How Athens Police Department keeps its Bobcats under control during fest season

Springtime in Athens has rolled around again. With it comes beautiful weather, graduation, and of course fest season.

Fest weekends tend to be much more disorderly than the average weekend in Athens. As a result, the city always sees a necessary increase in police presence. With such an increase in population and risky behavior, what steps do the authorities take to keep these young adults safe?

The number of officers patrolling increases dramatically during the spring fests. Officers play a variety of distinct roles during this time of year. There are authorities patrolling on foot, horses, and some in plain clothes as undercovers.

Athens Police Department’s Mounted Patrol are the most iconic role that police employ during fest season. They never fail to get attention from students.

Mounted police begin their journey at the Athens Fairgrounds and ride their way into town toward the fest attendees. They typically travel in packs of 3 to 12 officers.

“We use the horses because it gives our police force more of a presence. We think that the presence of the horses and the view we get from being up high helps us to defuse and control situations before they can get out of hand,” said Ohio University Police Officer Bryan Newvahner. Mounted patrol officers seem to get the attention and respect of fest-goers much more effectively than officers in patrol cars, riding bikes, or on foot.

The Athens Police Department does allow for students to pet the horses, they just request that the students ask for permission before touching the animals.

A group of officers that I spoke with were all in agreement that an officer on horseback is much more effective at stopping and preventing reckless behavior in addition to maintaining order opposed to officers on foot. Mounted officers in Athens have been used since 1996 and do not seem to be going away anytime soon. They have become a staple in the spring fest image and culture.

Police reinforcements come from around the state from locations including; Columbus, Medina, Dublin, and Summit to name a few. They come from all over Ohio to support the Athens Police Department during its busy fest season. The Athens Police Department shares a mutual aid agreement where each department assists the other during busy weekends. “We need reinforcements to accommodate for the huge jump in population and risky behavior,” said Newvahner.

“We typically make around 25 to 30 arrests on any given busy fest,” said Newvahner. “We want to let students have fun but prevent them from hurting themselves or anyone else around them.” The majority of the arrests that law enforcement make are for public urination, underage drinking, or public intoxication.

Some of the fest attendees were under the impression that the police specifically targeted their party while allowing others to continue. This left me wondering, why do officers shut down certain parties and not others?

The Athens Police Department clearly wants to prevent and stop the reckless and risky behavior that comes with fest season, but why do they choose to shut down one party and allow the others to continue? To an outsider, each party just appears to have loud music and many drunk college students.

The main criteria that officers take into consideration when shutting down house parties during fests is behavior. “More often than not when we shut down a certain address it is because they have had several repeated offenses over a period of time at the same location,” said Newvahner. The repeated offenses usually happen later in the day, after students have already been drinking for an extended period of time.

Police did not always shut down street fests as early as they do now. When Ohio University was on the quarter system only a few years ago, fests would go much later into the evening.

Police began shutting down parties much earlier on the semester system because the conflict between fest-goers and law enforcement was so high. Athens Police Department found that when they prevented the fests from going so late, the encounters they had with students decreased dramatically.

As is to be expected, some students are less than enthusiastic about their parties getting shut down by the police. One tenant of a Mill Street rental property, Stephanie Anthony said, “there were parties a lot louder and crazier than ours. I don’t know why they shut us down, it’s our property.”

Each student that I spoke with seemed to have a different opinion on the police presence during the fests. Some were appreciative of the presence that they had and thought that it made them feel safer in a hectic environment.

I spoke to Mark Taylor, a sophomore studying management information systems to get his take. “I feel safer knowing that there are police all around me when so many people are drinking. They pretty much let us do what we want and only get involved if it gets too crazy, plus I love petting all the horses.”

There are also students who find that the police are too intrusive on their festing. “The number of cops just seems unnecessary, we have gotten more and more every year for the last four years and they shut down the streets earlier and earlier every year too,” said Brett Webb, a senior studying geology.

Officer Newvahner said that there are a few steps students can take to stay safe and avoid conflict with law enforcement during fest weekends. “Drinking on the sidewalk is and always has been illegal, so do not do it,” said Newvahner and a few of his colleagues.

The officers also said that respect is very important when it comes to dealing with the police. They are there to maintain order and keep students safe, they are not out to get anyone or prevent students from having a good time.

He also said, “if it is your house, try to keep it under control.” Recurring violations, such as noise, public urination, littering, and intoxication can lead to a citation and the authorities asking students to leave if they do not live there.

After interviewing representatives from both sides, students and law enforcement, there seems to be a good balance of control and freedom for the students to have fun without harming themselves or others around them.

Students and law enforcement look to have another successful fest season in spring of 2018.

We are all welcome here: International Bobcats celebrated during OHIOIWEEK17

The Bobcat family is one that transcends borders, bans, and efforts to intimidate. On Saturday, April 15 Bobcats from all walks of life bared their flags and their souls as they marched down Court Street during the International street fair and parade. The street fair marked the culmination of International Week or OHIOIWEEK17, a week long celebration of international students at Ohio University.

Despite  a group having an “Open Carry/Firearm Education Walk” on the same day which drove fear into the minds of many international students, students, faculty and staff, both international  and domestic, came out in their numbers, proving that they will not be intimidated.

The street fair began with a parade of students carrying the flags of the countries they are from from the ISFS office to the College Gate where a stage was set up and attendees were treated to performances from all over the world. Walking along court street, people were also able to get a glimpse of many cultures and try international food and drinks.

 

The highlights of the event were captured and compiled in this short video:

 

The street fair was the last of a week of activities which included a kick off event and sticking of the flags on the College Green, film screenings, panels and other social events. However, one of the highlights of the week was the keynote speech by Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a female Muslim basketball player who has been advocating for the right of Muslim women to be able to wear hijabs and play basketball. Listen to an audio recording of Abdul-Qaadir’s speech here:

 

OHIOIWEEK17 was a collaborative effort between the International Students Union (ISU) and International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS). The staff, graduate assistants and student workers of these organizations, along with many volunteers, worked assiduously to make the week a success. Hear from some of the people who made it all possible here:

 

 

 

Bobcats take over SXSW

South by South West (SXSW) is the largest media conference and festival in the world. It takes place in Austin, TX during the second and third weeks of March, annually. The conference entails every portion of media from film, music, gaming, app development, interactive media and everything in between.

 Every year, 26 students are selected to attend SXSW with Ohio University’s media program. This year, I was lucky enough to be one of them. Here is a quick look at what our group experienced at SXSW during this past week.

What Kanye West is really thinking

Kanye West- a modern mystery. Though no one can explain some (read: most) of his wild behaviors, here are some pretty good theories of what is really happening inside his head.

Photo by Hollyscoop via YouTube
  1. Kanye’s reaction when he asks Kim to stop at McDonald’s and she says “we have food at home”
Photo by realmusiq via Flickr

2. “Maybe if I wear these sunglasses indoors I’ll be invisible…”

Photo by Mathieu Lebreton via Flickr

3. Although it looks like Kanye may be having a good time, he’s actually genuinely worried about the planet’s future in regards to global warming “where are the polar bears going to go…”

via redfin.com

4. When someone is trying to call Kanye out about a public relations nightmare… “The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead though.”

Photo by ORSVP NYC via Flickr5. “lfkjlarfa”

5.  Honestly, no one knew what Kanye was thinking here.

Photo by KimandKanye via Flick

6. While Kim seems totally ready for the picture, something seems to be bothering Kanye…. “Did I remember to close the garage before we left?”

6 fashion trends that are only acceptable in college

Everyone has a bad day once in awhile and fashion sense is not a top priority. Unfortunately, some of these terrible clothing choices are accepted, or even normal, in a college environment. Sometimes, the weirdest trends are even praised by peers. Here’s a list of fashion trends that will make your parents cringe.

  1. Sock and sandals
    Photo by Gamma Man via Flickr

    This used to be a trend, but then people came to their senses. It’s now back. It might look dorky, but it’s easy and convenient when running to the dining hall or class.

2. Wearing a baseball cap instead of showering

Photo by cuncon via Pixabay

Some days it just makes sense to go purchase a hat instead of washing your hair. College is rough. Hats make it easier. And you know you roll up to class with the same expression on your face.

3. Leggings… with calf-high socks… and tennis shoes

Photo by Steven Depolo via Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For some reason college girls love the calf-high socks over their leggings. And the Converse or tennis shoes are convenient. This trend isn’t advised after college, but not a day goes by without seeing one person do this.

4. Slippers

Photo by didgeman via Pixabay

They’re not shoes… but sometimes they’re shoes.

5. Sweatpants at the bars

Photo by Paulding County Area Foundation via Google Images

College is the only time when it’s more acceptable to wear sweats to the bar over a suit or nice outfit. No one questions your lazy bum self. In fact, it’d be more weird if you were dressed up. Less money spent on nice outfits means more money for the bars. It’s a win-win situation for every broke college student!

6. Groutfits

Photo by Agatha Garcia via Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You shouldn’t do it. Even in college. But we all rock a groutfit here and there, so embrace it.

7 times you went, “aaaaargggh Jaden Smith”

Argghhh Jaden Smith. There are some dumb tweets in the world but his just might be the hardest to forget. It’s tricky to pin the guys angle. Does he intentionally take a new spin grammar because he is such an individual? I’ll let you decide.

For the record, there are no spelling mistakes here on my part.

1.) “There Is No Nutrients In Our Food Anymore Or In Our Soil OR IN OUR WATER.”

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c6/Jaden_smith_2009.jpg
Photo via Google Images

Part of this is true.

2.) “The Great Gatsby Is One Of The Greatest Movies Of All Time, Coachella.”

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jaden_Smith_2015.png
Photo via Google Images

Fitzgerald would have disapproved of Toby Maguire, although can’t speak for Coachella.

3.) “Just Watched Doctor Strange, Im Completely Blown Away, And I’m Going To Dedicate The Rest Of My Life To Those Practices. Thank You”

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Montreal_Comiccon_2015_-_Harry_Potter_(19432448076).jpg
(Photo via Google Images)

Remember Jaden, it’s Leviooosa not Leviosaaa. You’ll need that knowledge for your next defense against the dark arts exam.

And good luck with transfiguration, charms and potions.

4.) “If Everybody In The World Dropped Out Of School We Would Have A Much More Intelligent Society.” 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kanye_West_at_the_2009_Tribeca_Film_Festival.jpg
(Photo via Google Images)

He has found his niche, and it is fixing this nations education system.

5.) “Education Is Rebellion.”

https://fa.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%AC%DB%8C%D8%AF%D9%86_%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%AA
ugh (Photo via Google Images)

 

…unless you’re learning karate

6.) “If A Book Store Never Runs Out Of A Certain Book, Dose That Mean That Nobody Reads It, Or Everybody Reads It.”

https://www.flickr.com/photos/112923805@N05/20504030189
(Photo via Flickr)

To be pondered on my next walk in the woods.

7.) “The Age Of Adaline Might Be The Best Movie I’ve Ever Seen, Excluding Twilight.”

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Will_Smith_2011,_2.jpg
We’re all proud of you (Photo via Google Images)

aaaaarghh, but I hear the first one isn’t all that bad.

“Ill Never Forget The Blogs That Believed In Me Since The Begging.” J. Smith.

Gamma Phi Beta: my second home in Athens

When thinking about my favorite place in Athens, my first thought was the best bars and special food places. As I thought about this longer, I realized the reason I love being uptown is because of the people I see when I’m there. This quickly changed my favorite place in Athens to the Gamma Phi Beta house. The best way to describe why is because it is a second home. Although I do not live in the sorority house, it is a place I can be myself with all of my friends.

Gamma Phi Beta big-little reveal, Photo by Allison Divens

Being able to have access to a house with multiple rooms is awesome. When I’m at the house I have the option to spend time in many of my friends’ rooms, be in the living room to relax or go hang out in the movie room. As I’ve learned the movie room is an excellent place to take a nap, which is a plus if I’m having a long day or there’s people in my dorm room.

My dorm room can be small and crowded at times. I have never been a homebound person, even when I lived in a spacious house with three other people. The past two years of living in a small room with three other people only makes me want to be out and about even more than before. In a way, the house is going somewhere else and an escape.  

Another fun room in the house is the kitchen. At most times during the day I know I can go downstairs to the kitchen and find many of my friends hanging out or doing homework. For me, it’s really nice to have others working on projects and being productive and caring about their academics. This motivates me to be better, and it’s fun at the same time. Also, I get some free meals each week at the house. This is always a perk, especially when I’m tired of dining hall foods but too broke to buy real food!

Another reason the Gamma Phi house is my favorite place on campus is because I know I will always be laughing there. I enjoy my time alone, but I’m very much a people person. While at the house, I have the opportunity to be a part of a family and hear all about my friends’ lives. Someone always has a funny story to tell about their professors or something hilarious about one of our friends.

I enjoy being at the house because there’s also a craft room where we can go to hang out and do projects or arts and crafts. I will be honest and admit that I may be one of the least crafty people ever, but I enjoy learning how to be better and try new things. At the house, we do many bonding activities. These can include anything from game night to watching The Bachelor or even decorating cookies.

Gamma Phi Beta philanthropy event, Photo by Abby Hagelberger

Finally, the Gamma Phi Beta house is my favorite place in Athens because I have the ability to grow as a person and bond with so many greats women that I can call some of my best friends. There’s a wide range of individuals who guide me and give me the advice I need to be the best version of myself.

At the end of the day, there’s always excitement and happiness in the house. It doesn’t matter if we’re hosting bid day or hanging out in pajamas eating Chipotle because I know that either way I will enjoy my time I spend there.

A major announcement from Court Street Stories

Greetings, Court Street Stories enthusiast! Welcome back to the website that brings you all your favorite quirks of Athens, Ohio from the minds of the future of journalism!

As we continue to explore the future mediums of journalism, we have noticed that we are under utilizing our resources in one of the dominant mediums in the field today: podcasts.

Podcasts are commonly known as audible feature stories. Media consumers have shown in recent years that they find hearing stories told audibly much more accessible than reading a daunting, 2,000 word feature.

Podcasts are also a useful analytical tool for complicated matters that require a lot of explanation. It’s easier to explain what you mean in a free form conversation than it is within the constraints of the written word, AP style etc.

Podcasts have been a prominent part of our sports staff’s repertoire for a few years now, but we are looking to expand our podcast network as well as improve the quality of our existing audio content. To lead us in our endeavor, we will be making the regular host and producer of our sports podcasts, James Watkins, the head of our podcast expansion efforts.

Watkins has been a hard-working contributor to our written content in his three years with the publication, but he came to our higher-ups with a vision of what our audio product could and should be, and we are going to give him a chance to make his visions a reality.

The exact details will be revealed when we release the detailed plan to our consumers, but in overarching terms, major changes will be as follows:

Expanded network: Essentially, sports has been the only staff consistently producing podcasts over the past few years. Even then, most of those podcasts have been related to interests unrelated to our product. We will touch on that below, but every staff is capable of producing a podcast.

There are tidbits that don’t make the final version of every story. New information comes to light that can add to a story from the previous day but doesn’t constitute writing a new story. Podcasts are a perfect medium to fill in the blanks and add further context to even the most basic stories.

You can dive into the process of how you wrote your 2,000 word Magnum Opus internship portfolio piece, hold a forum among friends about how to approach The Number Fest safely, interview a source about a pressing topic related to your beat, and everything in between.

Watkins comes from the sports angle, but he will not control everyone’s content. No one knows news better than news, culture better than culture, and so on and so forth. But, he understands how to approach a podcast, and he can help our staffers understand as well.

Improved current product: This is the primary motivation behind Watkins’ proposal. Between writing and podcasting about his beat, hosting and producing the leisurely podcasts on the side, and school work, he has spread himself too thin. He believes that with his energy focused solely on the audio product, our podcasts will be more frequent, more related to what we actually cover, and better researched and produced. The sum of all these things will make our audio product sound infinitely more professional, which could open other avenues for the medium in our future (sponsors, better guests, etc.)

Increase in hirability: This would be the product of all these changes. Journalism students are constantly being told how much they should be diversifying their skills in the industry to make themselves more attractive job candidates. Here at Court Street Stories, we see the writing, and we see the videography. Adding a podcast to every staff would only further raise the eyebrows of every employer who gets a resume from one of our staffers. It’s likely that at some point in our careers, we will be juggling multiple journalistic skills at the same time, and the best way to prepare is to practice.

You have fantasy sports problems? We have the answers!

In 2015 over 56 million people world wide were involved in a fantasy sport. That was almost a 37 percent jump from 2014. In 2013, Forbes listed fantasy football alone worth 60 billion dollars. If you can find the right sport to fit your liking and knowledge you can make some serious money.

I caught up with two of my closest friends and picked their brains on their fantasy mastery. Take a listen and see if you can steal an idea or two to help you and your future teams.

 

This Is CLE: Rowing

In the city of Cleveland, Ohio, people’s lives often revolve around the sporting scene. Whether it is the Cavaliers, the Browns, or the Indians, many Clevelanders are die-hard fans. But underneath the main sporting layer lies a quiet competitor: rowing.

The Cuyahoga River courses around the city with it’s five different S-curves, proving to be a force in and of itself. Normal people would look at it, remember how it caught fire not long ago, and avoid it completely. But a brave few will go to the Burning River and use it to their advantage. These are the rowers that make up the different crews. This is CLE: Rowing.