jo Bauer helped create costumes for “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.”

Bauer’s specialty is draping and she’s become known for “odd silhouettes.” After marrying an animal trainer, she began draping costumes for the Target dog and chimps in Super Bowl commercials.

From there, her name was passed to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the visual effects company for “The Dark Crystal.”

a photo of a church service in Salem

Like a lot of people, immigrants are targeted by scammers -- from phony IRS agents to bogus legal services. What often makes them more susceptible, and the scammers more successful, is the drumbeat of a single threat: deportation.

amish farmer with horses

The Amish are an anachronism in modern America.

They don’t own cars, they’re not on the grid, but researchers at the College of Wooster find that the Amish relationship with technology is more nuanced than it appears at first glance, and doesn’t always fit our stereotypes.

In this week’s Exploradio, we look at the complexities of Amish life in the 21st century.

photo of Stacy Soulimiotis

Close to two million Ohioans are affected by food insecurity. A group gathered at Walsh University over the weekend to talk about ways to help them. Jennifer Vokoun is director of Walsh’s Food Design Institute, which was formed in 2017 after the first two conferences.

Updated at 1:42 p.m. ET

A whistleblower filed a complaint on Aug. 12 about President Trump's conversation with a foreign leader, ultimately setting off a formal impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives.

a photo of the rubber statue

Akron’s history as the rubber capital of the world has been celebrated in books and a documentary. Now the city has a plan to recognize the thousands of workers who made that happen.

It started with a suggestion from a man who worked at B.F. Goodrich in the late 1970s.

“There’s still a rubber pulse in Akron. It’s still beating," said Joel Neilsen of Broadview Heights. He first felt that pulse when he started his career as a 20-something tire development engineer. He recalls interacting with the workers.

photo of a Browns helmet

The Browns head into their Sunday game against the Balitmore Ravens with a 1-2 record. They lost to the L.A. Rams 20-13 on Sunday. Head coach Freddie Kitchens took the blame for the loss, citing his poor play calling towards the end of the game. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said there were some positives to take from yet another disappointing offensive performance.

A photo of Annie with her painting

Sixteen ideas that can engage residents and enrich Akron through the arts have been chosen as winners in the fourth Knight Arts Challenge.

Applicants answer a simple question: what’s your best idea for the arts in Akron?

This year, Knight awarded nearly $600,000 to bring to life ideas that range from an exploration of the community’s history of disability to a presentation of Baroque music integrating puppets and visuals.

A photo of a worker gathering signatures on a petition

The intense fight over a petition drive seeking to overturn Ohio's nuclear bailout law is escalating with a counter petition now circulating around the state. The pro-nuclear bailout group is calling it a grassroots effort which doubles down on their anti-foreign investors’ message.

a photo of the stone amphitheater at Chestnut Ridge Park

The Akron Parks Challenge asks the community to envision how to better use the city’s neighborhood parks. In Kenmore, residents are restoring a long-neglected gem.

photo of bike assembly station

Akron-Canton Airport is looking to make it easier for travelers to Northeast Ohio to take advantage of the region’s bike trails.

The airport has unveiled its first bike assembly station.

Ren Camacho is the president and CEO of the airport.

“With folks looking to have healthier lifestyles, be more fitness oriented, we’re confident that this amenity will be both used by travelers and employees. So, we’re excited about the opportunity to provide that amenity.”