Police

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 positive in the long term.” He said that as the investigation progresses, the university “will be as transparent as possible.” Mazey concluded her statement by urging students and others on campus to be vigilant. “One sexual assault on our campus is too many. We are committed to enhancing our prevention and care efforts and we…


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 in, or how charming you are on TV — if you attack net neutrality and Internet freedom we will make sure everyone knows that you’re corrupt to the core” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/hers), “every member of Congress should take note: supporting the FCC’s plan to allow censorship,…


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 be a difficult topic,” Campbell said. “We’re talking about a Constitutional right that applies to everyone,” even if some find the words offensive. “There’s a limit to what we can restrict.” Freedom of speech law can be tricky, he said. And there is no firm line defining when freedom of speech turns to hate speech….


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 and community building; engaging men in prevention has been shown to decrease future risk. A new sexual assault and conduct policy that supports environment of reporting is being created, and members of the university community will have additional opportunities to provide ongoing feedback about this important topic. “We will also provide additional information to faculty…


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 to Kerr monthly. One local minister told Kerr she shouldn’t call herself a minister because of what she preaches. She and her congregants are undeterred. “I tell my congregation we’re not going to return their fear and hate with more anger. We’re going to return it with compassion.” Kerr said she will address the violence…


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 sniffing out narcotics, tracking people, searching for missing people, and apprehending people. Arci, who responds to commands primarily in Dutch, loves to work, Finger said. “Work is his life’s blood,” he said. “His favorite part of the day is when he sees me getting ready for work.” “When I take a shower, he’s standing staring…


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.


BG police seeking suspect who passed counterfeit $100

The Bowling Green Police Division is seeking assistance in identifying a fraud suspect. On 5/30/17 at approximately 10:20 pm, an unknown male passed a counterfeit $100 bill at Circle K gas station located at 1602 E. Wooster Street, Bowling Green, Ohio.  The suspect is described as a late 20’s to early 30’s,  6-foot tall, 185-200 lb black male with chin hair.  The suspect was wearing all black and blue tennis shoes. If you have any information related to this crime, please contact BGPD at 419-352-1131 or Wood County Crime Stoppers 419-352-0077.  You may be eligible for a reward if the information leads to a conviction.


BG police investigating thefts from vehicles

The Bowling Green Police Division is investigating a series of thefts from vehicles over the past two weeks.  The stolen property includes but is not limited to electronics, money, and personal items. A majority of these thefts in our community occur as crimes of opportunity. Therefore, citizens are reminded to remove articles of value from their unoccupied vehicles and to keep their vehicles secured (windows up, sunroofs secured, convertible tops closed, and door locks locked). Anyone having any information related to these incidents is encouraged to contact the Police Division at (419) 352-2571 or Wood Co. CrimeStoppers at (419) 352-0077 or (800) 54-CRIME.  Persons contacting Wood Co. CrimeStoppers have the opportunity to remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000 if the information that they provide proves to be pertinent to the case.  


County salutes police who lost lives while on duty

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The bell sounding the last alarm was rung 12 times Thursday for the 12 law enforcement officers in Wood County who have died in the line of duty while serving local citizens. Dating back more than 120 years, the officers lost their lives to gunfights, car crashes and drowning. “We are reminded how dangerous it is each and every day,” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said to all the law enforcement members attending. The Wood County Commissioners thanked those who gave their lives for the citizenry. State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, spoke of an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper who died 50 years ago when he was in pursuit of two speeding vehicles on the turnpike near Ohio 795. He was just 22 years old. “Obviously police officers face dangers every time they put on their uniforms,” she said. Gavarone was critical of the media for inaccurately portraying law enforcement, by focusing on the negative not the positive actions by police. “I wish some attention would be paid to the good things you guys do,” she said. Gavarone mentioned two pieces of legislature affecting law enforcement and first responders. House Bill 115 is designed to improve communication between law enforcement and motorists with communication problems. The bill creates a system for information on drivers with communication difficulties to be accessed by law enforcement as soon as a vehicle is stopped. The other legislation increases penalties against people who harm first responders and other emergency workers as they respond to incidents. “Our police officers should be given all the tools possible to do their jobs effectively,” she said. Gavarone also praised the work of the local Fraternal Order of Police, for their efforts with children doing Christmas shopping, fishing and holding movie nights. “We all owe people like you and Trooper Birchem an immeasurable amount of gratitude,” she said. Following is a list of the 12 law enforcement members in Wood County who died in the line of duty: Patrolman Jesse Baker, North Baltimore Police. On June 19, 1896, Baker and his faithful dog responded to the post office as three men were breaking in. During an exchange of gunfire, Baker was shot and died as a result of his injuries. Marshal Frank Thornton, Perrysburg Police Department. On Dec. 28, 1905, Thornton was told that five wanted individuals…