COVID-19 in Portage County: Documenting a year of loss

By: Sara Crawford, Alex Gray, Molly Heideman, Alina Howard and Maria McGinnis Out of Ohio’s 1,083,609 cases of COVID-19, Portage County, with a population of more than 160,000 people, accounts for 12,872 of the total cases.  According to data from the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) COVID-19 dashboard, the first confirmed Covid-19 related hospitalization was on March 5, 2020 and the first death with COVID-19 listed as the cause was on March 29, 2020. Over the course of the 14 months the pandemic ran rampant, Portage County has seen 767 COVID-19 related hospitalizations and 203 deaths.  Though Portage County’s numbers appear small in comparison to nearby counties like Cuyahoga’s 112,117

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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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Petition asks Portage county schools to incorporate more Black history in classrooms

Kent State University alumna Angie Bryant is no stranger to making headlines. The former Portage County case manager was featured in two Record-Courier articles within the last five years. One for a workshop she created with Kent State assistant director of donor recognition programs Latasha Dukes, on strengthening the family and the community and another on June 11, 2020, for a Black lives matter protest she led outside the Kent police station. This time, Bryant is garnering attention for a June 2020 petition she constructed on Change.org. The petition titled, “Implement African American history into lesson plans in Portage county schools” came about while Bryant emailed to the Kent and Ravenna superintendents

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Portage County Commissioners declare Racism a public health crisis

On Sept 11, the Portage County Commissioners declared racism a public health crisis in the county. The Portage County commissioners followed in the footsteps of six counties in Ohio, along with the Portage County Mental Health and Recovery Board, Kent City Health Department and the Portage County Democratic Party. “It declares racism a public health crisis. It says that our county is going to work in all the ways that we function as a county to promote equity, whether that be in hiring, purchasing, contracting or the policies that we promote,” Portage County Commissioner, Kathleen Clyde said. “We are also going to support, lift up and amplify organizations that are

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Deputy director of the Portage County Board of Elections discusses mail-in voting

Q: Is there any difference between absentee ballots and mail-in ballots? Are they interchangeable? A: So, in the state of Ohio, we really have three ways that you can vote. There are two absentee options. All voting before Election Day is considered absentee. You can request an absentee ballot now, or you can come into our office and vote. Early voting for this election starts on Oct. 6 and runs to Nov. 2. We also will have voting at the polling locations. So absentee voting and voting by mail are really the same thing here in Ohio. Q: Will there only be one specific drop box location? Is there just

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The Difference Between Voting Procedures

Kathleen Clyde started her position as a Portage County commissioner, which is the lead position in the county on the elected side, in Dec. 2018, where she oversees county operations that fall under the commissioners. Before this position, in Jan. 2011, Clyde started the first of four terms as a state representative, where she specialized in voting and election issues. She served as an election official in the 2008 election, where she ran the early-vote center in Franklin County. She is also an attorney with a specialty in election law. Clyde answered questions about the different ways Ohioans can vote this year, as well as other general voting inquiries. Q:

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Voting Policy Explained by Portage County Board of Election Deputy Director

President Donald Trump has made statements in recent months expressing his doubts about the ways in which elections are conducted in the United States. Terrie Nielsen, the Portage County Board of Election deputy director, shared the processes that the state of Ohio uses to prevent voter fraud and the potential consequences.

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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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Law enforcement, public schools working to prevent drug related crime in Kent and Portage County

By Kathryn Monsewicz Drug possession charges are common on Kent State University grounds as well as Kent proper, but public schools are addressing students about drug abuse violations and related crimes at an early age. Kent City It’s hard to say how many cases Kent Police Department has per year related to drug possession because of a detailed reporting system that could label the charges under an array of different offenses, Lt. Mike Lewis said. According to the Portage County Drug Task Force, Kent is “one of the busier parts of the county.” But, Lewis said, that depends on what drug is hitting the county hardest at that particular time.

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Small businesses see financial growth in first year of tax overhaul, but the cause remains unclear

Words by: Caelin Mills and Nicholas Hunter Less than a year after President Donald Trump introduced his overhaul of the tax system, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Portage County businesses are seeing an uptick in business growth and revenue. It is unclear, however, whether the bill is the cause for this success. The bill, to be first implemented in fiscal year 2018, passed with the notion it would alleviate financial burdens on small business owners and middle class workers throughout the country. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by on Scribd “The biggest winners will be the everyday American workers as jobs start pouring into our country, as

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