Valerie Royzman

Valerie Royzman joined WKSU in August 2019 as a news intern. She is a senior journalism major at Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Valerie has spent the last few years in Northeast Ohio, but Toledo is home.

In the spring of 2019, Valerie served as editor of The Kent Stater, the university’s student-run newspaper, and Before that, she held different positions on staff, including features editor, copy desk chief and administration reporter, to get a feel for her true calling. Her favorite stories to write are features—stories that make readers feel deeply. Valerie also wrote for The Burr Magazine on campus.

In the summer of 2019, Valerie worked alongside the Pulitzer Prize-winning team at The Cincinnati Enquirer/ to cover the opioid epidemic. She covered breaking news on drug busts and overdose spikes, daily news and wrote a profile on Scarlet Hudson, a character first introduced to readers in The Enquirer’s “Seven Days of Heroin.”

Valerie has contributed to Ohio News Connection, a network of independent outlets pioneered by Public News Service. She also enjoys writing essays and poetry. Valerie worked at the Wick Poetry Center on Kent State’s campus, where she taught poetry workshops to immigrants and refugees in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood.

In her free time, Valerie likes to relax with a good book, visit art museums and coffee shops and spend time with family, especially her Boston Terrier, Hazel.

Cedar Point has big plans for new attractions and features coming in 2020, when the Sandusky, Ohio-based amusement park will celebrate its 150th anniversary.

Starting in February, the park will give away 150 special tickets that grant free admission and parking, along with three guests, beginning on the 150th anniversary -- and lasting their entire lives.

Guests can enter a contest for a "Ticket of a Lifetime," and winners will be chosen throughout the year.

Many U.S. House Republicans have been claiming that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. They’ve made these claims despite being debunked by the American intelligence community. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) has been pushing for U.S. aid for Ukraine since 2014 and said he isn’t convinced that Ukraine was involved.

“I believe that Russia meddled in a significant way in the election, and we shouldn’t let them off the hook. In other words, that’s where the big problem was.”

The Lorain Academic Distress Commission (ADC) is moving ahead with plans to replace CEO David Hardy Jr. A statement issued after an ADC meeting Wednesday said, "On account of CEO Hardy's vision, and a difference in priorities by the Academic Distress Commission, both parties are working towards an agreement to mutually part ways." (read the full statement below)

Hardy will leave the district by year's end. 

Mark Ballard, president of the Lorain School Board, had been a vocal critic of Hardy, calling him a “self-appointed king.”

The City of Akron is launching an app to make recycling easier for its residents. The “Akron Recycles” app can be downloaded on all mobile devices. The app shows pickup times and classifies recyclable items. Akron’s recycling manager, Dan Dempsey, said the new tool is another way to make Akron sustainable.

“It is just another tool that our residents have. Certainly, the better educated our residents are on recycling, the better recyclers they will be. We are trying to give our residents every tool available to make Akron a sustainable city.”

A local legislator is looking for ways Ohio can protect provisions of the Affordable Care Act. A federal court  is expected to rule soon on a Texas case that could strike down the ACA. State representative Randi Clites from Ravenna said that could jeopardize health care for people with pre-existing conditions. A bill she is proposing would protect families going through situations like her own.

More than half of Northeast Ohio graduates leave the area once they get their degrees. That’s according to research from Team NEO. But that number can be deceiving.

Fewer than 47 percent of graduates stay in the region. While that may seem like a low number, Team NEO’s research chief Jacob Duritsky says it’s comparable to other large metropolitan areas. The problem is in the actual population.

Sexual assault cases that have gone unsolved in Akron will receive more attention thanks to a nearly $2 million grant.

The funding supports the Akron Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, a collaborative effort meant to provide the resources and training needed to better handle assault cases.

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh says the grant will allow her office to review cases and charge people more quickly.

Akron residents struggling with addiction have an additional option for recovery. BrightView Health has opened an outpatient treatment center in the city to further address the opioid epidemic in Northeast Ohio.

The facility offers medication-assisted treatment, individual and group therapy and social support.

Carl Knorr, a peer recovery supporter, says BrightView’s philosophy is to "treat the whole person" by offering specialized care for each patient.

Community pride got a boost along Kenmore Boulevard this week with the Akron business district’s placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tina Boyes, executive director of the Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance, says the designation is rejuvenating pride among residents.

Boyes says the organization has been working toward the designation since 2018.

Sen. Sherrod Brown
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is criticizing the Trump administration for EPA rule waivers that he says are hurting Ohio farmers. The rules had required large oil companies to produce a certain amount of biofuel like ethanol.

We’re still waiting to hear which Ohio city will host the Democratic presidential candidates for a debate October 15th.

Just ten of the 20 remaining candidates qualified for the debate that will be held next Thursday, Sept. 12 in Houston. Ohio congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH 13th) is not among them. But he remains in the race at this point.

Whoever ends up as the nominee, Senator Sherrod Brown is confident he or she will unseat President Donald Trump.

As Hurricane Dorian heads toward the U.S., the American Red Cross is deploying local volunteers from Northeast Ohio to help in areas that could be affected.

The storm pummeled the Bahamas, causing widespread devastation and killing at least five people. Forecasters anticipate the hurricane will move toward the Florida coast late tonight.

Jim McIntyre, a spokesman for the Red Cross in Northeast Ohio, says it’s typical when disasters strike for local chapters across the country to band together and send volunteers.

A state representative is joining the call for the state-appointed CEO of Lorain City Schools to be more transparent.

In a letter to David Hardy, Amherst Democrat Joe Miller requested financial documents, contracts and administrator evaluations.

Hardy was appointed to the post under the provisions of House Bill 70. Passed in 2015 it allowed for the state to take control of three failing school districts; Lorain, East Cleveland and Youngstown.

Miller says the bill doesn’t give districts the help they need.

The president of the Lorain school board said there’s no risk that employees will not be paid. Mark Ballard responded to comments from the district's CEO David Hardy. Hardy wrote staff saying a restraining order from the school board would prevent him from hiring a new treasurer to handle payroll. Ballard called Hardy an "unqualified dictator."

“First of all, we know state law is never going to allow teachers who are doing their job to not get paid, or public employees not to get paid. So that was a false narrative that he put out.”