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…

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…

Sexual assaults reported at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University is again grappling with more accusations of sexual assault on campus. President Mary Ellen Mazey in a statement to the campus community said that the suspected assaults happened on Aug. 20 and Aug. 26 in Centennial Hall and the Greek Village. University Spokesman Dave Kielmeyer said that the Aug. 20 incident was reported on that day, and the Aug. 26 incident was reported on Aug. 28. Mazey wrote: “The initial investigations have revealed that the alleged assailant in both reported incidents was the same individual. To help ensure the safety of the campus community, the alleged assailant, a student, has been suspended from the University and barred from campus pending the outcome of the investigations. Because of privacy laws and the ongoing investigations, we are unable to share any additional details at this time.” The incidents involved two different victims. Kielmeyer said that “when the connection between the two incidents became apparent we took immediate action” against the alleged assailant. The incidents are being investigated by the BGSU campus police and the dean of students office. The university was rocked last spring by demonstrations over the way it handled sexual assault. Over the summer a task force to study the issue was convened and its recommendations were accepted by the administration at the beginning of the semester. “We are implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Sexual Assault to improve our reporting, investigation and adjudication processes to ensure we are empathetic, thorough, fair and respectful.” The new procedures for handling reports of sexual assault are being implemented in these cases, Kielmeyer said. Specifically the university has one administrator handling taking the initial report and supporting the victim, another in charge of the investigation, and another person will adjudicate the incident. Kielmeyer said while it was disappointing that two incidents happened so early in the semester, it is heartening that they were reported. “If incidents happen we want to know about them. It’s moving toward that culture of reporting which is…

Net neutrality backers target Latta with billboard

From FIGHT FOR THE FUTURE Today (Tuesday, Aug. 29) digital rights organization Fight for the Future unveiled 3 more crowdfunded billboards targeting Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers,  Bob Latta, and Greg Walden, members of Congress who have publicly supported the FCC’s efforts to gut net neutrality protections that keep the web free from censorship, throttling, and extra fees. The three new billboards are the latest in an ongoing campaign focused on lawmakers who oppose Internet freedom. Earlier this month the group launched an initial round of net neutrality billboards targeting six different lawmakers in states across the country. The move comes just hours before the FCC’s final deadline for public input on their controversial plan to repeal net neutrality. With lawmakers still in their home districts, the billboards – paid for by hundreds of small donations – appear in three different states. Since the massive July 12th day of action, millions have contacted their representatives – who have oversight over the FCC – to ensure these key protections are not changed or removed. The billboards send a strong message to any Members of Congress contemplating support for the FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality, which is currently being tracked through a “congressional scorecard” on BattleForTheNet.com. So far very few lawmakers have been willing to publicly support Ajit Pai’s plan, likely in light of polling that shows voters — including Republicans — overwhelmingly oppose it. The billboards encourage constituents to contact their elected representatives; for example, Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Greg Walden’s (R-OR) billboard in Medford, Oregon asks, “Want slower, more expensive Internet? Rep. Walden supports CenturyLink’s plan to destroy net neutrality. Ask him why: (541) 776-4646.” The outdoor ads feature some of the few members of Congress who came out with early support for FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality rules, including: Spokane, WA – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (N. Monroe Street at W. Broadway Ave) Findlay, OH – Rep. Bob Latta (corner of E Main Cross St and East St.) Medford, OR – Rep. Greg Walden (N. Pacific Hwy at Elm Ave) “It doesn’t matter which party you’re…

BGSU talks about how to prevent Charlottesville here

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green State University students and staff met Tuesday to prevent their campus from becoming another Charlottesville. Many of those present had fresh memories of the white supremacy leaflets posted around campus this past spring. And they had even fresher memories of the images of the violence at a white supremacists rally in Charlottesville earlier this month. Tuesday’s scene at BGSU was set as Angelica Euseary and Zarina Cornelius, of the Black Student Union, played video of President Donald Trump’s three statements about Charlottesville. They reminded the audience of the Maumee man who drove his car into a crowd, killing one and injuring many more. Euseary said Tuesday’s “community conference” was a safe space, where no bashing was allowed. “Attack the argument, not the person,” she said. Those present were reminded that last spring BGSU was targeted by alt right white supremacists, who stuck materials around campus. Those items were quickly removed, but left a bad feeling among many on campus. Students wanted to know how BGSU police would handle a demonstration like the recent one in Charlottesville – if neo Nazis and other white supremacists came here to rally. BGSU Police Chief Mike Campbell said the campus department’s 24 sworn officers have trained for handling demonstrations – both passive protesters and active aggressors. But he admitted his office has limitations. “We’re a small agency,” he said. BGSU police department has mutual aid agreements with Bowling Green, Wood County and state law enforcement – who would be called in to assist. Campbell stressed that students could also help by sharing information with police. “You guys are going to understand things are brewing long before I do,” he said. He asked that students talk with police so they can prepare for demonstrations. “We’re going to take it seriously if we get word of something.” “We want to intervene early if we can,” Campbell said. Some students asked about freedom of speech – if there are lines that can’t legally be crossed. “That can…

BGSU Task Force on Sexual Assault’s recommendations to be implemented

By BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The Bowling Green State University Task Force on Sexual Assault has completed its work and issued a final report of recommendations to address sexual assault on the university’s campuses. President Mary Ellen Mazey has announced that all of the recommendations will be implemented. “As a community, we must all come together to prevent assaults from occurring on our campuses,” Mazey said. “I am extremely pleased with the progress we’ve made and the direction we’re taking.” Mazey appointed the task force, which is comprised of students, faculty, staff and a victim advocate, in May. The charge of the task force was to review university policies and procedures for Title IX and sexual assault, benchmark university efforts against best practices from across the country and provide recommendations to improve policies, campus culture, and education and prevention efforts. Key recommendations include additional staffing and resources to support several new and enhanced efforts. For example, the university will be creating a new center focused on sexual violence prevention, advocacy and wellness. Reporting, investigative and hearing processes will be improved to ensure an empathetic, thorough, fair and respectful process for all involved parties and support services will be strengthened. Also recommended are increased training and education, including widespread promotion of and enhanced support for the “It’s On Us” campaign and its bystander intervention techniques. “It’s On Us is a cultural movement aimed at shifting the way we think about sexual assault,” said Alex Solis, task force co-chair. “Sexual assault is not only a crime committed by a perpetrator against a victim, but a societal problem in which all of us have a role to play.” Task force co-chair Meg Burrell added, “Anyone can be a bystander to a situation; it is up to each of us to be an active bystander and take a stand and intervene when appropriate.” In addition, mandatory training for students, faculty and staff will be implemented and a male engagement coordinator will be added. This coordinator will be responsible for educational programs, mentoring…

Rainbow pride flag to rise again over Unitarian Universalist church

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The rainbow pride flag has flown at the Maumee Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation for longer than the Rev. Lynn Kerr can remember. She knows it was flown on occasion before she arrived at the church six years ago, and that it has been a constant presence since after she arrived. “We want it to be known that we’re welcoming so we have a big flag out there,” Kerr said. Many of the congregants, she said, identify as LBGTQ, or as allies. “We welcome anyone from the community to join us, especially LBGTQ.” That extends now to those who on Tuesday trespassed on the church’s property on Ohio 25, and ripped down the flag. Photos taken of the incident that Kerr and members of the congregation have seen, indicate the vandals were teenagers. “I felt bad that there are teenagers who have this kind of hate,” Kerr said. “That does not bode well for our future.” The Wood County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incident. The suspects have not been positively identified, the BG Independent was told. The incident will not keep the congregation from flying the rainbow colors, though. Kerr said that organizers of Toledo’s Pride Parade, scheduled for Saturday (Aug. 19), will present the church with a new flag. On Sunday (Aug. 20) about noon after the service, congregants will gather out front to raise the new flag. Kerr said the public is invited to join them. The flag and the congregation’s outspoken support for LBGTQ rights has drawn criticism before. “We’ve riled some people up, but never felt in danger.” And it’s not only been flying the flag that has drawn the ire. “We put controversial messages on the board, important and liberal and good messages. Some people don’t like those either.” After the 2015 murder of nine black churchgoers at a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina, MVUUC posted: “Confederate flag down rainbow flag up.” The complaints come in the form of and e-mails, like the packet of Biblical passages sent…

Drivers urged to be aware of student activity

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY SAFE COMMUNITIES Wood County Safe Communities announced today (Aug. 11) that there have been 8 fatal crashes in Wood County compared to 9 at this same time last year. August is back to school month for local school districts and higher education facilities in Wood County. When travelling rural roads, please be attentive to school buses in the area picking up and dropping of their precious cargo. Watch for increased traffic in the area of school buildings and be mindful of the 20 mph school zone speed limit during restricted times. Owens Community College will start its fall semester in August. Watch for increased traffic on Oregon Road for students entering and exiting campus. Students be mindful of congestion in parking lots and be aware of your surroundings. Let’s prevent the high number of crashes that occur in your parking lots. Bowling Green State University (BGSU) will also return beginning August 21. Wooster Street is the main thoroughfare to enter the campus and shows a high volume of crashes from 11 a.m. to 6  p.m. Most crashes occur on Friday but with any event at BGSU, please be aware of the high volume of traffic and travel these areas with caution. Let’s make this back to school season the safest in history!!

Pollyeyes suspect identified

The Bowling Green Police Division has identified the suspect in the Campus Pollyeyes breaking and entering Aug. 3 at about 1 a.m Police report that: “After the subject was identified, he was interviewed and admitted to his involvement in the incident. The incident continues to be investigated – no charges have been filed. “

Here’s the scoop – cops meet with kids over ice cream

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For more than a year now, Bowling Green Police Division has been meeting citizens over cups of hot coffee. On Friday, they tried something different – meeting them over bowls of ice cream, with chocolate sauce and sprinkles on top. “This is bigger than the Coffee with the Cops,” said Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick as he looked out over the room at the Wood County District Public Library, full of children eating ice cream and wearing police badge stickers. “We’re making you all honorary policemen today,” the chief told them. Police officers posed for photos with kids holding their bowls of ice cream. They answered questions about their jobs. Deputy Chief Justin White said he did not get the usual, “Have you shot somebody” question today. In fact, most of the questions were not about the two-legged officers, but about their four-legged canine officer named Arci. “He’s going to make an appearance,” assured Hetrick. The goal was to make the kids more comfortable around police officers in their community. “We’re here to help,” said Lt. Brad Biller. “The police officers in the community are here to serve them, not to be feared by them.” The officers have visited the library in the past to read to kids, but this visit was a little different. “We’ve invited the police officers before, but we’ve never thought of combining it with ice cream,” children’s librarian Maria Simon said. “What a great idea.” The ice cream, combined with the location, drew in a different and larger crowd, Lt. Dan Mancuso said. “We were trying to get other people,” not just the normal coffee crowd, Mancuso said. “It’s summertime, kids like ice cream.” And the long-term benefit may be more than the bowl of ice cream. “So if there are problems, they feel comfortable coming to us.” The hit of the day proved to be Arci, the Belgian Malinois canine cop. His handler, Sgt. Gordon Finger, said Arci is trained for several different jobs like…

Fatal crashes reviewed

Wood County Safe Communities held their quarterly Fatal Data Review on Tuesday, June 10, 2017. Two crashes were reviewed from the second quarter of 2017 and one was deferred to the third quarter for review. The crashes reviewed were:  Route 25 at Pearl St. in the City of Bowling Green  Route 480 and Route 795  Route 20 at Oakmead in Perrysburg Township (Deferred to Third Quarter) The countermeasures established as a result of these crashes are as follows:  Always wear your seatbelt  Do not drive at an excessive speed  Always be attentive when driving  Always obey all traffic control devices  Do not drive impaired  Know your driving limitations

Wood County seeing more fatal crashes

Wood County Safe Communities announced today that there have been eight fatal crashes in Wood County for calendar year 2017, compared to five for the same time frame in 2016.  This is an increase of three crashes. Listed below is an overview of the crash statistics for January – May 2017 for Wood County: 267 injury crashes 974 property damage crashes 19% of crashes happen on Friday 9% of crashes happen at 3 pm 25% of crashes are to a fixed object 43% are on a clear day 61% are during daylight hours 63% are on dry roads 9% involve deer   We encourage you to continue your safe driving habits so everyone makes it home safe. #drivesafeohio

BG police and businesses rescue ducklings in storm drain

It was Bowling Green, not Boston. And four ducklings, not eight. And it wasn’t Officer Michael coming to the rescue. But Bowling Green had its own version of “Make Way for Ducklings” this past weekend. Four ducklings were rescued from a storm drain on South Main Street by Bowling Green Police officers, and employees from O’Reilly Auto Parts and Circle K South. An engine hoist from O’Reilly was used to lift the storm drain grate, then the ducklings were coaxed toward the opening with hot dog buns from Circle K South. Police officers then lifted the ducklings out. The young ducks were reunited with their mother, who then led them back to the wooded area near Kenwood Elementary School.  

BGSU student dies in triple homicide (updated)

A 18-year-old Bowling Green State University student was one of the victims in a triple homicide. Kylie Pifer, a biology major, was found murdered Sunday at 8 p.m. in a North Royalton home along with her mother, Suzanne Taylor, 45, and her sister, Taylor Pifer, 21, a student at Kent State. The three women were found shot in a bedroom in the homem according to cleveland.com. The mother had also been stabbed. Police have apprehended a 45-year-old man who is a suspect in the killings, and may be connected to another recent double murder. (http://www.cleveland.com/north-royalton/index.ssf/2017/06/north_royalton_triple_homicide.html ) In a state to the BGSU community, Thomas J. Gibson, vice president for student affairs and vice provost wrote: “Kylie had completed her freshman year at the University and lived in Offenhauer Residence Hall. ” He also noted that those wishing to can send condolences to sympathy@bgsu.edu. “Counselors are available to help the campus community cope with this loss,” he wrote. 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.