Monday, April 30, 2007

Athens International Film and Video Festival

The 34th annual Athens International Film and Video Festival kicked off over the weekend.

The festival features 23 feature films to be shown through the week. Additionally, 133 other films will compete for $9,000 in prize money. The films will be screened in 30 public showings through the week at the Athena Cinema in uptown Athens, the Athena Grand on East State Street and Stuart's Opera House in Nelsonville. The complete schedule of films can be found online.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ohio University Restrains Illegal File Sharing

At a press conference on Wednesday, Ohio University President Roderick McDavis announced that the university will restrain all illegal peer-to-peer file sharing on campus computers. The university will monitor its network for file sharing activity and cut off Internet access on computers that violate the new policy. Athens MidDay reporters Stine Eckert and Lindsay Allison were at the press conference and have more.

In an official statement announcing the crackdown, the university said it is restraining illegal file sharing because it consumes bandwidth, exposes the university network to viruses, and illegally distributes copyrighted works. Repeat violaters will have their computers disabled again and a referral to University Judiciaries. Illegal file sharing is considered theft and misuse, both of which are class A offenses.

There are legal file sharing websites on the Internet and those are allowed under the new policy. Chip Mcintosh, President and CEO of Frognet Internet Services, explains the difference between illegal and legal file sharing websites.

Have you been caught illegally downloading material on the internet? Tell us your comments and concerns.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Democratic Mayoral Debate

The two Democratic candidates for mayor of Athens met in a debate at the Athens Public Library on Tuesday evening. Incumbent mayor Ric Abel and challenger Paul Wiehl (D-1st Ward) tackled issues such as code enforcement, city growth and development, and police and fire protection.

Athens MidDay reporter Jessica Morgan has the story.

Abel said he hopes to diversify business in Athens by using existing space and working with developers and Ohio University. Wiehl said he also wants the city to grow, but in a "good sense." He said he would make sure developers followed the city's comprehensive plan and that he would hire a city planner upon being elected, a position the city is trying to fill currently.

Here is an extended look at how the candidates disagree on the issue of police and fire protection.

The winner of the May primaries may go on to face independent candidate Sergey Kahn, depending on whether he collects the 54 signatures required to be put on the ballot for the November general elections. No Republicans have announced their intentions to run.

The deadline to register to vote has passed for the primary elections, but voters will have up to 30 days before the November elections to register.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Athens City Council talks parking in Athens

While parked on Athens city streets, it is required that the car be moved every 24 hours. If the car isn't moved, a citation is issued. Athens City Council met last night, and the hot topic was the 24 hour parking ordinance and the shortage of parking in Athens.

Council member Carol Patterson said that an idea for solving the problem is to have experimental programs such as on Central Avenue and Morris Avenue. Member Bojinka Bishop says there should be exceptions for owners with small children and elderly.

In an interview, council member Amy Flowers explained why the 24-hour ordinance was put into place. She said the ordinance was put into place in order to reduce storage parking. She said people were parking on the street for the long term as storage, and were leaving the people who lived in the area without parking on the street.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Tribute To Virginia Tech. at Ohio University

Ohio University students and faculty gathered at College Green last night for a candle light vigil in honor of those who died at Virginia Tech. Athens MidDay Reporter Allison Morrison attended the event and got student reaction.

Check out this extra interview with Ohio University Student Matthew Denhart. Denhart was at Virginia Tech about two weeks before the school shooting.

Ohio University officials estimate that more than 1500 people attended the event last night.

To remember and honor the victims of those tragic events, Virginia Tech University has established the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund to aid in the healing process and generate financial support.

The fund will be used to cover expenses including but not limited to:

* Grief counseling
* Memorials
* Communication expenses
* Comfort expenses
* Incidental needs

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech Tragedy

Many peole across the country, especially college students, have been affected and saddened by what the media is calling the "massacre at Virginia Tech." The shootings that took place Monday, left 33 students dead, and injured close to 30 more.

More of Tashira Tierny-Houze's interview with a Virginia Tech Student with a connection to Ohio University:

"The tragedy that has gripped the campus of Virginia Tech has resonated throughout our communities as we all try to grasp this incomprehensible act. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the Virginia Tech community," Ohio University President Roderick McDavis said.

For those looking to locally share their support for the Virginia Tech community, there are two ways the Ohio University campus is showing it's support.

  • Ohio University officials are encouraging the community to set aside the OU colors of green and white, for Virginia Tech's burnt orange and maroon. Ribbons will also be distributed throughout the day, and can be picked up at the Baker Student Center.

  • A candlelight vigil will be held in honor of the victims of the tragedy at 9 p.m. tonight, at the West Portico of Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium on College Green.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Demand for Teachers Increases

Ohio University as well as several other Ohio colleges sponsored the Teacher Research Consortium yesterday. TRC was held at Ohio University and was open to students looking for a teaching job after graduation. Athens MidDay reporter Kaylea Livingston attended TRC and found out that teachers are in high demand across the country.

The United States Department of Labor projects that by 2014 the job market for teachers will vary from good to excellent depending on locality, grade levels and the subject taught. The best job prospects will be in inner city schools and in rural areas. Math, science and foreign language positions are the hardest to fill and will continue to be in high demand for the next 10 years.

The increased demand for teachers is to due to the large number of teachers expected to retire between now and 2014.

Ohio University senior, Ryan Beumont explains why he thinks there are fewer teaching positions open in Ohio and what students must be willing to do to get a job.

The Ohio Department of Education lists job openings around the state for teachers.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Expo Connects Community and University

The Ohio University office for University Outreach hosted its first annual Expo Friday night, Athens MidDay reporter Shane Kline was there and offers this report.

Director of the University Outreach Merle Graybill says the events brings several presentations that help connect the community and university.

Students, faculty and staff attended the event held in the Baker University Center Ballroom. More than 50 exhibitors showcased their community relationships.

The O.U. Outreach programs aims to improve the lives of those in the community through projects like these, and their website is both informative and helpful with information on how to create partnerships between the university and community.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Are false fire alarms on campus the university's fault?

Athens MidDay's Stine Eckert reports on the ongoing feud between the city and the university regarding fire protection. Athens Mayor Ric Abel blames the university for increasing fire department costs due to the high number of false alarms on campus.

OU Fire Protection Engineer Sara Fares says the fines that are being leveled are unfair. The university is seeking outside council to determine how to respond.

City of Athens vs. OU on Fire Safety

Athens Mayor Ric Abel says the best thing the university can do for the department is to keep its automatic alarm system up-to-date to prevent unnecessary false alarms. He also claims the university does not have enough sprinkler systems in its dormitories. In fact, only five of the 41 dorms on campus have sprinkler systems.

All university buildings are required to follow state fire codes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Truck owner says back up warning not required

Did the recycling truck that hit an Ohio University student have the proper safety equipment? Athens MidDay reporter Tashira Tierney-Houze went to find out:

More of Tierney-Houze's interview with Roger Bail about vehicle safety requirements:

The recycling truck that hit an Ohio University student on March 30th did not have a working audible back up warning. Roger Bail, coordinator for the Athens-Hocking Joint Solid Waste Management District, says the beepers are not required.

Ohio University student, Misato Kawamura, is still recovering from injuries after being hit by the truck, and is in fair condition. Kawamura was between Ellis Hall and Alden Library when she was hit. She was treated for leg and pelvic fractures at Grant Medical Center in Columbus.

Michael F. Gilbraith, the driver of the truck will likely be charged with a misdemeanor of improper backing, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Sgt. Max Norris told The Post there is no routine way to investigate improper backing, but eyewitnesses are providing information on the accident.

Bail admits that the beeper was not working but he showed Athens MidDay federal regulations that audible backing warnings are recommended, but not required.

Athens MidDay also found a state study that showed in 2005 improper backing was responsible for 536 injury accidents including 2 fatalities (see page 10). We also found state regulations that an audible back up warning is mandatory for state school buses (see page 16).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Protecting yourself and your computer from video piracy

Athens MidDay Reporter Ryan Basford reports on how video piracy can harm your computer and your community.

Luke Streuig, Customer Support Manager at Frognet, provides tips on how to protect your computer from viruses obtained through file sharing.

With more and more people sharing files over the internet, more and more viruses are being spread across the web. And as Ryan Basford told us, file sharing can not only hurt your computer, but your community and yourself.

Just in case you're not sure what is and is not legal, The Motion Picture Association of America has a list of all federal and state laws regarding piracy.

There are many programs out there to protect your computer from viruses. Some can be bought in stores and some can be downloaded at no charge. Visit for the AVG antivirus program Streuig mentioned above.

Monday, April 9, 2007

What To Do If You Suspect Your Pet Ate Contaminated Food

Athens MidDay reporter Allison Morrison explains why one local pet owner is concerned about pet food being sold in Athens:

Jennifer Sharp, a local vet, explains how to take precautions:

If you are a pet owner concerned about the recent pet food recall, Athens MidDay has some tips for you.

There are several symptoms you should be looking for if your pet ingested recalled food. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these include: loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms can appear within several days of ingesting such food, so it is important to monitor your pet for any changes. If your pet experiences these symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately. Kidney failure resulting from these symptoms has been the cause of death in animals that ate contaminated pet food. If you suspect your pet is ill, your veterinarian can assess the animal's kidney function by performing blood tests and urinalysis.

The FDA also recommends that you consult your veterinarian with any questions about your pet's health or nutritional needs. In light of the recall, it is important to note what types of food are safe to feed to your pet. In the Athens area, Kroger and Aldi are making efforts to remove recalled pet food from their shelves. PetSmart is also recalling the products affected.

The FDA's most recent count of pets that have died as a result of contamination from recalled food stands at just sixteen, but some pet owners report that the number is even higher. This argument is discussed on Pet Connection's Web site, which also includes links to pet-owner blogs and information about how to report a sick or diseased pet to the FDA.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Ohio University Introduces a New Diversity Plan

President Roderick McDavis is once again working to strengthen diversity at Ohio University. In a press conference held yesterday at the President’s home, McDavis announced the development of a comprehensive diversity program. The program will combine all of the diversity and equity departments into a single office. The outlook for the program is to bring together numerous programs and services that have never worked together before and centralize their efforts to improve diversity.

“In order for us too achieve our commitment to diversity, we must be strategic and create key efficiencies to improve our campus climate,” McDavis said. “This reorganization will unite our equity services and diversity initiatives.”

Currently the diversity and equity departments are scattered among several different offices, such as Campus Life, Student Affairs, and the Office of the President. The goal of unifying these offices will be to advance the institution’s mission of academics and make it easier for the programs to work together.

This new structure will be led by a vice provost for equity and diversity. This position will serve as the chief diversity officer for the Athens campus and be a part of the president’s cabinet. A national search will be held for vice provost for equity and diversity and the university plans to fill the position by July 1.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Lesson Learned: Speaker Drives Home an Important Message on Drunk Driving

Athens MidDay reporter Ryan Basford spoke with motivational speaker Jim Rockwell about his experience with drunk driving. Rockwell, who suffered lifelong injuries as the result of accident while driving drunk at the age of 16, now uses that experience to deter students across the country from drinking and driving.

Some people think drunk driving is a minor issue, but Jim Rockwell begs to differ. Rockwell is a motivational speaker who has toured the United States bringing his "Rockwell Project" and his message to 300,000 high school students. Rockwell brought that message home to students in Athens yesterday.

A crowd of about 5,000 high school students at the Convocation Center attended "Impact 2007," a program aimed at deterring high schoolers from drinking and driving. Rockwell was the keynote speaker, recounting his experience as a drunk driver at the age of 16. When he was in high school, Rockwell caused an accident that nearly ended his life. He was pronounced dead at the scene and was in a coma for six weeks. Rockwell came out of the coma and went through seven weeks of physical therapy.

Rockwell had to go through speech therapy, physical therapy to learn how to walk, and exercises to re-learn how to eat. After years of rehabilitation, he is now able to live independently, although his motor skills and his sight are impaired.

Rockwell's career as a motivational speaker centers around the "Rockwell Project" in which he recounts his experience and shares his message with students across the country. He stresses the importance of responsible decision-making.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Students prompt changes to Hudson Sexual Health Seminar

Students demanded changes last fall, and now they have the sexual health information they need. After complaints from one graduate student at an Ohio University Town Hall meeting, the Graduate Student Senate set a deadline for the Hudson Health Center to improve its website by March 28th.

"We knew we needed to get it done, and when students said 'it is an issue for us,' it happened," says Director of Health Education and Wellness Char Kopchick. The graduate student's main complaint was over Hudson's policy on gynecological exams. First time users of Hudson's gynecological services are required to attend a sexual health seminar, but students didn't know the seminar's schedule and that they could get a waiver from attending them.

The Hudson Health Center's website now has information on the seminar's schedule and information on obtaining a waiver.

"I think what we're doing right now is the best that we could do," said Kopchick. "And that's making people aware of our services first of all, aware of the waiver option and then by next fall, piloting and trying the two tier seminar approach."

This two-tier seminar approach would offer separate seminars based on the specific health care need. The sexual health seminars discuss topics like the gynecological exam, the self-breast exam, basic reproductive anatomy, sexually transmitted infections and methods of contraception, and other reproductive health services are offered.

Kopchick talks more about the two-tier program and who might be elligible for a waiver.