Aaron McDade

Aaron McDade is a senior journalism major at Kent State University, set to graduate in the spring. He has worked as an assigning editor and a reporter for the Kent Stater, the university’s student-run newspaper and plans to pursue a career in sports journalism after graduation. His interests include sports and politics.

As Ohio businesses begin to reopen, the coronavirus may not be the only illness they’ll need to be concerned about. Health officials are advising them to take steps to avoid the spread of Legionnaire’s disease.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is back in Washington along with the rest of the Senate. He's calling for changes to be made to the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program, which has been distributing millions to businesses to keep employees on the payroll during the pandemic.

The Akron Zoo is offering a number of virtual options to keep its animals connected with their fans. The options range from having a parrot or macaw join your Zoom meeting to having one of their turtles or possums paint a picture for you.

Spokesperson Elena Bell said these programs also give the zoo another way to bring in revenue while it remains closed to visitors during the pandemic.

As parts of Ohio’s economy begin to re-open over the next few days, the manufacturing industry is getting some tips. The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, better known as MAGNET, released guidelines and a checklist for each phase of the re-opening.

MAGNET President and CEO Ethan Karp said the organization has tips on everything from the Paycheck Protection Program to sanitation and safety concerns.

The Akron Marathon is canceling two summer events. The cancellations follow restrictions set by the city of Akron on city-sponsored events of more than 250 people until September 7. Canceled races include the National Interstate 8k and 1 Mile scheduled for June 27, and the Goodyear Half Marathon and 10k scheduled for August 8.

However, Marathon president and CEO Anne Bitong says they are doing what they can to make sure the canceled races don’t go to waste.

Congress is working on the next stimulus package to help the economy weather the coronavirus pandemic. One of the largest pieces of the package is expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program, a small business loan service that ran out of money last week.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, Mahoning County has the second most COVID-19 deaths in the state, along with having the fifth most cases.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH 13),  who represents the area and lives in nearby Trumbull County, says no one is exactly sure why Mahoning County’s number of cases and deaths are so much higher than their neighboring counties, which all have at least 300 fewer cases. He also says they are prepared if the numbers continue to rise and hospitals become overwhelmed.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week issued a permit to General Motors allowing for construction of a battery making factory in Lordstown.

G.M. is partnering with LG Chem of South Korea on the $2.3 billion project. It will be built on a site adjacent to G.M.’s old Lordstown assembly plant, which is being retooled to produce electric pickup trucks. 

Congressman Tim Ryan says it is a new opportunity for the region.

Living under the coronavirus umbrella has changed the daily routine of millions of Americans, including the staff at WKSU.

April 1 is Census Day across the country, named for the date by which every American should have received at least one invitation to complete the 2020 Census.

Greta Johnson, with Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro's office, said they always anticipated challenges in gathering accurate census data. She said refugees and immigrants are often hesitant to participate out of fear the information could be used against them. 

The Mid-American Conference (MAC) has cancelled the remainder of the men's and women's college basketball tournaments due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus. MAC comissioner Jon Steinbrecher made the announcement Thursday. The University of Akron and Kent State University were both scheduled to play today. The start time of Akron's game against Ohio University was initially going to be pushed back from noon to around 1 p.m.

Akron Municipal Court has adopted an amendment to an eviction-related rule. The new amendment to rule 29 is designed to protect tenants, requiring more information from landlords to be submitted before an eviction action can be filed in court.

Landlords need to provide a copy of the lease agreement, prove that they own the property and show the property is properly registered with the county rental registry. Executive Director of Community Legal Aid Steven McGarrity says the rule change won’t have the consequences some landlords say it might.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority will begin a new sanitation policy Monday to combat public concerns about the coronavirus. RTA staff will use a disinfectant recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to sanitize all buses at least once every 24 hours, and rail cars every 72 hours.

Workers on the Honda assembly line in Marysville, Ohio.
Steve Brown / WOSU

A local expert on China says the coronavirus outbreak has already impacted some Ohio businesses.

A local elections official says Ohio’s upcoming primary is drawing similar public interest and registration numbers as 2016. Tuesday marked the deadline to register to vote in the March 17 primary election. Portage County deputy elections director Terry Nielsen says it’s important for voters to know their ballot, and make sure their voice gets heard.