a photo of Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda will return to Kent State this spring. The university has announced her appearance is part of events planned to honor the 50th anniversary of the May 4th shootings

Chic Canfora looks forward to Jane Fonda’s return to Kent State. “She was here in 1971," Canfora recalls. "She was here with a strong message that dissent is a powerful form of protection for our democracy."   

photo of Ethan Krauss

America has a long tradition of the lone inventor, and Ohio has long been a leader in aerospace innovation.

An inventor in Oberlin combines the two by creating a new form of aircraft in his backyard.

On this week’s Exploradio, we look at the quest for a flying machine with no moving parts.

A photo of new Browns general manager Andrew Berry

The Cleveland Browns Wednesday will introduce their new general manager. Andrew Berry, 32, becomes the youngest GM in NFL history, and the league’s second current African-American to hold the position. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says the Browns’ front office now has three Ivy League graduates.

a photo of I love voting stickers

The Iowa Democratic Caucus failed to produce results on Monday night due to what state party officials cited as "inconsistencies with the reports." As Ohio prepares for its primary in March, the state's top elections official was asked: Can what happened in Iowa happen in Ohio?

Secretary of State Frank LaRose says -- "No" -- what's happening in Iowa could not happen in Ohio. For one thing, Iowa uses the caucus system and Ohio uses the primary system with voting machines that tabulate the votes and include a paper trail.

a photo of Callis Tower
From the film "An Answer from Akron"

Alpha Phi Alpha Fratnerity Inc., a historically black fraternity, is a major landlord in Akron, owning more than 800 rental units. How that came to be is depicted in a new documentary film that debuts Monday night on PBS Western Reserve in honor of Black History Month.

HOME IN AKRON: When Squatters Become Tenants

Feb 3, 2020
a photo of landlord Laura Speaks at her property

Killing time between the morning pick up and afternoon drop off Tuesday, Laura Speaks parked her school bus and hopped on Facebook.

An advertisement flashed on her cell phone for a used side-by-side Kenmore refrigerator.

“I thought, ’Man, that kind of looks like my refrigerator,’” Speaks said. The photo had a kitchen table, mop and broom similar to those in a house she owns and rents out on Darrow Road.

She clicked on the ad, “shocked” by the name of the seller: Collin Cole.

photo of Mark Zarefoss

A long-time vendor at the West Side Market is hopeful for the future as he celebrates 25 years at the Cleveland landmark.

“Every morning he gets up [at] 4:30 a.m. to cut up a cow and to cut up fresh pork,” says Minnie Zarefoss of her husband, Mark. They met at the West Side Market in the early 1980s. And they celebrated 25 years of owning their own stand -- Jim’s Meats – on Saturday, February 1.

a photo of vaping products

The local chapter of the American Heart Association says one in four high school students report using an e-cigarette in the past month. The organization hosted a community conversation about the issue Thursday with school administrators and students.  

Addison Johnson, a senior at Akron’s STEM high school, told the Heart Association vaping devices are small and easy to use undetected at school. He also said there’s a misperception among students who use them.

photo of recycling bin

In Cleveland, most of the recycling residents put at the curb is not being recycled. City leaders says it’s a problem many cities are dealing with because of a changing market and contaminated items.

Cleveland has hired a consultant to help them figure out a new path forward. It will likely involve a drastic reduction in the program.

photo of equipment at an Akron fire station

Akron will spend close to $16 million dollars on safety services and road repair this year. The city Wednesday released its plans for the Safety & Streets fund, financed by an income tax levy passed in 2017.

The police and fire departments will receive about $5 million dollars each to replace vehicles, including 28 police cruisers and two fire engines. The money will also partially fund a new fire station.

University of Akron

The University of Akron men’s basketball team has rebounded in the Mid-American Conference after several down years. As of Wednesday, the team is 6-2 in the conference and 16-5 overall. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says Akron had to start from scratch after their beloved longtime coach Keith Dambrot left for Duquesne three years ago.

photo of University of Akron students

A project to learn what's needed to make one Akron neighborhood more pleasant to walk around is nearing completion.

a photo of a welcome to Youngstown sign

There may be no better place to understand the results of the last presidential election than the Mahoning Valley. For his upcoming book, Barnstorming Ohio, David Giffels has been travelling around Ohio, learning what’s on people's minds to get a better understanding of where we’re heading this election year. 

Five Mansfield siblings are blending each of their musical styles to create their own brand of electronic, jazz and hip hop. The Trio says its latest album, Two, is a true reflection of how the family band has evolved to create a unique, unified sound. 

a photo of Mike Clevinger

Baseball’s cheating scandal is creating waves in Cleveland. Several Indians players, including pitcher Mike Clevinger, are blasting Major League Baseball for not coming down harder on the Houston Astros. An investigation found that the Astros stole pitching signals to help their batters during their 2017 World Series run. They used a combination of technology and banging a garbage can. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says players have a right to be angry.

a photo of a sick baby

The respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, that babies and older people can get after being around someone who appears to have a cold is not new. But it’s the second leading cause of infant death.

The Ohio Department of Health doesn’t track RSV cases because the Centers for Disease Control doesn’t require reporting of it. But Dr. Maria Mejias of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus says there have been 1,800 cases of RSV since October in her medical center alone.

chapel hill mall

While the owners of Chapel Hill Mall face foreclosure, trouble with utility providers is ongoing.

New York-based Kohan Retail Investment Group was notified last week that Summit County had initiated foreclosure proceedings for the North Akron mall.

Akron Judge Clarifies Amendments to Eviction Rules

Jan 18, 2020
a photo of an eviction notice

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.

picture of Chapel Hill Mall entrance

The impending closure of the last anchor store at Chapel Hill Mall could have mixed impact for the rest of the shopping center as well as the stores nearby.

Only one of the baby blue-painted escalators at JCPenney is still functioning. Since the holiday shopping season, the shelves have been looking sparse and there are temporary walls set up to move everything inward, decreasing what would have been empty floor space. Penney’s was one of the original anchors at Chapel Hill, and it’s now the last one standing – until it closes in April.

OPERS board sitting at a table discussing health care assitance meeting

Thousands of retirees in the state's largest pension fund will see changes to their health care benefits. The leaders of the Members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System have voted to change the way retirees receive health care, and a portion of those would have to find their own plan. 

The change eliminates what's known as the group plan for OPERS retirees under 65 and will instead give them a stipend for their own plan.

Retirees over the age of 65 on Medicare will receive less aid intended to fill in the gaps in coverage.

Just 13 Ohio counties will be eligible for a waiver for heightened Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) requirements in the face of a federal rule change beginning in April.

That’s compared to 42 counties with a waiver now.

Federal regulations require able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) to work, go to school, get work training or volunteer for 20 hours a week to qualify for food assistance. Otherwise, they can only receive SNAP benefits for three months out of every three years.

Deadly drug overdoses in Ohio fell nearly 22 percent in 2018, to the lowest number in three years. And overdose deaths dropped in every category of drugs except one.

New Lorain City Leaders Face Old Challenges

Jan 12, 2020

Lorain is under new leadership and for the city’s new mayor, that meant asking someone to let him in the city hall door.

“Our chief here has also been very helpful. He got me actually into the building on January first,” said Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley referring to the new police chief sitting beside him. “And so, it’s been a learning experience.”

Mayor Bradley, Chief James McCann and Lorain Schools interim CEO Greg Ring answered questions from residents at the 20th annual Speak Up & Speak Out forum at Lorain City Hall Saturday afternoon.

photo of The Gourmet Popper

After avoiding a water disconnection this month, Chapel Hill Mall is now facing a possible power shut down if its bill isn’t paid by January 20th. Ohio Edison issued the notice to mall tenants.

About half the stores are occupied at the mall, where the sole anchor tenant remaining is JCPenney.  It continues to attract customers like Kent State student Hannah Kurtz.

“I don’t know why [the mall] is going out of business.  Maybe it’s not in the best area?  I don’t know [maybe] they could remodel it and make it something else? I’m not sure.”

a photo of a correctional facility in southern Ohio

There hasn’t been a killer put to death in Ohio in 18 months. And the state’s last execution has likely taken place, according to the architect of Ohio’s 1981 death penalty law. But prosecutors said killing off capital punishment entirely would be a mistake.