criminal justice

Wood County jail to enter deal to take Toledo inmates

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County jail is once again opening its doors to inmates from Toledo – but only misdemeanor offenders. The county commissioners will review the contract between the Wood County Justice Center and City of Toledo on Thursday morning. The agreement allows Toledo to “rent” 10 beds on an ongoing basis at the Wood County jail, on East Gypsy Lane Road in Bowling Green. The beds will be used for misdemeanor offenders sentenced under the Toledo municipal code. “They are the lowest level offenders,” Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said Wednesday. That’s good for many reasons, the sheriff said. “We’re tight when it comes to secure housing, but we have plenty of beds in minimum security,” he said. The misdemeanor offenders also pose the least risk. “They aren’t all altar boys, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts,” Wasylyshyn said. But it’s nothing the jail staff isn’t accustomed to dealing with, he added. This is not the first time Wood County entered an agreement with Toledo to house inmates. In the summer of 2016, Toledo officials turned to Wood County for a solution to its inmate issues during an ongoing feud over charges to the city from the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio near Stryker. That arrangement lasted about six months, until Toledo and CCNO renegotiated prices for prisoner housing. This contract is similar to the last one between Toledo and Wood County, except Wasylyshyn said he made sure to clean up a transportation issue – with the new contract requiring Toledo to pay for the inmates’ taxi transports back to Toledo once they are released from jail. Toledo will pay the county jail for…

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Faculty members urge BGSU to be a leader in addressing sexual violence

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Sandra Faulkner wants Bowling Green State University to be the leader in combating sexual assault on campus. The director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies hopes that the recent protests over the way BGSU handles sexual assault will lead to innovation, not duplication of other universities’ “best practices.” “No institution in higher education handles sexual violence well,” she said. Faulkner and her colleague Sarah Rainey, an associate professor in the School of Cultural and Critical Studies, met with Dean of Students Jodi Webb Friday in the wake of a protest that drew about 200 students. In their meeting with Webb, Faulkner and Rainey brought with them a list of actions, drafted by members of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies faculty, that BGSU could take immediately to start addressing the problem. On Monday President Mary Ellen Mazey announced the formation of Task Force on Sexual Assault. Rainey is one of 17 members appointed to the task force. The task force includes faculty, staff, students, the student member of the Board of Trustees, and a representative from The Cocoon. (http://bgindependentmedia.org/mazey-to-launch-task-force-on-sexual-assault/) According to President Mary Ellen Mazey’s letter announcing its creation, the task force’s charge is: “to review our policies and procedures for Title IX and sexual assault, benchmark our efforts against best practices across the country, and provide recommendations to improve the campus culture and our policies. In addition, the task force will examine our services for supporting sexual assault victims and evaluate our awareness and prevention efforts.” Both Faulkner and Rainey were encouraged by the composition of the task force. Faulkner is concerned about the word “benchmark.” “We shouldn’t be benchmarking with anyone,” she…


Phishing attack hits several BGSU employees in pocketbook

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Four university employees recently had their banking information hacked, with three having their pay redirected, and one of them had a fraudulent tax return filed by hackers. John Ellinger, the university’s chief information officer, reported on the incidents at Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting. He did not notify campus through a mass email because he did not want to tip off the hackers about how the university was responding. He assured the senate that no university data had been accessed. However, the way that information could be endanger is if hackers find a pathway using personal data of those who have access to university information. Ellinger said the problems began in January when the employees – three faculty and one staff member – clicked on a phishing e-mail originating from an account at Texas Tech. The e-mail subject line read “get you pay here.” With that connection, he said, the hackers were able to shadow the accounts. None of the four had completed the new Duo security protocol being implemented on the university’s MyBGSU system. As of today everyone will have to have signed in the two-step authentication process to access MyBGSU. Using information culled from the shadowing, the hackers were able to get onto MyBGSU and set up Duo accounts. Once there, they changed the routing for the employees’ direct deposits. Ellinger said that unlike in the past, these hackers were astute enough to send the paychecks to four different accounts set up at four different overseas banks to avoid detection. They used burner phones with four different area codes to supply the needed telephone number. One employee discovered the change before the pay…


Verdict in – Chidester retires leaving secure courthouse

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When Tom Chidester took the job as chief constable for the Wood County Courthouse 21 years ago, he had a tall order to fill. The Supreme Court order requiring courthouses to be made secure meant some unpopular decisions. But as he prepares to retire at the end of March, Chidester can sit back and rattle off the threats over the years that were stopped before they entered the courtrooms. In addition to standards knives and guns, there was a sword hidden in a cane, mace, plus knives hidden in phones and wallets. Oh, and then there was the six-pack of beer in a backpack. When Chidester, a former trooper with the Ohio Highway Patrol, took the job in 1996 there was little courthouse security in place. There were no metal detectors, no court security staff to keep an eye during emotionally charged trials. But there were orders in place that courthouses around the country were expected to obey. One of the biggest problems at the historic Wood County Courthouse was the number of building entrances that would need to be staffed. So county officials took the bold move of closing down all but one entrance. And former Wood County Commissioner Alvie Perkins came up with the idea for the atrium that would connect the courthouse and the county office building, which houses one of the common pleas courtrooms. “The elected officials were kind of divided on how the public would react,” Chidester recalled. “They went through many public meetings.” In December of 2005, the atrium opened and security measures went into place. There was some grumbling about just one entrance and about…


DeWine stumps for governor during stop in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than a year out from the next gubernatorial election, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine brought his early campaign for the office to Bowling Green on Thursday. DeWine, a favorite for the Republican ticket for governor, spoke at the party’s Lincoln Day Dinner at Stone Ridge Golf Club. As attorney general, DeWine has worked to strenghten victims’ rights and to correct some wrongs in the legal system. He spearheaded efforts to get hundreds of sexual assault kits tested after they had languished for years in evidence rooms. Many of those have resulted in DNA matches with people already in the system. DeWine has worked with State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, to create a violent offender registry. This was done in response to the abduction and murder of Sierah Joughin, 20, in Fulton County. Like the sex offender registry, this registry would notify communities of someone with a violent criminal past living nearby. And DeWine continues to work on solutions to the opiate epidemic in Ohio. Following the advice of people with addiction experience, DeWine said more emphasis needs to be put on K-12 age appropriate education on drugs, “to lessen people going down the path of addiction.” “As attorney general, sometimes I feel I’m picking up the pieces” after problems occur, he said before speaking Thursday evening. So he’s now looking at getting in front of problems – as governor. DeWine and others arriving at the Lincoln Day Dinner drove past a group of protesters at the entrance to the golf club. “One of the lessons from the last election is that people want government that works,” he said. “They want…


Citizens urged to support ‘sanctuary campus’ plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Undocumented immigrants protected under President Barack Obama’s administration now face uncertainty when Donald Trump is sworn in as president next week. Across the country, approximately 800,000 people have registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation. But that status is now at risk. “These undocumented youth are stuck in the middle of this,” said Luis Moreno, who teaches Latino studies at Bowling Green State University. Based on Trump’s stance during the presidential campaign, those previously protected are now exposed. Since DACA was an executive order by Obama, Trump could revoke it as soon as he is in office. “Students might be detained next week,” said Michaela Walsh, who also teaches Latino studies at BGSU. People who previously signed up for DACA gave the government information, “which makes them even more vulnerable.” Moreno and Walsh led a community meeting Thursday evening about efforts to create a “sanctuary campus” at BGSU. More than 350 signatures have been collected on a petition that will be presented next week to the BGSU Faculty Senate. The goal is to garner support and convince BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey and the university trustees to consider the sanctuary concept. “We want to provide buffers from people being deported,” Walsh said. Bowling Green has a large immigrant population, including those undocumented. “There is a community here of undocumented students and employees at the university,” Moreno said, though no numbers were known. “As citizens, it’s our duty to protect those people,” Walsh said. A woman in the…


Some of the stories that clicked for BG Indy in 2016

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News If you ask those of us involved with BG Independent News, the biggest news of 2016 was that we got this enterprise started and weathered our first year. This has been a great venture that has both challenged and rewarded us, if not enriched us. We pride ourselves on writing the best stories about Bowling Green, its immediate surroundings and area arts and entertainment scene. We’ve been heartened by the fact that we’ve had close to 160,000 users and 600,000 page views since the website was launched in late January. For that Jan McLaughlin and I thank you, our readers. It’s been a great ride. As we start a new year, we thought we’d go back and see just what stories drew the most traffic in the previous one. I decided on a top 30 of the more than 1,700 stories we’ve published. That includes the bylined stories that make up the heart of BG Independent News, but also Community Voices, Opinion, Obituaries and Newsbreak (though not the event listings that get lumped into What’s Happening in Your Community). (See the list of links at the end of the story.) The story that drew the most traffic was “The day the pizza died,” which is by neither of the principle writers. The rumors of Myles Pizza closing had been in the air for well over a year. When Chip Myles finally called it quits, I was headed out of town for a funeral, so Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel, from Zibbel Media and an accomplished writer, stepped in and wrote her elegy to the beloved local pizza place. While this may seem ironic that our top story…