Geauga Park District

photo of a meteor shower the night sky
GETTY IMAGES

Northeast Ohio residents will have two chances this month to check out a fairly active display in the nighttime sky.

The Draconid meteor shower will peak on the evening of the 7th or 8th, while the Orionid shower will show up before dawn on Oct. 21st.

Geauga Metro Parks trail
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Metro Parks are among northeast Ohio’s most popular places. But in recent years, conflicts have emerged over who runs them--and how much power they have in running them. WKSU's Tim Rudell takes a closer look at the role probate judges are playing in this.

In Ohio there is such a thing as a 1545 park district. That refers to the 1917 statute that established it. These are local parks, governed by boards appointed by the probate judge of the county they’re in.   

photo of Chris Banks
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY

Who wields political power in Ohio? You may think of your mayor, county officials or even Gov. John Kasich.  But county-by-county, probate judges are among the most powerful elected leaders in the state.  So what does a probate judge do?

WKSU's Kabir Bhatia recently asked Kent State University political science professor and attorney Chris Banks, who specializes in American politics and the judicial process.

photo of Kathy Hanratty
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

A proposed amendment to the state budget has some people asking whether it would allow probate court judges to penalize people who “interfere with a park district’s purposes" -- including, potentially, protesters.

photo of Kathy Hanratty
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

A Geauga County activist group says the county’s public lands need to be better-managed.

Protect Geauga Parks was formed three years ago as a response to what members viewed as a park board that is not fulfilling its mission. Now, they say Probate Court Judge Timothy Grendell – and the three park commissioners he appoints – won’t allow public comment at meetings.