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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City of Kent’s plan for Halloween during COVID-19 pandemic

KENT, Ohio — The City of Kent Trick-or-Treat event and annual Halloween party are coming up, and with the COVID-19 risk level increasing in Portage County, the Kent Police Department and Health Department plan to ensure everyone taking part in the festivities this year stays safe. Every year, the city of Kent gets a little spooky for the first popular holiday of the fall season. As Halloween creeps closer, friends and families visit orchards, haunted houses and corn mazes, decorate their houses and carve pumpkins that are later set out on their front porch steps.  Although many of these activities are fun and attached to yearly traditions, due to the

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Kent City Council Committee sets ordinance at meeting prohibiting mass gatherings of more than 10 starting Nov. 7

KENT, Ohio — The Kent city council committee voted to implement an ordinance to prohibit mass gatherings of more than 10 people during their monthly city council committee meeting Wednesday evening. The meeting started with a discussion on the Committee of the Whole’s topic about diversity hiring policies and practices, which dominated the discussion for the first half of the meeting. The topic was discussed specifically in relation to the police and education departments, strategizing ways for them to do better. The Health and Public Safety Committee’s topic was up next, regarding the prohibition of mass gatherings. This topic was also a highlight of the evening, dominating the conversation for

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What to expect at the polls on Election Day

KENT, Ohio — Whether this is your first election or not, those of you planning to vote or working in-person at the polls on Election Day, arming yourself with some knowledge beforehand will help assure a positive experience. “First of all, [patrons] should educate themselves on who’s on the ballot and what issues are on the ballot,” Jane Preston Rose, the 14th president of the League of Women Voters (1983-1985), said. “There are several ways to do that, VOTE411 is a wonderful resource.” NEW & RETURNING VOTERS AT THE POLLS “When you come into the polling location, we have what’s called any-line any-time,” Theresa “Terrie” Nielsen, the deputy director for

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F.D.A. cracks down on JUUL vaping devices

Back in October and September, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) combined to limit the number of nicotine salt-based vaping devices, specifically JUUL Labs, on the market. This was done in order to attempt to combat the rise in popularity in using these devices among youth. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said in a statement from the FDA, that there needs to be a better regulatory process on in this aspect of the market. “We need a regulatory process that requires product applications to show that the marketing of the product is appropriate for the protection of the health of the overall

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Portage County diversion program educates teens, college students caught drinking underage

Words by: Caelin Mills Portage County’s diversion program aims to give first time offenders a second chance and educate them on the dangers of underage drinking. According to Linda Broska, programs coordinator for Kent’s Family and Community Services, the program was written in 2000 at the request of the prosecutor and municipal court judges at the time.   “Oct. 27, 2000 is when the underage consumption diversion program came into play and that is the program that we use now,” Broska said. First, the offender must have no previous alcohol-related convictions. They must then enter a guilty plea upon arraignment, where the judge can offer the program. Judge Barbara Oswick

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Kent authorities plan ahead to make Halloween less spooky for residents

by Kathryn Monsewicz and Dylan Reynolds   Kent’s annual Halloween party is quickly approaching, and authorities from the city and university are making plans to keep residents safe at the event that typically draws more than 20,000 people. Kent Police Department will be fully staffed the night of Oct. 27 with additional help from Metro SWAT, an organization that includes officers from Kent, Kent State, Brimfield, Stow and Aurora. Kent State University police will be on overtime for the most part, overlapping afternoon and midnight shifts to stay at full strength. “We work with the city police department in a lot of the areas that are more prone to partygoers,”

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Local police departments move toward officer body cameras

Body-worn cameras are useful to law enforcement because they provide accurate and transparent footage that can be helpful in court proceedings and provide clarity in accusations of abuse of force. However, the costs of body-worn cameras have prevented some local police departments from obtaining that means of security.   Local Police Departments on Funding Kent is one of those area departments that does not use body cameras. “I went out into the public and spoke with a number of different organizations and did presentations on body-worn cameras to get people’s feel and input and see whether or not they thought the police department needed body cameras,” Kent Police Lieutenant Michael

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City Council votes to consider creation of youth activities as a result of Tobacco 21

Kent City Council agreed to consider preventative measures for teenagers ages 14 to 18 who are looking for experimental outlets because of the Tobacco 21 ban. The ordinance passed July 2018 increasing the age restriction on purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21 years of age. Councilman John Kuhar argued Wednesday the ban on the products could potentially drive teenagers to experiment with drugs, furthering the opioid epidemic. “The worry is that with the opioid epidemic going on that, you know, kids might turn to that type of a thing to experiment with,” Kuhar said. In Ohio, there were 5,232 reported overdose deaths in a 12-month period that ended on

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Portage County Probate Court Works to Rehabilitate Troubled Youth

Juvenile crime rates in Portage County climbed in the past year despite rehabilitation efforts from the juvenile/probate division of the Portage County Common Pleas Court. In 2017, the juvenile/probate division had 619 cases. That’s an increase from the 2016 count of 531 cases. Offenses range from murder to assault to truancy and tobacco offenses. Youths who embroil themselves in cases relating to any of these charges may find themselves in the office of Chief Probation Officer Jeff Cunningham. “It can be difficult,” he said. “You see all of the kids that don’t necessarily go on and succeed as adults, and you never really know what happens to the ones that

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