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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
MAC LOVE / @PLAY

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
SCOTT TAYLOR / WKSU

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
ERIK DROST / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

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
KEITH HOMAN

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
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

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
DOUBLETREE STUDIO / SHUTTERSTOCK

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
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

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
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

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
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

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
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

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.

photo of former GM plant in Lordstown
M.L. Schultze / WKSU

This article was updated on January 14, 2020.

For a century, the Mahoning Valley has ebbed and flowed with the fortunes of traditional manufacturing. Now, it’s looking toward a new economy: one defined by distribution centers and autonomous and electric vehicles. What are the prospects for transformation.

In November, GM sold its Lordstown assembly plant to a new company called Lordstown Motors Corp., which is closely tied to another start-up called Workhorse Group Inc.

Lordstown Motors plans to build electric pickup trucks.

Here's some answers to questions you may have been wondering about when it comes to Lordstown Motors:

photo of front entrance to the mall
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

Officials in Summit County’s Fiscal Office say the county has started foreclosure proceedings against the owners of Chapel Hill Mall for delinquent taxes and unpaid sewer bills.

photo of trucks on highway
SHUTTERSTOCK

The abrupt closure of an Akron trucking company last month came at the end of a difficult year for the industry.

GDS Express shut down, putting 75 drivers out of work right before Christmas. Last Spring, Falcon Transport in Youngstown closed suddenly.

photo of Dan Horrigan
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan was sworn-in for a second term Saturday. He says he’s looking to build on the successes of his first term.

picture of Chapel Hill Mall entrance
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

Akron’s Chapel Hill Mall came perilously close to closing its doors Friday over a delinquent water and sewer bill. 

The city says its Office of Integrated Development gave the mall’s owner, New York-based Kohan Retail Investment Group, until 9:30 Friday morning to make a payment or face closure.

The Cleveland Public Library (CPL) and union workers have yet to reach an agreement on a new contract and union members are moving forward to authorize a strike.

The last contract expired Dec. 31.

Service Employees International Union Local 1199 (SEIU) scheduled a strike authorization vote for Wednesday. That would give the union’s bargaining committee enough time to send a notice of intent to strike, according to a statement from an SEIU spokesperson.

Photo of Freddie Kitchens
WKSU

The Cleveland Browns are once again searching for a new head coach. After leading the Browns to a 6 - 10 season, Freddie Kitchens is out of the role he held for less than a year.

a photo of Tony Troppe at BLU-tique
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

Finishing touches are being put on a new hotel in downtown Akron. It’s located in the historic United building and will welcome guests for the first time on New Year’s Eve.

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

In 2019, the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition and its partners made steady progress in efforts to connect the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail, border to border, across Summit, Stark, Tuscarawas and Cuyahoga counties.

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