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

Dwayne Bickham has worked at Bowman and Young Funeral Chapel since he was 17, in 1979.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

The funeral or “death-care” industry brings in an estimated $20 billion a year in the U.S., but the industry is changing. There’s been a shift towards chain funeral homes, and more people are choosing cremation, and that has black-owned funeral homes particularly worried about staying above ground in Dayton and beyond.

Ryan Somma / Flickr/Creative Commons

A Wright State University researcher has found evidence that the emerald ash borer, a destructive invasive insect, has found a new host—which means ash trees might not be the only trees at risk.

A cornfield behind Antioch University Midwest on Dayton could become a business park called the CBE.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Yellow Springs residents will weigh in Nov. 4 on whether the village should fund infrastructure for a new business park at the edge of town. The proposal, called the Center for Business and Education or CBE, would open up new land to development by funding infrastructure, but the village is divided over whether it should borrow money to make the site “shovel ready” for developers.

Minimum wage activists demonstrated in Dayton in December 2013.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Today is October 10, 10/10—and it’s been declared National Minimum Wage Day. $10.10 is the new minimum wage many advocates are calling for. Right now Ohio’s minimum wage is $7.95, and it will automatically go up to $8.10 on January 1, 2015.

Yellow Springs packs its downtown twice a year for the street fair.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

The village of Yellow Springs, on the surface, is hopping economically. Property values are headed up, and downtown vacancies are low. Antioch College is growing and just opened a renovated fitness and wellness center. But just below the surface, the village has a lot of the same issues as other parts of the region. A lack of well-paying jobs means it’s becoming more of a bedroom community.

An artist's rendering of the new kayak run plan along the Great Miami River in downtown Dayton.
Five Rivers Metroparks

Five Rivers Metroparks has announced changes to the plan for a downtown Dayton kayaking run, which means a delayed timeline for the Riverscape River Run.

Signs around the Miami Valley demarcate the boundaries of the well fields and source water protection areas.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

 A new group called the Dayton Citizens’ Water Brigade is holding a teach-in tonight about the City of Dayton’s water protection policy.

The group opposes changes to the policy that’s been in place for over 25 years. The policy was created as an attempt to keep hazardous chemicals away from the wellfields that supply water to 400,000 people around Dayton, including most Montgomery County suburbs. It forbids new chemicals within a set geographic area, and provides incentives for companies to reduce chemical storage already in place through a buy-back program.

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.

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