How Portage County voted in the 2020 election

By Molly Heideman and Michael Indriolo Ohio is known to be a bellwether state in past presidential elections and has consistently been a determining factor in a candidate winning — until now. Portage County and the state of Ohio voted red for Donald Trump, but Joe Biden was ultimately called the winner of the presidential election. Associate professor of political science Michael Ensley said Ohio voters have moved toward a tendency to vote for Republican candidates, and Portage County is no exception. “I think Portage is probably a good kind of microcosm of how Ohio as a state is changing,” Ensley said. “I think what you’re seeing is that white

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Ohio’s response to coronavirus: Was it enough?

The coronavirus pandemic has hit communities hard in every aspect of life, and Portage County is no exception. Ohio legislatures have worked on various policies to provide relief to communities in Ohio since the pandemic started, but have they done enough? Since the shut down in March, Ohio’s economy hasn’t seen many gains in the state tax revenue; however, July marked the first showing of any financial gains in three months. It’s expected that Ohio’s economy will not bounce back until years later. Tom Wilke, economic development director for city of Kent, said businesses were hit hard when the pandemic first started and are continuing to suffer economically, as business

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Streetsboro City Council debates City Park stage renovation

By Molly Heideman and Michael Indriolo Although the pandemic cancelled Streetsboro Family Days this year, the city council plans to draft legislation allowing it to donate roughly $10,000 for a new stage rental for the annual festival next year.  The city plans to tear down the current stage in Streetsboro City Park, citing its deteriorating condition at the city council meeting Monday.  “I was in City Park Saturday doing the scavenger hunt, and I was not happy at all seeing little kids playing on the stage with holes in it where the stage is collapsing,” said Ward One Councilman Mike Lampa. “So it is a dangerous situation.” But without a

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Why poll workers play a key role on election day

Poll workers are the backbone of election day. But what happens when you don’t have enough workers? The coronavirus pandemic has brought new challenges to the Portage County Board of Elections, causing the office to tackle election season a little differently. Faith Lyons, director of the Portage County Board of Election, believes having enough poll workers is key to having a successful election day. “We’ve had a lot of call offs… well over 200,” Lyons said. “Many of those call offs were frankly due to the fact of the age of some of our workers and also health concerns for those workers.” Despite the large amount of call offs of

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COVID-19 pandemic hurts public school funding

Budget cuts to public school funding at the state level have always existed, but since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, they’ve only gotten worse. In May, Gov. Mike DeWine announced there would be a $300 million budget reduction in public school funding for grades K-12, which was heavily influenced by the decline in the economy during the shutdown due to the pandemic. Schools all across Ohio are trying to manage how they’re able to keep their district afloat, now with new and unexpected expenses like sanitizing machines, personal protective equipment and technology for remote learning. Streetsboro Board of Education member Kevin Grimm said these budget cuts were dramatic for

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How Kent City Council is tackling COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to the way local government operates, and Kent City Council is not an exception. Gwen Rosenberg, Kent City Council Member at Large, shared with us some of the projects the city is working on and how the pandemic has impacted the way they do business. Q: What sorts of projects is the city working on right now? GR: The city’s always working on a tremendous number of different things all the time, between infrastructure, working on economic development opportunities, paving streets, looking for grant money, a lot of the infrastructure projects that we have are years out in advance, grant projects and things

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