Wright State board to sign off on resignations of professor, researcher

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 1:57 PM

Wright State University.
Wright State University.

Wright State University trustees on Friday could officially accept the resignations of two university employees who were involved in two separate scandals.

The board of trustees will vote on recommendations from university president Cheryl Schrader for the school to accept the resignations of Jason Fruth and Phani Kidambi. At nearly every public meeting, Wright State’s board formally signs off on all new hires, promotions and separations of employees from the school.

» RELATED: Wright State professor resigns while under investigation

Fruth, who an assistant professor and co-director of the intervention specialist program, resigned in May amid a four-month university investigation into accusations that he raped one student and sexually harassed other students.

The university’s Office of Equity and Inclusion launched the investigation of Fruth, 37, on Feb. 19 after a graduate student filed a complaint claiming she had been raped by the professor, WSU investigative records obtained by the Dayton Daily News show. Fruth denied the rape and harassment allegations and a criminal investigation by the Beavercreek police led to no charges.

Kidambi, who was also suspended since May 2015 because of a federal investigation of possible violation of immigration laws, resigned from the university in August, according to records obtained by the I-Team.

» RELATED: WSU firing long-suspended provost; researcher resigns

Wright State leaders have also taken steps to fire former provost Sundaram Narayanan, who has been on paid suspension for more than two years during the same federal investigation.

Narayanan and Kidambi were two of four university administrators initially suspended in May 2015 because of the federal investigation, which an I-Team investigation showed was related to the university’s use of H-1B temporary work visas to secure employees for an area IT staffing firm in possible violation of immigration rules.


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Hamilton boy’s selfless wish makes playground more inclusive for kids

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 5:20 PM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 6:08 PM

            Grayson Combs, 10, gets ready to take a spin with some family and friends on an inclusive spinner that is accessible for children of all abilities. Grayson and his family joined Make-A-Wish Foundation to dedicate a piece of new wheelchair accessible playground equipment Saturday at Millikin Woods Park in Hamilton. He opted to use his “wish” to provide a gift for all children to enjoy. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Grayson Combs, 10, gets ready to take a spin with some family and friends on an inclusive spinner that is accessible for children of all abilities. Grayson and his family joined Make-A-Wish Foundation to dedicate a piece of new wheelchair accessible playground equipment Saturday at Millikin Woods Park in Hamilton. He opted to use his “wish” to provide a gift for all children to enjoy. ED RICHTER/STAFF

A large crowd turned out Saturday to watch Grayson Combs celebrate his birthday wish at Millikin Woods Park in Hamilton — a wheelchair accessible playground equipment that enables all children to have fun.

Combs and his family cut the ribbon to open the inclusion wheel, which is a merry-go-round that can spin disabled children in wheelchairs and able-bodied children at the same time. Grayson’s family worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to make this wish come true.

“This is a unique wish,” said Korie Bednarczuk, the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s wish coordinator working with Grayson’s family. “Every wish is special, but this is extra special because it’s a selfless wish because it’s giving back to the community.”

MORE: Hamilton boy’s wish provides playground for all children

Bednarczuk said 80 percent of the wishes granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation are travel-related and added that she’s not sure if the area chapter that serves Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana ever had a wish like this one before.

“There are a lot of generous supporters, and that’s the reason this happens,” she said.

Grayson, who turned 10 on April 2, was diagnosed with a rare condition at 5 months old called Lissencephaly, a birth defect that causes brain abnormalities, severe developmental delays and seizures, according to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When diagnosed, he was given 2-to-5 years to live and has spent his life in a wheelchair, according to his mother Carol Combs.

MORE: Disabled boy soars with balloon wishes

Eric Schmidt of Playground Equipment Services, which constructed the inclusive wheel at the park’s playground, said the amenity is very new and have become available for sale this year.

“It functions incredibly well,” Schmidt said. “It allows special needs and other children to play on it together.”

Schmidt said it was impressive that Grayson made the decision to have a piece of playground equipment installed that will last 20 or more years

“I think it’s awesome,” Schmidt said.

Steve Timmer, Hamilton Parks Conservancy’s executive director, called Saturday’s event was “wonderful.”

Timmer said the new amenity cost about $20,000.

“Grayson gave a selfless gift,” Timmer said. “This is what we’ve been moving toward over the past three years.”

He said the conservancy is planning to invest $30,000 this year for more Americans With Disabilities Act compliant amenities for the parks.

“Today is just a great way for Grayson to be able to give back to the community and start building that inclusiveness that we all hope,” said Carol Combs, Grayson’s mother. “It will give children of all abilities the opportunity to come and grow and play and just be a part of the community and learn about each other and discover like any other kid.”

There are nearly 230 children in Southern Ohio who are awaiting their wish, and Make-A-Wish relies on the financial support of the local community to grant wishes. For more information on ways to help, visit www.oki.wish.org, call 1-877-206-9474 and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @makeawishohkyin.

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'Mini-Me' actor Verne Troyer dead at 49

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 4:21 PM

Verne Troyer, famous for his role as
Verne Troyer, famous for his role as "Mini-Me" in the Austin Powers comedies, died Saturday. He was 49. (Photo: Verne Troyer/Facebook)

Verne Troyer, famous for his role as Mini-Me in the "Austin Powers" comedies, died Saturday. He was 49. 

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‘Full Metal Jacket’ actor R. Lee Ermey dead at 74

Published: Sunday, April 15, 2018 @ 7:09 PM

Remembering R. Lee Ermey

Actor R. Lee Ermey, famous for his role as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket” died Sunday. He was 74. 

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Former male stripper makes another run for Ohio governor

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 5:52 PM

Larry Ealy. (Photo: daytondailynews.com)
Larry Ealy. (Photo: daytondailynews.com)

Dayton Democrat Larry Ealy, who once worked as an exotic dancer, is making a second run for Ohio governor.

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“Why make another run at it? I’ve got some unfinished business,” said Ealy, a 55-year-old father of 10.

He said he believes that minorities, particularly African-Americans, have been denied due process and equal rights

"I believe the Jewish Democratic Party is behind the deprivation and the conspiracy to keep black people deprived of all civil rights," Ealy said in interview before the 2014 Democratic primary for governor.

In that race, Ealy won 17 percent of the vote against former FBI agent and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald. He decided to make his 2014 run while sitting in a jail cell, he said at the time.

Ealy said he hasn’t worked as a male dancer for years. “After your story, now everybody thinks I’m still stripping. Everybody called me about it,” he said. He said he was a stripper in 1988 at Spunky’s Night Club on Germantown Pike in Dayton.

Ealy and three others were investigated for alleged irregularities in voter signatures on Ealy’s nominating petitions in 2014. A grand jury examined all four cases but did not return indictments on Ealy or a second man, Keith Belluardo, of Dayton.

Two others were indicted. Bruce Black, of Dayton, pleaded guilty to two counts of prohibitions related to petitions, a fifth degree felony, and was sentenced to probation on Oct. 26, 2017, said Greg Flannagan, spokesman for Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck Jr. Jody Lane, of Dayton, was indicted on the same charges and a warrant for his arrest was issued on June 29, 2017, according to documents on file at the Montgomery County Common Pleas Clerk of Court.

Ealy’s son Lance Ealy was sentenced to 124 months in prison in 2015 after being convicted of federal fraud charges. He is serving his sentence in Kentucky.

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