Lewis Wallace

Reporter

Lewis Wallace comes to WYSO from the Pritzker Journalism Fellowship at WBEZ in Chicago, where he reported on the environment, technology, science and economics. Prior to going down the public radio rabbit hole, he was a community organizer and producer for a multimedia project about youth and policing in Chicago. Originally from Ann Arbor, MI, Lewis spent many years as a freelance writer, anti-oppression trainer, barista and sex educator in Chicago and in Oakland, CA. He holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Northwestern University, and he has recently expanded his journalism training through the 2013 Metcalf Fellowship for Environmental Journalism and the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources.

Lewis contributes regularly to NPR and Marketplace, and works in partnership with WBEZ Chicago on WYSO Curious/Curious City and as a freelance contributor. His work on the rollout of the federal Affordable Care Act for WYSO won two 2013 national Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) awards for continuing coverage (first place) and best news feature (second place).

Lewis is transgender and goes by the pronouns "he" and "him."

Ways To Connect

Protesters in Washington, D.C. speaking out against the Affordable Care Act in its early days.
Tabitha Kaylee Hawk / Flickr/Creative Commons

Today marks one year since the federal government started offering health plans under the Affordable Care Act on healthcare.gov, also known as the “exchange” or “marketplace.” The launch was rocky, to say the least, but for the most part the glitches and disasters have been cleared up, and the political battles have also exited center stage. What’s happening now is an unprecedented growth in the numbers of people covered in the Miami Valley—and a health care industry that’s booming.

Library books
Dan Goldblatt, WFIU Public Radio / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Greene County Public Library is one of several dozen Ohio library systems asking voters for money this November election, as libraries around the state become increasingly dependent on money from local property taxes.

Library levies are generally pretty popular, probably because libraries are overwhelmingly popular with Ohio residents.

“We actually have 8.9 million library card holders in the state of Ohio,” says Michelle Francis with the Ohio Library Council. “That’s roughly over 75 percent of the population.”

Dollar General has opened hundreds of stores a year for the last few years.
Random Retail / Flickr/Creative Commons

This weekend is the grand opening of a new Dollar General in Vandalia; the chain has been growing steadily in the region even as another discount store, K-Mart, has announced closures in Fairborn and Springfield.

Ever since the recession, low-cost discount stores like Kmart have seen competition from below, with smaller discount stores with low prices experiencing record growth. Dollar General has been one of the biggest winners: all over the country the stores are getting bigger and offering more, including cheap grocery products.

Austin Rinebolt-Miller

A group of Antioch College students got back Monday morning from the People’s Climate March in New York City. The march was expected to be the largest and most diverse in history at over 100,000 people. Now organizers are pegging the count at at least 310,000.

Several dozen Antioch students and several hundred Ohioans had planned to attend the march on buses. Antioch students hoped to bring back new energy about fighting global climate change.

Demonstrators at the 2010 Cancun Climate Summit.
Velcrow Ripper / Flickr/Creative Commons

Hundreds of Ohio residents, including a large group from Antioch College, will get on buses, trains and take carpools to New York City this weekend for the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21.

The People’s Climate March is being billed as the first of its kind and the largest climate march ever; it’s a protest against global climate change just as the United Nations convenes a climate summit.

An airplane at the Vectren Dayton Airshow, a yearly event at the Dayton Airport.
eawortman / Flickr/Creative Commons

Janet Bednarek, a professor of history at the University of Dayton, specializes in airports—and in the idea of the airport as a hub for economic growth. She thinks airports bring a lot of potential, but there are also limitations; ultimately, she says, corporations decide where they want to go, and an “if you build it, they will come” approach can backfire.

“Dayton has always tried to capitalize on the fact that we’re at the intersection of two major interstates,” says Bednarek. “It just seems like the ability to capitalize on that hasn’t seemed to happen yet.”

Corn harvest
United Soybean Board / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Midwestern corn harvest is just getting underway, and the region is predicting record corn crops. That means depressed prices for producers—and possibly, trouble with getting that corn where it needs to go.

Senator Sherrod Brown (right) compared algae-filled water with clear water on a recent visit to Stone Lab on Lake Erie. Researcher Justin Chaffin is on the left.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Ohio’s U.S. Senators have introduced two bills that address the problems with toxic microcystins, a result of the bacteria known as blue-green algae, in the state’s waters. Toxins from algal blooms in Lake Erie caused a two-day shutdown of Toledo’s water system in August, and algal blooms have been reported in lakes around the state including Grand Lake St. Mary’s and Buckeye Lake.

President Barack Obama speaks about affordable health care at an event in 2013 with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Despite controversy and a bumpy rollout, the president's signature bill enrolled more people than it had originally aimed for.
Eric Haynes / Governor's Office

As the time for open enrollment in federal health plans rolls back around, the federal government has announced a new round of grants for Ohio health insurance navigators.

Even after a bumpy start last year, the feds report more than 154,000 Ohio residents got new health plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplace between October 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014. People signed up through local health centers, food banks, libraries and churches, or just went online at home.

An under-maintained home in a black neighborhood.
Miami Valley Fair Housing

Cities in Ohio and around the country are continuing to recover from the housing bust, but some neighborhoods may be having an easier time than others. A new study by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) finds banks are doing a better job with upkeep on foreclosed homes in white neighborhoods than neighborhoods of color.

NFHA worked with groups in 29 metro areas, including Dayton and Toledo, to inspect thousands of bank-owned homes.

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