Jess Mador


After three and a half years as WYSO News Managing Editor, Jess Mador now works to help WYSO expand its community engagement and storytelling efforts. Mador is an award-winning public radio journalist, multimedia producer and documentarian. She previously created and led TruckBeat, a Knoxville-based health journalism project, producing audio and video stories, and live events for AIR's national Localore: Finding America initiative. Before that, Mador was a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and worked as a freelance journalist, producing stories for various public radio news and digital outlets, programs and podcasts, including for National Public Radio, American Public Media, WNYC, West Virginia Public Broadcasting and 100 Days in Appalachia. Mador has also worked in New York City film and television production, and for PBS public television programs at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Thirteen. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

The Ohio Public Health Advisory Alert System ranks counties' case rates at four levels of severity using seven indicators of community COVID-19 spread.
The Ohio Channel

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says he’s not ruling out a statewide mandatory facemask order to slow the spread of COVID-19. In his Thursday briefing with reporters, DeWine called the state’s coronavirus outbreak “a crisis,” citing exponential community spread in many counties.

“This should be a wakeup call to all of us that we're in the fight of our lives and we're literally fighting for lives. We're fighting for our future,” he says. “We're fighting for our ability to be able to expand our economy and grow our economy.”

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

As WYSO remembers the 2019 Memorial Day tornado disaster, we've been speaking with Daytonians whose lives were forever changed by the storm. In this story, we hear from Norman Scearce. The Trotwood pastor and his Gateway Cathedral church helped coordinate recovery efforts in the hard-hit Trotwood area.

After surviving the tornado by sheltering in the bathroom with his family, Scearce ventured into the neighborhood and headed for his church to inspect the damage.

What follows is a transcript of the interview, edited for length and clarity:

Longtime Trotwood residents Michelle Potter (L) and Terri Davis recently recorded at WYSO their recollections of surviving the 2019 tornado disaster.
April Laissle / WYSO

The tornado that hit Trotwood last year left behind massive destruction, leveling businesses across the area and displacing hundreds of people from their apartments and homes. Among the residents forced to relocate temporarily were Michelle Potter and Terri Davis. The friends have called Trotwood home for decades and Davis says that when the sirens finally stopped on the night of the tornado, she barely recognized her neighborhood.

William Colston and his brother James Woody experienced the tornadoes together in an unusual way.
Jess Mador / WYSO

On the night of the 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes, when a twister with windspeeds of 170 miles per hour hit Montgomery County’s Shiloh Springs area, 32-year-old William Colston was in the apartment he shared with his mother and sister. His 26-year-old brother James Woody was home at his apartment in Columbus. They experienced the storm together in an unusual way.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine at his April 8, 2020 coronavirus briefing
The Ohio Channel

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a member of the Ohio National Guard after federal officials, Gov. Mike DeWine says, revealed information they say indicates the guard member expressed white supremacist ideology online before being deployed to assist with protest security in Washington, D.C.

In his regular coronavirus briefing Friday, DeWine told reporters the unidentified guard member is suspended from all missions as the investigation continues.

Former Ward Two Trotwood City Councilman Rap Hankins and Trotwood Police Chief Erik Wilson.
Jess Mador / WYSO

This month on WYSO, we’re remembering the 2019 Memorial Day tornado disaster. This story brings us voices from Trotwood, where an EF4 tornado destroyed hundreds of homes, businesses, and apartments, and where many city residents are still recovering more than a year later.

Beth Wentz and Timothy Walker spent weeks in a hotel followed by months in a mobile home. Their search for a new home was slowed by a tight housing market last year, among other factors, they say.
Timothy Walker

As WYSO remembers the 2019 Memorial Day tornado disaster and its impacts, we return to one of last year's hardest-hit Miami Valley communities: tight-knit Northridge. Beth Wentz and Timothy Walker raised their two children in the area as longtime homeowners in their first house together. On the night of the storm, Wentz and the kids clung together in the basement as a massive EF4 twister destroyed the house all around them. Walker had just started on third shift at a Clayton warehouse when his sister-in-law called.

Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

The Ohio National Guard will deploy across the state beginning this week to help expand COVID-19 testing at Ohio’s 960 nursing homes. Gov. Mike DeWine announced the effort during his regular coronavirus briefing.

Femme Fatale Fitness owner Cassie Guard is making ends meet delivering packages for Amazon. She and her husband lost their jobs when Gov. Mike DeWine ordered all nonessential businesses to close to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Cassie Guard

More details are expected soon on the state’s plan for reopening gyms, yoga studios and other fitness centers. Social distancing requirements in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio could mean dramatic service changes for many of these typically close-contact businesses. WYSO’s been checking in with small business owners over the last few weeks to see how they’re coping during the coronavirus pandemic. In this interview, we hear from a gym owner in Kettering.

Thousands of restaurant and nightlife workers are struggling amid the pandemic, and many are still waiting for state and federal financial assistance checks.
Ohio Restaurant Association

As the state prepares to reopen restaurants, some bars and retail establishments, some business owners are wondering what the future holds. Small businesses that rely on foot traffic are especially hard-hit in the coronavirus non-essential businesses shutdown.

To survive, many have experimented with new business models. Now, some Dayton entrepreneurs say they hope their customers will feel safe enough to return when their doors finally reopen.

Gov. Mike DeWine is allowing retail stores to reopen May 12.