CARES Act Funding to support small businesses during pandemic

On Oct. 23, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor John Husted announced a funding package meant to help organizations across Ohio that have been struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act funding will total $419.5 million and is divided amongst several different agencies across Ohio; this includes $50 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to 47 different Community Action Agencies meant to provide rent, mortgage, and water assistance to Ohioans dating back to Apr. 1, 2020. $37.5 million will be allocated to the Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund, which will help restaurants and bars who have struggled to stay in business due to lockdowns related to

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Renaissance Park spurs Geauga Lake redevelopment

After years of negotiations and failed proposals, Renaissance Park, a housing development, will replace acres of Aurora land formerly occupied by Geauga Lake and Wildwater Kingdom. Developed by Pulte Homes, a subdivision of PulteGroup, Inc., the 246-acre development will consist of 125 ranch-style homes, 119 townhomes, and 64 two-story single-family homes. Houses are expected to be ready for purchase in early 2021. The Cedar Fair property has been dormant since 2016 when Wildwater Kingdom closed. The amusement park closed in 2007, with many of its assets selling off to other parks. Despite being divided between Aurora and Bainbridge Township, Cedar Fair’s responsibility is to sell the land to potential buyers.

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Kent City Council passes emergency motion banning mass gatherings

Kent City Council’s Oct 21. meeting continued further discussions on preventing the spread of coronavirus, including an emergency motion to approve a ban on mass gatherings. The council previously heard from the city’s Public Health and Safety Committee on Oct. 7 in which the council voted 6-2 to approve ordinance 2020-97, which limits mass gatherings to 10 or less people. With the council’s initial vote to approve the motion, the ordinance was expected to take effect on Nov. 7, as it was not approved on emergency due to Councilwoman Tracy Wallach’s absence during the Oct. 7 meeting. Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer Bish elected to reconsider the motion in order to approve

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An Overview of Ohio’s Unemployment Crisis

Ohio’s economic situation in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic continues to fluctuate, as varying numbers in unemployment cases continue despite many businesses resuming operations. Despite current unemployment claims steadily declining, first-time applicants have continued to rise. The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) reported 18,952 new applications filed during the week ending Oct. 3. It was the third straight week in which new unemployment applicants had increased. Over the last 28 weeks, there have been more initial unemployment claims than the previous four years combined. Over 1.7 million Ohioans have filed for first-time benefits in 2020, whereas over 1.5 million Ohioans combined had filed before 2020. “There

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Polling Sites testing for ADA Compliance

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several changes have been made to secure polling locations and protect both poll workers and voters for the upcoming election scheduled for November 3, 2020. Theresa Nielsen, deputy director at the Portage County Board of Elections, said they have two goals: To reduce the number of single precinct polling locations, and to make sure the current locations are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). “Over the last few years, we have been trying to reduce the number of single precinct polling locations, primarily for equipment and personnel reasons,” Nielsen said. “If you’re at a polling location with multiple precincts, you can reduce the

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Federal Relief Aid a necessity for small restaurants and businesses

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, several businesses were forced to shut their doors or cut hours in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. As a result, many businesses shut down permanently, while others changed to accommodate new restrictions. Restaurants in particular have been hit the hardest. A poll conducted by the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) from July 29 through August 4 found that while more than 75% of Ohio restaurants have reopened, most of them are operating at 50% or less of their normal capacity. Should this persist, more than 50% of restaurants expect forced closure within nine months. “80% of restaurants don’t think

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Voting Rights and Dropboxes at forefront of Organization’s Campaign

Iris Meltzer is the president of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. Meltzer joined the organization in 2011, starting at the Kent League. She worked there for four years before being elected to oversee 33 local leagues within Ohio. Meltzer earned her Master’s in Psychology at Western Carolina University, Master’s in Public Health at the Consortium of Eastern Ohio Master of Public Health Program and has 28 years of experience as Administrator for Adolescent Health Services at Akron Children’s Hospital. She focused on activism in Summit County, before moving to more local organizations. Meltzer later followed her mother’s footsteps in joining the Kent chapter of the LWV, where she

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