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Electronic scooters may be coming to Athens....PG 10 Interfaith Peace Walk and 9/11 Stair Challenge....PG 12-13 Battle of the Bell.…PG 17 THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2019

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hroughout the past week, it seems like a lot has been happening around Ohio University’s campus. In the early morning hours last Wednesday, students’ emails and text messages alerted them of armed robberies on two opposite sides of campus. At that time, most students were probably asleep in their dorms or off-campus housing. Some students, however, had to make the walk home from a late night study session or a night out in Uptown. Students have also been seeing reports to the Ohio University Police Department and the Athens Police Department of sexual assaults that have occurred on campus and in Athens. Since the start of the semester, there have been six reports overall to OUPD and APD. Over the past weekend, OUPD notified students about the death of a student in WIlson Hall. Police do not believe there was a threat to students, and the investigation is still ongoing. Those incidents occurring over the first few weeks of school is enough to raise concern among students. A common response from students is that the messages sent to them contain little in-


formation. Local police, however, have little initial information or can’t share information due to the integrity of an investigation. It doesn’t stop students from asking questions or having concerns of their own safety on campus. Our job as a student newspaper is to inform the people, especially students, about what is happening at the university and in the city. This we do to the best of our abilities. It is also the job of OU students to take care of each other. Since it’s still only the first month of school, students are just starting to be settled into semester routines. Syllabus week is long over, and assignments and exams due dates are closer than they seemed in that first week. Everyone eventually will be stuck in a routine that is hard to break from and affects people in different ways. Some people like having the same daily structure planned out. Other people like to change things up outside of classes. Whatever your routine, it’s important to take time to pause and take a break. It’s OK to be selfish every once in a while and take care of yourself. Although it always



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seems like there is something to be doing, say ‘no’ to plans, save homework for the next day to exercise, do a hobby or just binge-watch television shows. When it comes to mental health, you are your first priority. However, be sure to check in on your friends when you can, whether it is asking if they made it home OK or having a conversation about a tough topic. Talk to each other about what’s happening around campus, but don’t just have it be to spread rumors about what happened. Have conversations about your feelings to these incidents and what you can do to support each other. Sometimes, the answers people give may surprise you. Ellen Wagner is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University and the editor-in-chief of The Post. Have questions? Email Ellen at or tweet her @ewagner19. Correction: An article from the Sept. 5 issue with the headline “Back Together” misstated the name of the photographer, who is Anthony Warner.

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Vigil held outside Wilson Hall for deceased student NOLAN SIMMONS NEWS EDITOR


candlelight vigil was held Monday afternoon to mourn an Ohio University student who died over the weekend in Wilson Hall. About 50 people gathered in front of Wilson Hall to mourn Jordyn Airy, an undecided freshman from Dublin, Ohio, who died in her dorm room last Saturday. Friends and other residents of Wilson Hall sat around a display of photos of Airy surrounded with flowers, candles and signs filled with encouraging messages from mourners. The organizers, close friends of Airy, also played some of her favorite songs from a speaker. A representative from 4 Paws for Ability, a non-profit organization run out of Dayton, was in attendance with a service dog to comfort students. A member of Housing and Residence Life was also in attendance. The university is also offering support to students and staff, Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones said in a statement. “My heart goes out to Jordyn’s family and friends,” Hall-Jones said in a statement. “Losing a loved one is extremely difficult, and it can be even more trying while away

from home, family and support networks. We will continue to provide care to those impacted within the Bobcat community as we navigate these difficult circumstances.” Samantha Wilson, a freshman studying environmental geology and a Wilson Hall resident, said she didn’t know Airy personally but came to the vigil to pay her respects. Wilson lives four doors down from Airy and said she was shocked when she heard about her death. “I was confused that night, so I went to ask my (resident assistant) but thought, ‘I’ll ask later,’” Wilson said. “I realized my roommate told me just to not mention her name or anything … I was shaken. I think I was still shaken yesterday. I’m a little shaken now.” The Ohio University Police Department is continuing to investigate her death. OUPD does not have any reason to suspect foul play, Carly Leatherwood, a university spokesperson, said in an email. OUPD also does not believe this incident represents an ongoing threat to campus. Funeral services will be held for Airy in Columbus this Saturday.


Two students kneel beside a memorial on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, in honor of a student who died at Ohio University. (JESSE JARROLD-GRAPES / FOR THE POST)

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The Democratic Party’s undemocratic debate qualifications

H MATTHEW GEIGER is a freshman studying economics at Ohio University.

awaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s anti-war tirades and spiritual advisor Marianne Williamson’s magical monologues will both be noticeably absent at the Sept. 12 Democratic Debate in Houston. The reason? Polling. The qualifications for the third and fourth democratic debates held by the Democratic National Committee are much more stringent than those held over the summer. To qualify for the past two debates, candidates needed to either register at 1% in three qualifying polls or raise money from 65,000 individual donors. For the upcoming debates in Houston and Ohio, however, presidential hopefuls must secure both 130,000 individual donors and 2% in four qualifying polls. Notice the word “qualifying.” The DNC hand-picks which pollsters qualify toward debate inclusion and which do not. This has led to notable pollsters rated B or higher on FiveThirtyEight, such as Emerson College and YouGov, to be left out of the qualification conversation. There are only 16 approved pollsters that may hold polls that count toward debate qualification. That small group has only produced four qualifying polls since the second debate in July, down from the 14 that were released fol-

lowing the first debate in June. If the group of qualified pollsters were expanded to all organizations and firms with a Bor better on FiveThirtyEight, then an additional two candidates, Gabbard and billionaire Tom Steyer, would have made the cut. Numerous lower polling candidates have scrutinized the DNC for the lack of consistency and logic in its parameters for debate qualification, namely, Gabbard, Williamson, Steyer, and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. “To date, the DNC has not provided information on how or why its unprecedented debate qualification requirements were set nor what the criteria will be for the eight future debates,” Craig Hughes, advisor to the Bennet campaign, said. The DNC’s response? That the criticisms of its qualification parameters are “not rooted in anything.” Unfortunately for the DNC, the problems with its qualifications for inclusion are rooted deeply in basic political science. In a recent podcast, Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, and journalist Jay DeDapper expressed concerns about the polling qualifications as well. Citing a recent qualifying Monmouth poll, the

pair explained how its wide margin of error and small number of voters polled could lead to discrepancies large enough to jeopardize lower-tier candidates. The DNC has not established, unlike FiveThirtyEight, a clear guide to what makes a poll trustworthy. They have instead selected an arbitrary list of 16 pollsters to have near-complete control on that early fate of the Democratic Presidential Primary. The DNC has ignored legitimate concerns from candidates and experts and has instead chosen to continue down the path of artificially winnowing the primary field. Such decisions and actions prompt serious questions about where the DNC’s motives lie with regards to the presidential primary, especially after how it handled the 2016 nomination process. A democratic Democratic Party is the key to ensuring that America ends up with a competent challenger to Donald Trump in 2020.

Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Matthew? Tweet him @Mattg444.


I KRISTIN TATE is a senior studying political science prelaw and sociologycriminology at Ohio University.

4 / SEPT. 12, 2019

A legal analysis of the Johnson & Johnson lawsuits

n late August, an Oklahoma Judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for its part in the devastating opioid crisis. TIME Magazine called this lawsuit a “historic ruling” because it’s the first time an opioid manufacturer was deemed responsible for the epidemic in a court of law. Along with Oklahoma, many states and cities are pursuing lawsuits against the company, including the state of Ohio. Ohio has been particularly devastated by the effects of the epidemic. Dave Yost, Republican Attorney General of Ohio, recently asked a federal appeals court to postpone the lawsuit brought by Cuyahoga and Summit counties. That has been criticized by the counties and Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

The trial, set in October, is the last chance for the state to gain control over Yost’s actions. Yost claims to have precedent on his side, citing the risk of these individual suits having damaging effects for the rest of the state if they are shot down in court. Those Ohio counties know the risk that they are taking. But they know what is better for locals than the state. Peter Meyers, a professor emeritus of law at George Washington University, said the Ohio lawsuit is similar to Big Tobacco lawsuits of the 1990s. Those lawsuits ended with the five largest tobacco companies paying $9 billion to state governments every year.

State governments bringing the suit instead of counties means there is a chance none of the money will go to those affected, as with the tobacco cases. Only a fraction of the payout from those cases is appropriated for tobacco prevention causes. Although there are some risks associated with cities bringing their own suits, Yost should let them because there is no guarantee the state will use the money, if any is won, to help those affected by the opioid epidemic. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Kristin? Tweet her @knt_twenty16.

Cheap clothing finds in Athens Here’s your guide to the best deals in town KERI JOHNSON STAFF WRITER


ptown Athens is not ideal for shopping — let alone thrift shopping. To find great deals, one might have to venture off Court Street. Here are some options for Athens-style thrifting: 10 WEST CLOTHING CO. 10 West, 10 W. Union St, offers cheap options for thrifted clothing. The store also offers gently-used name branded items for a much cheaper price, and its clothing often sports Athens or school pride. Look through its sidewalk sale rack for deals less than $5. NEW-TO-YOU THRIFT SHOPPE New-To-You Thrift Shoppe, 90 Columbus Road, is a thrift store that serves every need. New-To-You offers clothing for men, women and children, along with furniture, jewelry, vinyl records and much more. NewTo-You is also a non-profit organization owned by the Athens County Foster Parent Association. REUSE THRIFT STORE Part of the non-profit ReUse Industries, ReUse Thrift Store, 751 W. Union St., offers a variety of items. With garments for prices under a dollar, ReUse Thrift Store houses an excellent and affordable collection of second-hand workwear, casual and dress clothing. ReUse Thrift is also unique in that it often carries donated preowned craft supplies, such as paint and yarn.

ReUse Thrift also has furniture, household products and other items. GOODWILL Though part of a chain, the Athens Goodwill, 175 Columbus Road, is a solid choice when thrift-shopping. Goodwill carries a variety of items that are well-organized and constantly changing. Clothing is plentiful and inexpensive, cheap furniture readily available and houseware is easy to find. The Athens Goodwill has a rewards program and tracks points by use of debit card. It also has daily tag discounts as well as 50% off all items on the first Tuesday of every month, excluding new items and furniture. These stores are just some of the cheap, simple options nearby. One can look in most antique stores and find deals on items like jewelry and clothing, as well or in discount stores such as Label Shopper and Gordmans on East State Street. Though thrifting may be trendy, and some may want the “thrifted” look, it is also a way to be fashionable on a budget, which most college students can readily relate to.



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Richland Avenue construction to begin in 2020 TAYLOR BURNETTE FOR THE POST The Richland Avenue Pedestrian Passageway project is expected to begin construction in March 2020 after numerous delays. Previously, the project was delayed due to lost bids and constrained construction times, according to a previous Post report. Bids were also lost because of the short time frame given by the university for the project. “We had to go back to the drawing board and gauge with Ohio University to see if we could expand that timeline,” Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said. “And Ohio University felt, for a project of this magnitude to release the project, they were comfortable with March 1 being the start date.” The original time frame of beginning construction after graduation and completing it by move-in day proved to be a concern for construction companies, Patterson said. An alternate time frame of March 1 through September 11 was proposed, and the project was put up for bid once more, this time receiving an offer. The Ohio Department of Transportation also approved the project, Patterson said. “The university came forward with a little bit more money, and we did too,” said Councilman Peter Kotses, D-At Large. “We kind of met everybody halfway.” Due to the large nature of the project and its impact on campus safety, OU was willing to extend the project start date and deadlines. The project was then put up with its new time frame and received a bid within both the city

and OU’s budget. The Richland Avenue Pedestrian Passageway will connect West Green to the walkway towards Baker Center, according to a previous Post report. The cost is estimated at $3.6 million with contributions from both the city of Athens and the university. The passageway is being constructed for the safety of pedestrians crossing the intersection and to reduce the large traffic back-ups that happen during rush hours. Although there is a consensus among City Council members about the importance of pedestrian safety, not everybody approves of the budget for the project. Pat McGee, I-At Large, has previously voiced concerns about spending and the lack of research into the street’s safety and is still opposed to the project. The university is asking a city with a $1.5 million debt to build something to improve the university, but it isn’t paying its fair share, McGee said. McGee has previously offered up the alternative of having a crossing guard during the crosswalk’s busiest hours. He estimates having a crossing guard for five days out of the week for eight months. The guard would need to be there for six hours out of the day. McGee cites a crossing guard would be cheaper than the $3 million to be spent on the project. He has also voiced concern over how many people actually use the crosswalk. Richland Avenue serves as a connection from the south side to the rest of town, Kotses said. He also mentioned that it is one of the easiest ways to get up town without going all the way through campus.

“Right now, it’s getting challenged every hour on the hour by pedestrians that are doing what they’re allowed to do,” Kotses said. “I think this is a win-win for everyone.” Many students deal with the frustrations of congestion with the crosswalk daily. “I just feel like it’s kind of hard for cars to get through,” said Taylor Miller, a freshman studying computer science. “Especially in-between classes. There’s a 20-minute period where it’s basically backed up all the way to the bridge.” For others, the use of their tuition is an even greater concern. “I don’t know. I think it works the way it is. Most people stop,” Jade Dutiel, an undecided freshman, said. “I don’t think it’s necessary.” Dutiel believes the money for the project could instead go to providing two-ply toilet paper in campus bathrooms. Miller also expressed that the cost is large, but he pays $25,000 a year to attend the university, so the money isn’t that large of an amount for OU to pay. Over the course of three years, other options were proposed, Patterson said. There were issues finding solutions that were both affordable and practical. Another option that was frequently brought up, but ultimately decided against, was an underground tunnel. The experience of going into a dark tunnel, then exiting again into daylight, would not be the greatest experience, Kotses said. The design would not capture the maximum number of people using the tunnel.

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City Council considers using The Ridges as location for new affordable housing JAMIE CLARKSON FOR THE POST


ity Council heard recommendations over the summer for locations suitable for affordable housing developments within city limits, including The Ridges. Councilwoman Sarah Grace, D-At Large, spoke on behalf of the affordable housing commission at a City Council meeting in late August. As a member of the commission, Grace provided the group’s recommendations to the city concerning affordable housing for non-students and provided The Ridges as a potential site for development. The hope for the project is that an increase in affordable housing will lead to an increase in businesses and people moving to Athens, Grace said in an email. The Athens County Economic Development Council has said that a lack of affordable housing has been a barrier to attracting new businesses to the area, she said. “There are current citizens who are renters, empty-nesters, retirees and others who would like the opportunity to purchase an affordable home within the city limits,” Grace said in an email. “Personally, I think the history and beauty of the location make it an interesting place to consider living.” Shawna Bolin, a commission member and an associate vice president of university planning and space, also said

that the commission was considering the renovation of the existing buildings at The Ridges for affordable housing. The commission is considering new development on property south of Dairy Lane as well. Bolin co-authored a 2015 report that mapped out similar ideas about repurposing The Ridges that the commission is using as a framework. The report drew inspiration from the Grand Traverse Commons, a former Michigan hospital that was renovated into a shopping center and housing complex in the early 2000s. She said seeing a renovation like this done before proves that The Ridges has the potential to be reimagined for cheaper housing. Paul Logue, a city planner and an affordable housing commission member, agreed with Bolin that the facilities have existing resources that satisfy the needs of the community. Logue said that the commission used certain criteria for selecting locations for potential development, including access to utilities and roadways. The Ridges was also a standout because of its proximity to town and campus. The members of the affordable housing commission used similar criteria to narrow down other optimal properties for potential developers, including various university-owned and city-owned properties, Grace said. Grace said in her August presentation that in order to attract developers for the project, the city should offer certain incentives for creating affordable housing on




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those properties. The incentives could include things like zoning modifications, tax incentives and expedited permitting, she said. In order to benefit from these incentives, developers would have to satisfy certain requirements set by the city, including criteria for price, percentage of units with universal design and sustainability, Grace said. Logue said Athens residents will not pay any extra tax money to fund the developments. The plans implement a strategy called tax increment financing, or TIF, and the city of Athens will fund the project through the property tax revenue that the project will bring in once completed. So far, there are no definite plans for development for affordable housing at The Ridges, but Logue said he hopes work will begin by 2020. The university is currently renovating Buildings 13, 14 and 18 at The Ridges to prepare them for new occupants, including the Ohio University Police Department. Logue said that in his opinion, The Ridges should be renovated and preserved for its historical significance alone. City Councilwoman Chris Fahl, D-Fourth Ward, agreed. “I mean, it’s a beautiful place. Why wouldn’t anybody want to live there?” Fahl said. “You know, you can rent it out as spooky places.”

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OUPD receives rape report; census committee looks to improve response rates ABBY MILLER NEWS EDITOR OUPD RECEIVES RAPE REPORT The Ohio University Police Department received its first rape report Saturday morning. A woman reported that she had been raped in Shively Hall on Friday night. The incident occurred at 11:30 p.m. The report was taken at 1:20 a.m. Saturday. The incident happened in a dorm room, but the exact room is unknown. The victim was hit on her head during the incident, and she had minor physical injuries, according to an OUPD report. The case is currently under investigation, and a suspect was described by the victim. The suspect is a man about 5 feet, 10 inches tall, has brown hair and square-shaped glasses. He was also described as having a deep voice and bushy eyebrows. If anyone has information pertaining to the case, they are encouraged to contact OUPD. CITY PREPARES FOR 2020 CENSUS Athens created a Complete Count Committee, or CCC, in the hopes of improving its response rates for the upcoming 2020 census. Athens had a census response rate of about 71% in 2010. This put Athens 8% below the 2010 national aver-

age of 79%. Parts of uptown Athens had an even lower response rate of 31%. Chris Chmiel, a county commissioner and chair of the CCC, attributes the low response rate in uptown to the number of students living off campus. Many students don’t know that they need to respond to the census using their Athens address rather than their parent or guardians. Any person who spends more than 50% of their time in Athens should fill out the census for Athens, Chmiel said. The CCC’s goal is not just to increase response rates for students. The committee also hopes to better count the number of homeless people, children under 4 and those at or below the poverty line. Chmiel hopes OU will send out a reminder or encourage students to fill out the census when it is put out. Chmiel and the rest of the CCC also want to involve new technology, such as geotagging, to remind people to respond to the census. APD RECEIVES SECOND RAPE REPORT The Athens Police Department received a rape report Monday that occured on the south side of the city. The incident took place on Friday and was reported by a 20-year-old woman Monday, according to an APD report. The suspect of the investigation is known, but no more information is being released at this time. This is the second rape report that APD has received this school year. It has received three total re-

ports of sexual assault. OU LOOKS FOR NEW GENERAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM OU’s Faculty Senate met for the first time Monday and discussed a plan to reimagine the purpose and structure of general education classes at the university. Faculty Senate’s Gen Ed committee said the committee concluded the way general education classes tie back to students’ majors is unclear. The classes’ purpose is also unclear to employers. After drawing those conclusions, Gen Ed Committee Chair Katie Hartman said the university needs to change the structure of general education in order to better meet learning objectives. The Gen Ed committee was formed last summer as a leadership task force to approach the topic of general education. The committee spent a week in Vermont at the Association of American Colleges and Universities Institute for General Education and Assessment. The committee also frequently met over the summer to plan how to change general education. Hartman and the committee are asking for new general education models to be proposed in October. The last time OU’s general education was updated was 40 years ago.



Man exercises with chunk of concrete; stamp collection stolen IAN MCKENZIE ASST. NEWS EDITOR SLEEPING ROUGH A 19-year-old man was found unconscious underneath a bench at the bottom of Morton Hill. He was arrested for disorderly conduct and was transported to the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail. DON’T FALL IN Resident assistants at Sargent Hall called OUPD to report an intoxicated man Saturday in the third-floor restroom. A 17-year-old man was found sitting on the toilet with bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and vomit on his clothes. He was arrested and transported to the hospital. TAILGATE PARTY OUPD found an 18-year-old man hanging off the tailgate of a truck. He had slurred speech, was unsteady on his feet and could not say where he lived. He was arrested for underage consumption and was transported to the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail.

BETTER WRANGLE THEM UP Deputies responded to Connett Road in Nelsonville for a report of loose cattle. Deputies patrolled the area and were unsuccessful in locating the cattle. Deputies returned to patrol. DUDE, WHERE’S MY COUCH? The Athens County Sheriff’s Office responded to a property dispute where the caller said they recently moved into their house but a former tenant showed up and demanded their couch be returned. The current occupant said they didn’t have that couch, and they should talk to the landlord, but the previous tenant started shouting obscenities before leaving. Officers documented the incident in case the previous tenant returned. SNAIL MAIL Deputies responded to a burglary report in which the caller reported that a small amount of cash and a stamp collection had been stolen. He believed whoever did it used a spare key because there were no signs of forced entry. The owner was advised to talk with the landlord about replacing locks.

URBAN EXPLORER Deputies responded to a suspicious person report on State Route 550 for a man who was inside an abandoned building. Deputies contacted the suspect, who said he was out exploring. Deputies told the suspect not to enter buildings that don’t belong to him. The complainant did not press charges. SKIPPING WORK Deputies were dispatched for a well-being check after receiving a call from a business because one of its employees had not been to work in two days, and they couldn’t reach her by phone. The employee said she had been sick and will call her employer. AN ODD WORKOUT Deputies were dispatched to The Plains in regards to a suspicious male near the post office. A man was found carrying a backpack with a large chunk of concrete in it. He said he was carrying it for exercise purposes.


E-scooters may be coming to OU MADDIE BUSSERT FOR THE POST City Council recently passed an ordinance that would allow electric bikes and scooters on campus, but their arrival time is still unknown. Electric transportation has become an increasingly popular trend in Ohio. In many cases, e-scooter companies have shown up unexpectedly, taking these big cities by surprise and leaving legislators scrambling to find ways to regulate them. “We were preemptive in passing legislation before these companies showed up,” Councilman Peter Kotses, D-At Large, said. “We heard enough stories about cities that just kind of received them in the middle of the night and then had massive issues … so what we wanted to do was kind of set some rules to get ahead for when these systems are put in place.” One benefit of having the electric transportation on campus is the possibility to collect data from rides, Kotses said. Each time the scooters are used, data are collected showing their exact route. That data would allow officials to pinpoint where the majority of rides are going to see if there are any specific areas in which the current transportation system is lacking. The scooters would provide an alternative to the inaccessible transportation or allow changes to be made to better the current system. Other data collected by the scooters would show a breakdown of users by gender and age; the number of small vehicles in circulation at any given time; daily, weekly and monthly active users; and small vehicle usage, including total user miles and the number and duration of rides per user each day, according to the ordinance. Many students are excited about the arrival of electric scooters while others don’t find them necessary. “I think bringing e-scooters is a really good idea,” Ashlynn McKee, a freshman studying photojournalism, said. “All progressive cities have them nowadays, so I think it could potentially be a really good thing for Athens.” While some students are in agreement that they would try using the scooters at least once, they don’t think that it would become a part of their daily commute to class. Some students voiced their concerns about the money aspect of using the scooters and whether it was worth using them during the short commute to class. Most rental scooter companies charge a set amount of money per minute of usage, and that could add up for someone using them daily. 10 / SEPT. 12, 2019

“I would really only use them for my farthest classes,’’ Chloe Oleyar, a freshman studying sociology-criminology, said. “I’m already in debt, and I wouldn’t want to spend my money on that every day.” The limited availability of space on campus is also a big concern for people hearing about the possibility of electric scooters. “I think it’s a really fun idea, but with the amount of traffic you see in Athens — cars and people walking to class — it would get insane and really crowded,” Mia Lewis, a sophomore studying biological sciences, said. Aside from concerns about the amount of space the electric scooters would take up, Lewis also pointed out that everything on campus is within walking distance. “In my opinion, it’s really not necessary to take an electric scooter or bike to class because of how small the campus is. Everything is within walking distance.” “I see people getting to class on their own electric scooters all the time, anyway,” Lewis said. Kotses confirmed that at least four or five companies have actually been to Athens so far, looking into the city and discussing what sets their own electric rental company above the others. “There was some question of whether the technology would be able to work around here, mostly because of our brick streets and also because of our hills in Athens. Hills could run out the battery life of these things much quicker,” Kotses said. “I don’t know where these companies are now that the legislation has gone through or if they’re still coming. I haven’t heard anything since that initial reach out.”



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Schoonover Center 145 Co-sponosred by the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and the Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention

Interfaith Peace Walk The peace walk is a way to bring every religion and person together to remember 9/11 and hold a space for emotions surrounding the tragedy.

THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE: People walking down Court Street in the Interfaith Peace Walk on Sept. 11, 2019. (RYAN GRZYBOWSKI | FOR THE POST) Debra Spangler and others in the Athens Justice Choir sing on Court Street during the Interfaith Peace Walk on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. (LAURA BILSON | FOR THE POST) Ohio University President Duane Nellis speaks before the 2019 Interfaith Peace Walk on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. (ANTHONY WARNER | FOR THE POST)

12 / SEPT. 12, 2019

9/ 11 Stair Challenge The OU Army ROTC Bobcat Battalion hosted the 5th Annual Stair Challenge to honor lives lost and heroism displayed during the events of 9/11. The event symbolized the 2,071 steps in the World Trade Center.

THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE: Mike Philibin of the Athens Fire Department carries an American flag during the 5th Annual Stair Challenge at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio. (BLAKE NISSEN | FOR THE POST). ROTC members participating in the moment of silence commemorating the fallen first responders at Ground Zero. (JESSE JARROLD-GRAPES | FOR THE POST) Ohio University students and Athens residents participate in the 5th Annual Stair Challenge at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio. (BLAKE NISSEN | FOR THE POST).


A Walk to Remember


Every year on Sept. 11, the world is plagued with thoughts of the tragic events from that date in 2001. Since the events of 9/11, numerous steps have been taken in national security, but America as a whole was severely affected by the incidents of the day. Ceremonies, museums and social media posts have all been employed to help people remember 9/11, but Athens chooses to remember in a different way. Every year, the United Campus Ministry at Ohio University sponsors the Interfaith Peace Walk, an event to bring together every religion and every person to remember 9/11. The ninth Interfaith Peace Walk was co-sponsored by numerous OU and Athens area groups, but the event always begins at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. Rev. Deborah Woolsey, rector of the church, believes the Interfaith Peace Walk is a great way to bring the area together to remember as a unit. “As I looked at my social media all day long, everyone is saying ‘Don’t forget,’ but that’s kind of a negative way of saying it,” Woolsey said. “Often what they’re saying is ‘Don’t forget the suffering.’ And I don’t want to negate the suffering, but, also, it makes me reflect on what I was thinking about that day and before it happened and really remembering how the world changed. So, for me, I knew at that moment the world was going to change. So it isn’t for me so much about “not forgetting,” but it’s about ‘how are we going to move forward?’” Following the events of 9/11, all the pastors, priests and ministers in Athens were called in to help deal with the emotions and feelings going through the area. The feeling of togetherness and the need to do something lingered for a while, so they all decided to plan something more formal to not just remember the event but to help people move forward. Woolsey expressed the idea that, because the events were carried out by such an extremist religious terrorist, harm was felt deeply through all religious bodies. Religion is about peace, so it was especially distressing due to being carried out by a religious extremist, Woolsey said. To further prove their peace and unity initiative, the walk is a way to have a strong presence in the Athens area. The walk succeeds in this, with over 50 people attending this year, including OU students and Athens residents. Debra Spangler, a member of the Athens Justice Choir, has been an Athens resident for 11 years, has attended the walk for four years and has sung with her choir in the walk for two years. “I think it’s really hard to make any sense of the actual event, and to me, the way to counter that feeling of confusion and desperation and all of those really horrible feelings is to come together with people who care about it and are willing to hold space for all of those feelings that come up,” Spangler said. Spangler also believes events like this are important because they actually mean something more than just a simple post online. “I love that it’s interfaith; that feels really important to me,” Spangler said. “And I think it’s important to be visible in that support, especially in these days, and to not just be 14 / SEPT. 12, 2019

Jassar Bnfaja listens to speeches and hymns given at the Islamic Student Center at the end of the Interfaith Peace Walk on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. (NATE SWANSON | PHOTO EDITOR)

on Facebook and giving lip service to something. I think it’s important to actually be in person with it.” The participants in the walk travel the same route every year. Starting at the Episcopal church, they travel through College Green past First United Methodist Church, Athens First Presbyterian Church, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Hillel at OU, St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Christ Lutheran Church, Christ the King University Parish and culminate at the Islamic Center with a candlelight vigil. The walk is a part of OU’s Better Together campaign, which is a long effort to get college students from different faith backgrounds to engage in service projects and social justice together to make OU and Athens a better place. Sarah Daniels, a senior studying communication sciences and disorders, has been interning with United

Campus Ministry for two years and believes the walk is really special. “It’s really moving. It’s more than just a walk: it means something,” Daniels said. “It’s a good way to remember such an important event that happened that shaped a lot of people’s lives.” More than anything, Woolsey always feels immense joy when people come and not only support the walk but form connections and remember this important day in history. “It always brings me joy, and it is an eternal sign of hope,” Woolsey said. “I believe in the innate goodness of every person, so when I see people come, no matter how many there are, I definitely feel that, and it can rekindle me when I’m feeling down or discouraged.”


BAND BREAKS BARRIERS RILEY RUNNELLS ASST. CULTURE EDITOR The Marching 110 is geared up and ready for its 52nd year, which some say will go down in history. With a new field commander, a big trip planned and dynamic shows to spare, the band has lots of excitement on the way. Last year, the band announced its May 2020 trip to Japan. The band will spend 10 days exploring, performing and learning about the culture. Ricky Reinzan, a junior studying integrated media, plays the snare drum in the 110 and is beyond excited for the trip. He is more excited, however, to share the band’s music with the people in Japan. “The idea of going somewhere as far away as Japan, which is completely on the opposite side of the world, is a lot of pressure, but I’ve always had fun going anywhere with the band,” Reinzan said. Though the band members have known about the trip for over a year now, it’s hard

to contain their excitement as the date of the trip gets closer. The 110 partnered with the Ohio University Office of Global Opportunities and a few universities in Japan to pull the trip off. The point is not only to perform and show people in Japan what OU’s band has to offer but also to bridge some international connections for the future. The band has previously taken two international trips to Dublin, Ireland, and Rome in 2015, and Paris in 2016. When discussing its many options for the trip in 2020, the band knew it wanted to get out of the European bubble and try something completely new and out of its comfort zone. Nathan Christian, a senior studying healthcare administration and services, plays the snare drum in the 110 and is looking forward to leaving the country for the first time to go to Japan. “It’s scary and exciting at the same time because you’re going to a country where nobody really speaks English or anything, so I’m very excited to be there and show a country who’s probably never seen the 110 before what we’re about and represent Ohio University as well,” Christian said. Though the band makes many trips to different parts of America, the international trips are a lot fewer and far between, so students are looking forward to the opportunity to have personal growth with knowledge of other cultures and travel in general. With the Japan announcement last year,

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it was also announced that assistant director Josh Boyer would be leaving OU for a year to get his doctorate at the University of Missouri. Boyer said how grateful he was to have the opportunity to get his doctorate, which had been a goal of his for a long time, and also be able to return to OU and the band when he’s finished, according to a previous Post report. Boyer’s absence called for an interim assistant director, and Emily Talley answered that call. Reinzan noted that with a year full of big changes and a lot of events, Talley has been great for the band. “She’s tried to introduce a lot of new concepts to us as far as team building and rehearsing different, and I think that’s been really good for us,” Reinzan said. Perhaps the biggest change for the band is the implementation of a new field commander, Sophia Medvid, who is the first female field commander in the more than 50 years, since the band has been around. Medvid is a senior studying astrophysics, and though the directors have said it’s never been a gender issue because women have been highly considered for the position in the past, this is the first time the right woman has been up to the task of such intense leadership and a great challenge. Students are hugely in favor of Medvid’s leadership and are supporting her through all of it. More than anything, students believe with all of the changes and steps outside of

their comfort zones this year, the band will be at its best yet. Josh Nihiser, a junior studying integrated media, plays the snare drum in the band that he’s admired and followed since he was in the fifth grade, and he believes without a doubt this year is going down in history. “I’m super excited because this is the biggest year in the history of the band,” Nihiser said. “We had the big 50th anniversary two years ago, which was obviously a big deal, but this year not only have we broken huge barriers having a female field commander, but we’re also announcing the biggest trip the band has ever gone on.” Nihiser also noted that fans of the band are in for a huge year with its spectacular shows and that everyone should attend the home football game on Saturday, Sept. 21, to listen to music that will surprise everyone. Because of the new changes and the history the band is making this year, students are prouder than ever to be a part of the most exciting band in the land. “It’s definitely a dream come true,” Christian said. “I first saw the 110 my junior year of high school, and right there and then, as soon as I saw them, I knew what I wanted to do. Once I saw the band I changed my mind about what school I wanted to go to and what band I wanted to be in. It was breathtaking to see them perform.”



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OU professors humanize opioid epidemic in book KERI JOHNSON STAFF WRITER Ohio University professors Berkeley Franz, an assistant professor of community-based health, and Daniel Skinner, an associate professor of health policy at the OU Dublin Campus, published their book Not Far From Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio this past summer. Not Far From Me is a collection of 50 accounts — in the styles of interviews, poems and photographs — from real-life, every-day people who have been affected by opioids at some point in their lives. All content is from Ohio-based authors, and the book illustrates how a considerable amount of people felt the impact of drug abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drug overdoses continue to increase nationwide and 130 people die from opioid overdoses on average every day. But this epidemic shouldn’t be seen by the numbers — the people who are dying are parents, children and community members, which is what Franz and Skinner wish to demonstrate. Skinner said the idea for the book had been developing for a while. “Here in Columbus, I kept getting invited to these round tables that legislators would throw,” Skinner said. “But they were mostly photo ops; they weren’t, in my view, people engaging the issue. So I became increasingly interested in telling some of the stories that were getting missed in the official town of the so-called ‘opioid crisis’ in Ohio.” Though the issue is statewide, the Appalachian region of the state has been hit hard. Appalachia in the context of the opioid crisis has been a topic of major discussion. Plenty of media content about the subject has been circulating, including critically-acclaimed books Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance and Dreamland by Sam Quinones, and the Netflix film Heroin(e). But Skinner and Franz wanted Not Far From Me to be something different. “I think how our book is different, or how it builds on that, is our focus on the storytelling: how individual families and whole communities across the state have been affected,” Franz said. “The point of the book — our perspective — was to make this problem more relatable.” Collecting these stories started in “a really rough grassroots way,” Skinner said. Franz, Skinner and colleagues hung fliers in coffee shops, schools, libraries — anywhere that the project could maybe reach someone. But they also got help from caring organizations, like the Ohioana Book Awards. Franz and Skinner wanted to highlight 16 / SEPT. 12, 2019

diversity in the book by including discussions about race, faith and sexuality. It was also important for Franz and Skinner to accurately represent all parts of the state, and the two received contributors from 22 of the 88 counties of Ohio. With Skinner at the OU Dublin campus and Franz in Athens, most editing for the book was done remotely. However, this wasn’t too difficult because the partnership between Skinner and Franz was a natural fit, Skinner said. “I do think we have different lenses on opioid abuse just by where we’re located,” Franz said. “With Dan in an urban location, he sees and knows a lot about dynamics going on in neighborhoods, whereas I’m in rural Appalachia and I have a different lens from more rural counties.” As a part of the book’s publication, Not Far From Me received a grant from the Ohio Humanities Council to go on an Ohio library book tour. At these events, excerpts from the book are featured and discussed. This helps strike up a conversation among average people and professionals in communities statewide, Franz said. “One of the greatest things about a book like this is that it’s not an academic book,” Franz said. “We’re not writing about all the different facts and figures about opioid abuse and we’re not there to teach people in that way. Average people are the ones who know a lot, more than anybody else in this situation because they’ve had a first-hand experience with it.” Both Skinner and Franz emphasized that the opioid crisis won’t solve itself and it is not something that affects just a single individual. It’s complicated and has no simple solution. It is a local, statewide and nationwide issue. “We have to combat addiction and all that, but really we have to combat isolation and be together more,” Skinner said. Franz wants to stress that she and Skinner did not write this book; they are simply editors, collectors, supporters. “This book is really about our state; it’s about vulnerability, it’s about humility, it’s about recovery,” Skinner said. “We hope the book has a more enduring lesson about how to respond to a public health crisis in a humanistic way.” The book can be purchased online at, and all editors’ proceeds will be donated. A schedule of upcoming public library sessions can be found



A phone call, lunch at Pigskin, a riverboat:

How the Battle for the Bell was born

The Battle of the Bell trophy sits between Ohio University and Marshall University football helmets. (KELSEY BOEING / DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY)

MATT PARKER SPORTS EDITOR Jim Woodrow sat in his office at the Cam Henderson Center at Marshall University in the summer of 1996, enjoying the quietness that filled the campus. The former associate athletic director was preparing the final logistics of the Thundering Herd’s last season as a member of the Southern Conference before they made their move to the Mid-American Conference in the FBS. It was just another standard day for Woodrow. Then, the phone rang. Nearly 90 miles away, Alan Bailey — the former director of marketing at Ohio — sat at his desk waiting for the dial tone to stop and for Woodrow’s voice to answer. Neither of them knew that their conversation would change one of Ohio’s oldest football rivalries. Ohio and Marshall met on the field for the first time in 1905, and Ohio’s program, which had existed for barely a decade, suffered a 6-5 loss. The former MAC rivals have a long-winded tradition of sporadically and ceremoniously showing up on each other’s success, and Ohio leads with a 33-20-6 series record. The two teams will square off again for their 60th meeting Saturday in Huntington, West Virginia. While the rivalry has had its roots for over a century, but there’s a more recent story about one of its main attractions: the bell. Woodrum let the phone ring twice before he picked it up. On the other end, Bailey welcomed Woodrow and Marshall into the MAC a year ahead of schedule. The two talked about how the programs share a strong on-field rivalry, but now that they’ll be in the same conference, they wanted to play for something more besides bragging rights. “There’s never been an official sort of rivalry or trophy. Why don’t we create something?” Woodrow recalled. “I

said, ‘Well, let’s talk about it.’” Woodrow and the current voice of the Thundering Herd, Steve Cotton, made the one-hour, 39-minute trip northeast to Athens. The trio of Woodrow, Cotton and Bailey met a few days after the initial phone call at The Pigskin Bar and Grille. They hunkered at a table for over three hours to discuss ideas about what the trophy should be. At times, the trophy ideas were a little too symbolic of the state of West Virginia. Other times, they leaned too much toward Ohio. It wasn’t until about the second hour of talks when Woodrow realized what the two states have in common. “The thing that connects and separates Ohio University from Marshall University is the Ohio River,” Woodrow said. “And we bounced around ideas on what’s symbolic of the Ohio River.” Once the river became the focal point of the trophy, the ideas became more concise and clear as to what the teams should play for. Ultimately, the conversation sailed its way toward riverboats. The Ohio River has a long and storied history of riverboats traveling along the nearly 1,000-mile-long body of water. Hundreds of boat services and parts shops are open to this day in the southern portions of Ohio and northern parts of West Virginia. Superior Marine Inc., located in South Point, is one of them. And that’s where the bell originated. Dale Manns, owner of Superior Marine Inc. and a longtime Marshall fan, donated a brand-new riverboat bell for the rivalry once he heard Woodrow’s plans for a trophy. With a bright gold bell mounted onto a plaque decorated with small black plastic plates for engravings of the scores of games, the Battle for the Bell was official. It’s Nov. 15, 1997. The lights were bright at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on Marshall’s campus. The Bobcats traveled to Marshall for the first installment of the Battle for

the Bell but were ousted in a 27-0 performance. Former Ohio coach Jim Grobe’s triple-option offense couldn’t find success against the new MAC members. The Thundering Herd rang the bell for seven of the next eight years in their short stint in the conference. Ohio rung the bell just once, a 38-28 victory in 2000 at Peden Stadium, while Marshall was a conference member. The two rivals didn’t meet again for the next five years after Marshall joined Conference USA in 2004. Some 23 years later, Woodrow sits in a different office on Marshall’s campus where he still hears students talk about the bell as if it has been around for a century. He hears faculty talk about the excitement that happens in the town of over 47,000 people whenever the two programs face off, and he sees die-hard fans on message boards talk about how the bell has been in Athens for too long. The teams last played in 2015 when the Bobcats won 21-10. The bell has been in a trophy case on the second floor at Peden Stadium since. The Thundering Herd fans believe it’s time for the bell to “come home.” Woodrow never wanted credit for his behind-thescenes role. All he wanted was to give something for the programs and its fans to look forward to. “Eighty years from now, I don’t know if that bell will still exist, but some form of the Battle for the Bell trophy will still be out there,” Woodrow said. Ohio will make another trip to Huntington on Saturday, and the bell will be up for grabs for the 16th time in the 60th meeting between the two schools. It doesn’t matter, though, whether Ohio or Marshall wins. What matters is that the two are back on the field together with one goal: ring the bell.





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Austen Pleasants draped his long red hair over his shoulder pads after another hot practice inside the Walter Fieldhouse. The left tackle looked more like a pro wrestler than a football player as he stood in front of one of the few fans air conditioning the building. The left tackle didn’t always have the long locks, though. He’s been growing it since the summer, and the redshirt senior doesn’t plan on cutting it until Ohio wins a Mid-American Conference Championship. “I needed something to change it up a little bit,” Pleasants said. “But as soon as we win a championship, we’re going into the locker room and shaving my head.” Pleasants is confident Ohio can make that happen, but he knows the offensive line has a lot to improve for that to be possible. The line struggled to protect quarterback Nathan Rourke last week against Pitt and allowed six sacks from the Panthers’ aggressive pass rush. Ohio’s offensive output in the 20-10 loss was its lowest since 2016, and Rourke’s dual-threat abilities were completely shut down: he was credited with nine rushing attempts for a career-low -43 yards. Nothing seemed to go right for the offensive line, which returned just two starters from last season in Pleasants and left guard Brett Kitrell. The inexperience didn’t show Week 1 against Rhode Island when Ohio scored on seven of its first eight drives. Pitt, however, was a much different test. “The game had a weird feel to it,” Pleasants said. “The energy wasn’t there, and things just weren’t going our way. After the first couple drives, we were just like ‘Oh, crap.’” Maybe that was because Ohio was playing at Heinz Field in front of 42,168 fans in Pitt’s home opener, or maybe the Bobcats were feeling a little too good after making

things look easy against an FCS school in the first week of the season. Both Pleasants and offensive coordinator Tim Albin believe the Bobcats were prepared for Pitt. The Panthers defensive line was simply too stout, and Albin doesn’t think Ohio could’ve done much more to prepare for the strength from the Panthers. “It’s tough to simulate the speed and power that you’ve seen when you’re playing a Power 5 school,” Albin said. “It’s a big payday, and it’s more powerful than what I can show in practice. We had guys in position, and we just got ran through.” Ohio likely won’t have to defend against a front seven as strong as Pitt’s the rest of the season. Albin expects Marshall, the Bobcats’ next opponent, to play a bit faster, but it won’t have the same power. It should provide a solid test for whether last week’s subpar performance was a fluke or a sign that showed the biggest weakness in Ohio’s typically effective offense. “We don’t have to try to win it on the first play,” Albin said. “We’re just going to have to do our thing for four quarters and take care of the football. My guys are strong enough. They’re 200-pound kids, and they can do it.” If the Bobcats show that they learned from their underwhelming performance against Pitt, Rourke should have minimal issues reviving his dominance as a mobile quarterback. The running back competition, which is still ongoing three weeks into the season, might be a little easier to decipher, too. For Pleasants, though, an improved offensive line means a better chance of enjoying a haircut in December. “We can win a championship,” Pleasants said. “We got the clippers ready.”


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18 / SEPT. 12, 2019


Drew Magyar is ready for the next step in his career JACK GLECKLER SLOT EDITOR Drew Magyar wants to be a mentor. He appeared in every game last season for the Bobcats as a freshman — an impressive feat since most freshmen are healthy scratches. He totaled 13 points — four goals, nine assists — a good starting point for someone as young as him. After such a successful first year paired with the graduation of a moderately-sized senior class, Magyar is hopeful that he can step into more of a leadership role as only a sophomore. Being an exemplary leader is a familiar role for him. The Mentor native spent two years playing for the AAA Ohio Blue Jackets in Dublin. There, he was named team captain and found himself the role model for many of his teammates. As team captain, he was brought under the tutelage of coach Ed Gingher. Gingher drilled Magyar in the ways of being an effective leader on and off the ice. That philosophy is what Magyar hopes to pass down to the younger Bobcats. Teaching is a role that he slides easily into. “Being able to have guys look up to me and tell them the way it goes really helps me a lot,” Magyar said. Magyar learned from his role models to improve his own game aside from tutoring the new players. He often got together with teammates Tyler Harkins and Gianni Evangelisti in order to keep his game sharp. He turned his time with Harkins into a learning experience once the team reassem-

bled in August. “Coming in with the top guys on the team like Tyler and Gianni, I’ve been playing with them and learning from them,” Magyar said. “Watching their little moves, their antics, how they get ready for games, how they focus, what they’re working on after practice. I feed off the top guys I look up to as role models on the team and try to follow in their footsteps. I do as much as I can to help them out.” He exercised to stay in shape and skated as much as possible throughout the summer. Once he compounded his regimen onto practice with his teammates, it provided the burst of energy he needed for this season. Coach Cole Bell’s new practice structure proved effective for the sophomore as well. Practices began nearly as soon as the team arrived back on campus. Bell held nothing back. His drills have kept the Bobcats on their feet and constantly at top speed. Magyar sees the benefits of the intense practices Bell dishes out. Once the season begins, the other teams won’t slow down for them, and Magyar doesn’t want to slow down, either. Magyar wants to have a good start right off the bat. He says that pushing himself from the get-go will shake the rust off while they play teams that aren’t in their league. If he excels early on, he hopes to carry it to stronger opponents, like Iowa State and Lindenwood. “Those are the tough games late in the season,” Magyar said. “You’re traveling; everyone is tired; those are the games when it really comes out. Those are the games that bring you

to nationals. Hopefully I can come in and make a big impact during those games. Ohio ended last year ranked No. 6 in the ACHA after it was knocked out of the national tournament in the quarterfinals by Iowa State, and Magyar wants to do his best to prevent another heartbreaker. He, like many of his teammates, are optimistic about their chance to win a national championship. Magyar knows what the upperclassmen are capable of and is seeing what the new recruits can do. It feeds into his positive nature to reckon his team can go the distance. He has always kept a positive outlook on hockey, and he never wants to stay negative for long if he messes up. “All last year I was trying to stay positive in the locker room, not get down on myself or other guys,” Magyar said. “I stay positive no matter what. If things are going down, just try to get a little positivity, and keep my mind in the game.” A light-hearted attitude is always welcome, especially from an established player like Magyar. He exemplifies what the Bobcats need this season — an enthusiastic hard worker who’s self-assigned duty is to help his team however he can. His game and standing on the team has improved, and he wants to put what he’s been given to good use. Perhaps this season Magyar can channel his inner Ed Gingher.






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Bouncing back from tragedy ELLEN WAGNER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


ot much has changed in the Cycle Path Bicycles shop since it first opened in 1984. John Lefelhocz and Maxine Rantane, co-owners of the shop, said they didn’t see the need to change the design of the shop after the explosion in April 2018 caused them to close for almost a year and a half. The right side of Cycle Path, 104 W. Union St., is still lined with bicycles of all sizes and colors, placed in a row and hanging on the wall. The other wall is lined with bike shoes, helmets and bike seats. “We have the same footprint,” Lefelhocz said. “We didn’t see any reason to expand.” Lefelhocz and Rantane both attended Ohio University and have been living in Athens for 35 years. Rantane first opened the shop with another co-owner and a different name. After Rantane had problems with her previous business partner, Lefelhocz became the co-owner of Cycle Path Bicycles. “He helped me put it back together, and we have been together ever since,” Rantane said. The explosion happened in the apartments above Cycle Path Bicycles. One person was injured in the explosion. Part of the upstairs wall fell onto Thai Paradise, 102 W. Union St., and left a part of the bike shop exposed. The explosion affected the roof, walls, plumbing and electrical systems of the building. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation, Brian Bohnert, public information officer from the Ohio Department of Commerce, said in an email. In the aftermath of the explosion, it seemed like they might not be able to reopen, Rantane said. It was hard to get a fixed timeline of when the bike shop would be able to reopen. Lefelhocz said they spoke to business owners affected by the West Union Street fire in 2014. Those businesses continuously had delays on reopening, so they were cautious about setting a reopening date. “We’d asked around, and no one else has sort of been through the exact same situation,” Lefelhocz said.

John Lefelhocz (left) and Maxine Rantane (right) stand in front of their store, Cycle Path Bicycles, on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. (ALEC SYRVALIN / FOR THE POST)

20 / SEPT. 12, 2019

REBUILDING THE BLOCK West Union Street is familiar with having to rebuild businesses. In November 2014, a fire tore through buildings on West Union Street between South Congress Street and North Court Street. The fire spread throughout five buildings on the block. Three of the buildings included housing rentals on the upper levels, causing 40 Ohio University students to be displaced. Ten people, including four students, three firefighters and three police officers were treated and released.

The fire started at about 4 a.m. and wasn’t fully extinguished until about 3 p.m. the same day. Multiple businesses share the block, but the ones affected include Jack Neal Floral, Kismet, Uptown Dog, Smoke Zone Smoke Shop, The Union and Jackie O’s Public House. Some businesses took about two years to reopen. The Union, 18 W. Union St., and Jackie O’s, 22-24 W. Union St., reopened in 2016 and remained in the same location. Smoke Zone Smoke Shop moved its location to 80 N. Court St., and Kismet, a women’s clothing store, moved to 19 W. State St. Jack Neal Floral, 15 W. Union St., stayed on the same block but moved its location across the street from where the fire had occurred. Bohnert said, in an email, the case file for the investigation on the fire is still open. Although Uptown Dog, a t-shirt store, was spared from fire damage, it was severely damaged when an adjacent building collapsed into it. Additionally, the store suffered from water and smoke damage that destroyed everything in the shop. Mary Cheadl was the owner for Uptown Dog and now owns 10 West Clothing Company. She said Uptown Dog relocated to 9 W. Union St. in early 2015 after the fire. Once the building was repaired, 10 West Clothing, a boutique located at 10 W. Union St., opened. Although both businesses were opened, Cheadl said they still struggled financially. By the time both Uptown Dog and 10 West Clothing opened, a portion of the street was blocked off with gates for construction, and potential customers weren’t walking by. “By then, people had found alternative routes,” Cheadl said. “So nobody was using Union Street.” In November 2016, the T-shirt store and the boutique combined into 10 West Clothing Company, 10 W. Union St., to become a one-stop shop for students to buy OU merchandise and other clothes they may need. “We’re doing a fair amount of business,” Cheadl said. “We still have to recuperate the financial loss.” Due to rebuilding and relocated businesses, buildings on the West Union Street block remained empty for years. Ohio University Credit Union, 12 W. Union St., and Starbucks, 16 W. Union St., are two new businesses that opened on the block. BACK ON TRACK Thai Paradise was closed from April 2018 to June 2018 due to the explosion, said Vong Vengphaisane, owner of Thai Paradise. “The rocks were on the roof and down inside the kitchen,” Vengphaisane said. Debris from the second-floor of the building, located to the left of Thai Paradise, broke through the ceiling of the restaurant, causing damage to the roof and floors.

There was other damage to the patio area as well as a broken gas line and water pipe. Vengphaisane said she is glad to see the building is back in one piece. “It is good to have them back,” she said. When it came to rebuilding Cycle Path Bicycles, Lefelhocz said there were a lot of unknown factors. “It wasn’t like there was a blueprint for it,” he said. The upper level is still under construction, but they will be apartments like they were before. Lefelhocz said initial reports from their insurance company said nothing criminal had caused the explosion, so they were able to start to rebuild. “Everybody gave us the green light,” Lefelhocz said. It was a lot of hard work, especially over the past couple of months, to get the store ready to reopen. The biggest change was removing a display case, so now there is more room in the store. Merchandise in the store includes bikes, gear and other equipment both new and from before the explosion. Some of the merchandise has been in storage since the explosion. Even though they opened at the end of August, they are still unloading merchandise to put in the shop. The co-owners were worried about how their business would be affected after being closed for a year and a half. The shop, however, has been busy with customers happy to see it open again. “It’s really nice to have the support of so many people,” Rantane said. “We thought they would have given up on us, but they didn’t.”

It’s really nice to have the support of so many people. We thought they would have given up on us, but they didn’t.” - Maxine Rantane, co-owner of Cycle Path Bicycles

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT: Firefighters view the damage of an explosion in the 100 block of West Union Street on Sunday, April 15, 2018. (MIJANA MAZUR / WEB DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR);Cycle Path Bicycles sits at 104 W. Union St. in Athens. (ALEC SYRVALIN / FOR THE


CHEAT RIVER CANOE TRIP Cheat River, PA October 4 – 6 $85 per person




Register today on


Grab a friend and join Campus Rec team members for a relaxing walk around the university. These well-being walks are a great way to get fresh air, extra steps, or get to know new people! Adding a little sunlight and physical activity throughout your day is a wonderful way to keep you motivated, alert and healthy.




the weekender

Pawpaw-filled weekend

A festival attendee buys fresh pawpaws at the 20th anniversary of the Pawpaw Festival on Sept. 15, 2018. (MCKINLEY LAW / FOR THE POST.)

SOPHIA ENGLEHART FOR THE POST Summer fades and leaves begin to fall as Southeast Ohio’s 21st Annual Pawpaw Festival prepares to share its local traditions with students, Athens residents and visitors from all over. The festival, which was founded in 1998, revolves around the many uses of the pawpaw plant. The pawpaw, a native Southeast Ohio plant, is a small yellowish-green fruit that has a sweeter flavor similar to a pineapple. Vendors serve various culinary delights concocted from the pawpaw along with other delicious food while participants sample all the different dishes. The Pawpaw Festival will take place 22 / SEPT. 12, 2019

this weekend from Sept. 13-15 at Lake Snowden. The festival will be open on Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Haley Richards, like many students at Ohio University, has yet to experience the delights of the festival but has heard about the rich traditions that surround it from her fellow classmates. “We learned about the pawpaw plant in plant biology class,” Richards, a junior studying English pre-law, said. “Though I’ve never personally been, I do know that pawpaws primarily grow in Appalachia, so it makes sense it is an Athens festival.” Chris Chmiel, founder of the Pawpaw Festival, first became interested in the native fruit after discovering it on his

18-acre property. “I wanted to help educate people to what a pawpaw is and how to use it,” Chmiel said in an email. “I also wanted it to be a community celebration. I knew that there really wasn’t a long standing pawpaw festival anywhere in the world so this would be a very unique event.” Chmiel, who serves as an Athens County commissioner, uses the historical significance of the pawpaw fruit to highlight its unusual history to Athens locals and students alike. Though celebrating the historical and cultural significance of the pawpaw is primary, other vendors and booths flock to the festival to show off their wares and add their own distinct products to the fray. This year, new vendors

like the Cannabis Museum will be selling CBD-based products, and breweries Urban Artifact and Earthworks Brewing will be satisfying their customers with homemade ales and beers. “I think it’s going to be awesome; it’s always awesome,” Chelsea Hidenach, a culinary creativist and the owner of Chelsea’s Real Food, said. “We’ve been getting requests for pawpaw smoothies, so this year, we created one from pawpaw, ginger, coconut milk and several other ingredients. We (Chelsea’s Real Food) are a niche market with all kinds of customers but offer a lot of locally sourced, vegan and gluten-free options to the oddball eaters.” Hidenach, who owns and runs a food truck favorite, has been working the festival for years, serving pawpaw specialities to festival partakers. While the festival encourages new food businesses to try their hand at local recipes, advocates and representatives of various organizations come out of the woodwork to gather support and educate patrons. Environmental advocacy is another emphasis to festival goers, shown in the many booths and green-friendly businesses who come to participate. With the emergence of a new and extremely toxic petrochemical plant being built in West Virginia, the simple task of recycling plastics gains even more importance to residences, as advocates work to encourage others to do their part to “ReThink Plastics, ReThink Energy, ReThink Our Future!” While the festival itself only lasts for a short while, Chmiel and others hope that the lingering cultural impact of the pawpaw will encourage all to pay more attention to the rich backdrop of Athens history. “I think this has become important to Athens because it is a really friendly-family vibe where people of different ages can come and hang out together, learn things, see friends and appreciate the time of year,” Chmiel said. “It has become important to OU because it is such a unique festival and a great way to get to know parts of the community outside of the city of Athens.”



FRIDAY The Band Eight AM at 6 p.m. at Little

Fish Brewing Company, 8675 Armitage Road. Start out the weekend with tunes ranging from 30s rock to instrumental jazz from this trio of musicians. Admission: Free Sneakthief and Friends for Sale at 7:30

p.m. at Donkey Coffee and Espresso, 17 W. Washington St. The local Athens band will play an acoustic set of rock ‘n’ roll, joined by band Friends for Sale. Admission: Free Urban Jazz Coalition at 9 p.m. at Cat’s

Eye Saloon, 12 N. Court St. Ohio University alumnus Phil Raney and his band returns to Athens with a concert full of jazz, funk, R&B and soul music. Admission: $10

local Athens band. Admission: $5 John Horne at 7 p.m. at Little Fish Brewing Company. Enjoy a solo concert from OU School of Music’s adjunct professor of guitar and jazz studies. Admission: Free

SUNDAY Pawpaw Cook-off at 11:15 a.m. at the

Ohio Pawpaw Festival, 5900 US 50 West. Either bring a prepared dish to be judged or come to sample some of the one-of-a-kind pawpaw dishes after judging. Admission: Free


Asylum Walking Tour at 2 p.m. at The

Kennedy Museum of Art, 100 Ridges Circle. Get ready for Halloween early and take a two-hour, historic walking tour of the asylum grounds and cemeteries, led by former asylum employee George Eberts. Admission: $20 for non-members, $18 for members Drop-In Hockey at 5 p.m. at Bird Are-

na, 102 Oxbow Trail. Bring some friends, and finish off the weekend with a pick-up game of hockey. Admission: $10 per participant




MOVIES TO SEE AT THE ATHENA CINEMA, 20 S. Archery in the Park at 10 a.m. at Burr COURT ST.

Oak State Park, 10220 Burr Oak Lodge Road. If you’re above the age of six and capable of handling the equipment, channel your inner Katniss Everdeen and learn the basics of archery. Admission: Free, all equipment provided. Athens Public Library Used Book Sale

at 9 a.m. at the Athens Public Library, 30 Home St. Stock up on books, CDs and DVDs, and help support your local public library. Most books start at three-for-$1. Admission: Free Blues Cowboys at 8 p.m. at Mel’s

Roadhouse, 10971 State Route 550. Hear a combination of rock, country and blues music from a

The Peanut Butter Falcon (rated PG13): Friday, 5:05, 7:25 and 9:35 p.m.;


Saturday, 1:00, 5:05, 7:25 and 9:45 p.m.; Sunday, 2:55, 5:05, 7:25 and 9:35 p.m. After the Wedding (rated PG-13): Fri-

day, 5:10 and 7:20 p.m.; Saturday, 3:00, 5:10, 7:20 and 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 3:00, 5:10, 7:20 and 9:30 p.m. David Crosby: Remember My Name (rated R): Friday, 5:25, 7:30 and

9:40 p.m., Saturday, 3:30, 5:25 and 9:40 p.m., Sunday 3:30, 5:25 and 9:40 p.m. @SYDNEYEWALTERS SW844317@OHIO.EDU




Alvin Adams Symposium Friday, Sept. 13

“The Alvin Adams Story”

9:30 - 11:30 a.m. @ Schoonover 145

“Taking the Alvin Adams Story to the Screen”

11:50 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. @ Schoonover 145

The Alvin Adams Symposium honors the heritage of an important storyteller from Ohio University. Adams was one of the first African American graduates of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. The Alvin Adams Symposium is an opportunity to highlight a man who centered African Americans within the greater narrative of this country’s history while inspiring others to build on that legacy. All events are free and open to the public For more information on all of these events visit

Black Alumni Reunion Scripps Open House

2 - 3 p.m. @ Schoonover 130

“Telling OUr Stories, Building OUr Futures”

3 - 5 p.m. @ Schoonover 145

Alvin Adams Symposium & Black Alumni Reunion reception

5 - 7 p.m. @ Athens City Parking Garage Roof

Oral History Podcast Drop-Ins

Friday, 2-5 p.m. & Saturday, 10a.m.-4 p.m. @ Podcast Studio One, Schoonover Lobby

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September 12, 2019  

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