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Voters in Akron elected three new members to the Akron Public Schools Board of Education Tuesday. One of them made history.  

N.J. Akbar is the first openly LGBTQ Muslim elected in Ohio. Akbar is the assistant dean of University College at Kent State University. He said he was encouraged to run by a colleague at the university.

With his new position, Akbar wants to examine equity policies, increase flexibility in the academic calendar and be transparent about how the board operates.

Election 2019 Results

Nov 5, 2019

Final numbers are in from Summit County. Democrats will retain control of the mayor's office and all of the seats on Akron City Council. Here are the numbers:

HORRIGAN  77%      SINES  23%

JEFF FUSCO, LINDA OMOBIEN, and GINGER BAYLOR captured the three at-large council seats. 

Ward 1   RICH SWIRSKY wins reelection unopposed.

Ward 2  PHIL LOMBARDO  77%      TODD KLEINTOP  23%

Ward 3  MARGO SOMMERVILLE  91%    MICHAEL DOWNEY  9%

Ward 4  RUSS NEAL 79%   DeANDRE FORNEY  21%

Ward 5  TARA MOSLEY-SAMPLES wins reelection unopposed.

a concept photo of the building expansion
TC ARCHITECTS

One of Kent’s largest businesses is expanding its headquarters and expects to add as many as 200 support workers as it grows over the next decade. Davey Tree Expert Company said the expansion will begin next spring and double the size of its current headquarters building located at 1500 N. Mantua St.

photo of Veterans Witness Tree
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Veterans will be at the Summit County Courthouse this week to highlight the mental health issues that face returning soldiers. Every morning, 22 dog tags will be placed on a Witness Tree to recognize that an estimated 22 veterans take their own lives each day. The project began in Pennsylvania. U.S. Army veteran John Schluep is bringing it to Akron. He’s a retired pastor, and he says many veterans experience a “spiritual crisis” after their service.

A photo of voter machines.
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

In addition to a host of local races, tax levies and ballot questions in this year's election, voters in two counties in Northeast Ohio will be asked to make changes in how county government operates. 

Summit and Cuyahoga Counties are the only two counties in Ohio to have a charter form of government. In order to make changes in their organization, voters must approve the changes.

Chris Horne stands on stage.
ILENIA PEZZANITI / THE DEVIL STRIP

Starting Nov. 1, Akronites can become part owners of The Akron Devil Strip. The arts and culture magazine is breaking ground as the first news co-op in the United States.

The idea is to keep the publication free to the community while also making it economically sustainable.

Since the publication began five years ago, founder Chris Horne has been the only owner. Now he’s looking to share the responsibility with the community.

a photo of Carlos Carrasco
ERIK DROST / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco is being honored for his work off the field. The fan-favorite who’s been with the team for 10 seasons has been named baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award winner. WKSU's sports commentator Terry Pluto said Carrasco’s cancer diagnosis inspired him to do more.

photo of Dan Horrigan and Josh Sines
ANDREW MEYER / WKSU

On Nov. 5, Akron residents will decide who will lead their city for the next four years.  First-term Mayor Dan Horrigan, a Democrat, is facing a challenge from local business owner, Republican Josh Sines.

photo of opioid pills and bottles
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Summit County voters will decide this Election Day whether to renew a levy that supports mental health and addiction services. It’s been in place for 12 years and the funds are being used differently than in the past.

Issue 14 is a 2.95-mill levy that provides most of the funding for the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board. The six-year levy was introduced in 2007 and previously renewed in 2013.

CARTER ADAMS / WKSU

Workers at the General Motors Lordstown assembly plant have built cars and a community for more than 50 years. Earlier this year, GM shuttered the plant, but hope had remained that it would not close permanently. GM’s new contract with union workers, approved Friday, dashed those hopes. 

WKSU joined workers on the picket line at the assembly plant last week for a final farewell to Lordstown.

photo of national guardsman at computer
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The state is now taking applications from civilians with internet and high tech security skills to join a special unit in the Ohio National Guard. The Ohio Cyber Reserve is a group of volunteers that would be trained to handle potential cyber-attacks on the government, infrastructure, or businesses.

Members of the Ohio Cyber Reserve would be on standby, and would be granted leave from work and compensated if called into active duty.

Aging Akron Police cruiser
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

A new dispatch system launched this month in Summit County will improve emergency response.

Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) replaced aging, DOS-based technology that had been used by the county, the cities of Akron and Green and the University of Akron.

Brian Nelsen is chief of staff to Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro. He said the new system will enhance how first responders react to emergencies.

photo of empty ohio house chamber
DAN KONIK / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The home rule provision was added to the Ohio constitution by voters in 1912, and the struggles between local officials and state lawmakers have raged almost since then. There have been claims that home rule is “under attack”.

Photo of Mike DeWine
TY GREENLEES / DAYTON DAILY NEWS

Two weeks after Governor Mike DeWine unveiled his so-called STRONG Ohio gun control package, groups on both sides of the issue are ramping up the rhetoric.

The plan disappointed many who wanted universal background checks and a law allowing a judge to take guns from someone deemed a threat. DeWine called for both after the Oregon District mass shooting.

Now, both sides are lobbying lawmakers as they consider DeWine’s gun violence bill. 

UAW workers in Parma begin voting Wednesday on whether to ratify a proposed agreement or stay on strike and negotiate another contract.

Union officials and GM reached a tentative agreement late last week. It met some union demands, including maintaining healthcare benefits and providing a path for temporary workers to be hired full time.

However, some workers think the contract needs to do more for them and future workers. That includes Mike Crose, a 35-year GM employee.

Cavaliers coach John Beilein and Browns coach Freddie Kitchens
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Two of Cleveland’s pro sports teams are starting fresh this week. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says the Browns are hoping to turn things around after the bye week, while the Cavs open the season with low expectations. 

photo of Ellet High School
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

This fall, the Akron Public Schools opened a brand new high school for the Ellet community. Its 69-year old predecessor is set to be torn down. The district gave alums a chance to say a final goodbye to the old building over the weekend. We share a collection of their memories. 

a photo of John Nicholas and Stan Smith
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

Like death and taxes, being hit by a computer virus seems inevitable.

Cybercrime took a $100 billion bite out of the U.S. economy last year alone.

It’s not just individuals who are hacked. Cities, schools and small businesses are increasingly targeted.

In this week’s Exploradio, a look at local efforts to fight the onslaught by training the next generation of cyber warriors.

Kelly Kendrick is IT director at Coventry Local Schools, a small district south of Akron.

photo of volunteers at Park East
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

A long-neglected park near downtown Akron has been refurbished and expanded as part of the ongoing Civic Commons project.

Mark Arehart / WKSU

For some people, when they think of wallpaper they may think of garish prints from the '60s and '70s. Or maybe even their childhood bedroom.

Two Akron wallpaper lovers got together to write a book about the Rubber City’s love affair with wallcoverings. On this week’s State of the Arts, we peel back the pages of the new book "If This Wallpaper Could Talk" by Karen Starr and Shane Wynn.

THE SCENIC ROUTE

The Canton pop rock band The Scenic Route is a family business that’s picking up steam. The six-piece is fronted by 23-year-old founder, Rachel Crozier, and managed by her dad, Brad Crozier, who's been preparing his daughter for big stages for most of her life.

a photo of former Cavs coach David Blatt
ERIK DROST / FLICKR

As the Cavs get ready to open the season with new head coach John Beilein, a former coach is back in the headlines. David Blatt, who led the Cavs to the NBA Finals in 2015, has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Blatt was fired halfway into his second season -- the year the Cavs won the title. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto reflected on Blatt's brief and tumultuous NBA career.

Erik Drost / Wikimedia Commons

The Cleveland Browns enter the bye week at 2-4 and 0-3 at home this season. The latest disappointing loss was to the 5-1 Seattle Seahawks, 32-28. Now, Cleveland has two weeks to regroup before facing the undefeated Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots on the road.

WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said that while several questionable calls by officials went against them, it was a game the Browns should have won. 

Pluto said the officiating in this past Sunday's game was the worst he'd ever seen.

Reporters are milling around Otterbein University's campus, the site of Tuesday’s debate in Westerville, but the media aren't the only ones gearing up for the event. Protesters have filled the area around the school as well.

A News Experiment Begins in Youngstown

Oct 14, 2019
a photo of the Mahoning Matters staff
ELLA ABBOTT / WKSU

An experimental local news project is up and running in Youngstown.

MahoningMatters.com 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. 

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