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LuminUS: Stories About Us
City Centric Kent
Visit this cozy college town with a storybook sensibility.

Kent-centric characters are Heather Malarcik, Main Street Kent executive director; Mike Beder, owner of four downtown Kent businesses; James Vaughan, aerospace illustrator; Gwen Rosenberg, Kent council-at-large member and owner of Popped!; Savanna Wills, fashion designer and owner of SWiLLS; and Candace Curtis, a founder of Ben Curtis Family Foundation.

PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / (WEAO 49.1)

Friday, March 15, at 3:30 AM

The Revitalizer

Heather Malarcik, Executive Director for Main Street Kent

“Our mission is to create a fun, vibrant and thriving place.”

The Entrepreneur

Mike Beder, Owner of Four Downtown Kent Businesses

“What I love about the city of Kent is the vibrance and youth…the cyclical nature of college students paired with the 30,000 or so residents and how that all works together.”

The Entertainer

James Vaughan, Artist and Illustrator

“Most things are not possible unless we dream about them, unless we think about them first and that’s what I want to be able to give people – to give them something to dream about.”

The Politician

Gwen Rosenberg, Kent City Council Member-at-Large and Owner of Popped!

“It’s important for people to realize that your local politician is just your neighbor and your friend.”

The Future

Savanna Wills, Fashion Designer and Owner of SWiLLS

“I want to, first and foremost, be remembered for being kind…whether I make people feel good with my presence or just listening to them and making them feel heard, [or] through the feeling that they get when they wear my designs.”

The Humanitarian

Candace Curtis, A Founder and Manager of Corporate Direction and Strategy at Ben Curtis Family Foundation

“Food insecurity is important to raise awareness of because…a lot of families now are seeing food insecurity for the first time.”


Hear from Kent-centric Heather Malarcik, Main Street Kent executive director.

Hear from Kent-centric Mike Beder, owner of four downtown Kent businesses.

Hear from Kent-centric James Vaughan, aerospace illustrator.

Hear from Kent-centric Gwen Rosenberg, Kent council-at-large member and owner of Popped!.

Hear from Kent-centric Savanna Wills, fashion designer and owner of SWiLLS.

Hear from Kent-centric Candace Curtis, a founder of Ben Curtis Family Foundation.

The Ben Curtis Family Foundation and volunteers provide holiday joy.

Explore More
City Centric Spotlight: Ben Curtis Family Foundation
An Interview with Candance Curtis
An Interview with Gwen Rosenburg
An Interview with Mike Beder
About Kent

Kent is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the largest city in Portage County. It is located along the Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio on the county's western edge. — Wikipedia 

Kent became known as the "Tree City" when, in the late 1800s, John Davey, an expert horticulturalist, planted hundreds of trees throughout the City. He also trained people in the caring of the newly planted trees. Mr. Davey later founded the Davey Tree Company which is still in existence today. ― 

The city is the home of Kent State University,  one of 91 public doctoral universities with high research activity, as categorized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. It has an enrollment of more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students. —

Founded: 1805 

Founded by: John Haymaker 

Named for: Marvin Kent 

Incorporated: 1867 

Population: 27,751 (2021) 

Mayor: Jerry Fiala 

City Manager: Dave Ruller

More Stories About Kent
Kent State University–Textures Exhibition

Host Leia' Love explores The Kent State University Museum exhibition, TEXTURES.

46 Days: The Confessions of Ned Kellogg
Rating: NR

This local production examines the murders of two Kent, Ohio, women over 70 years ago.

Under Fire, Under Siege: Strikebreakers in Kent, Ohio

This local production tells of a violent incident that happened during a 1936 strike.

Joseph O'Sickey: The Art of Life
Rating: NR

Western Reserve PBS showcases the life of acclaimed Northeast Ohio artist Joseph O'Sickey.

Theron Brown: Play it Forward

Musician Theron Brown finds ways to keep the songs coming during the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 4, 2015: 90-Second Stories
Rating: NR

Photographer Paul Tople talks about documenting the events surrounding May 4th.

May 1, 2015: 90-Second Stories
Rating: NR

Students at Kent State talk about activism and their impressions of May 4, 1970.

Liquid Crystal Innovations
Rating: NR

Liquid crystal technology is advancing to a new level at Kent State University.

Goat Cheese, Please!
Rating: NR

Visit Lucky Penny Creamery and join the discussion about small-farm business concepts.

NEOtropolisThe Languages of Expression
Rating: NR

People use different "languages" to express themselves, and not just the verbal type.

Momentum on Main Street
Rating: NR

Community leaders discuss challenges and initiatives in sustaining downtown areas.

Student-Run Store
Rating: NR

Four students from Kent State University have opened an international foods store.

Northeast Ohio: One Big College Town
Rating: NR

Our region reaps the benefits of an abundance of quality colleges and universities.

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