Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Buckle Up or Pay Up

Travelers weren't the only ones hitting the road in high numbers over Memorial Day weekend. State Highway Patrol officers were also out in full force cracking down on the safety belt law.

Ohio Highway Patrol Sergeant Max Norris says such crack downs are effective.

Ohio's safety belt law was initially enacted in 1986 and redefined in 1992. Getting pulled over without your seat belt on today, will put a ticket in your hands and a hole in your pocket. Fines vary depending on the county, but in some areas they can reach as high as $100.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol website, traffic crashes take the lives of thousands and cost billions of dollars each year. But, safety belts can reduce the severity of injuuries and reduce the loss of life and funds. In 1996, it's believed that seat belts saved 321 lives, prevented 20,026 injuries, and saved $893 million in costs.

Last year in Athens, 40% of lives lost were because of traffic crashes where the driver or the passenger were not wearing their seat belt.

Athens MidDay's Linda Ubokudum took a closer look into this issue.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Reducing the Pain at the Pump

Gas Prices. Everybody loves to talk about it, but hates to hear about it.

In Athens, gas has been hovering around $3.50 cents. So what can YOU do to get the most out of your car? Athens MidDay talked to Auto Technician Mark Miller who offers some helpful tips.

Miller also says pay attention to all of your sensors and driving the speed limit can make your car run more efficiently. Driving over 60 miles per hour can dramatically decrease your gas mileage.

Several handy websites are available that provide even more helpful tips. Using cruise control, overdrive gears, and avoiding idling all can save you money. even provides the locations of the cheapest gas pumps. Another site suggest quick engine warmups, keeping windows closed, and buying gas during the coolest times of day.

Don't forget, though, there is always the practical tips. Carpool whenever possible, and of course, don't be afraid to ride a bike.

If you have any tips on saving gas, let us know! Post your comments and suggestions by clicking below.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ohio University President Roderick McDavis says he's "confident."

This comes after last week's Student Senate elections when 78 percent of students voted "no confidence" in McDavis. However, not all students voted in the election. McDavis says the "no confidence vote" represents only 23 percent of the student body.

McDavis spoke to the public about the vote for the first time yesterday. Athens MidDay Reporter Stine Eckert went to the news conference. Eckert says McDavis is not discouraged by the negative vote.

McDavis says the "no confidence vote" could reflect the recent budget problems and athletic cuts. Now McDavis says all facets of the University must work together to improve OU. This includes gathering input from students, faculty and staff before making institutional decisions.

For more background, read this article about the "no confidence vote" published by Ohio University's Post.

OU faculty are also judging McDavis's performance in a survey sponsered by the American Association of University Professors. Results are due May 29th. Read more in an article by the Athens News.

Health Care Crisis in Athens: PART TWO
Athens MidDay Reporter Tierra Palmer investigates how rising health care costs affect local businesses. The story includes comments from an Athens Chamber of Commerce Representative and the owner of Brennan's Greenery and the Athens Book Center.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Health Care Crisis in Athens County

Athens MidDay reporter Jennifer Moore on the health care crisis in Athens County:

Be sure to check out Athens MidDay tomorrow for part 2 of this series on health care. Jennifer takes a closer look at how health care coverage affects local businesses.

Quarters v. Semesters: OU Committee Considers Changes

A committee of Ohio University faculty is considering whether to change from the quarter academic calendar to semesters.

Athens MidDay reporter Jessica Morgan has more:

The group is studying other school's calendars, including Ohio State, Nebraska, Harvard and St. Olaf, before making recommendations to Ohio University President Roderick McDavis this summer. McDavis will make a decision whether to make changes in the fall.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ohio University Students Take Action in RIAA Lawsuits

This past April, a third wave of pre-litagation letters were sent to Ohio University students. Students had the option of settling out of court with a $3000 payment or foregoing the payment and facing the possibility of settling in federal court. Now 15 more OU students join the list of John Doe lawsuits, bringing the total to 25. These 25 lawsuits will be decided in court.
Athens MidDay reporter Shane Kline takes a closer look at the university's response to the lawsuits.

But Ohio University is not the only school facing this problem. A list of the 22 universities and colleges that received the third wave of letters can be found on the RIAA website.

The Top 5 from the third wave are:

#1. Ohio University (50)
#2. University of Massachusetts-Amherst (32)
#3. Indiana University (28)
#4. University of Maryland System (25)
#5. Central Michigan University (24)

A group of OU Telecommunication students voice their opinions of the RIAA in a satirical parody: The RIAA:The Truth. The students produced the video in four days and published it on YouTube. The video makes fun of how the situation was handled.

But there is some good news. Bill Bible, Ohio University's chief information officer, says copyright complaint notices have decreased from five to 10 a day to almost zero now.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Students Voice Opinion in Historic Election

Athens MidDay reporter Allison Morrison on last week's Student Senate vote...

Last week's Student Senate election brought out OU students in record numbers. About 4,600 students - 23 percent of the entire student body - turned out to vote. The election boasted the largest turnout in recent history.

The record number of students elected their fellow students into Senate office, but another issue was on many voters' minds. The ballot proposed the issue of "Confidence" or "No Confidence" in President Roderick McDavis. Voters strongly voiced their opposition of McDavis with 78 percent of voters declaring "No Confidence" in McDavis. In response, McDavis issued a statement saying he was not surprised by the "No Confidence" vote. McDavis cited a decline in state support, the cutting of four sports and tuition increases as possible reasons for the negative vote.

In the Senate election, the TOGA party's top three candidates were elected into their positions. Tim Vonville was elected president, Amanda Roder vice president, and Will Wemer treasurer. With the record voter turnout, it was a decidedly close election. Vonville defeated independent candidate Will Klatt by 17 votes; Roder defeated her opponent by just 6 votes.

The rest of the elected Senate body will be a mixed party, with TOGA and Pulse candidates each winning about 50 percent of the votes, respectively. All of the new Student Senate members will assume their positions in September.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Federal Hocking postpones pay-to-play decision

The Federal Hocking school board met on Tuesday, May 15th, to make a final decision on whether athletes need to pay-to-play for this upcoming 2007-2008 academic year.

After parents raised a number of concerns at the meeting, the school board decided that they needed more time to review before making a final decision.

The reason that the school board is making a decision is because of a 1.65 million dollar deficit.

Federal Hocking superintendent, Jim Patsey tells us more about this years deficit.

Many reasons account for next year's budget deficit. The former treasurer made an inaccurate five year projection leaving many programs without adequate funding. In addition, the school district has not passed a levy in over thirty years and the schools enrollment has decreased. Passing levys and student enrollment are two key components for receiving state aid.

Athens MidDay's own Jessica Morgan has the story. Click play below to find out Federal Hocking school district's most recent decision.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Shane's Birthday Wish

Shane Bernier is a seven-year old boy from Ontario who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was five. Shane's birthday is May 30th, and his one birthday wish? To break the world record for number of birthday cards received. His goal is 350 million birthday cards, and with 14 days left, students at Ohio University joined together to help Shane acheive his goal.

Athens Midday Reporter Sheree Coleman was at the event and spoke with students and the coordinator.

If you want to send a birthday card to Shane, or if you want to help, Shane's address is:

Shane Bernier
PO Box 484
Lancaster, Ontario
K0C 1N0

Thursday, May 10, 2007

OU Student Falls Fifteen Feet on Court Street

A Greek Week celebration on North Court Street left unexpected events. One moment an OU junior was enjoying a Greek Week celebration on a balcony, the next he was plummeting towards the concrete.

An OU student who witnessed the event sent Athens Midday these photos.

Captain Tom Pyle of Athens Police says that unfortunately this is not a solo incident in Athens. In the 18 years of service, he has seen about 10 to 15 cases. Pyle says that many more cases occur each year and are not reported.

Athens Midday wants to remind all viewers to be extra careful when enjoying company on any balcony. When mixed with alcohol and large groups of people, extra safety precautions need to be taken.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Primary Election Results Are In: New Faces Fill City Council Seats in Athens

"I'm running because I think we need a change in the city," Says new Democratic Mayor Paul Wiehl Paul Wiehl.

And the citizens of Athens seem to agree, considering two incumbents have been voted out of the primary elections. This upset puts Paul Wiehl on the ballot over current Mayor Ric Abel. And Current council at large Democrat Carol Patterson was not one of the three names to be put on the ballot.

Reporters Tashira Tierney-Houze and Lindsay Allison spoke with the candidates of the primary election and have reactions. Results can be found at the Athens Board of Elections.

With the Athens County Elections all tallied, what do you think about this year's primary election? Post your comments here!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Presidential Address Expresses Urgent Need for Change

"Change is upon us. And unless we seek to control it, it will surely control us."

Ohio University President Roderick McDavis' message was clear that the state of the institution is in trouble.

During his Presidential Address, McDavis told those in attendance to be "patient" and "optimistic." McDavis says progress is being made in Columbus. Governer Strickland and Speaker Husted are working to provide more for higher education. Specifically, Ohio University could receive a 2 million dollars in subsidy this July and a 10 million the following July. But his speech featured six key objectives:

1. Improve enrollment management

2. Improve student success. A goal of increasing retention by one percent each year.

3. Streamline the transfer process.

4. Enhance our academic research, scholarship and creative activity

5. Diversify our institution

6. Take full charge of the academic plan

A key actor in these objectives is Dr. Kathy Krendl. McDavis announced Dr. Krendl will now assume the post of Executive Vice President and Provost. Basically, she is in charge of the six objectives. She will work hand in hand with McDavis and deans from regional campuses.

As expected, though, there are skeptics like Student Senate member Sam Rossi.

Some staff, like Director of Admissions Dave Garcia and Education Administrative Associate Marlene Swartz, are trying to stay optimistic.

Now that McDavis' plan is laid out, tell us what your thoughts are. Is it enough? Is it too much at once? Is President McDavis being unrealistic? Let us know! Just post your responses right below by clicking on comments.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Biotech firm graduates from Ohio University

A locally-owned biotechnology company is expanding out of Ohio University's Innovation Center. Diagnostic Hybrids Inc.(DHI) officials celebrated last Friday the company's move into the former McBee Center on State Street. DHI develops and manufactures products that are used to diagnose viral diseases and other disorders, including herpes and respiratory diseases.

DHI was founded in 1983 and has increased revenues ten-fold over the past five years and in 2004 was included on Inc. Magazine's list of the 500 fastest-growing private U.S. companies, according to the Ohio University website. This rapid growth made the move necessary for the company's 170 employees. The company's new State Street home will provide over 50,000 square feet.

The former McBee building has been vacant since Deluxe Corporation closed its doors in 2005. The closing of the McBee Systems check-printing plant left 360 Athens area workers unemployed.

Ohio University's Innovation Center, also known as a business incubator, has a mission to provide business services and resources, to foster entrepreneurship resulting in successful companies and a prosperous region.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Title Nine 35th Anniversary

Ohio University faculty and students gathered at the Baker University Center to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Title Nine. Title Nine increased the development of athletics for women, but the effect of the measure does not stop there. People who attended say that Title Nine encourages equal treatment for women in all areas, including the work force.
Stine Eckert went to the discussion yesterday. Eckert says that women have come a long way since Title Nine.

Ohio University Professor Nancy Bain, founder of the Women Studies Program, says she's been fighting for women's rights ever since she came to OU in 1971. She says she has seen a lot of progress, but more still needs to be done.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Big Plans for the Future of the Ohio University Airport

Athens MidDay reporter Sara Goldenberg says the Ohio University Airport plans for new additions

Airport Director Ken Carley explains the plans for airport expansion:

Gordon K. Bush Airport Director Ken Carley said he plans to have a small commuter airline flying into Athens within the next two years.

The airport has been working to bring in a new market for several years now. Carley said plans for a scheduled air service were in motion in 2003 after the airport was last expanded. But even an extended runway and a new terminal weren’t enough for those plans to take off.

“The infrastructure of the airport really wasn’t ready to receive the service at the time,” Carley said. But he said a small commuter airline would not require many improvements.

“We’re really in a position where we’re pretty much able to provide that service with the infrastructure that’s in place today,” he said. However, some airline-specific improvements, like additional hangars, would have to be made.

A two-part study has helped Carley identify a commuter airline as a practical market that is sustainable in the long run.

“This would be a logical airport for some of those air service providers to consider. The piece that we need to answer for them is really what is the demand,” he said.

City Council member Amy Flowers questions the demand and potential business impact of an expanded airport.

“I don’t really see much local use out of that airline considering we’re not that far away from another airline,” Flowers said. “I think it would have a minute impact on businesses.”

So who would use the airline? In the study, people living within a one-hour drive time from the airport are considered potential ticket buyers. Carley says the cost to fly would be high in the beginning and will cater to business travelers. However, it is unlikely that will last.

“Ultimately, that will trickle down, and the price point will continue to drop to the point where leisure travelers might start to use the service as well,” he said.

Eventually, the price of tickets will match the costs of flying out of Port Columbus International Airport. And Carley said the savings in time, gas money and other travel expenses will make the OU airport competitive with nearby airports.

In addition to providing more travel options for people in and around Athens, the new airline could contribute to the local economy. A 2006 study showed the airport has a $15 million output into the community and provides 160 jobs.

“We’re a pretty healthy economic engine for the community,” Carley said. He is working with the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Ohio University to find funding and grants for the plans.

“There’s a lot of synergy that could be created in terms of these public and private partnerships,” he said.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Take Back the Night Week

Take Back the Night is a movement that seeks to end domestic and sexual violence toward women, and violence in any form. The history of Take Back the Night dates back to the late 1800s. Nationally, Take Back the Night week includes rallies, speakers, and movies that seek to educate and stop violence. Rallies often include candlelight vigils, empowerment marches and survivor testimonials.

Athens MidDay reporter Kaylea Livingston was with the supporters last night as they started Take Back the Night week here at Ohio University.

In this interview, Lee Robbins talks about the events Ohio University will be holding for Take Back the Night Week.

Ohio University's Take Back the Night rally/march will take place Thursday May 3 from 7-8 at the West Portico. The event will feature speakers and entertainment followed by a march. Men are welcome to attend the event. Also, there will be a weeklong Clothesline Project displayed in Baker University Center with daily private shirt making at Hudson Health Center from 12-4:30 in the 1st floor conference room.