Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Importance of Gun Safety

Mary Davies

Created in 1988, the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program has been a learning service for more than 21 million children all across the country. The program was developed by many qualified professionals such as: clinical psychologists, reading specialists, teachers, curriculum specialists, urban housing safety officials, and law enforcement personnel.

Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly talks about the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program

Anyone can teach the program and NRA membership is not required. Athens Sheriff Pat Kelly says that parents’ working with their children is a great way to promote household safety.

Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly talks about gun safety.

The program can be incorporated into school curriculum and taught in one day or over a period of up to five days. Schools, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, daycare centers, and libraries may be eligible to receive grant funding for the program. The Athens County Sheriff’s Department received $2000 worth of materials.

The purpose of the program is not to support or reject guns, but to promote the protection and safety of children. The program does not make a judgment about firearm use and no firearms are ever used in the program. Eddie Eagle is never shown touching a firearm and does not support the use or ownership of weapons. The Eddie Eagle mascot is prohibited where guns are present, according to the program.

The program teaches gun safety in four simple steps.
“If You See A Gun”:
-Don’t Touch.
-Leave the Area.
-Tell an Adult.

Gun Safety Tips

With as many as 40% of American homes with children containing some form of gun or firearm, teaching gun safety to children is important. According to, there are many ways that parents can keep firearms safely in their households.

Always store guns appropriately and safely. Keep guns unloaded and locked up. It is also a good idea to lock guns and ammunition in separate locations. Finally, always hide keys to firearm safes, so that children cannot find them.

Real Life Stories

Teaching children gun safety can help to prevent incidents like the one in New Orleans last year. A 14-year-old boy fired a round into a 10-year-old’s hip as he played with his father’s gun. The child survived but the incident could have been prevented.

More recently, a 2-year-old child in Indianapolis shot himself while his mother was out on a date. There were two other children in the house and no adult supervision. The children said that their mother kept the gun under her mattress.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Finding the 'Soul of Athens'

by Jonny Griffith

In 2007 students of Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication and E.W. Scripps School of Journalism opened an innovative online publication called the ‘Soul of Athens.’

The initiative of the site was to find the soul of the Appalachian community through a collection of timeless stories and multimedia publications of different personalities.

In its own words, “from sustainable farmland to environmental degradation, rich cultural centers to impoverished rural villages, and folk to funk, Soul of Athens illuminates the distinct features that compose Athens’ soul.”
The students’ ability to capture these features did not go unnoticed as it was named first place for “Best Use of Web” and “Best Multimedia Package” from the Independent Division by the National Press Photographers Association. The online publication also finished runner up for “Documentary Video” and “Feature Video” of the Independent Division.

After finding many aspects of Athens’ soul, a year later the journalists of the online publication sought out to find the pursuit of wellness of Athens County in 2008. Through the four holistic areas of mind, body, spirit and place, “Athenians are celebrated for their unique devotion to the pursuits of achievement and self-fulfillment, making them the perfect subjects for framing the exploration of the mind.”

For its pursuit in finding wellness in the county, the site was awarded third place for “News or Feature Multimedia Package” by the National Press Photographers Association, along with an “Award of Excellence” by the Pictures of the Year International.
This year the ‘Soul of Athens’ went back to its roots in an effort to once again find the soul of the Athens community. Its 2009 edition was an effort to reveal the spirit of the community through photography, video, audio, text and interactive graphics. With 42 new stories revealing different aspects of Athens’ soul, content creator and graphic artist Rachel Custer says the stories allow for students to look outside of their lives in the Athens campus community.

Rachel Custer, Content Contributor, graphics
Students who work for the online publication receive class credit for their work, but content creator and writer Jaclyn Lipp says her work for the site goes far beyond the hours in the classroom. In her first year working for the publication, Lipp wrote an article called “The Big Green” about environmental efforts. She says the many forms of media that are used to capture different stories in the ‘Soul of Athens’ is what makes the publication unique.

Jaclyn Liff, Content Contributor, writer

To check out the online publication click here

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Scholarships for Future Appalachian Teachers

by Malcolm Morgan

The "Choose Appalachian Teaching" (CAT) and the Robert Noyce Scholarship Programs are both aimed at keeping talented Math and Science teachers in the region. Both of these scholarships are aimed at responding to the shortage of math and science teachers in rural Appalachia.

The Noyce Scholarship offers students:
- Loan/scholarships up to $17,000 per year
- Juniors, seniors, or graduate students (in fifth year programs) can receive up to two (2) years of loan/scholarship support.
- If an individual teaches in an approved high-needs school the loan (principal and interest) is converted to a scholarship. Service provided in an Appalachian or rural school is preferred.

The scholarship is not just offered at Ohio University but also at Shawnee State University and the University of Rio Grande. It also requires two years of teaching service in a qualified school for each year of financial support. Director of the Southeast Ohio Center for Exellence in Mathematics and Science, Al Cote, explains why it is important to retain teachers from Appalachia.

Al Cote Talks about importance of retaining teachers

The Choose Appalachian Teaching Scholarship is another scholarship program geared toward Appalachia. This scholarship is supposed to create 75 additional high school Mathematics and Science teachers in Southeast, Ohio. The program will provide $4,000 per year at OU's Athens campus. The scholarship will also be available to students at Marietta College, Muskingum College, Shawnee State University and the University of Rio Grande. Applicants at OU's five regional campuses are also eligible for a $2,000 per year award.

The CAT scholarship is also unlike any other traditional scholarship programs because it is a seven-year commitment. After graduating, CAT scholars will engage in a three-year professional induction program in one of many Appalachian Ohio counties, including Athens. The teachers will receive additional mentoring from university faculty during this time. The scholarship will also work to create a network with teachers of the same subject. CAT Director Greg Foley says that this is an important part of the program especially for new teachers.

Greg Foley talks about teaching network

Cote says many people are not attracted to rural Appalachia because of how isolated and spread out it is. This makes it hard to attract young teachers to stay in rural areas. But Cote says that the incentives from these programs as well as the tightly knit community should be a draw for people to come to Appalachia.

Cote talks about Appalachian Community

The CAT scholarship is set up to award 34 scholarships and hopes to add more in the future.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Potential Highway Speed Increase

by Matt Cramer

Ohio may increase the speed limit on its highways from 65 to 70 miles an hour to have a maximum speed limit that is consistent with neighboring states. Currently, Kentucky, West Virginia, Michigan and Indiana all have maximum speed limits of 70 miles an hour on some stretches of rural interstate highway.

The proposed legislation was presented by state representatives Timothy J. DeGeeter and Dan Dodd to the Ohio House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. DeGeeter and Dodd say that Ohio needs to get in line with 32 other states that already have maximum speed limits over 65 miles per hour. However, this bill does not have support across the board. Robert F. Hagan, a representative from Youngstown says he is concerned about the environmental effects of increasing the speed of vehicles on the highway. "I don't care what anyone says -- if you're increasing the speed, you're consuming more fuel and that's increasing the carbon footprint, which is a contributing factor to the climate change we're experiencing right now."

Ohio University senior Emmanuel Bakarema says he doesn't like the idea of increasing the speed limit across the board. He says that if there is an increase in the speed limit, there should be increases only in certain safe stretches of highway.

OU Senior Emmanuel Bakarema

Another concern, expressed by OU senior Jordan Whitehouse is the issue of drivers going faster than speed limit regardless of an increase in the posted speed.

OU Senior Jordan Whitehouse