Jennifer Conn | WOSU Radio

Jennifer Conn

Jennifer Conn joined WKSU in February 2019 as Akron reporter. 

A Northeast Ohio native, Jennifer has covered Akron news for cleveland.com and Crain’s Akron Business. She was also a member of the inaugural staff of The Devil Strip, and wrote long-form features on Akron’s burgeoning music scene, the city’s punk roots and its historic downtown.

Earlier in her career, Jennifer was a business reporter for Crain Communications’ national trade magazines, covering scrap metal, recycling and municipal incineration for Waste News and the retail tire industry for Tire Business. She also served as regional reporter for Record Publishing’s weekly newspapers.

As a freelance writer, Jennifer has covered numerous industries, including the automotive after-market, cyber security, herbal healing and the environment. Her features have also appeared in literary magazines, including Belt Akron

As a communications professional, Jennifer was vice president of communications at Akron Community Foundation, and  senior communications development officer at the Summa Hospitals Foundation. She also served as senior writer at AKHIA Public Relations and Marketing Communications.

Jennifer also worked as an adjunct professor at Kent State and the University of Akron, teaching newswriting, English composition and English as a Second language.   

She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in journalism from Kent State University. She is currently working on a post master’s certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language.

She is a Cuyahoga Valley National Park enthusiast, owns two kayaks (one banana yellow, one psychedelic purple)  and served on the board that launched Akron's dog park.

Municipal recycling programs are as different as the communities they serve. But keeping a large recycling stream pure is a universal challenge.

The city of Akron has launched an initiative to combat the increasing volume of contamination in its recycling streams.

Over the next three months, the “Recycle Right” campaign will rely on bin inspections and ongoing communication with residents, according to Akron Chief of Staff James Hardy.

The removal of dams along the Cuyahoga River has had benefits apart from improving water quality. Now, water recreation is providing new business opportunities from Kent to Cuyahoga Falls.

Over Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of brightly colored inflatable tubes joined kayakers and canoers on the river. The tubers were customers of Float the River, the area’s newest form of water recreation, launched by local entrepreneurs T.J. Mack and Savannah Snyder.

Akronites who are interested in gardening but don’t have the space or the skill can join a new urban farm cooperative.

Akron Cooperative Farms this month tilled the earth at an unused baseball park in North Hill.

Akron has kicked off a process that will create a blueprint for the city’s cultural resources, from visual art to environmental assets.

Residents will be central to the creation of the Akron Cultural Plan, which will be led by ArtsNow, a nonprofit created to connect art, culture and community. The goal is to rely on community input to develop a strategy for strengthening the city’s cultural resources, across an array of places, experiences and organizations.

Voters went to the polls in Akron’s primary election on Tuesday where they ousted  four city council incumbents.


Officials from Akron and across Ohio testified in Columbus Thursday in support of a new school funding plan they say is more equitable and realistic than what’s been in place for the last 30 years. 

Eighteen months ago, Ohio Reps Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) asked active school superintendents,  treasurers, educators and administrators to put their heads together to create a funding plan that would serve Ohio’s  610 school districts based on their individual needs.  

Businesses in older buildings can sometimes look uninviting to customers. The city of Akron is working to change that by giving grants to spruce up buildings in its small business districts. 

Great Streets Akron, launched last year, aims to help bring vibrancy back to 10 Akron neighborhoods through grants, loans and street enhancements.

A local group focused on protecting the Yellow Creek watershed could soon see creation of a conservancy district to restore the Cuyahoga River tributary.

The Yellow Creek watershed in Summit and Medina counties has been over-stressed by development, leading to flooding and erosion. After flooding in 2014 led to the collapse of roadways and damaged homes in Bath, Akron and Cuyahoga Falls, Brenda McShaffrey took action.

An annual Remembrance Day at the University of Akron has led to creation of a Remembrance Garden honoring students, faculty and employees who have died.

At the dedication this week,  attendees walked from ballroom of the Jean Hower Taber Student Union  to the Remembrance Garden located between Olin Hall, Bierce Library and Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences.

There, they placed carnations on a large stone that reads “Forever a Zip.” The university’s student government is developing plans for what else will go in the green space near the center of campus.

Football fans from across the region are expected to gather at Akron’s Lock 3 Park to celebrate the centennial of the National Football League and Akron’s own pro football team.

Akron Public Schools has been awarded a $500,000 grant to help prepare its middle schools, as the district rolls out its College & Career Academies.

The Martha Holden Jennings Foundation grant will enable the district to begin mapping a plan that transforms the way middle school students learn and interact with the community, said Assistant Superintendent Ellen McWilliams.

Akron’s Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition is making progress in its effort to revitalize declining neighborhoods.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation recently released a report on the progress made in Akron, Memphis, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia under the Reimagining the Civic Commons program.  Knight and several other foundations provided $20 million divided equally between the five cities.

The city of Akron will hold its primary election in May, for the first time in decades.

Last November, Akron voters approved a move from a September primary to May. Holding the primary in May enables the Summit County Board of Elections enough time between elections to comply with federal and state law, which mandates the BOE provide military and overseas voters with ballots 45 days before an election - for both primary and general elections.

The city of Akron and several local agencies have joined forces to use a multifaceted approach to curb youth violence.

The Youth Violence Prevention Strategic Plan calls for a 20 percent reduction in violent crime among young adults 15-24 in Akron by 2023.

University of Akron engineering students are getting a chance to showcase their design-build skills at two prominent conferences the school is hosting.

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