A Kent State student passed away Wednesday following an extended illness.
Danielle Wagner was a sophomore anthropology major who graduated in 2011 from Perry High School in Massillon, Ohio. She was 20.
Wagner was a member of the student organization Knitting for Those in Need while at Kent State.
“I don’t think anyone in [Knitting for Those in Need] knew how ill she really was because she was always knitting away, being her sassy little self,” was posted on the Kent State Knitting for Those in Need Facebook page.
The service is at 1 p.m. Monday at Paquelet and Arnold-Lynch Funeral Home in Massillon, Ohio. Her family is accepting contributions for the establishment of a scholarship in Wagner’s name for chronically ill children.
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Kent State University Trustee Richard Marsh will head the search committee for President Lester Lefton’s successor, which was announced at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting.
There are few set plans regarding the search and its timeline, Marsh said, because the committee is in its formative stage. He does not know whether the search will be public, private or a combination.
“Obviously this is a public university; we’ll do it in compliance with all those rules and regulations,” Marsh said. “At the same time, it’s important — particularly during the earlier stages of the search — to protect the confidentiality of the people that might be interested in the job in order to protect their interests as well. So it’s a weighing of those two things.”
The committee plans to hire a consultant to help, Marsh said, but hasn’t chosen anyone yet. He said he wants the committee to have diverse viewpoints — but not too many where the process would be slowed. According to university policy, the search committee for the president should be as close as possible to the following proportions: two Board members, four faculty members — including the chair of Faculty Senate and one regional faculty member, one graduate student, one undergraduate student and one alumnus or alumna. Marsh said he thinks a lot of the details will come together during the summer.
“We’ll be inviting people to give us their feedback, their comments,” he said. “There’s several ways they can do that. We expect that we’ll be setting up a website where people can access, and it may be a questionnaire or it might be an open-ended response in terms of what they’re looking for in terms of the next president.”
The Board also approved the establishment of Lefton’s home as Kent State’s official presidential house.
Lefton said his home has proved itself to be a good choice for the presidential home because it is impressive but not too extravagant, and it lends itself to hosting and entertaining guests.
“The Board felt it was important that the president of Kent State University live in the city of Kent,” Lefton said. “There are really only one or two neighborhoods in the city of Kent that have homes of the appropriate size. It turns out the home that I live in, that I built, is big and is made for entertaining. It was built specifically for entertaining people.”
Jane Murphy-Timken, chair of the Board, said the Board did not look into other areas because it felt Lefton’s home was an ideal space for university functions.
The university entered an agreement to lease the house from Shaker Heights attorney Edward W. Cochran. The lease, which began April 1, 2013, will last for 20 years, ending March 31, 2033, according to the agreement.
Timken said the Board agreed leasing — rather than buying — the house was the best option for the president now and for future presidents. According to the agreement, the university has a chance to stop leasing the home at the end of the sixth year and the end of every six consecutive years after that.
The Board approved an amended contract with Lefton that requires him to live in the presidential home, which replaces his old contract where he was receiving a total of $65,000 for his rent or mortgage and maintenance fees.
The Board also approved a revision of student employment regulations, changing the maximum number of hours a student is allowed to work per week from 32 to 28, in order to comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires employers with more than 50 full-time employees to purchase health insurance for their workers or pay a tax.
As for how the act, known as “Obamacare,” will affect other university employees, such as part-time or adjunct faculty, Eric Mansfield, executive director for university media relations, said Provost Todd Diacon thinks that fewer than 50 part-time professors may be affected, and the university is looking into solutions — including possibly having those part-time professors fill empty full-time positions.
Other discussions during the day included construction projects that will take place throughout the summer. Gregg Floyd, senior vice president for finance and administration, and Tom Euclide, associate vice president for facilities planning and operations, discussed replacing the university library’s 40-year-old roof, as well as the roofs of Henderson, Taylor, Bowman, Nixson, Moulton and McGilvrey halls.
Construction may continue into the first few weeks of fall semester, Euclide said, but other than some noise, it shouldn’t cause problems for students.
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Three women who went missing separately about a decade ago were found Monday in a home just south of downtown and likely had been tied up during years of captivity, said police, who arrested three brothers. One of the women said she had been abducted and told a 911 dispatcher in a frantic call, "I'm free now."
Crowds gathered Monday night on the street near the home where the city's police chief said he thought Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight had been held since they went missing when they were in their teens or early 20s.
The women appeared to be in good health and were taken to a hospital to be evaluated and to reunite with relatives. Police said a 6-year-old also was found in the home, but the child's identity or relationship to anyone in the home wasn't revealed.
Neighbors said they heard someone kicking at a door, yelling for help and trying desperately to get outside the house.
A neighbor, Charles Ramsey, told WEWS-TV he saw Berry, whom he didn't recognize, at a door that would open only enough to fit a hand through.
"I heard screaming," he said. "I'm eating my McDonald's. I come outside. I see this girl going nuts trying to get out of a house."
Anna Tejeda, who lives across the street, said Berry was nervous, crying and appeared dressed in pajamas and old sandals after she kicked out the screen in a door to escape and call police. Tejeda speaks Spanish, and a friend translated her comments to The Associated Press.
On a recorded 911 call Monday, Berry declared, "I'm Amanda Berry. I've been on the news for the last 10 years."
She said she had been taken by someone and begged for police officers to arrive at the home on Cleveland's west side before he returned.
"I've been kidnapped, and I've been missing for 10 years," she told the dispatcher. "And I'm here. I'm free now."
Berry disappeared at age 16 on April 21, 2003, when she called her sister to say she was getting a ride home from her job at a Burger King. DeJesus went missing at age 14 on her way home from school about a year later. They were found just a few miles from where they had gone missing.
Police said Knight went missing in 2002 and is 32 now. They didn't provide current ages for Berry or DeJesus.
Police said one of the brothers, a 52-year-old, lived at the home, and the others, ages 50 and 54, lived elsewhere. Authorities released no names and gave no details about them or what charges they might face.
Ramsey, the neighbor, said he'd barbecued with the home's owner and never suspected something was amiss.
"There was nothing exciting about him — well, until today," he said.
Julio Castro, who runs a grocery store half a block from where the women were found, said the homeowner arrested is his nephew, Ariel Castro.
Berry also identified Ariel Castro by name in her 911 call.
Attempts to reach Ariel Castro in jail were unsuccessful Monday. Messages to the sheriff's office and a jail spokesman went unanswered, and there was no public phone listing for the home, which was being searched by dozens of police officers and sheriff's deputies.
The uncle said Ariel Castro had worked as a school bus driver. The Cleveland school district confirmed he was a former employee but wouldn't release details.
The women's loved ones said they hadn't given up hope of seeing them again.
A childhood friend of DeJesus, Kayla Rogers, said she couldn't wait to hug her.
"I've been praying, never forgot about her, ever," Rogers told The Plain Dealer newspaper.
Berry's cousin Tasheena Mitchell told the newspaper she couldn't wait to have Berry in her arms.
"I'm going to hold her, and I'm going to squeeze her and I probably won't let her go," she said.
Berry's mother, Louwana Miller, who had been hospitalized for months with pancreatitis and other ailments, died in March 2006. She had spent the previous three years looking for her daughter, whose disappearance took a toll as her health steadily deteriorated, family and friends said.
Councilwoman Dona Brady said she had spent many hours with Miller, who never gave up hope that her daughter was alive.
"She literally died of a broken heart," Brady said.
Mayor Frank Jackson expressed gratitude that the three women were found alive. He said there are many unanswered questions in the ongoing investigation.
At Metro Health Medical Center, Dr. Gerald Maloney wouldn't discuss the women's conditions in detail but said they were being evaluated by appropriate specialists.
"This is really good, because this isn't the ending we usually hear in these stories," he said. "So, we're very happy."
In January, a prison inmate was sentenced to 4 1/2 years after admitting he provided a false burial tip in the disappearance of Berry. A judge in Cleveland sentenced Robert Wolford on his guilty plea to obstruction of justice, making a false report and making a false alarm.
Last summer, Wolford tipped authorities to look for Berry's remains in a Cleveland lot. He was taken to the location, which was dug up with backhoes.
Two men arrested for questioning in the disappearance of DeJesus in 2004 were released from the city jail in 2006 after officers didn't find her body during a search of the men's house.
One of the men was transferred to the Cuyahoga County Jail on unrelated charges, while the other was allowed to go free, police said.
In September 2006, police acting on a tip tore up the concrete floor of the garage and used a cadaver dog to search unsuccessfully for DeJesus' body. Investigators confiscated 19 pieces of evidence during their search but declined to comment on the significance of the items then.
No Amber Alert was issued the day DeJesus failed to return home from school in April 2004 because no one witnessed her abduction. The lack of an Amber Alert angered her father, Felix DeJesus, who said in 2006 he believed the public will listen even if the alerts become routine.
"The Amber Alert should work for any missing child," Felix DeJesus said then. "It doesn't have to be an abduction. Whether it's an abduction or a runaway, a child needs to be found. We need to change this law."
Cleveland police said then that the alerts must be reserved for cases in which danger is imminent and the public can be of help in locating the suspect and child. ___
Associated Press writer Kantele Franko in Columbus contributed to this report.
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The May 4 Task Force Lecture Panel talked about its experiences with activism and how it has changed throughout the years at the Kiva Friday. The panel, which included author David Burstein, activist Bill Ayers and activist and politician Tom Hayden, started after a screening of Danny Miller’s “Fire in the Heartland,” according to the May 4 Task Force website.
Burstein talked about how activism looks today despite concerns from older generations who feel the people of this generation are apathetic.
“The kind of activism that is taking place today is much more diffuse, much more diffuse on issues,” he said. “So you look at an issue like the environment, where there’s an incredible amount of energy – no pun intended – on the part of young people trying to fix the climate crisis we’re living in.”
He said 89 percent of people in this generation say they will work for less money at a company where they believe that working there will have a greater social impact.
Burstein also talked about how in this generation, ideas can travel from one place, such as Kent, to anywhere in the world because of the advancements in technology.
“A lot of this has led to a generation of people who are quite active and quite activist and care deeply about the problems in our world,” Burstein said. “We are also a generation that’s more aware than ever of what’s going on in the world around us.”
Burstein also talked about how the youth of our generation respect the activism of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and against the Vietnam War.
Ayers, who also spoke, opposed the Vietnam War, going door-to-door every day during the summer, handing out information and talking to people about the truth about the war.
“I heard Paul Potter, who was the president of Students for a Democratic Society, in a big auditorium, about this size actually, say to us students, ‘You have to find a way to live your life so that it doesn’t make a mockery of your values,’” Ayers said. “That phrase has been ringing in my ears ever since…. It’s a call for justice. It’s a call for consciousness. And it says to us, ‘You could have values. You could articulate those values. And you could express those values publicly.’”
That’s when he said he decided he was going to get arrested for the first time, and his brother had the difficult job of calling their parents.
Change didn’t come from the presidents, Ayers said. It came from the people, from the fire below the presidents and the government that sparked the change.
“Where is the fire from below? Demanding justice? Demanding an end to the environmental madness?” he said.
Ayers said our world today needs movement builders and makers and people need to start where they have access.
“As long as [Congress is] an auction house, why are you spending your time worrying there when what you could be doing is building a movement, building that power from below? We don’t have access to the Pentagon, the White House, the Congress. We have absolute access to the neighborhood, the community, the street, the workplace, the classroom. That’s where we should be organizing. That’s where we get our work done. And that’s where real power comes from.”
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The 43rd annual May 4 commemoration program, hosted by the May 4 Task Force, took place on the Kent State Commons May 4 at noon. The theme of this year's program was "Come Together."
“We wanted to convey the unity that we have each spring as we gather here on the commons to remember Allison [Krause],Bill [Schroeder], Jeff [Miller] and Sandy [Scheuer],” said Jesse Denton, May 4 Tak force chair.
This year’s keynote speakers were activist Bill Ayers, author David Burstein and former California state senator Tom Hayden.
Ayers’s speech focused on the importance of remembering history and using imagination for social justice. He talked about losing his own friends during that period.
“Just as grief was about to overwhelm me, I had a revelation,” Ayers said. “Action is the antidote to hopelessness, not optimism, which pretends to predict a rosy future, and not its depressing twin pessimism, which shares a deterministic world view and an orthodox turn of mind. Our fight is for social justice and action is necessary if we are to achieve it.”
Burstein spoke about how the millennial generation uses technology for activism and how history and context are important to modern activism.
“I am a direct product of Kent State and its place in history, as are many in my generation,” Burstein said. “Members of our parents’ generation were the ones who died here and made a stand here and all across the country for social justice and things that mattered deeply to them. They stood up so we could live in a more just world, but they did not stand up so we could sit down in that world.”
Hayden spoke on the importance of remembering controversial historical events and the wrong-doings of government in the past.
“Your perseverance shows that we have it within ourselves to keep announcing the history remembering the history, respecting the history, teaching the history until our government finally recognizes the history as well,” Hayden said. “What is it about the Vietnam period, the draft resistance and Kent State that makes it less important to our true history, our bad history as well as our glorious history? I don’t know. It’s up to us to ask that question.”
Friends and family members shared eulogies for the students. Kendra Pacifico spoke for Krause, Russ Miller spoke for his brother Jeff Miller, professor Chick Canfora spoke for Scheuer and Joe Lewis spoke for Schroeder.
Jim Mueller presented the timeline of events for the Shootings, while professor Christina McVay presented the chronology for the similar shootings in Jackson State University May 15, 1970.
Musician Charlie Mosbrooke played covers of songs by Richie Havens throughout the event.
Protestors from the Kent State Truth Tribunal also attended the event. Director Laurel Krause, sister of Alison Krause, said they are unhappy with the Visitor Center, which she said left out critical facts.
The group is currently working on a hearing with the United Nations Human Rights Commission on the Shootings in October.
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The new Kent State May 4 Visitors Center housed about 425 visitors on Saturday, including Gwen Ifill, journalist and author, and Oliver Stone, Academy Award-winning writer and director, both of whom participated in the annual May 4 commemoration at Cartwright Hall at 4 and 7:30 p.m., respectively.
“I was 14 years old when May 4 happened in 1970 so I was conscious of the events around me and knew their importance,” Ifil said, who is currently serving as moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent and co-anchor for the PBS NewsHour. “But coming to Kent and seeing it all in a physical context makes it all the more special.”
Ifill moderated a May 4-based discussion panel featuring: Thomas M, Grace, a wounded causality from May 4; Darlene Clark Hine, a May 4 witness; Cybelle Jones, director of Gallagher and Associates, the firm that designed the May 4 Visitors Center; Edward P. Morgan, who participated in the 2009 Symposium on Democracy, which helped lay the foundation for the May 4 Visitors Center and Renee Romano, Rebecca Klatch and Chris Appy who were scholar consultants on the May 4 Visitors Center.
Ifill said she found the juxtaposition of the memorial striking: of the then and now, objection and activism, Civil Rights movement and anti-war movement and the 13 seconds the National Guard shot and the 43 year-old legacy.
The panel began its discussion with Grace’s recount of the day as well as the context of the time in regards to local protests that had begun almost 20 years earlier before May 4 with the Civil Rights movement.
“Those protests in the ‘50s in Kent, which was segregated at the time, set the stage for the activism,” Grace said. “Anti-war protests had begun in 1960 and steadily increased until it all came to a head on May 4.”
Grace said he was shot in the ankle and was in the ambulance with Sandra Scheuer when she died.
The panel continued to discuss the role of race and class in relation to May 4.
“[May 4] aided the formation of numerous coalitions, without some of which we would not have a black president,” Hine said.
After the panel discussion, the May 4 Visitors Center was formally dedicated by Kent State President Lester Lefton, Ohio State Representative Kathleen Clyde and Roger J. DiPaolo, Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier editor.
“We learn, we reflect, we remember,” DiPaolo said. “The memories will not endure forever. The stories we can tell now must survive for the day when our voice fall silent. The events of May 4 are too important to be forgotten.”
Following the formal dedication, Professor Gary Hanson, of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication introduced Academy Award-winning writer and director and 25th Infantry Division member Oliver Stone.
“In hindsight, I’m glad these students, these normal-looking Midwestern students, stood up for what they believed in,” Stone said. “This memorial and Visitors Center is powerful and necessary to have a memorial to that time as well as the incident.”
While touring the May 4 Visitors Center, Stone, director of films such as “Platoon,” “Born on the Fourth of July” and “JFK,” requested to watch the featured film twice.
“As an infantry member, I’m curious about the order being given to fire on the students,” Stone said. “I wanted to know if an order to fire was given and what General Canterbury was thinking. If he had any combat experience, he would have cooled it and to me it demonstrated a complete breakdown in training.”
One of the guardsmen, Larry Shafer, who admitted to shooting on students on May 4 without hearing any command, died on Friday, the day before the anniversary.
Stone spoke at Cartwright Hall before having a moment of silence in memory of Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, William Schroeder and Sandra Scheuer and then having a discussion with Hanson about his films and their historical context.
“Much of history is wrong and it’s all our fault,” Stone said. “We’re learning it wrong. With my movies, especially the new series on Showtime, [Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States], I hope to fix that.”
However, Stone said he would not want to make a May 4 movie.
“It’s a story that needs to be told for generations to come or we don’t learn anything from it,” Stone said. “But I can’t make them all.”
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Kent State students, alumni, faculty and community members gathered at 11 p.m. on Friday to participate in an annual candlelight procession around campus to honor May 4 and the victims, ending with a vigil at the place of the shootings.
“The tradition of the walk it for it to be done in silence,” said Professor Jerry Lewis, who started the procession in 1971, the year after the shooting, after ringing the Victory Bell once to begin the procession. “Peace and love.”
“In the rising of the sun and its going down,
We Remember Them.
In the bowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
We Remember Them.
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,
We Remember Them.
In the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer,
We Remember Them.
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
We Remember Them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
We Remember Them.
When we are weary and in need of strength,
We Remember Them.
When we are lost and sick of heart,
We Remember Them.
When we have joys and special celebration we yearn to share,
We Remember Them.
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are a part of us.
We Remember Them.
-From the Jewish Book of Prayer
The procession, led by four members of the May 4 Task Force each holding a candle in remembrance for the victims, continued down the Kent State Commons and around Front Campus, down Hilltop Drive, then Main Street, in front of the Music and Speech Building, then Prentice Hall before ending in the parking lot where the four victims were shot and killed. A member of the May 4 Task Force stood in their places until 12:24 p.m. on Saturday, the time of the shootings.
“We say the kaddish prayer at the end of the march not just because Allison Krause, Sandra Scheuer and Jeffrey Miller were Jewish but because it is an affirmation of God and shows that we are grateful for life and wisdom,” said Faith Barnett, alumna class of 1977 and marshall of the procession, due to health issues not allowing Professor Jerry Lewis to participate.
“We still say the prayer for William Schroeder because even though he was not Jewish he still needs blessed,” Barnett said. The “Our Father” prayer was also said at the vigil.
Rocks were placed on the cement lanterns that mark the places where the four students were killed in accordance with a Jewish tradition that says flowers will pass on but rocks are here for eternity.
“That was something I didn’t know and really appreciated learning,” said Brandon Boling, sophomore sociology major.
Boling said he believes it is important to keep having events like the procession and vigil so that way awareness can be raised about what happened at Kent State so it doesn’t happen again.
Bob Barnett said he also feels the same way and as an alumnus in the class of 1972, he was there the day of the shootings.
“I was walking to the bookstore to get more supplies for an art project and it was a beautiful day,” Barnett said. “You never would have known what was going to happen. The next thing I know I have an M-1 and bayonet shoved in my face.”
Barnett said he would describe the experience as surreal and something he usually does not like to talk about.
“You can’t explain the terror, the horror, the tragedy of the time. It was like a war zone,” Barnett said.
Barnett said he attends the procession every year and hope that it keeps the memory alive and engages a new generation so that way the story never dies and something like May 4 never happens again.
The last line in a poem from the Jewish Book of Prayer, which was handed out at the vigil, read: “So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are a part of us. We Remember Them.”
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Kent State will head over to Akron’s Lee R. Jackson Track and Field Complex this weekend to compete in the Campbell-Wright Invitational, an invitational meet serving as a tune-up to prep the team for one of the biggest meets of the season.
As the Mid-American Championships come ever closer, the track and field team has been gearing up for all-MAC competition for weeks. Head coach Bill Lawson said his team plans to use the two-day Campbell-Wright Open to fine-tune some things before stepping into the 13-team field next week.
“The main purpose of this meet is to go over to Akron and compete one more time,” Lawson said. “It’s kind of like our tune-up we host indoors before our indoor championships. It’s the same thing here, just tune up some final things they’ve been working on.”
Lawson said the athletes this weekend won’t necessarily be trying to set personal records or compete in multiple events like last weekend at the Penn Relays. Lawson said the main focus at the Campbell-Wright Open is to “keep the rhythm” going and get a feel for the competition one last time before the MAC Championships.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are coming off outstanding performances last week at the 119th annual Penn Relays. In the meet, a number of young Flashes underscored the team’s hard-fought efforts, including up-and-coming sophomore thrower Matthias Tayala, who was just recently named the MAC’s Field Athlete of the Week for the second time this season.
Last week, Tayala won the College Men’s Hammer Throw Championship and placed second in the College Men’s Discus Throw Championship. Lawson said Tayala’s first-place finish in the hammer was the culmination of the team’s Penn Relays achievements and called his throwing performance “the biggest performance of the weekend.”
“It’s been progressively getting better and better, and that’s what I try to do every season since high school,” Tayala said. “Right now my hammer has been coming great, and I’ve been throwing right where I want to be.”
Tayala’s hammer throw last week, which was 217 feet, 8 inches, now ranks seventh among Kent State’s all-time hammer throw records and eighth in the nation. Tayala said his spots in the history books are true testaments to how great Kent State’s throwing program has been.
“[At] some schools, you break a record for the school, but you’re not even top 50 in the country,” Tayala said. “Being seventh in school history and eighth in the country, that shows a lot [about] how strong the school is for the throwing side. I’m excited to move up the list through the next couple years.”
Tayala feels he is peaking at the right time and will be ready when the MAC Championships arrive.
“The MAC meet next week is one meet that I really have on my calendar circled,” Tayala said. “I’m excited for it and glad I’m throwing well at this time in the year.”
Lawson said Tayala and the rest of his team are healthy, peaking at the right time and will be ready to go come Friday.
“If we can get through one more weekend with a couple improved performances, it should put both teams in a good position to be ready to challenge for the titles on both sides,” Lawson said.
Friday’s action will kick off first with the women’s and men’s hammer throws at 3:30 p.m. Saturday’s throwing events will begin at 11 a.m. with the women’s and men’s javelin throws. Running events will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday with a special community 10,000-meter race and will pick up again at 2 p.m. with the women’s and men’s 3,000-metter steeplechase. A detailed schedule and list of events for the Campbell-Wright Open can be seen below.
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Kent State’s softball team embarks on its biggest road trip of the season with the Mid-American Conference East division championship on the line.
The Flashes (24-18-1) begin the weekend by traveling to Oxford, Ohio, for a Friday doubleheader against the Miami RedHawks (18-29).
The team holds a two-game lead on the RedHawks atop the MAC East standings. Should the Flashes sweep the doubleheader, they will clinch the title.
Head coach Karen Linder talked about how she plans on preparing her team for the RedHawks.
“Part of why our energy’s not where it needs to be is their focus is in a lot of different places right now; so how we’re preparing for Miami is, we’re taking a day off,” Linder said. “I told them, ‘I don’t want you thinking about softball [Wednesday] at all.’ Then Thursday, we have to come back and have a very good, productive practice where we will talk about Miami and what we need to do.”
Linder also made it clear that she didn’t want her team to use all their energy for just one opponent.
“I always talk about speeds of the game, and I feel we need to be at about a seven, not at a 10-speed,” Linder said. “We need to just keep our focus, keep our energy high, but not out of control.”
After leaving Oxford, the Flashes will have another tough test as they travel to Muncie, Ind., to take on the Ball State Cardinals.
The Cardinals lead the MAC West with an impressive 15-2 conference record.
Ball State has a well-rounded squad. As a team, they’re hitting .315, while the pitchers have kept the team’s ERA to just 2.90.
The first game against the Cardinals will be at 2 p.m. Saturday and the second will be at 1 p.m. Sunday.
After the Flashes return, they’ll have very little time to recover, as the MAC Tournament begins Wednesday. All games will be held at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
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With a fifth consecutive Mid-American Conference championship up for grabs, the Kent State men’s golf team will travel to Longaberger Golf Club in Nashport, Ohio for the four-day tournament.
Ranked 23rd in the nation, Kent State is the team to beat. Head coach Herb Page is confident that his team is prepared to bring home a victory.
“At this time of the year, you just sort of play and keep working on your short game, and we are just excited,” Page said. “It’s championship week.”
After having a difficult time two weeks ago at the Boilermaker Invitational, senior Kevin Miller is back in the lineup.
“Kevin kind of struggled in the last tournament in Texas and was out for a week,” Page said. “But during qualifying, he played really well and won the qualifier and earned his way back into the championship line-up.”
Joining Miller on the course will be juniors Cory Conners, Taylor Pendrith and Kyle Kmiecik, along with sophomore Nick Scott.
“We’ve been playing really well, a little inconsistent off and on, but all five of our players have some firepower,” Page said. “If we play our regular game, play up to our potential and show some consistency, someone will have to play very good to beat us.”
Ball State is currently ranked in the top 50 nationally and will be the Flashes’ biggest threat from the field of nine teams. Page believes that the only team he needs to worry about is Kent State.
“We respect all of our opponents, but in the face of a conference championship, let’s go out and play our best, and if someone beats us, then congratulations to them,” Page said.
A win this weekend would be the fifth straight title for the Flashes, as well as the 20th MAC Championship for the program.
“Hopefully Sunday night we will come home a winner,” Page said. “I have the utmost confidence in my players.”
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When the final out of the Kent State-Central Michigan game is made on Sunday, it will mark the final time that four Flashes will walk off Olga Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.
Kent State seniors Jason Bagoly, Evan Campbell, George Roberts and Casey Wilson hold memories that many can only dream of. In three seasons, the quartet has compiled a 131-62 win-loss record (70-20 Mid-American Conference), two MAC regular season titles, three MAC Tournament championships and Kent State’s first College World Series appearance in 2012.
“They’re the most successful class in the history of Kent State baseball,” Flashes head coach Scott Stricklin said. “This is the most successful group we’ve ever had, and this is their home finale, so I hope people come out to support them.”
Senior George Roberts knows emotions will play a part in the final home series.
“It’s going to be a tough weekend [being] the last one at home,” Roberts said. “[The seniors] are going to take it like it’s a dream. It’s the last time we’ll ever get to play there, so we’re going to go give it our best and hopefully go out with a bang. It’s definitely going to be an emotional day, but it’s not going to be too much different than any other game.”
The Flashes (25-20, 12-6 MAC) are in the race to claim their third straight MAC regular season title and will try to continue their six-game winning streak versus Central Michigan (19-23, 8-10 MAC) beginning at 3 p.m. Friday at Schoonover Stadium.
The winning streak, which began April 23, has given the Flashes momentum heading forward.
Kent State sits in second place in the MAC East Division standings, trailing Buffalo by 1.5 games. The Flashes should have an advantage over the Bulls as their remaining MAC schedule is against three teams all below .500 in the conference.
“It definitely plays a big role,” Campbell said. “It was about this time last year when we started rolling and got the big [21-game] winning streak started. We definitely need to get it going during these last three conference matchups to clinch and hopefully win a [Mid-American Conference] title again.”
The weekend series with Central Michigan is crucial for Kent State with the MAC tournament set to begin May 22.
The Chippewas come into the series in fourth place in the MAC West Standings, trailing leader Northern Illinois by five games. They are coming off a 7-3 loss versus Notre Dame Tuesday, but won two-of-three versus Eastern Michigan Sunday.
Stricklin said the matchup with Central Michigan should be a good one. The Chippewas rely on strong pitching from both their starters and bullpen, but what has plagued them this season has been their defense.
“We have to put pressure on them defensively,” Stricklin said. “We have to make them make plays. We have to put the ball in play and put pressure on them. If we can do that, we should have a successful weekend.”
Campbell agreed with his coach and said the success of the team will come from just being competitive.
“We just have to be ready to battle for all 27 innings this weekend, just have to be ready to be [a] scrappy [team] and tough outs [at the plate],” Campbell said.
As the wins continue to pile up for Kent State, so does the weekly Mid-American Conference Awards.
Flashes All-Americans George Roberts and Tyler Skulina were named Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week respectively on Monday. Roberts hit .750 with seven RBI and two walks during the weekend series against Bowling Green. Skulina tossed 7 2/3 innings and allowed five hits and one run with two walks and nine strikeouts during a 3-1 win over the Falcons Saturday.
It was the second time this season that each player was honored, as they became the eighth and ninth Kent State players to earn a MAC award this season, joining teammates Taylor Williams (3), T.J. Sutton, Sawyer Polen.
Contact Kevin Battaglia at Kbattag3@kent.edu.
Jody Michael is a senior news major and opinion editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at Jody Michael.
Today is my last column for the Daily Kent Stater, as I will be graduating next week. But I have no intention of forgetting about this university. I’ll still be living in Portage County, at least for the time being. I hope to come back to attend events occasionally.
This is partially a case of separation anxiety, but my vow to keep Kent State close to me is mostly due to a sincere hope that the university will forever remain as great an institution as it was for me.
I got to experience a lot of new things and make new friends. I’m grateful for the scholarships awarded to me. Most of my professors were great, and a few not only fulfilled the “course objectives” on the syllabus, but also helped me better understand the world. I hope Kent State continues to offer a great education like that to thousands of incoming students each year, for generations to come.
But sometimes, the university’s actions give me pause and make me worry about the people in charge.
Last June, I watched the Kent State Board of Trustees meeting out of curiosity. The Board was deciding whether to award President Lester Lefton his $100,000 bonus again, despite raising tuition in the previous meeting, and I wanted to see it with my own eyes. (Technically, I saw it via a TV screen in the overflow room, but that’s close enough.)
The Trustees said they hired an outside firm to perform Lefton’s evaluation, which was good to hear. But as I listened to the Board summarize the evaluation, it seemed far more glowing than it should have been. The Board did not mention that the university faced a financial shortfall that necessitated increasing students’ tuition costs. The Board did not mention that Lefton’s administration had clearly violated its contract with the faculty and almost received a vote of no confidence from the union.
Lefton obtained his bonus. Three months later, the university sent the Stater a copy of the full evaluation in compliance with a public records request. It had plenty of criticism, and yet the Board had mentioned none of it at the meeting. The Board did not mention that some of those interviewed for the evaluation “referred to him being a bit ‘prickly’ or ‘thin-skinned’ when people push back or he does not get his way.” The Board did not mention that the evaluation outlined specific weaknesses like “concern for others” and “patience.”
This March was more of the same. Lefton set his own goals for the year, and since he met them, the Trustees awarded him a $104,450 bonus in the same meeting they forced students to pay $180 more for room and board.
It is never OK for the president to take more while students are forced to pay more. No one will ever convince me otherwise.
Lefton’s supporters will continue to defend his bonuses — because they’re in his contract, or because the tuition increases are due to state budget cuts, or because Lefton donates back to the university sometimes. None of that matters. It is wrong that students feel the pain while Lefton gets a bonus. It's not illegal, but it's not an admirable way to get rich.
The widespread anger about Lefton’s bonuses meant many celebrated when he announced he will retire in 2014, but I’ve realized that Lefton was never the real problem. Indeed, he has presided over a period of impressive enrollment increases and a stunning downtown redevelopment project.
His successor has big shoes to fill — and when the shoes are filled, are we to believe that the Board of Trustees will suddenly behave any differently? Even once a new president arrives, I fear the Trustees will continue awarding $100,000 bonuses and raising tuition in the same breath while whitewashing any criticism of the administration. They’re not embarrassed.
Lefton is an easy target, but the Board of Trustees is the university’s true systemic problem — and perhaps the administration’s excess has sustained because of the deep-rooted belief that Lefton is the problem. Start contacting the Trustees; force them to listen to the students whom their decisions affect. That’s my final advice to students as I graduate. It’s our best hope of making Kent State a better university.
This evening, Bill Ayers will be speaking at a May 4 lecture panel. For those of you who do not know him, Ayers is a radical activist from the 1960s and 1970s, and the ringleader of the Weather Underground, a collection of extremists labeled by the FBI as a domestic terrorist group. Ayers and the group have taken credit for multiple bombings, including incidents at the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and the New York City Police Department headquarters.
In a New York Times interview on Sept. 11, 2001, Ayers stated, “I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough.”
As students of Kent State University, we should not support this decision to bring Ayers to our campus as a commemorative speaker for this unfortunate and tragic event in our nation's history.
Forgiveness will always be given to those who deserve it, but Ayers has failed to voice regret for his actions. The group responsible for inviting Ayers to Kent, the May 4 Task Force, states on its website that it is tasked with the effort to pursue an “ongoing quest for truth and justice and to attain proper memorial tribute to our fellow students.”
Ayers should not speak at the night's event, and we are disappointed with the fact that a man with a violent past is allowed to honor those fallen victim to unfortunate violence.
We can do better, and we hope next year the May 4 Task Force invites speakers that Kent State students can be proud to have on their campus.
— Kent State College Republicans
Extremist Islamic militants made a decision to ban the delivery of food aid in Somalia, and in 2011 the African nation was said to be the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. The first in-depth study of famine deaths in Somalia in 2011 was released Thursday, and it estimates that 133,000 children under the age of 5 died. (read full story here)
A wildfire spread across Southern California communities on Thursday, causing evacuations at California State University and homes in the area. The blaze started during morning rush hour and was quickly spread by the wind. About 5,000 students attend California State, all of whom were told to evacuate campus. More than 500 fire fighters worked to stop the fire. (read full story here)
Police said a man who fired a gun at the main Houston, Texas, airport was killed after a confrontation with a law enforcement official. Houston police Capt. Dwayne Ready said it’s unclear if the man, who has yet to be identified, fatally shot himself, or if he was killed by a Homeland Security agent who had confronted him. Officials said an autopsy will be done on Friday. The airport terminal remains closed but the rest of the airport is operating.
Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry said five people have died and two others are in critical condition with a confirmed case of a new respiratory virus related to SARS. The ministry said on Thursday that it had informed the World Health Organization of the seven cases. The germ that causes the illness is from a family of viruses that cause the common cold, as well as SARS — the respiratory syndrome that killed more than 800 people in a 2003 epidemic. The new virus was first identified last year in the Middle East.
Maryland became the first state south of the Mason-Dixon line to abolish the death penalty Thursday. Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley opposes capital punishment and is considering seeking the 2016 presidential nomination. Maryland is the 18th state to get rid of the death penalty.
All information is from The Associated Press.
Contact Maura Zurick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although I probably know more than anyone else about the historical significance of May 4, I will not be attending tomorrow night's panel discussion. For the 23rd year since my book on May 4 was published, I have not been invited to share my expertise.
It is almost as if every dunce at the university is in “confederacy against me.” That, of course, was Jonathan Swift's definition of a genius; but no, I am not a genius, even if the university keeps insisting on defining me as one. I am just the author of the most thorough study of May 4. My book explains why May 4 happened and why no one was held accountable for the multiple crimes committed on the campus.
Even though I will not be flying 2,500 miles on my own dime just to hear all the propaganda for the zillionth time, there is still some unresolved business. I hope someone in the audience will ask these questions tomorrow night:
1. When the Center was being planned, I asked professor Laura Davis if she would display all (now 30) books on the shootings to encourage visitors to learn more. When I visited the Center last fall, I was flabbergasted to find only two books displayed — both co-authored by Davis herself. Attendees should ask Davis if she is deliberately trying to erase me from Kent State's history, and whether it has to do with the fact I am not a radical. Is erasing people from history what Kent State scholars do? How do her actions differ from outright censorship?
2. Speaking of conflicts of interest, I'd like to know why she invited Oliver Stone to speak. Is she trying to convince him to make a movie about May 4 — one that would undoubtedly transform her friend Alan Canfora from the straw that broke the Guardsmen's backs into a heroic figure? Stone rewrote history once before in his 1991 film, “JFK.” He turned a reckless and thoroughly discredited prosecutor into a truth-seeking hero, despite the fact that his prosecutions were based on the flimsiest of evidence. At the time, Stone talked about “creating new myths.” Should he not have thought instead about puncturing all the old myths that already exist?
3. Does anyone who visits the Center leave with the feeling that justice was not done? I did not get that impression. What was arguably the most important aspect of May 4 was reduced to a footnote.
4. Finally, is the Center and May 4 itself being used to further a political agenda and to advance the careers of a few selfish professors? If that is the case, it is unfortunately business as usual at Kent State. Fortunately, I have meticulously documented all the behind-the-scenes dirty tricks — and it will all come out soon.
William A. Gordon is a 1973 Kent State graduate and the author of “Four Dead in Ohio: Was There a Conspiracy at Kent State?”
It’s been a semester of ups and downs at Kent State, and we at the Daily Kent Stater have followed and reported the news every day. We’re looking back on the semester and reflecting on some of the major news stories that defined the Spring 2013 semester.
The Kent State football team had a historic season that ended in its participation in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Although the Flashes were unable to defeat the Arkansas State Red Wolves, we loved that the whole university came together to support the team and show some school spirit.
The end of spring break brought saddening news to the Kent State campus as the hashtag #prayersforJage began to trend on Twitter. JJ Marino, along with four other Kent State students, was involved in a car accident on the group’s way back from spring break. Marino was life-flighted from the scene and later pronounced dead at the hospital. The other men were sent home after being treated for minor injuries. Memorials and candlelight vigils were held the week following his death, and an online donation site helped to raise money for Marino’s family.
Board raises room and board rates, awards Lefton bonus
At its March meeting, the Kent State Board of Trustees voted to increase room and board rates by 3.9 percent and award President Lester Lefton his full performance bonus of $104,450. While Lefton’s numerous contributions to the school cannot be ignored, students weren’t exactly happy to hear about Lefton’s bonus in the same breath as an increased room and board rate.
Lefton’s home on Elizabeth Court was sold to a new owner, who now leases the property to Kent State. Lefton continues to reside in the home, though he no longer receives his housing stipend of $65,000 from the university. We speculate that Lefton selling his home was a pre-emptive move toward his retirement, though we were told The Board has been looking to create a presidential home for some time.
Lefton announced he will be retiring when his contract for the year 2013-14 expires on July 1, 2014. In his six years of presidency, Lefton has done a lot for this university — from increasing graduation rates to campus-wide renovations and downtown developments — and although he may not be the most popular among students at times, Kent State is going to have a tough time finding a president to fill his shoes.
College Fest — just kidding
Following last year’s College Fest riots, police planned for the worst this year, but nothing happened. Severe warnings from police and the university toward potential partygoers and College Avenue residents deterred the party from happening. Police patrolled the street all day, looking sort of ridiculous on a street filled with nothing but a few residents sitting on their porches.
The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.
Kent State University’s Board of Trustees will focus on issues related to the university’s president, including starting a search committee for President Lester Lefton’s successor, at its Tuesday, May 14 meeting.
“When there is a vacancy in the president, they look at what is the kind of person we need to hire at this point and time, what characteristics should they have, where is the university going,” said Charlene Reed, secretary for the Board, in an interview February 1.
Jane Murphy Timken, chair of the Board, will appoint a trustee to chair the search committee, which will consist of other trustees, cabinet members, faculty and possibly city leaders, said Eric Mansfield, executive director of university media relations.
Once the committee is appointed, the members will decide how to conduct the search and whether they will conduct it privately, publicly or a mixture of the two.
The Board will also vote to establish the home where Lefton and his wife are currently living as the official presidential home, after the university entered into a lease agreement that began April 1 to lease the home from Shaker Heights attorney Edward W. Cochran.
The Board will vote on an amended contract for Lefton that will not include the $50,000 housing stipend that he has been receiving to pay for his mortgage, according to his 2009 amended contract.
The Board is known for voting on tuition increases, which it traditionally does at its spring meetings, but Mansfield said tuition will not be an item on the agenda for the May meeting, the Board’s second meeting this year.
In general, the Board has four regular meetings a year, one per quarter, and anywhere from one to four special meetings where they will decide on different policies for the university, including hiring and evaluating the president, Reed said.
For instance, at the March 13 meeting, the Board approved Lefton’s full performance bonus, which was $104,450 — or 25 percent of his salary — after evaluating his goals. For his bonus, Lefton wrote his own goals in a five-page letter that included 10 different metrics to measure his success.
According to the July 22, 2012, letter, one of his metrics intended for him to “develop a plan and demonstrate progress in focus areas for personal development, such as increasing the number of contacts with faculty members and students and providing more forums for communication and consensus building.”
In his end-of-the-year letter to Timken, he wrote that he had been meeting groups of 10 to 20 people from different departments on campus, including the English and history departments, and talking to them about the direction of the university.
“We then reviewed his performance based on those goals and metrics, and the Board came to the conclusion that President Lefton is exceeding or meeting all of those goals and metrics and is well deserving of his full-performance bonus,” Timken said at the March 13 meeting. She mentioned his work with campus renovations and a 13 percent increase in graduation rates as some of the reasons the Board awarded him his bonus.
Board members approve other items, such as new programs, including the Masters of Fashion Degree at its March 13 meeting, and property purchases, in order to keep the university running and moving forward with its goals for the future.
“They are supposed to take a long-term view of the institution and make sure that the university people at this point and time, administration, faculty, staff and students, are being consistent with the mission of the university within its broad scope,” Reed said. “That the institution is being well managed, that people are making good decisions and that it will ultimately survive and thrive for another hundred years.”
Contact Alicia Balog at email@example.com.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A wildfire fanned by gusty Santa Ana winds raged along the fringes of Southern California communities on Thursday, forcing evacuation of homes and a university while setting recreational vehicles ablaze.
The blaze erupted during morning rush hour along U.S. 101 in the Camarillo area about 50 miles west of Los Angeles. It was quickly spread by the winds, which also pushed other damaging blazes across the region.
The evacuation orders included the smoke-choked campus of California State University, Channel Islands, attended by about 5,000 students. Flames quickly moved down slopes toward subdivisions, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. Some 6,500 acres — more than 10 square miles — were charred, with no containment. A cluster of RVs in a parking lot was destroyed as flames moved close to a mobile home park. There were no reports of homes burning.
More than 500 firefighters from multiple agencies with help from aircraft dropping water and retardant worked to protect numerous homes around Camarillo Springs Golf Course and in a section of adjacent Thousand Oaks.
Air tankers had to be grounded in early afternoon because of the winds, which gusted to 50 mph.
"We're at mother nature's mercy right now," county fire spokesman Tom Kruschke told KABC-TV.
The Santa Ana winds sent plumes of smoke and embers over the homes and strawberry fields to the south. At midday, farm sheds burst into flames in a clearing amid rows of crops.
The vegetation-withering dry winds out of the northeast caused humidity levels to plunge from 80 percent to single digits in less than an hour. Temperatures soared into the 90s in Camarillo.
The area is at the western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains, which abruptly descend to a coastal agricultural plain. It was possible the flames could burn all the way to the Pacific Ocean, about 10 miles from the start point. The California Highway Patrol closed a 10-mile stretch of Pacific Coast Highway at Point Mugu.
Freddy Aoygio watched flames creep to within about 30 feet of her back door in the Camarillo Springs area. She had packed important papers and photos in her car in case she was ordered to leave.
"We'll keep our fingers and toes crossed," she told the Ventura County Star. "That's all we can do."
About 100 miles to the east, two homes, a number of outbuildings and several vehicles were destroyed, and two other homes were damaged in a 5-acre grass fire that prompted the evacuation of an elementary school in Jurupa Valley, said Theresa Williams, a spokeswoman for CalFire.
The blazes could signal a difficult fire season ahead.
Officials with the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise said Wednesday in their first 2013 summer outlook that a dry winter and expected warming trend mean the potential for significant fire activity will be above normal on the West Coast, in the Southwest and portions of Idaho and Montana.
Meanwhile, the California Department of Water Resources found the water content in the snowpack was just 17 percent of normal. The snowmelt is a vital water source for the state.
Elsewhere in California, crews made progress overnight on a 4½-square-mile fire burning in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains north of Banning, but winds returned on Thursday morning, Riverside County fire spokeswoman Jody Hagemann said.
The fire that burned a home on Wednesday was 40 percent contained with only sporadic flames showing, but renewed winds gusting to 40 mph could halt that progress.
The blaze was being fought by aircraft and nearly 700 firefighters. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries.
Hundreds of people briefly evacuated homes.
A stand from firefighters came too late for Joe Kiener, 53, who lost the house he had lived in since his mother bought it in the 1970s.
Kiener was home on a lunch break when he stepped outside to check on his barking dog and saw heavy smoke approaching. He took the dog and started to leave just as a deputy arrived to tell him to evacuate.
"When I left I went around the corner and I got engulfed in a big cloud of smoke," said Kiener.
He got out safely, but the next time he saw the house was in a cellphone picture sent by his neighbor. The roof was on fire, and he knew it would be destroyed, but he shrugged off the loss.
In Northern California, crews were able to hold the line against two wind-whipped wildfires, but one in Tehama County continued to grow. The Panther Fire north of the town of Butte Meadows had spread to 2,000 acres with 10 percent containment. The fire was burning in a remote area of brush and timber and is not threatening any homes, state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
A fire in Sonoma County that has burned 125 acres did not grow overnight. Full containment on the Yellow Fire was expected later in the day, Berlant said.
Two smaller fires totaling 165 acres were burning in Glenn and Butte counties. Berlant said crews were also able to hold the line against one of those fires, the 55-acre Cedar Fire in Butte County, but wind was expected to be a factor.
Weather forecasts called for red flag conditions of extreme fire danger in canyons, foothills and mountain passes because of the winds, coupled with hot, dry weather.
Several other small fires were reported in widely separated areas near freeways.
CHRISTOPHER WEBER,Associated Press
AP writers Raquel Maria Dillon contributed from Banning, Robert Jablon contributed from Los Angeles.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
JASON STRAZIUSO,Associated Press
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A decision by extremist Islamic militants to ban delivery of food aid and a "normalization of crisis" that numbed international donors to unfolding disaster made south-central Somalia the most dangerous place in the world to be a child in 2011.
The first in-depth study of famine deaths in Somalia in 2011 was released Thursday, and it estimates that 133,000 children under age 5 died, with child death rates approaching 20 percent in some communities.
That's 133,000 under-5 child deaths out of an estimated 6.5 million people in south-central Somalia. That compares to 65,000 under-5 deaths that occurred in all other industrial countries in the world combined during the same period, a population of 990 million, said Chris Hillbruner, a senior food security adviser at FEWS NET, a U.S.-sponsored famine warning agency.
"The scale of the child mortality is really off the charts," Hillbruner said in a telephone interview from Washington.
FEWS NET was one of two food security agencies that sponsored the study. The other was the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit - Somalia. The two agencies had warned the world as early as fall 2010 that failed rains in Somalia meant a hunger crisis was approaching.
"The world was too slow to respond to stark warnings of drought, exacerbated by conflict in Somalia, and people paid with their lives. These deaths could and should have been prevented," said Senait Gebregziabher, the Somalia director for the aid group Oxfam.
The new study put the total number of famine deaths at nearly 260,000. The Associated Press first reported the death toll on Monday, based on officials who had been briefed on the report.
In March 2011 some 13,000 people died from famine, the study found. In May and June 30,000 people died each month — at least half of them children. The U.N.'s formal declaration of famine didn't happen until July.
Why was there such a slow humanitarian response? One reason Hillbruner indicated was the feeling that Somalis are always suffering.
"I think that one of the key issues is that there was this normalization of crisis in south-central Somalia, and that I think the international community has become used to levels of malnutrition and food insecurity in southern Somalia that in other parts of the world would be considered unacceptable," Hillbruner said.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the hardest-hit famine regions were controlled by the extremist Islamist group al-Shabab.
"Al-Shabab's inhumane blockage of humanitarian assistance prior to and during the famine, including banning dozens of humanitarian organizations from providing lifesaving assistance, thwarted a more rapid international rapid humanitarian response that could have saved even more lives," Ventrell said. "And equally, al-Shabab's refusal to allow affected populations to leave al-Shabab-controlled areas prevented them from seeking assistance elsewhere."
The study was conducted by Francesco Checchi, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Courtland Robinson, a demographer at Johns Hopkins University. It drew on 200 mortality surveys by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit , including 61 from the famine period, and data on food prices, wages and humanitarian access.
Philippe Lazzarini, the chief U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, said in a video news conference from Mogadishu Thursday that the death toll was shocking and sobering. He said the report confirms that aid groups should have done more before famine was declared — by which point 120,000 people had already died.
Lazzarini also noted that more than a dozen aid groups were banned from operating in south-central Somalia by al-Shabab, a hardline anti-West political decision that made saving lives "extraordinarily difficult." He said that in the months before famine was declared the crisis did not receive the amount of attention it should have, in part because of a lack of access because of al-Shabab.
"The famine was almost a silent drama of tragedy," he said. "It was not on the news. Media did not have access. Agencies did not have access. The extraordinary challenge of access explains why the early response, despite the early warning, did not really take place."
Ken Menkaus, a Somalia expert at Davidson College, said some elements of al-Shabab bear major responsibility for famine deaths, but that other factors contributed as well, including a corrupt Somali central government and general insecurity that made travel in Somalia dangerous.
Thousands of Somalis walked dozens or hundreds of miles to reach camps in Kenya, Ethiopia and Mogadishu, the Somali capital. Countless numbers of families lost children or elderly members along routes that became known as roads of death.
Somalia has made great progress since the famine ended in February 2012. Al-Shabab has been forced out of Mogadishu and now controls far less territory than it once did. The government appears more capable than the Transitional Federal Government in place during the famine, but challenges like child mortality and food security remain.
Gebregziabher said a global conference on Somalia which will be held in London next week should encourage investment in long-term development to ensure the country does not suffer famine again.
Associated Press reporter Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.
There’s something about the air surrounding Kent State’s campus every May 4. It’s thicker, dense with solitude, reflection and heavy hearts. As hundreds of students, past and present, gather around the Victory Bell in silence every year, the sense of mutual understanding is acute.
Kent State students have the privilege and burden of keeping the spotlight on what happened May 4, 1970. Students have the responsibility of educating the rest of the country on something that put Kent, Ohio, in the middle of an international conversation and has since been quieted by the history books.
“Having gone to Kent State makes me feel a sense of duty to participate in the commemoration,” Ashley Pierce, a recent Kent State alumna, said. “A lot of times, when you tell someone you go to Kent [State], they cringe because they think it’s taboo or something.”
Forty-three years ago, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on dozens of unarmed Kent State students, killing four and injuring nine others — leaving some permanently paralyzed. The 67 rounds of ammunition fired in less than 13 seconds came as a result of student unrest about President Richard Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
The four years following the shooting, Kent State’s administration sponsored the May 4 commemoration but discontinued the effort in 1976.
It was then that the May 4 Task Force was created by a group of concerned students eager to keep the story alive. The group has planned and sponsored a panel of speakers, a candlelight vigil and an official commemoration overlooking the Commons ¬— where the protest took place — each year.
This year, the Task Force is offering students the chance to hear from Bill Ayers, a prominent and well-known anti-war activist who co-founded the Weather Underground, a leftist organization founded in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Tom Hayden, another political activist.
Although it wasn’t until 1990 when the original 2.5-acre memorial was created, students gathered to remember the victims. Since then, numerous additions have been made to the memorial, including markers in the parking lot between Taylor and Prentice Halls where each of the students were killed.
The entire memorial was added to the National Register of Historic Places in February of 2010.
What’s new about this year’s commemoration is the May 4 Visitors Center. The center features memorabilia from video footage to enlarged newspaper manuscripts from the days leading up to, and following, the shooting.
Although it silently opened on Oct. 20, 2012, its founders thought it appropriate to officially open the center during this year's commemoration.
Carole Barbato, who helped found the center and has been teaching a class on May 4 alongside another founder, Laura Davis, said the Task Force will orchestrate the official commemoration. The center will be formally opened after the day’s events.
She said she hopes the ceremony will add another element to the memorial.
“We’re hoping that students will be able to see that what happened 43 years ago can have relevance to them today,” she said. “So, we’re hoping for our panelists to talk about what happened on May 4 and how that affected history at that time, but also how that has and can continue to influence people today.”
Journalist Gwen Iffil will moderate a discussion titled “Historical Significance of May 4 and the Visitors Center" from 4 to 6 p.m. on May 4 in Cartwright Hall.
Barbato said they are looking forward to hearing from a variety of historians, activists and sociologists from universities all around the country.
“Each of them have a really interesting answer to the role of Kent State in history,” she said.
After the panel discussion, award-winning film director Oliver Stone will hold a conference titled “History and Memory in Film,” during which he’ll draw from Vietnam-era films and explore the connection to Kent State.
While Barbato is excited for the attention that these celebrities will bring the topic, she said she’s more eager to hear from the friends and families of the victims who will speak during the commemoration the Task Force arranged.
“I always love to hear from the families,” she said. “I always find that very heartwarming. I love to hear the anecdotes about the four people who were killed. ... It personalizes the messages.”
Ashley Gibson, sophomore exploratory major, said she hadn’t really felt the impact of May 4 until she visited the center for the first time.
“I felt a personal connection to the students who were killed after visiting the center,” Gibson said. “The video footage was pretty real, and I hadn’t really comprehended what it must have been like that day.”
What Barbato hopes students take from this year’s ceremony is simple: Young people can make a difference.
“It doesn't have to be something big. It can be a small, kind gesture that can change a person,” she said.
Contact Christina Suttles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Longboarding is taking the boarding culture by storm and has just recently made its way on to the Kent State campus.
“Kent State’s campus is the ideal terrain for a longboarder because of the crazy hills that make it exciting,” said Brooklynn Hansley, junior teaching English as a second language major. “The best part is the rush you get while boarding.”
This kind of boarding has been around for over 60 years, dominating mostly on the east and west coasts.
“It is something I have never tried before, and I have always wanted to be a skater girl,” Hansley said. “So, when I knew that my roommate knew how to board, I said, ‘Why not give it a go?’”
With the rise of popularity of longboarding, three students from Kent State decided to come together and create “Kent Skate,” a boarding group on campus.
Scott Waite, senior aeronautics major, started longboarding four years ago. When Waite came to Kent State, he met two other friends who shared his passion for boarding, and they started riding together. After longboarding together for a while, the guys thought of the idea to create a Facebook group called “Kent Skate.”
“I founded it out of a growing interest in the sport and the positive social attitude that followed as a result,” Waite said.
The Facebook group “Kent Skate” only started with a few members and now has over 100. The group was created so members had a way to contact other boarders and see when they are free to skate, Waite said.
“I think it is absolutely a growing sport and in a way I see it as being as timeless as surfing itself,” Waite said. “The sport will continue to grow and improve with board design and technology.”
A longboard is similar to a surfboard on wheels and is much longer than the typical skateboard. A regular skateboard varies from 30 to 38 inches in length compared to a longboard that is 42 to 80 inches. The longer board makes for a much more comfortable and easier ride.
Students interested in boarding and becoming a member of “Kent Skate” can visit the group’s Facebook page.
“You just got to grab a board and go for it,” Hansley said.
Contact Abby Bradford at Abradfo6@kent.edu.
The College of Communication and Information is now offering an extra $1,000 to students who apply to the Florence program for Fall 2013.
To provide more information about the Florence program, CCI held informational meetings April 16 and 17. Students listened to past experiences of those who have already gone to Florence. Marissa Decker, senior advertising major, went to Florence during Fall 2011.
“[I] became much more independent; I became more confident,” Decker said. “I wish I could go back.”
Deborah Davis, the study aboard coordinator in CCI, said the extra $1,000 is used as an incentive to get more students to apply for the fall semester.
Students who knew they would be going to Florence said the extra $1,000 was a bonus. Melissa Venditti, senior global communication major, knows she will be going to Florence in the fall and said the scholarship is a nice bonus.
The deadline to apply for the fall semester has been moved to May 15.
Contact Alyssa Flynn at Aflynn9@kent.edu.
Kent State fashion design students will host their second ever Kent Fashion Week at 157 Lounge in downtown Kent this weekend.
The event started Thursday and will end Saturday.
Matt Guska, manager of 157 Lounge, said it is a chance for all of the senior fashion design students to display their final collections that may have not been in The Fashion School’s Annual Fashion Show, “FS2.”
“Each year, [the] school’s fashion show is getting bigger and bigger,” Guska said. “Our show is more of a gallery presentation. Each designer has a designated time slot, so friends and family have the chance to come see their work up close without sitting through an entire show.”
Kent Fashion Week is run and organized solely by students, who met on a weekly basis since the beginning of the semester to plan the event.
“We all got to organize and pick our own music, models, make-up and hair,” said Nina Zahler, senior fashion designer. “We get to show all of our looks, and unlike last weekend’s fashion show, everything is totally up to us and what we want in our segment. I am really excited.”
There are 56 fashion designers presenting their collections at the show, with two presenting at a time during 20-minute segments.
“I have worked on my collection since my junior year,” said Danielle Pusateri, senior fashion design major. “We have done so many things over the past year to get our senior collections ready. We even went to New York City to pick out fabrics. We put this on so we can express ourselves and our collection strictly the way we want to.”
The night will kick-off with a live DJ and a presentation from the Women 4 Women Ohio organization. Guska said 50 percent of all profits during the first two hours of Thursday’s showing will go to the organization.
W4WO raises money through events to support scholarships for high school and university-bound girls in Cambodia who would otherwise be unable to attend school.
“We have worked with the local organization before,” Guska said. “We wanted to keep the event positive and give back.”
The bar will be set up with multiple podiums standing high around the bar so people can see the looks from all different angles, Guska said.
157 Lounge is located at 157 S. Water St in downtown Kent. The show will begin at 6 p.m. each night and go until 10 p.m. Admission is free, and the event is open to all ages.
“Although it is every aspiring fashion designer’s dream to show their collections during a fashion week, it can take years to get there,” Zahler said. “I guess we are taking matters in our own hands, and we are getting a taste of what is to hopefully come.”
Contact Kate Kelly at email@example.com.