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Petition starts for new display of student artwork

Published: Wednesday, May 04, 2016 @ 4:47 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 04, 2016 @ 10:53 PM

            'Controversial' student artwork removed from Convention Center

UPDATE @ 10:30 p.m.: An online petition has been started for a new display of the student artwork taken down from the Dayton Convention Center by the city.

The petition by Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, parent advocate/organizer and director of Racial Justice NOW! came to light tonight.

Already, more than 100 people have signed the petition, which asks the city to:

* “Reverse its decision to censor young people and put the art back on display”

* “Acknowledge and repair the harm caused to these students”

* “Co-create with grassroots organizations a community dialogue that encourages students and other disenfranchised community members to speak up and actively engage in the political process and social justice concerns.”

Sankara-Jabar spoke earlier this evening to the Dayton City Commission on the student artwork issue.

UPDATE @ 8:30 p.m.: Dayton Commissioner Joey Williams publicly apologized to high school students whose artwork was taken down from the Dayton Convention Center by the city, saying he realizes they worked hard on the exhibit and were invited to display the work.

“I think it’s important for us to actually go on record and say that what occurred was not appropriate, and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said during the City Commission meeting at City Hall.

The artwork was produced by ninth-grade students in a U.S. history class at the Dayton Regional STEM School.

The series of silhouettes depict protests, police encounters, the Black Lives Matter movement, hip hop and events including police fatally shooting John Crawford III at the Beavercreek Walmart.

Arch Grieve, the school’s community outreach director, said the students researched marginalized groups throughout U.S. history and created posters focused on women and African Americans that draw comparisons between past and present.

The students spent about a month researching and created artwork exploring and questioning how stereotypes, police interactions, culture and protests have evolved, he said.

A few hours before Wednesday night’s commission meeting, the ACLU of Ohio sent a letter to the city asking that a public apology be issued, one that acknowledges the city’s obligation to protect the free speech of students and the public.

In February, the city had the artwork removed. It had been on display for a day or two.

City recreation director Robin Williams said convention center officials received multiple complaints about the works and decided to no longer host public art exhibits.

City Manager Shelley Dickstein said the convention center is a business center that contracts with a wide variety of private groups. She and Williams said the city has a responsibility to remain politically and socially unbiased for the center’s customers and to all citizens.

Grieve said, “We’re grateful for the city for not just saying, ‘No you can’t put it up,’ but taking time with the students to explain why it was taken down.”

Christine Link, executive director, ACLU of Ohio, said the city’s removal of the artwork was an “inexcusable act of censorship.”

She was joined in that assessment by Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, director of Racial Justice NOW!, who said the city deserves praise for being a strong advocate for some minority groups — including immigrants and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community — but has demonstrated a pattern of ignoring or remaining silent on police violence, police brutality and inequitable treatment of black residents.

“We haven’t seen that same level of solidarity and support and making sure those kinds of things don’t continue to happen unchecked,” she said.


The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has asked the city of Dayton to apologize for removing student artwork from the Dayton Convention Center that claims to depict stereotypes and historical hardships of black people.

The city of Dayton was sent a letter Wednesday afternoon by the ACLU asking it issue a public apology that acknowledges its free speech obligations to students and the public.

“The decision by city officials to remove student artwork because of its political nature is an inexcusable act of censorship,” said Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU of Ohio, in a release.

“Dayton is telling its young people that the answer to speech you don’t agree with is to silence the speaker,” Link said in the statement. “If we really value free expression and teaching young people to think for themselves, we must be prepared for messages that are difficult to hear.”

The city removed the art at the convention center after a day or two, officials said. The art features silhouettes that address police brutality, civil rights and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Train blocks road; people climb train to get through

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 8:37 AM

People were seen climbing through a train that blocked access to and from their neighborhood.
via ActionNewsJax

Motorists told Action News Jax that a train blocked traffic for more than two hours at Roosevelt Boulevard and Ortega Hills Drive on Thursday evening.

>> Read more trending news 

Neighbors told Action News Jax that the blockage affected Ortega Village Apartments, as there are only two ways in and out of the neighborhood, and the train blocked both of them. 

One viewer sent Action News Jax video of a woman climbing over the space between stopped train cars.

That same viewer sent Action News Jax video of a man lifting a child over the space between stopped train cars, and a woman who was with that child climbing over the space as well.

Action News Jax called CSX to find out why the train was blocking the road. They said the delay was caused because the train was waiting for another train to pass. They also said the delay was due to people climbing through the train and trespassing.

Neighbors said they're used to train delays, but this backup was much too long. For some people, like Lisa Jones, the delay was much more than an inconvenience. Jones has stage 3 breast cancer and was due to get radiation at UF Health.

"I missed my radiation treatment, I missed meeting the doctors with my mom because of CSX. I waited that 45 minutes, told my radiation people, 'OK, I'm gonna be late,' that went by," Jones said.

Miriam Byrd, who lives in the Ortega Village Apartments, said a train has blocked her neighborhood at least three times in the last two months. She said eventually there's going to be an emergency with no way in or out.

"It's not fair to the residents that live back here, cause elderly people live in the neighborhood and what if something happened? No authorities could get back here," Byrd said.

We asked the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office if it made any arrests for trespassing for people who climbed over the train and we have not yet heard back.

West Liberty school shooting suspect pleads not guilty by insanity

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:16 AM
Updated: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:28 AM

The suspect in the West Liberty-Salem High School shooting has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Ely Serna, through his attorney Dennis Lieberman, filed the plea by motions this week in Champaign County Common Pleas Court.

RELATED: Judge orders competency hearing for West Liberty shooting suspect

Serna has been accused of bringing a shotgun to school on Jan. 20 and firing six shots. Another student, 17-year-old Logan Cole, was shot twice in the chest and survived.

Deputies have alleged Serna also shot at a teacher and then randomly shot at classrooms before he was detained by school staff.

READ MORE: ‘Cole’s Pack’ greets West Liberty school shooting victim

Another student was grazed by a shotgun pellet but not injured.

Lieberman also filed a motion to dismiss the case in adult court and transfer the case back to juvenile court. A juvenile judge moved the case to adult court earlier this month.

Report: Pit bull sale arrangement leads to robbery

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:47 AM

Dayton Police Officers responded to an armed robbery on the corner of Warren Street and Lincoln Street Thursday afternoon.

A Dayton woman planned to meet with an acquaintance at the intersection regarding the purchase of a pit bull.


Police say, while waiting, an unidentified suspect approached her around noon with a firearm in-hand demanding for her purse.  

The suspect would then flee on foot towards downtown Dayton. The purse and its contents were valued around $250.

Wright Patt: AFRL, AFIT help students gain experience

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:48 AM

            AFIT faculty member Dr. David Jacques mentors SUCCESS Program intern John Wintersohle.

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Students from Community College Gaining Skills and Experience in STEM, or the SUCCESS Program as it is known, is designed as a vehicle to introduce community college students to AFRL and the larger Air Force to gain real world science, technology, engineering and math experience.

Community colleges serve close to half of the undergraduate students in the United States and are the gateway to postsecondary education for many minority, low income and first-generation postsecondary education students, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.

“Most recruiters are focused on bigger name schools and target students who already have experience in STEM. This program focuses on an often neglected population of students – those attending community college. Through SUCCESS, we bring community college students into AFRL as interns to gain the needed experience to be more competitive when permeant positions are available,” said Dr. Mark Derriso, SUCCESS program manager.

During the year-long program, students receive a salary and tuition assistance. At the end of their time, their government supervisor can take over the funding requirements and potentially hire the student into a full-time position.

“Even if the student doesn’t transition to a permanent position within AFRL, they have gained a wealth of experience to complement their education and have made connections with other professionals in their career field,” said Derriso.

Currently there are five students in the SUCCESS program who work in AFRL’s Sensors Directorate, Airman Systems Directorate, and the Aerospace Systems Directorate. To build a connection with the other students in the program, a joint project was introduced this year where the students work with each other to solve a real world problem. AFRL teamed with the Air Force Institute of Technology on the joint project that involves a system-level design, build and flight test of an unmanned aircraft system, or UAS, including the air vehicle and associated pay loads, a ground station computer and communication between the ground and air components. Dr. David Jacques, professor of Systems Engineering within AFIT’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management, is working with the students to teach them UAS fundamentals and how to safely conduct flight tests with UAS.

“The challenge project is to find a lost hiker, maintain visual contact and deliver medical supplies or a communication device to them. The students have to provide surveillance of a target and keep it in the field of view of the camera and then they have to be able to deliver a quarter-pound payload. They receive a CONOPS for the project that lays out the challenge problem. The students break it down to determine what they need on the UAS as well as the functions it must be able to perform. They take that information and develop a set of requirements and then design, build and test in a rapid prototyping cycle,” said Jacques.

The students participate in labs where they run experiments on topics such as motor propulsion, communication and video subsystems, and telemetry. The project culminates in a flight test and evaluation scheduled for summer 2017.

John Wintersohle is a current SUCCESS Program intern working in AFRL’s Sensors Directorate. After earning an associate degree from Sinclair Community College, he transferred to Wright State University where he is working on a dual major in Computer Science and Computer Engineering.

Wintersohle was attracted to the SUCCESS Program because of the direct work experience he would gain.

“Any student who wants to get a job needs to be able to show that they can apply their knowledge,” Wintersohle said. “Sometimes learning to apply the knowledge is as big of a challenge as learning the material itself. The SUCCESS program, and my time with Dr. Jacques, allows me the opportunity to apply what I already know, and learn more about what I don’t, to actively solve problems. This program helps me develop myself academically and professionally. I really enjoy my time here and working with the other students.”

Participating in STEM outreach activities is a top priority for AFIT, and Jacques has been very involved with outreach efforts for many years.

“Coordinating UAS design projects is an area that we have a lot of experience in, and I was happy to help with this project when our partners at AFRL contacted me. The students in the program have great enthusiasm and energy for the topic. I enjoy it. I think it is important to get students interested in engineering projects by hopefully making them fun, but also teaching them about interdisciplinary design – the fact that it isn’t all electrical, computer, or aeronautical engineering. It tends to be a mix of all of the above in order to make a system work,” said Jacques.

Jacques’ focus on interdisciplinary team work has impacted the interns. Jaime Workman, an electrical engineering student at Wright State University, said that “this project has shown me that there is a lot of cross-disciplinary work to get a project done.” Morgan Oldman, a student at Wright State University studying biomedical engineering, echoed Workman’s thought, saying, “In this program I have learned that no matter what type of engineering you are studying, the material learned in class can be applied across multiple engineering projects.”

The interns are applying their new knowledge to school and work projects. Caitlin Jenkins, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Dayton, has learned about the process of designing, building and testing and is confident this knowledge will be beneficial to her in her career.

Evan Lynd is a student at Wright State University studying computer engineering and is working at AFRL’s Sensors Directorate.

“I am currently working on software development for ground station control units. What we are doing here with the internship is related to my job because this UAS has a ground station control as well. I am able to learn the differences in the software and apply my experience to make each one better,” Lynd said.

Working at AFRL through the SUCCESS program has opened Lynd’s eyes to all of the opportunities for a computer engineer.

“I have always heard that Wright-Patt is the leader in technological advancement and this is where I want to be in my career. My goal right now is to learn as much as I can,” said Evan.