April Laissle

Morning Edition Host/Reporter

April Laissle is a graduate of Ohio University and comes to WYSO from WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio where she worked as a weekend host and reporter.  There, she reported on everything from food insecurity to 4-H chicken competitions. April interned at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, where she focused on health reporting. She also worked on The Broad Experience, a New-York based podcast about women and workplace issues. In her spare time, April loves traveling, trying new recipes and binge-listening to podcasts. April is a Florida native and has been adjusting to Ohio weather since 2011.

Ways to Connect

Celina Mayor Jeffrey Hazel, Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio First Lady address the media the morning after an EF3 tornado killed one resident and left 40 with uninhabitable homes.
Jason Reynolds / WYSO

The 10 Ohio counties impacted by the Memorial Day tornado outbreak are now eligible for federal disaster recovery aid. Dayton-area officials say the FEMA and other funding could play a crucial role in the Miami Valley’s ongoing recovery.

President Donald Trump issued a federal disaster declaration Tuesday, one week after Gov. Mike DeWine formally requested it.

The declaration means affected Ohioans are now eligible for aid through FEMA’s individual assistance, hazard mitigation, and disaster legal services programs.

Tap water
Joe Cheng / Flickr Creative Commons

Montgomery County officials say the City of Dayton may be in breach of their water service contract, and it’s asking state regulators to mediate the dispute.

In a letter to the Ohio EPA, the county alleges the city hasn’t been open about its management of PFAS contamination in the water supply. Low levels of the man-made chemical have been found in Dayton’s water.

Montgomery County Director of Environmental Services Patrick Turnbull says while the water supply is safe, they need more information about the extent of the contamination.

The City of Dayton posted vacate notices on apartments along Kelly Avenue in Old North Dayton Tuesday.
April Laissle / WYSO

Tenants of the storm damaged Kelly Avenue apartments in Old North Dayton were ordered Tuesday to vacate their homes by the end of the week. The news panicked residents, many of whom have nowhere else to go.

The Red Cross Northern Miami Valley Chapter
The Red Cross Northern Miami Valley Chapter / WYSO

More than two weeks after the Memorial Day tornadoes, the Red Cross is meeting individually with displaced people to assess their needs.

Officials say the goal is to make the recovery process less overwhelming for affected families.

FEMA inspectors conduct damage assessments in Trotwood, where several large apartment complexes were destroyed in the tornadoes.
April Laissle / WYSO

Miami Valley officials are only beginning to calculate the longterm impacts of the devastation from last week’s tornado outbreak. Key is an investigation by FEMA to determine whether Ohio is eligible for emergency aid.

Officials caution it’s a complicated process that will take time. To see it in action, WYSO’s April Laissle followed one FEMA team into a particularly hard-hit area of Trotwood.

At the Westbrook Village Apartment Complex, a group of FEMA investigators walk through muddy grass holding clipboards, taking stock of what’s left.

A truckload of shoes arrives at Corinthian Baptist Church, ready for donation to people affected by the recent tornadoes.
George Drake, Jr. / WYSO

Donations have been pouring into local charities following Memorial Day's devastating tornado outbreak.

In one week, donors have given over $200,000 to the Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund, established by the Dayton Foundation. Some donations have come from as far as Japan. The foundation has already awarded some of this money to nonprofits providing aid directly to those affected, including the Foodbank of Dayton. Barbra Stonerock, with the Dayton Foundation, says they choose their grantees carefully.

Volunteers use chainsaws to remove trees downed by the 2019 Memorial Day tornado.
Karen Bledsoe / WYSO

Over the weekend, thousands of volunteers helped clean-up Dayton neighborhoods damaged by Memorial Day’s tornado outbreak.

Roadways once closed due to storm debris reopened in much of the city over the weekend. Power has been restored to all but about 2,000 residents.  Hundreds remain without gas service.

Dozens of buildings are no longer habitable, including at least two apartment complexes. Some affected residents are staying with friends or family members. About 130 people have moved into emergency shelters.

Mike Birbiglia
Evan Sung / via https://www.birbigs.com

The Foodbank of Dayton is celebrating after a celebrity sparked a chain of donations on social media Thursday night. The money will support disaster relief efforts after Memorial Day's tornado outbreak in the Miami Valley.

The charity received over $50,000 after comedian Mike Birbiglia encouraged other celebrities to donate on Twitter.  Ben Stiller, John Legend, Judd Apatau, and Lin-Manuel Miranda gave money after being prompted by Birbiglia.

The Red Cross Northern Miami Valley Chapter
The Red Cross Northern Miami Valley Chapter / WYSO

Inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are expected to arrive in the Miami Valley next week to begin surveying damage from Monday's tornado outbreak. Dayton city officials say the FEMA inspectors will not be distributing financial assistance during their visit.

Gov. Mike DeWine  requested help earlier this week from FEMA for the 10 counties that suffered tornado damage, including Montgomery, Greene, and Mercer Counties, as the National Weather Service's analysis of the tornadoes and their impact Memorial Day continues to evolve.

Volunteers with the Pathway School of Discovery collected trash bags full of donations and distributed free meals in Old North Dayton on Thursday.
April Laissle / WYSO

Several Dayton organization are asking for volunteers to aid in disaster relief efforts this weekend, following Monday night’s devastating tornadoes. Here’s how you can help:

The Living City Project is sponsoring a clean-up at locations throughout the Miami Valley. Those interested in participating must sign up here.

Volunteers are asked to meet at the following locations at 8:30 a.m.:

Dayton Area