A musical look back at Ohio University’s history

In 1977, Billy Joel performed in The Convo. In 2015, Waka Flocka Flame turned up the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium stage.

Times have changed.

Here’s a quick look back at who has performed at Ohio University throughout the years:

  1. The Grateful Dead, 1968

The Grateful Dead performed in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium for a free concert, according to Robert L. Williams II, an OU professor who compiled A Bulleted/Pictorial History of Ohio University. According to Willams, members of the band Jerry Garcia and Pigpen were later seen at the Union Bar.

  1. Simon and Garfunkel, 1968

    Simon and Garfunkel concert Ohio University 10-29-1968
    Simon and Garfunkel concert Ohio University 10-29-1968. Via Steinhoff.

The folk duo played the Convocation Center to a crowd of guys in ties and girls in skirts that were “delightfully short,” at least that’s how photographer Ken Steinhoff described it. Simon and Garfunkel broke up two years later.

  1. Led Zeppelin, 1969

To see an almost unknown Led Zeppelin at OU at The Convo, you would only have needed $2.50, according to Williams. That’s about $16 or $17 in today’s standards.

  1. The Who, 1969

According to Willaims, when the already-famous band performed at The Convo, Keith Moon’s whiskey was confiscated because it was a dry campus at the time.

  1. Bruce Springsteen

The Boss himself played on the same ticket as The Eagles, Blood, Sweat and Tears, and Billy Preston.

  1. Billy Joel, 1977

Billy Joel sang OU a song because he was the piano man in a concert hosted by ACRN, according to a previous Athena yearbook.

  1. Neil Young, 1980

When Neil Young stepped on stage, the drinking age had recently been changed to 21. According to Williams, that greatly affected the future of Convo concerts, because less money could be made off alcohol.

And here’s where we are in 2015:

-Waka Flocka Flame, 2015

Waka Flocka Flame was the Sibs Weekend performer and when asked by a Post reporter what goes through his mind when he’s on stage, he answered: “Turn the f—k up Waka.”

-Sam Hunt, 2015

Hunt performed at the first Country Night Lights and sang his hits “House Party” and “Take Your Time,” according to a Post article. And a bunch of ladies thought he was hot.

To listen and take a little stroll down memory lane using the Spotify playlist below:

 

Thanksgiving, done the college way

Not able to go home for Thanksgiving, low on cash, or simply wanting to host a quick “friends-giving” before trekking home for the week? No worries, because a delicious, easy and cheap Thanksgiving dinner is well within reach. Between personal experience and the wealth of crafty cooking that is Pinterest, here is a quick guide to a successful college thanksgiving.

  • The potatoes – Arguably the tastiest part of Thanksgiving dinner, mashed potatoes are also going to be the easiest for a college student. Potatoes are extremely cheap and likely something already in the pantry. In addition, mashed potatoes are a very wing-able recipe, as in one is not really needed. For the perfect mashed potatoes c3873468062_5bd39e7b92_ohop the desired amount of potatoes into small cubes (the number will vary depending on how many people need to be served), boil them until they can be pierced with a fork. drain the potatoes, and add them back to the pot. Once they are back in the pot mash them with whatever you have on hand, often a large ladle will do. While mashing add in a few splashes of milk, a tablespoon or two of butter, and a dollop of sour cream for extra creaminess. Mash till their smooth or leave a few chunks in, again, the recipe is completely adaptable to personal tastes.
  • The turkey – Depending on the group and budget, a full sized turkey is probably unmanageable and unrealistic. Instead, try a thick cut turkey sandwich. For a fancier feel, get it cut fresh from the deli, or get something like Oscar Meyer Carving Board turkey. It will give the feel of sliced-from-the-bird meat without the hours of cooking. Buy a nice crusty bread and layer it up with all the fixings.
  • Rolls –  Nobody has time to make homemade rolls. Take a break and pop your preferred store bought brand into the oven.
  •  Gravy – Again, this will be better done store bought, because without a turkey being cooked in the oven, there will not be any drippings for the base. Luckily, gravy can be bought for about $2.50 a jar and local grocery stores.
  • Cranberry Sauce – Let’s be real, canned cranberry sauce is a classic and the way it jiggles on the plate is tons of fun, but if you are feeling adventurous this recipe promises to be quick and easy.
  • Pumpkin pie – The crowning glory of Thanksgiving dinner and also a deceptively easy recipe to make. For a twist on this time honored dessert try making individual pumpkin pies. To make 12 you will need 1 prepared pie crust, 2 eggs, 4 ounces of cream cheese (half a package), 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 can of pumpkin filling, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out10934602786_09a2e29546_o the pie crust and cut into mini circles that will fit into cupcake tins. Separate the white from one of the eggs, whisk it and then brush over the pie crusts. Put the yolk from the first egg in a bowl and beat with the remaining egg. Mix softened cream cheese, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla extract and the pumpkin pie spice into the eggs and keep mixing until the mixture is smooth. Spoon the filling into the little pies and bake until golden brown and the filling is firm. Finish with a little whip cream or ice cream and voila, little bitty cups of pumpkin goodness.

Feel free to round out the meal with a big green salad, and extra veggie sides, but these basics will get you a delectable dinner and the praise of all of your guests.

Why you should help Keep Noah Rolling this Thanksgiving

Editor’s note: In a nod to the Thanksgiving holiday, reporters for the Shopping section of Court Street Stories have decided to “shop” for a local Athens charity. What better way to say “thanks” than to find an organization worthy of a donation or volunteer work? And full disclosure: Both the author (Dan Shisler) and editor (Bob Benz) of this story are part of Keep Noah Rolling, the organization that’s attempting to secure funds for Noah’s van.

 Thanksgiving, for many Americans, means a time to stuff themselves, watch the Detroit Lions, get their holiday shopping done or purchase a new set of appliances at an insanely low price. Yet the true spirit of Thanksgiving, giving thanks, often sadly takes a back seat to more commercial and materialistic interests.

I would like to gently remind our readers to put the turkey, football and discounts aside for a moment, and take some time to count your blessings. This holiday is a great opportunity to give thanks for all the small things that many people take for granted every day. For example: the basic abilities to walk and talk. Now, imagine your life without them.

Noah Trembly
Noah Trembly

For Noah Trembly, an Athens resident, that is his reality. Noah has cerebral palsy. Since birth, Noah has been living with a condition that prevents him from performing the most mundane actions that able-bodied people perform mindlessly every day. Noah uses a motorized wheelchair to move around and a sophisticated communication device to speak. At first glance, many people see a broken man. But I assure you: sitting inside that uncooperative body is a brilliant mind, a deviously witty sense of humor and a genuine and selfless soul.

I first learned about Noah in my strategic communication senior capstone class at Ohio University, when my professor, Bob Benz, announced that we would be working on a special project: helping one of his disabled friends raise money for a new handicap-accessible van. At first, I thought it was a good cause, but the kind of thing you hear about all the time. Just another guy in a wheelchair, just another charity case. Until I met Noah.

When Noah came to speak to the class, I could sense there was something different about him. The way he rolled into the classroom with bright eyes and a devilish grin instantly gave credence to Benz’s many anecdotes of an infectious and amicable personality. Noah, speaking through his device, told us his story. He told us how he has been living with this terrible condition his entire life. He told us about how it was an incredible struggle for him to get through school. He told us how one of his principals told his mother that he would probably never amount to anything, that he would probably never live a fulfilling or meaningful life.

The principal couldn’t have been more wrong.

Noah Trembly has been defying the odds ever since. His story is one of resilience and inspiration. Noah did not let his condition define him; he has overcome expectations and defined himself. Noah lives independently, albeit with the constant assistance of a caregiver. But that hasn’t stopped him from living his own life. Noah is a Grateful Dead fan. Noah is a skier. Noah is a gardener. Noah is a vegetarian (in fact, you may have seen him zipping around the Athens Farmers Market). Noah is an artist. But most importantly, Noah is a worker.

Noah, working through his company, Noah Trembly Enterprises, is an advocate for the disabled and a handicap-accessibility consultant. He is currently heading an initiative to improve the quality and wheelchair accessibility of sidewalks in Athens. Noah has consulted for Ohio University and has even been a lecturer at the institution. For someone with no control over his vocal cords, Noah speaks a lot. In fact, Noah has traveled throughout the state and the country giving talks. For travel, Noah relies on an old and decrepit van that is on its last legs. For Noah’s meaningful work to continue, a new van is essential.

The decked-out van Keep Noah Rolling is raising money for.
The decked-out van Keep Noah Rolling is raising money for.

Our capstone class devised a social media strategy to raise awareness and produce donations for Keep Noah Rolling, the charity whose goal it is to raise the $60,000 required for a new accessible van. With the help of Tony’s Tavern and Jackie O’s Brewpub, we held an event on Nov. 14 that we called Keep Noah Shuffling, our take on the age-old Court Street tradition. But instead of raising our BAC, we raised money for a great cause. A portion of every signature Tony’s Hot Nut sold that night went directly to the new van. Jackie O’s even brewed a very tasty beer especially for the occasion, with $2 from every pint sold going directly to the cause. We also accepted donations from generous patrons. All said and done, we raised over $2,000 that night. Unfortunately, that accounts for only a fraction of our lofty goal. For me though, the reward was the expression on Noah’s face after the event.

While we counted the donations in front of him at the end of the night, Noah’s face lit up and he let out what I’ve come to know as one of his signature bouts of boisterous belly-laughter. His smile was that of a man overwhelmed with gratitude for the tremendous outpouring of support from the community, local businesses, friends and total strangers alike. Our event was but the start of a movement; we still have a long road ahead of us.

Like so many of us, Noah simply wants to live independently, without government assistance, and to lead a fulfilling and meaningful life. Noah doesn’t want a donation; he wants an investment. By investing in Noah, you are investing in his ability to help enable and empower others in similar situations.

So this Thanksgiving, give thanks, give a damn, and give your support to this wonderful cause.

For those interested in donating, you can do so here. If you can’t support Noah financially, please like and share his Facebook page here.

 

group shot
Author Dan Shisler, Bob Benz and the rest of the Keep Noah Rolling capstone team.

 

Give thanks by playing with a cat this Thanksgiving

Editor’s note: In a nod to the Thanksgiving holiday, reporters for the Shopping section of Court Street Stories have decided to “shop” for a local charity. What better way to say “thanks” than to find an organization worthy of a donation or volunteer work?

https://youtu.be/1uNiPZniQCQ

 

 

 

 

The history of U.S. presidents visiting Ohio University

The great state of Ohio is known for many things, one of which is its reputation for being a swing state. Being a swing state makes Ohio very important during election seasons, making its cities crucial destinations for politicians of all kinds to visit. Ohio University itself has a long history of politicians visiting its campus and speaking to students, faculty and community members. Most notably, many U.S. presidents have taken a trip to Athens to engage with the politically active campus.

Each presidential visit has not been forgotten. Along the West Portico wall, which faces College Green, of Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium there are plaques to commemorate each special visit. According to a story in a Compass newsletter from 2010, the addition of the plaques on the honor wall began in 1965 under then-university president Vernon Alden with the goal of the wall being an inspiration for all who see it.

Hoover

On his visit in 1989, President Jimmy Carter made an inspiring sentiment and said, “Ohio University has a special place in international affairs. Its students should be world citizens.”

Johnson

In his speech along the West Portico of Templeton-Blackburn in May 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson brought along several Ohio Congressmen and members of his Cabinet. President Johnson and his Cabinet members initially came to Athens for a poverty inspection. In his address, he said with the help of Dr. Alden, “a contract has been signed by the Area Redevelopment Administration to establish a regional development institution here. This will make Ohio University the focal point of economic development for the southeastern Ohio area.” Athens County has long been one of the poorest counties in Ohio, so action plans to grow the economic development of the area had a significant effect on its citizens. His speech was a call to action for students to do what they could to support those around them and raised awareness of the issue.

Other presidents who have visited OU include John F. Kennedy, William Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Warren G. Harding, William McKinley and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Harding

The most recent president to visit OU was Barack Obama during his campaign for reelection on October 17, 2012. The trip was a last-minute stint to attract and rally supporters in the final sprint going into the campaign season. Massive government and military planes descended onto the back greens of South Green in preparation for the president’s arrival and Secret Service agents lined the permitter around College Green, where his speech took place. It was a unique experience for students to have a sitting president make an appearance on campus.

Obama

(Here is my super grainy picture of him.)

With another presidential election coming up within the next year, there is a good chance presidential hopefuls will see themselves visiting OU in an effort to appeal to the desired segment of young adult voters. Perhaps one day they too will have their name added to the West Portico Honor Wall.

OU students help dogs with Paws for a Cause

Each year during the holiday season, many children will find robots, action figures, or other toys under the tree or given to them on one of the nights of Hanukkah. For a special few, a Christmas morning I wish I got to experience while growing up, some children will pull out of a box, a new, four-legged best friend.

This is Juno. A one-year old hound mix who is a big lover. Check out her profile here: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/32631887
This is Juno. A one-year old hound mix who is a big lover. Check out her profile here: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/32631887
This is Goldie #2, a Boxer mix who loves people and belly rubs. Check her profile here https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/32871280
This is Goldie #2, a Boxer mix who loves people and belly rubs. Check her profile here https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/32871280

Dogs are one of the most influential beings in some peoples lives. They quickly become members of the family and are treated just as anyone would treat a close friend or family member. While some dogs get to be the luck ones with a bow tied to the collar, others live their lives in shelters and in the care of the Athens community and one local organization in town, Paws for a Cause.

Paws for a Cause is a student organization on campus centered on helping out with the Athens County Dog Shelter and the Friends of Shelter Dogs and the employees there. The organization raises fund for the shelter and dogs, donate supplies and especially their time to helping these animals get the love and attention they need. Vice President of Paws for a Cause Savannah Williams elaborated more on the organization,

Paws for a Cause is a non profit organization that was formed by Ohio University students,” Williams said, “every penny that we raise goes directly back to the shelter for their needs including the sick and injured fund where we help to provide medical treatment to the dogs that normally wouldn’t be able to have those procedures done due to limited funding.”

Not only do they spend their time working at the shelter and with the dogs, members of the organization also spend their time raising awareness for shelter dogs.

Paws for a Cause Vice President Savannah Williams with her dog, Ahsoka. Williams adopted Ahsoka from the shelter a year ago
Paws for a Cause Vice President Savannah Williams with her dog, Ahsoka. Williams adopted Ahsoka from the Athens County Dog Shelter a year ago

Play Time with Puppies is at the residential halls where the RA’s put on an event for their residents and we bring dogs from the shelter that they can play with for an hour or two,” Williams said, “we also do numerous bake sales/raffles here on campus with the dogs throughout the year that tend to be holiday themed, we had one for Halloween where we put the dogs in costumes, it was a blast.”  

Other events the organization puts on include adoption events at the local PetsMart on Saturdays as a way of bringing the dogs to potential families as well as trips to Laurel’s nursing home, where residents get a chance to interact with the dogs and give the dogs some attention.

Shelter dogs, unlike those bred from a private breeder, face more challenges. Not only do dogs brought to a shelter have some form of a past, one that could lead to the dog being a certain way or looking a certain way, they also have to deal with finding a home. Dogs can not stay in the shelter forever, there is not enough room to hold every dog that needs a temporary home until the right family walks in the door and that causes some dogs to be put down when they have been in the shelter for too long.

 “I often get asked “How can you volunteer and see them all and not want to adopt every single one?”  That was hard for me at first, you’d leave feeling sad that you couldn’t do more,” Williams said, “But now I look at it and see how many families get to adopt an amazing new member into their home, and my work is just the in between.  To be a part of that is all I could ever ask for”

Many loving dogs are in shelters just waiting for the right owner, and as a benefit of adopting from a shelter, dogs get treated, vaccinated, and taken care of before being introduced to their new family. Not only are the animals properly cared for before adoption, it is also a cheaper option for most families with adoption costs usually around the $200 mark as opposed to the $1,000+ price tag of a pure bred dog.

“Every time that I see one of the dogs find it’s forever home due to an event that we put on I couldn’t be happier,” Williams said. 

The shelter also has started a foster program for people to foster dogs at their homes while they continue to search for a new family for the dog. This program lets people help the dogs, while also getting the experience of what it is like to have a dog in the house, a great idea for those interested in potentially adopting.

This is Hook. He is less than a year old and is a terrier mix. Check out his profile here: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/33796976
This is Hook. He is less than a year old and is a terrier mix. Check out his profile here: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/33796976
This is Levi. A pit bull mix. Very energetic and full of love. He prefers no small children however! Check out his profile here: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/33630137
This is Levi. A pit bull mix. Very energetic and full of love. He prefers no small children however! Check out his profile here: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/33630137

It is important to note that when adopting a dog, one should be ready for the commitment and responsibility it takes to own and raise a dog. One of the hardest things a shelter can see is a dog return back to their shelter because of something that happened.

Paws for a Cause meets every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in Grover, but if you feel like helping in a different way the group is always looking for donations of things such as dog food, blankets, and first-aid items. Pine Sol is also the biggest need of the shelter. If you would like more information about the organization follow @oupawsforacause on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and look for events involving the organization on campus.

*All photos used in this piece are of dogs currently available for adoption at the Athens County Dog Shelter, follow the link here for the complete list of adoptable dogs in Athens:  http://www.fosdathens.com/#!adopt/cihc

National Geographic comes to Ohio University for GIS Day 2015

Dennis Dimick, National Geographic Environment Editor, comes to Ohio University on November 18.
Dennis Dimick, National Geographic Environment Editor, comes to Ohio University on November 18.

If you’re one of my faithful Facebook friends, you’ll know that I’ve had an obsession with National Geographic (and their reputation in the environmental communications field) since high school. So, when I got an email in early October about the keynote speaker for Ohio University’s GIS Day — Dennis Dimick, Environment and Photography Editor for Nat Geo — I could barely contain my excitement!

And part of what makes my job as an Undergraduate Research Scholar at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs’ Environmental Studies Masters program so great is that I got to cover the GIS Day events on Twitter, as a social media aficionado. How cool is that?

Here are some of the highlights from Dennis Dimick’s presentation, “The Big View: Stewardship in the Age of Man,” as captured on social media.

The presentation was sponsored by multiple departments and entities across Ohio University’s campus: Ohio University (obviously); GIS Day organizers; the Scripps College of Communication, who hosted the keynote presentation in its brand-new Schoonover Center; the Department of Geography; the Voinovich School; the Consortium for Energy, Economics and the Environment (CE3); the Sustainability Studies and Fire to iPhone themes; and the Ohio chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA). Ohio University’s Zero Waste team, a Voinovich-assisted initiative who’s social media I actively contribute to, was a partner for the event as well.

https://twitter.com/bethanynbella/status/667026776976203776

Several of my Voinovich School peers — as well as journalism faculty members from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism — were in attendance for the keynote address.

https://twitter.com/bethanynbella/status/667029993353052162

Dennis Dimick began the presentation talking about his background as a journalist and his interest in the environment. Dimick’s childhood growing up on a farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley heavily influenced both of his degrees in agriculture and agricultural journalism from Oregon State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, respectively.

https://twitter.com/bethanynbella/status/667031676934103041

Then, we moved on to the topic of the day: the Age of Humans (otherwise known as the Anthropocene in recent environmental discourse). Dimick touched on energy, the future of food, and population growth — all issues that he’s worked on through various National Geographic Magazine initiatives since the early 2000s.

https://twitter.com/bethanynbella/status/667032697710256133

With beautiful, compelling photographs and graphs, Dimick drove home the issue of rapidly increasing carbon dioxide atmospheric concentrations that we’re likely to witness over the next century.

https://twitter.com/bethanynbella/status/667035288007540737

So, with all this doom and gloom about climate change and negative environmental impacts, what’s the future of our planet? Do we have a chance to save the environment?

https://twitter.com/bethanynbella/status/667038373505327104

Dimick ended his presentation focusing on the promise of human ingenuity and sustainability — and how the future of the Earth is up to us!

https://twitter.com/bethanynbella/status/667039197400821761

Contrary to popular discourse, the environment is a multi-disciplinary issue, involving economics, science, politics, and education. And there are feasible, economically viable solutions to mitigate serious environmental hazards within the next century — but we have to start moving towards a more sustainable mindset in the very near future to prevent serious, irreversible damage to our planet.

https://twitter.com/bethanynbella/status/667040152070549504

Climate change is truly the issue of our generation, but it’s not a lost cause (yet!). Everyday actions to improve energy efficiency and mindfulness when electing government representatives can all positively impact our environment — and the future of mankind.

Experience the Athens Farmers Market

Whether the sun shines down, baking everything to a sweaty crisp, or the first frost of winter blows through the barren tree branches, the Farmers Market in Athens, OH stands strong. The hardworking farmers welcome patrons with friendly smiles and tantalizing samples of crisp produce. For two days each week, you can count on these farmers being set up and ready to go before many people even open their eyes in the morning.

Pumpkins grown by Mitch's Produce and Greenhouse
Pumpkins grown by Mitch’s Produce and Greenhouse

Every Wednesday and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon, the Athens Farmers Market thrives. When the chill of December sets in, the event is cut down to a Saturday-only time frame until the weather warms again in April. The fresh produce changes with the season, but the vendors are (for the most part) the same year round.

You can always count on the little old man selling his wife’s delicious pies, complete with cut-out-heart-crust toppings. His favorite is black raspberry, and I agree with him. The filling-to-crust ratio is nothing short of perfection.

“Sometimes, when there are leftovers, she scoops up the extra black raspberry filling into crust, and folds it over. Like a little fried pie! It’s delicious,” he says.

Continuing down the line of vendors, it seems there are endless amounts of fresh produce. With fall fading to winter, baskets overflow with sweet potatoes. Boxes showcase piles of pumpkins and butternut squash, ready for baking into sweet Thanksgiving dishes. The sweet corn of summer is no more. Instead, farmers provide the beautiful Indian corn, fine for popcorn or fall décor.

Enjoying the sweet almond raspberry tartelette from Z Bakery
Enjoying the sweet almond raspberry tartelette from Z Bakery

While the farmers are aplenty, you can also find local bakeries and restaurants selling their products under tarp-covered tents. Artisan breads, warm pizza, and sweet tartelettes are sold by Jackie O’s, Avalanche Pizza, and Z Bakery. These treats don’t disappoint. The sweet almond raspberry tartelette from Z Bakery is the perfect size to enjoy for breakfast while walking down the extensive aisle of fresh foods.

On a lucky day, you can be greeted with any number of free samples. Savory cheeses, vibrant salsas, crisp apples, and bold dips await the leisurely shoppers toting environmentally-friendly bags filled with fresh finds.

“Do you like this garlic dip?” says one farmer. The dip is flavorful atop a crunchy slice of sweet potato. “Here’s the recipe. I made it because I really need to sell more sweet potatoes,” she says. I fall for her sales tactics and buy a basket of sweet potatoes.

Many people receive more samples as they pass the Cantrell Honey table.

“Didn’t you know that redheads get honey straws today?” The vendor’s smile and attitude is sweeter than the honey he hands to me. Oftentimes, there are children at the market, with tiny feet running from parents and tinier fingers clutching tightly to their free honey straws.

At the Market, kindness overflows more than the produce overflows its containers. Warm chitchat fills the quiet morning air. The farmers extend graciousness to shoppers, maintaining a strong relationship and making regulars of the customers. The volume of voices increases as the late-risers bustle in before noon, when the sun is directly overhead and the vendors start folding in their tents and packing away their leftovers.

When leaving the Athens Farmers Market, there is excitement. The excitement of farmers, who leave with a reward for their hard work. The excitement of shoppers, ready to craft meals from the produce made by all of the hands they just shook while buying that produce. The excitement to return within a week, hungry for more.

Athens County Food Pantry needs donations, volunteers

Editor’s note: In a nod to the Thanksgiving holiday, reporters for the Shopping section of Court Street Stories have decided to “shop” for a local charity. What better way to say “thanks” than to find an organization worthy of a donation or volunteer work?

33364_oh_45701_athens-county-food-pantry_acvThe Athens County Food Pantry is a non-profit organization that provides food for people in need. The organization is supported by volunteers and has no paid employees. The donations mostly come from individuals, groups and local churches in the Athens community.

According to Frank Hare, who works at the organization, students like to donate peanut butter, canned soups, vegetables and candy, but money is the most efficient when it comes to a donation.

“Money always helps the most because we use the money to get food from food banks where we can get a large amount of food with cheaper price,” Hare said.

The Pantry’s hours vary, and they suggest calling in advance before coming in for assistance. According to Hare, most food pantry organizations have a three-day emergency food supply service where people can get three days worth of food, three meals a day.

“We have to have some sort of limit on how much people can take. The three-day emergency service is limited to once a month and it usually works pretty well,” Hare said.

Volunteers are always needed. If you would like to donate or volunteer, call (740) 448-4041

For food assistance, call directly at 1-800-338-4484

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Athens’ Fiesta Latina brings Latin music to Jackie O’s

The thud of the rhythmic Latin beat echoed out of Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery and traveled nearly up to Richland Avenue Bridge (at least a block away) last Friday night, on November 20. The commotion’s source? Athens’ Fiesta Latina. The event draws crowds so large that there is barely elbow room inside Jackie O’s (big side) pretty much every time it’s hosted.

“People see me sometimes and say, ‘hey Rico, you’re the fiesta Latina DJ,’” said Alex (DJ Rico) Smith, who organizes dance night with the help of Khader Alshaar (DJ Julio).

The event was originally intended for the Latin Association at Ohio University (OU), when it started more than three years ago. But, Fiesta Latina quickly gained a diverse following (most of the attendees last night were not Latin).

(See the Fiesta Latina crowd. View from the stage.)

Fiesta Latina’s founding father was named “Juan Pablo,” Smith explained. When Pablo had to leave Athens to return to Ecuador, Smith stepped in. He’s been hosting the event for three years with Alshaar.

“I took it over from Juan because I think it’s a really interesting thing around here. There’s not much music diversity or Latin DJs,” Smith said.

Smith explained that his mother is from Puerto Rico, so he’s grown up having a Latin influence and listening to Latin music.

The motivation to keep Fiesta Latina alive after Pablo left was there, but Smith didn’t initially have any experience as a DJ. With the help of DJ Julio, Smith has been able to pick up some mixing skills.

(Smith while DJing.)                                                            

Alex (DJ Rico) Smith

(Smith)

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Khader was also friends with Pablo and had experience working as a DJ. But, Khader isn’t Latin, he’s Syrian. He said he doesn’t have the “Latin ear.” He stepped in to help Smith run Fiesta Latina by showing him some techniques at DJing that he’s picked up over the years.

Khader started working as a DJ as a hobby years ago, but soon the hobby manifested into passion. He said that he couldn’t stop spending money buying the equipment, which didn’t make his then girlfriend very happy, but he loved DJing.

“I want to keep doing it. Having a 40 hour a week job is not going to stop me from doing an event after 5,” he said.

Khader said that he hopes to run his own studio someday, so he can produce his own music.

 (See Khader showing off his DJ skills.)                               

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 (Fiesta Latina gets people moving.)

Latin-Dance-Night-1

When Khader was asked why he wanted to help keep Fiesta Latina going, he said it was because the night provides a different sort of atmosphere.

“It’s a different environment; it’s not something you would see every single night in any bar in Athens. It’s a completely different scene. It’s become a social event,” Khader said.

(See this couple show of their Latin moves at Fiesta Latina.)

Part of the $2 cover charge goes to Jackie O’s and the DJs. Smith said that he uses the money to help pay for school expenses. Smith is a nursing student at OU and Khader studies information and telecommunication systems.

Smith said that he would continue hosting Latin dance night while he continues his studies at OU, for another three years. After that, he plans on finding a successor to keep the Latin music scene alive in Athens.

“It’s an event for everybody. If you just want to have a good time and listen to Latin music with an open mind and get a new perspective on music I think you should try it,” Smith said. Fiesta Latina is typically hosted every other month.