David Williams

David Williams is an intern at WKSU for summer 2019. A junior at Kent State, Williams is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism. Williams has reported for The Kent Stater, the university’s student-run newspaper, since spring 2018. His interests include history and politics.

Summit County voters resoundingly approved a 2-mill levy for Summit Metro Parks.

The tax is a renewal and an increase. Homeowners currently pay $3.47 per month for a home valued at $100,000. This levy will raise that rate by $1.58 per month.

Summit Metro Parks spokeswoman Stephanie Walton said the funding this levy provides is essential for them to continue operating.

Cuyahoga Falls is joining the city of Akron in canceling large summer gatherings. That includes the Riverfront Irish Festival and the Festa Italiana. Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters said guidance from state and local health officials led to the decision.

While he’s disappointed, Walters doesn’t think the cancellations will hurt local businesses because in the past they’ve managed to stay busy even without large events bringing people in.

As Ohio works toward lifting its stay at home mandate, Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said allowing large gatherings will be among the last steps taken in a return to normal. That's leading to the postponement or cancellation of many concerts, festivals and other events originally scheduled for this summer.

In Akron, Lock 3 will not host major gatherings this summer. But Deputy Mayor James Hardy, who runs the city's Office for Integrated Development, say smaller events may still take place.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved a food distribution program to help expedite the process of feeding hungry families in Ohio.

Dan Flowers is the CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

He said that prior to this approval, volunteers needed to conduct an intake process which involved exchanging paperwork with clients.

That has the potential to spread coronavirus to volunteers, many of whom are seniors.

Kent State University’s Board of Trustees approved a special tuition rate for out-of-state graduate students who earn their bachelor's degrees in Ohio.

President Todd Diacon said the lower rate came in response to a challenge from Gov. Mike DeWine.

Summit County is working with the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce to set up grants intended to help public and private businesses make it through the period of shutdown brought on by the coronavirus.

Chamber CEO Steve Millard said businesses can use grants of up to $5,000 to cover payroll, rent or other operating expenses.

The Akron Symphony Orchestra has canceled the rest of its current season.

Executive Director Paul Jarrett said the orchestra’s mission, which is to enhance the quality of life in the community through music, hasn’t changed. He said the orchestra came up with some alternatives to continue its mission.

The Stark County Hunger Task Force is taking steps to make sure people won’t go hungry because of COVID-19.

Executive Director Maureen Kampman said the pantry's new drive-thru food pantry will provide people with nonperishable groceries.

With schools closed during the pandemic, districts are trying to not only educate students, but feed them as well.

In Akron Public Schools, Child Nutrition Coordinator Laura Kepler said the district has had to adapt the types of food it is providing, but the schools still churn out 9,000 meals a day.

That’s about a third of what they do when students are in school.

Summit County has its first case of COVID-19. A woman in her 50s is currently hospitalized.

Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said this is the first case of community spread detected in Summit County. But she warns that people feeling symptomatic should consult their doctor first.

Kent State President Todd Diacon announced Friday that the University will suspend in-person classes for the remainder of Spring Semester.

The announcement comes just days after face-to-face classes were suspended through April 12th to slow transmission of COVID-19.

Professors began remote instruction of in-person classes earlier this week and will continue teaching students online for the rest of the semester.

Diacon said students living on campus will receive an appropriate refund of room and board if they move out by March 30th.

Spring Commencement at Kent State will feature two speakers who were wounded during the May Fourth shootings 50 years ago.

Kent State President Todd Diacon said historian Tom Grace will deliver remarks for graduate students, and fellow Kent State alum Dean Kahler will speak at Kent State’s Commencement for undergrads across all eight campuses.

Kahler was shot in the spine on May 4 and although he remains paralyzed, Kahler competes in 5K and 10K wheelchair races.

Fire Departments in Northern Summit County could see greater collaboration. Richfield Fire Department is exploring a merger with Valley Fire, which provides fire services for Peninsula, Boston Township and Boston Heights.

Richfield Village Mayor Michael Wheeler said they already provide dispatch services to several communities to share costs, and he wants to see cooperation like that wherever possible.

President Donald Trump unveiled his 2020 budget this week, and Congress is taking a critical look at his cuts to safety-net programs.

Ohio's Democratic Senator, Sherrod Brown, criticized $75 billion in cuts to Social Security disability insurance. In a call with reporters Wednesday, Brown said the plan will make it harder for people with disabilities to get the assistance they need.

A project to catalog historical images of Cleveland is asking for the public’s help.

The Cleveland Memory Project, housed at Cleveland State University, has been working since the mid 1990s to make local history available online.

Special Collections Librarian Bill Barrow said they have more than 500,000 images from the old Cleveland Press Newspaper.

He said they need help adding information to each image.

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