BGSU named one of top 100 safest campuses

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University is ranked 32nd on the 2018 list of Safest Colleges in America, and one of only two universities in Ohio ranked in the top 100. The ranking was created using the most recent data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting and the National Center for Education Statistics. The top-ranked colleges boast safe campuses with little or no crime and low overall crime rates (off campus). “We are pleased to again be recognized as one of the safest colleges in the country,” Interim President Rodney Rogers said. “This is a great reflection of the living and learning environment at BGSU and the quality of life in the city of Bowling Green.” Individuals can support this effort by being aware of their surroundings, by reporting criminal or suspicious activity and by getting involved in University-sponsored crime prevention programs. The BGSU Department of Public Safety provides around-the-clock protection and sponsors many crime prevention programs. The Campus Escort Service, University Shuttle, sophisticated outdoor lighting system and outdoor emergency telephones combine to provide a campus environment that feels safe and secure. For information about crime prevention, policies for reporting crime on campus and crime statistics for the most recent three-year period, see the BGSU Campus Security and Fire Safety Report. Four-year institutions with enrollment of 10,000 or more were accessed to compile the 2018 list of Safest Colleges in America. Alarms.org created the list after finding that campus safety contributed to anxiety about college.

BG eyes 2018 goals – neighborhoods, food trucks, downtown cameras and more

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Neighborhood revitalization, food trucks, more cameras in the downtown bar district, and code enforcement by police made the list of 2018 goals for Bowling Green city officials. City department heads listed their top priorities for the year during a work session held Saturday morning for city council. Mayor Dick Edwards set the tone. “This is going to be a very ambitious year, and if we think otherwise, we’ll get smacked right in the face with it,” Edwards said. The mayor repeated some of the projects he mentioned at last week’s council meeting, including progress on Wooster Green, East Wooster corridor, and new City Park building. Unlike those highly visible projects, the city will also be updating its charter – making sure the effort is “citizen-driven,” Edwards said. And efforts will be made to define the city’s goal of being a “welcoming community.” The mayor talked about the city’s goal to become more diversified industrially. Sue Clark, the city’s economic development director, has reported increased interest in the city. “The phone has been ringing off the wall,” Edwards said. “It spells a very promising picture for 2018,” Edwards said, noting the importance of economic growth to city services. Edwards revisited a topic that consumed much of last year – the Nexus pipeline.  “That was gut-wrenching at times for all of us. That’s going to be a special challenge for us in 2018,” he said. City officials still have not been given a timeline for the pipeline construction. Concerns continue, the mayor said, about state legislation that could have negative effects on municipalities. Edwards has talked with State Sen. Randy Gardner and State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, both R-Bowling Green, about the state’s plans for 2018. “They keep talking in very positive terms about supporting local government,” Edwards said about state officials. “All the words coming out of Columbus are encouraging, but the proof is in the pudding.” The mayor also took time to try resurrecting the city historic preservation effort that was started and then dropped. “I would at least like to get something before you that you can address,” he said to council. Cities like Toledo are taking advantage of tax credits to revitalize downtown historic areas. Bowling Green could do the same, Edwards said. “Other communities have really been benefitting from this,” he said. Each of the…

Safe Communities reports 4th quarter road fatalities

Wood County Safe Communities has announced that the Fourth Quarter Fatal Data Review Committee met on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. The following fatal crashes from the Fourth Quarter of 2017 were reviewed: • Route 6 between Wayne and Pemberville Roads • River Rd. Between Bates and White Roads • Route 6 at Rudolph Road. In all five people died in the crashes, including two sisters and their mother in the Route 6 and Rudolph Road accident. The following countermeasures were established: • Obey all Traffic Laws • Do not drive Left of Center • Obey all Traffic Control Devices For More Information: • Lt. Angel Burgos, Ohio State Highway Patrol: 419-352-2481 • Sandy Wiechman, Safe Communities Coordinator: 419-372-9353 or swiechm@bgsu.edu

Helicopter crash kills two

Two men died this morning at 11:41 when the helicopter they were in crashed in Troy Township. A witness reported the crash to the Wood County Sheriff’s Office. The helicopter went down into field near Pemberville and Truman roads about a half mile from either road. According to Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn the men were contractors for Toledo Edison who were inspecting power lines. No cause of the crash has yet been determined, and the sheriff refused to speculate whether the weather was a factor. The crash occurred as snow showers covered the area. The names of the deceased have not been released pending notification of next of kin. Inspectors from the National Transportation Safety Board will inspect the scene tomorrow morning. Wasylyshyn said that sheriff’s deputies will remain on the scene until the inspectors arrive, and the wreckage is removed.      

BG man linked to crimes by stolen panties and DNA on pizza crust

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Hundreds of bras and panties, DNA from a pizza crust and intricate handwritten notes have allegedly helped link a Bowling Green man to at least seven burglaries committed in the city over the last five years. Bradley Feasel, 33, of 236 S. Grove St., was indicted last week on 11 counts of burglary and one count of breaking and entering. Police believe there will likely be more charges as they continue to go through the evidence found at Feasel’s home. “It’s pretty alarming,” said Bowling Green Police Major Justin White. Police reportedly found a folder of handwritten notes at Feasel’s home, listing dates with names of females. Under the names were notes indicating the items that were taken and the method of entry into the residences. In one note under “Manville House,” it reportedly reads “all rooms masturbated.” At a home on Byall Avenue, a bullet point mentioned “red panties.” In some cases, women were sleeping at the homes when Feasel allegedly entered. On a few incidents when Feasel was seen by the residents, he was barefooted. Many of the victims reported to police that they believed their homes had been entered multiple times. Many were college students, who shared clothing with their roommates, so the disappearance of underwear was not initially noticed. Police said they also found a Google pin map, with handwritten notes on it. One notation reported said “65 enters.” After gaining search warrants for all of Feasel’s electronic devices, police found that Feasel had allegedly made Google searches for several of his victims. He also reportedly searched for them on Facebook, Pinterest, Linked In and MySpace. It also appears from the police reports that Feasel frequented a downtown bar where one of the victims was employed and other victims told police they often visited. This is not the first time for Feasel to face charges of illegally entering homes and taking women’s underwear. He served six months in 2004 after being found with several women’s bras and panties that he had stolen from a Bowling Green apartment. This time around, the search of Feasel’s residence in 2017 reportedly turned up “several containers” full of women’s bras, panties and clothing stored in the loft area of the garage. In addition to bras and panties (seemingly preferring Victoria Secret items), Feasel allegedly took hair extensions,…

BGSU, BCI researchers team up to analyze sex assault evidence

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A paper published in a leading journal offers way to make the assessment of sexual assault kits more efficient. That could lead to more perpetrators bein identified and held accountable. The scholarly paper published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences late last year was the combined effort of the Ohio Attorney General’s Center for the Future of Forensic Science at Bowling Green State University and the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The work was funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Jon Sprague, director of the BGSU Center, said the foundation has a long standing interest in applying statistical methods to criminal justice and forensics science issues. The study, conducted at the BCI lab on campus, looked at the 14,000 sexual assault kits collected through the Attorney General Mike DeWine’s initiative that was launched in 2011. That initiative aimed to process sexual assault kits, known as SAKs, which had been collected in evidence rooms around the state. The BGSU project brought together a team from across the state to look at those 14,000 kits in the BCI database. Jaime Kerka, from the BCI lab in Ridgefield, was tasked with data mining, digging down into the numbers. She ended up compiling a spreadsheet with 3 million cells, Sprague said. That enabled the team to analyze what was in the kits. “What was significant was the application of statistics to the evidence,” Sprague said. That looked at a multitude of characteristics recorded by the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) during the initial examination of the victim. That would include evidence collected from swabs from various parts of the body, vagina, anal, ear, neck, as well as samples from clothing, including underwear.  “This can guide people where to you want to start and speed up the process and reduce cost,” Sprague said. The goal is to get DNA that’s eligible to be entered into the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Data from 2,500 of the kits were studied to see the likelihood that they would yield usable DNA samples. The researchers made some important findings about how to do that, some of which confirmed what was already assumed. The seven recommendations made were: The sooner a sample is collected the better. The more time that elapses the probability of getting a CODIS eligible sample decreases. SAKs should go to a…

Bitter cold takes toll on city workers and equipment

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents count on city workers to plow snow off the roads, respond to car crashes, and keep the power on during winter weather. Doing that in bitter cold weather takes a toll on city equipment and on the people that operate it. Snow plow blades are more likely to break in this cold, police cruisers have to run continuously during shifts, and fire hoses have been known to freeze. “We subject our officers to being out in the elements for extended periods,” Police Chief Tony Hetrick said. That’s tough on people and patrol cars. Layering only does so much, and “they run constantly in the cold,” the chief said of the police cruisers. For the Fire Division, the frigid cold means EMS crews must move even faster for outside calls. “We need to move quickly to get patients out of the elements,” Fire Chief Tom Sanderson said. Firefighting is especially tricky in freezing temperatures. “We have to keep them flowing,” Sanderson said of the hoses. But that means the ground quickly gets covered in ice. The city’s public works department often spreads salt at winter fire scenes to try to give firefighters and their vehicles some traction. “We haven’t had to chisel our fire hose out of the ice yet this week,” Sanderson said. Public works crews face their own problems, with the extreme cold taking a toll on equipment, according to Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter. Snow plow blades tend to break very easily, she said. And trash containers become increasingly brittle and are more prone to breaking, she added. The city utilities department recommends its consumer-owners take the following precautions to help prevent water lines and meters from freezing this winter: Protect exposed pipes from cold air drafts by closing and sealing windows and openings in basements or crawlspaces. Protect your water meter by wrapping it with insulation or a blanket. Provide proper insulation for walls and pipes where necessary. If your water meter is in the garage, take precautions to protect it and keep the garage door closed. If pipes cannot be shielded from the cold or the residence has a history of frozen water lines or meters, run a small stream of cold water from an indoor faucet to keep water moving through your pipes. Make sure the drain is open and…

Underwear thief charged with repeat offenses in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Hundreds of bras and women’s underwear were found during a search of a Bowling Green man’s home after he was caught reportedly trying to break into an apartment. This is not the first time Bradley Feasel, 33, of 236 S. Grove St., was arrested with stolen underwear and bras in his home. He was sentenced to six months in 2004 after being caught stealing items from an apartment on the East Side of the city. In addition to stolen undergarments, in 2004 police also found a telescope in the trunk of Feasel’s car and a journal detailing how to watch attractive people and how to set up a hidden video camera. “This isn’t his first time,” Bowling Green Police Major Justin White said Friday. The Bowling Green Police Division is asking that any women who have had undergarments stolen to contact Sgt. Hartman at 419-352-1131. This past September, college students living in a house on East Merry Avenue reportedly found a man in their residence when they returned home around 1:30 in the morning. The man fled, leaving a pile of the women’s underwear and clothes under a window as he escaped. The women reported that they believed this to be the third or fourth time the man had entered their home. Later that same month, Feasel was arrested for trespassing in the 200 block of North Enterprise. In that case, the residents reportedly heard Feasel trying to enter by the front door. They called police, who apprehended Feasel outside the house. Feasel matched the description from the East Merry incident, so police executed a search warrant and found hundreds of bras and women’s underwear in his home. “We came across such a large amount of evidence, it’s taking a long time,” White said. The crime lab at the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation is assisting with the local investigation. “I do expect more charges,” White added. Meanwhile, Feasel is being held at the Wood County Justice Center. Thirteen years ago, Feasel was charged with some of the same offenses. According to police reports from 2004, Feasel broke into 1480 Burrwood Drive, stealing personal items like jewelry and perfume. He apparently made several trips to and from the home in one night. A female student in the home reportedly walked out of her bedroom at about…

Safety council reports more traffic deaths, warns about drunk driving dangers

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Safe Communities of Wood County announced today (Friday, Dec. 1) that there have been 14 fatal crashes in Wood County, compared to 11 last year at this time. This is an increase that is completely preventable. Safe Communities of Wood County and law enforcement are teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind all drivers that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving and to always plan a sober ride home before holiday parties begin. The holidays are a special time in America, full of excitement and endless festivities. Oftentimes, these celebrations bring higher numbers of drunk drivers to the roads, endangering those drivers and others. Drunk driving can have deadly, devastating consequences. Nationally in 2016, 37,461 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and 28 percent  (10,497) died in crashes where the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08. In fact, from 2012-2016, 14,472 people lost their lives in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the month of December, and 28 percent (3,995) died in a crash that involved a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher. Remember these tips to avoid a OVI and to keep our roads safe:  Remember that it is never okay to drive drunk. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get home safely.  Even one drink can impair judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or causing a crash.  If planning to drink, do not plan to drive. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.  If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a taxi, a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation. Try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend and identify their location so they can be picked up.  Help others be responsible. If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys, take them home, or help them arrange a safe ride home.  If you see a driver on the road that appears to be intoxicated, contact police when it is safe to do so. Your actions could help save a life. Keep your…

The bell may be tolling for Ohio’s bellwether status in presidential elections

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ohio has an enviable record of being on the winning side of Presidential elections. Since 1896, it has voted for the winner in every election, except when it voted for Republicans Thomas Dewey in 1952 and Richard Nixon in 1960, both extremely close elections. Author Kyle Kondik said those bellwether days may well be over. Recently, Kondik, the editor of “Sabo’s Crystal Ball,” the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ newsletter, gave a local history award talk at Jerome Library on the Bowling Green State University campus. He was being honored for his 2016 book “Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President.” Kondik said he may have written the book just in time. The book covers the period from 1896 through 2012. And while Ohio went for Donald Trump by a comfortable margin, the election points to changes that have Ohio out of step with the national electorate. When looking at a state’s predictive power, he said, how closely the winner’s margin of victory in the popular vote in the state matches the national margin of victory must also be considered. Over the years, Ohio has reliably been within 5 percentage points of the national popular vote total.  In 2016 Trump won Ohio by 8 percentage points, 51.3 percent to 43.2 percent for Hillary Clinton. However nationally Trump trailed Clinton by 2 percentage points in the popular vote, 46.1 percent to 48.2 percent. This, along with the changing demographics of Ohio and the nation, may being signaling an end to the state’s bellwether status. Kondik said that the state’s electorate is less ethnically diverse that the nation as a whole, with 80 percent of its population white, compared 70 percent nationally. The state also has fewer college graduates than the national average.  Trump did extremely well with whites with no college degrees, a dominant bloc in the Ohio electorate. But, Kondik noted, just because these voters don’t have college degrees “doesn’t mean they’re necessarily poor.” Clinton lost areas that had voted for Barrack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and even in places such as Youngstown where she won, she won by far fewer votes. Clinton saw “a huge erosion in important vote centers,” he said. The question is whether they voted for a third party or just didn’t show up. African-American support, Kondik said, was weaker for Clinton than for…

East Side partners with police to decrease problem parties

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A partnership on the East Side of Bowling Green has seen success at cutting the number of nuisance parties. As the East Side Residential Neighborhood Group celebrated its 10th annual meeting last week, the members also acknowledged that their efforts were having positive outcomes. “One of our main concerns is trying to stop the deterioration of properties – and keep peace in the ‘hood,’” said Rose Hess, president of the neighborhood group. Hess admitted that the organization spends a lot of time on those two issues. But they are seeing progress. Last year, in the first few months of the fall semester at BGSU, the police responded to 22 complaints of nuisance parties. So far this fall, there have been six nuisance parties. Last year, there were 70 total complaints of parties and offensive gestures or noise, compared to 55 this year. “This year is down in numbers,” Hess said. Hess credited the neighbors, the police and the landlords for creating a more peaceful East Side. The East Side, next to BGSU, has a lower percentage of owner-occupied homes than the west side of the city. The numbers are close to 80 percent rentals and 20 percent owner-occupied in the areas bordered by Enterprise, North Main and Poe roads, and by Lehman, South Main and State streets. And Hess admitted that their organization is a squeaky wheel. “That’s what we’re known as – complainers,” she said. But the group and its partners have managed to help create better neighbors out of the students – or make life miserable enough for them to move elsewhere. “We don’t win big battles,” Hess said. “These are little skirmishes we feel are worth pursuing.” The work starts as students arrive in Bowling Green. Members of the neighborhood group walked to 513 rental units to hand out flyers welcoming students to the community, and making them aware of city rules on such topics as garbage collection and cars parked on lawns. “We make an attempt to tell the students what it means to be a good neighbor,” Hess said. Neighborhood members also plan to attend the BGSU Housing Fair in November. “Every student is great at 3 in the afternoon,” she said, noting it’s better to meet them then rather than 3 in the morning. “It’s an opportunity to connect.” The East…

Wood County Safe Communities reviews three fatal crashes

Wood County Safe Communities held its quarterly Fatal Data Review on Tuesday, October 10. Three crashes were reviewed from the third quarter of 2017. The crashes reviewed were:  Route 20 at Oakmead in Perrysburg Township  Route 795 at Broadway  Route 199 a t Dowling Road The countermeasures established as a result of these crashes are as follows:  Always wear your seatbelt  Always be attentive when driving  Always obey all traffic control devices  Do not drive impaired

BGSU student dies in crash on U.S. 6

Bowling Green State University announced that John Sands, a senior from New London, died Monday morning in a traffic accident on U.S. 6 near Bradner. He was 23 years old. Sands was pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice. He was a part of the Firelands College criminal justice cohort and was taking a course on the Bowling Green campus this semester as he worked to complete his degree. Those wishing to express  condolences to his family, can send them to sympathy@bgsu.edu. Counselors are available to help the campus community cope with this loss. The BGSU Counseling Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,Monday–Friday, or can be reached by phone at 419-372-2081.

BGSU responds to instances of hate speech

The administration at Bowling Green State University has released a statement to the community in response to five instances of white supremacist and anti-gay postings on campus as well as an anti-gay demonstration by several members of an outside group. “These viewpoints do not represent our core values of fostering diversity and a culture of inclusion.,” the messge signed by President Mary Ellen Mazey, Provost Rodney Rogers, and Vice President for Student Affairs Thomas Gibson, states. The statement promises to keep the BGSU community informed of instances when people “spread messages of hate on our campuses.” The message notes that white supremacist groups are targeting campuses across the country. The message outlines what the university can and cannot do. “The University is committed to protecting the open exchange and debate of ideas and opinions. … BGSU cannot shield individuals from ideas that they find unwelcome or even repugnant.” However, it draws a line when such postings deface property, as the stickers did, or violate university policy as other postings do. “Rather than suppressing speech, we can, and will, speak out against individuals or groups that espouse racism, anti-Semitism, intolerance or hate. We will also continue to work to support members of our community affected by such speech.” The message concludes by encouraging those at BGSU to report such instances. The complete message is below. Members of the BGSU community: At Bowling Green State University, we are dedicated to ensuring that all members of our community feel valued, appreciated, respected and safe. We will communicate to you when members of our community fail to live up to our values, or when outside individuals or groups work to spread messages of hate on our campuses. Over the last two weeks, we have received several reports of stickers and flyers representing white supremacist groups that were found on light poles or bulletin boards on our Bowling Green campus. These types of activities are not limited to BGSU. We know from organizations that monitor these groups and from our peers, that white supremacists are targeting college campuses across the country. Additionally, several individuals from an outside group were on campus last week demonstrating against homosexuality. These viewpoints do not represent our core values of fostering diversity and a culture of inclusion. We know these incidents are upsetting to many people and made some individuals feel unsafe. We want to…

BGSU prof launches database that tracks cases of police being arrested

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Phil Stinson, the go-to scholar for police shootings, has launched a new database that tracks instances of police going bad. Stinson, who teaches criminal justice at Bowling Green State University, has created The Henry A. Wallace Police Crime Database. The site went live Tuesday and can be reached at: https://policecrime.bgsu.edu/. The database was funded the Wallace Action Fund of the Tides foundation. Using media reports and court records, Stinson and a team of student assistants has compiled information on 8,006 instances of sworn nonfederal police officers being arrested between 2005 and 2012. That includes four cases in Wood County.* The database uses 159 different variables to describe each individual case, providing data about the arrested officer, the officer, and the disposition. What it doesn’t provide, Stinson said, is the name of the officer. “We’re not publishing names because we don’t see any benefit from a research perspective.” However, using the details that are provided, someone could fairly easily discover those names, he said. “We’re not trying to hide so many facts that you couldn’t find them.” Stinson said: “It’s important that there be knowledge of it so that law enforcement agencies can start to address it. These are not just one-offs and not just outliers. Some are huge problems.” One part of addressing it is providing help for officers who are having problems. “You look at domestic violence, it just seems to be too many cases.” “We envision people will use this database to learn about the incidence and prevalence of police misconduct in their own communities,” he said. They may start looking up reports from their hometowns then “get lost in it and understand the phenomenon in a broader sense.” Assault is the most commonly charged offense with simple assault at number one, and aggravated assault at number four.  Drunk driving is the second most commonly charged offense, followed by various types of official misconduct. Drug offenses are next. Drugs of choice in order are cocaine, marijuana, crack, steroids, and oxycodone. Rounding out the most frequent offenses are: forcible fondling, false reports-false statements, intimidation, weapons law violation, and forcible rape. Of those sexually assaulted, Stinson said, just over half are under 18. And school resource officers are more likely to be commit sex crimes. He has uncovered a pattern of officers sexually abusing youths enrolled in Explorer programs….