There are no closings to report at this time.
A group of forensic archaeology students will be spending the next few weeks uncovering a mystery that lies beneath a pair of shallow graves in a wooded area in Bath Township.
It's a crime scene -- but it's not what you think. It's not real.
Everything has been set up -- including the remains of two pigs purchased from a local butcher. The animals were buried about a year ago in shallow graves in a wooded area staged as a mock crime scene.
"One of the reasons we developed this is it gives [students] practice mapping something very complicated," said KSU Assistant Anthropology Professor Dr. Linda Spurlock.
Archaeologist and UA professor Linda Whitman is one of the instructors in the three-week course designed to introduce students to forensic work and hands-on experience in the field.
"We take the bones back to the lab where they get washed and reconstructed and they look for the manner and cause of death," said Whitman.
While the story behind the pig's death is made up, the process is real -- including the smell left behind as students slowly uncover the decomposing fat, bones and clothing.
"This is what I like to do. I like to dig up bones," said UA Anthropology student Paige Dobbins. "It's kind of exciting to go from learning about it in the classroom to actually getting to dig to it."
Although it may appear to have some of the same qualities as a recent episode of Law and Order, there are still plenty of differences when compared to the real-life, forensic process.
"It's not quite as sexy as it is on television," said Dobbins. "It's a lot of dirt and decomposed fat."
For those who were concerned about a possible name change at the University of Akron, UA's president says it's not happening.
In a message sent across campus today, university president Scott Scarborough said it directly: "Let me state clearly: We are not proposing a name change. But we are seriously discussing how to reposition The University of Akron for greater distinction."
Scarborough's statement says that it is time to, "put an end to rumors and speculation about a name change that serve only to misinform and divide."
He says talks with a wide group of those involved with the University of Akron show that UA must do "a better job differentiating itself from other universities" and "distinguish itself in the higher education market."
(University of Akron, president Scott Scarborough message) THOUGH THE CAMPUS has been engaged for months in budget review, strategic planning and conversations about our future, nothing has captured the imagination of the entire community as much as the rumors of a name change.
Print and broadcast media, bloggers and petitioners, commentators and pundits are talking about The University of Akron. This should not come as a surprise. People care about our university. People are emotionally attached to certain names (which is why so many still refer to us as Akron U). And there is deep interest in our future.
But there is also a great deal of misinformation fueling the rumors. Let me state clearly: We are not proposing a name change. But we are seriously discussing how to reposition The University of Akron for greater distinction.
The need for repositioning UA emerged from three Vision 2020 Summit meetings that included representatives from the student body, faculty union and faculty leadership, staff, alumni, community, business and industry—historic gatherings of a diverse group of stakeholders discussing our future and the future of this region. During these meetings, I heard many different ideas on how to strengthen and grow our university, but everyone agreed that:
We must do a better job differentiating ourselves from other universities.
We must distinguish ourselves in the higher education market.
We must act now.
Please take a few minutes to listen to the thoughtful and insightful takeaways from the Summit participants, including faculty, in this brief video (courtesy University of Akron/YouTube):
Along with the Vision 2020 Summits, there have been open and transparent discussions across campus about budgets, operations, challenges and strategies to reposition and strengthen the university to better compete in the marketplace. Faculty and union leadership have been involved every step of the way. This is the purest form of shared governance in academia. Most recently, I have hosted strategic planning sessions with faculty in all colleges.
Let me state clearly: We are not proposing a name change. But we are seriously discussing how to reposition The University of Akron for greater distinction.
The budget and strategic planning processes focus on meeting the significant and sobering financial challenges facing our university and on strengthening areas of distinction—from polymers to applied politics, from dance to engineering, from scientific research to technology.
Those individuals who know us best know that UA is especially strong in preparing our students for successful careers, in taking what they learn in class and applying it to work that gets done in the real world.
That is why the word "polytechnic" has come up often in many discussions.
The most well known polytechnic universities (Georgia Tech, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, etc.) are defined by their career-focused, rigorous academic programs in the sciences, arts and humanities; emphasis on critical thinking and complex problem solving; applied and experiential learning; and deep connections to industry and community. We already have many polytechnic programs, approaches and strengths at UA that distinguish us and add tremendous value to a UA degree.
Let's put an end to rumors and speculation about a name change that serve only to misinform and divide.
We can do better. We will do better. Let us uphold the purest ideals of shared governance as we work together to reposition and distinguish The University of Akron to deliver on our promise to be this region's great public university.
(signed) Scott Scarborough
University of Akron President Scott Scarborough appears to be mulling over the idea of changing the name of the school.
The Beacon Journal reports that he'll address the issue at a speech at the City Club of Cleveland on May 15.
No one would confirm the details of the speech, but there's been talk of plans to change the name to reflect the university's strengths in the "polytechnical and professional fields."
There's a petition on Change.org to stop the name change from moving forward. More than 4,100 people have signed the petition as of 8:45 a.m.
The petition states that the president's plan is to change the name to "Ohio Polytech Institute" -- although that has not been confirmed.
More on the web: www.ohio.com
University of Akron President Scott Scarborough has confirmed that there has been discussion on possibly changing the university's name.
He tells the Northeast Ohio Media Group that it was an idea thrown in a brainstorming session, but no word on possible suggestions on a new name.
Scarborough said the new name would reflect the university's strengths in the "polytechnical and professional fields."
On the web: www.cleveland.com
Fashion can be used as a way to express yourself. For Neighbors Apparel, it's a chance to become the neighbor of a refugee living in Akron.
Tessa Reeves wanted to do more with her fashion degree from Kent State University. She wanted to make a difference in the community -- and that's exactly what she's doing.
Reeves teamed up with the non-profit group Urban Vision to help create employment for refugees in the North Hill area and to bring cultures together with fashion.
"What I don't want to do is create pity. We're not doing this because 'Oh, they need us," said Reeves. "We're doing this to celebrate the fact that we have these survivors living alongside us as neighbors."
Neighbors Apparel focuses on bringing two cultures together by blending traditional fabric with American design.
"One thing our people really like is our Ohio Tee," said Reeves. "Basically, we take the fabric from Thailand and we cut out a shape of Ohio and then paste it on a t-shirt. That's my favorite product because I think it tells our story the best."
Among those working at Neighbors Apparel: Head seamstress Ka Naw, a Karen refugee woman from Burma, and Chandra Rai, a Bhutanese refugee.
"There's lots of people who want to come to America, but they don't get a chance to be here due to economic problems," said Rai. "We are lucky that we get a chance to be here in America and I'm happy to be here."
In about six months, five local retailers have picked up the clothing/accessory line -- including the Market Path at Highland Square and the NOTO Boutique in Downtown Akron. Reeves hopes it's just the beginning.
The bridal shop that as at the center of the Ebola scare in the Akron area has decided to close its doors for good. Coming Attractions Bridal Shop is closing in May after not being able to recover from their financial loss following Amber Vinson's visit.
Coming Attractions employee Kayla Litz talked to WAKR's Jasen Sokol about the news.
"You know, people say 'Oh you got your dress from the Ebola store,'" Litz said. "It's a bad stigma that just hasn't seemed to go away."
Coming Attractions posted the news on their Facebook page Tuesday afternoon.
No word on whether or not Coming Attractions will move somewhere else for a fresh start.
Heroin continues to be a problem in the state and across the country. Akron's police chief has decided to tackle the growing problem by forming a unit targeting heroin dealers for possible murders charges in cases of fatal overdoses.
Police Chief James Nice says the department has worked to track high level dealers - those involved with large amounts of drugs - but now they're also coming after the low level dealers that are directly handing the drugs to the users.
"People are dying weekly from heroin overdoses. It's outrageous. It's unlike some of the other drug problems we've had," said Nice.
Nice said low level dealers barely get any jail time for carrying a small amount of drugs, but he believes they should hold some responsibility in cases of fatal overdoses.
"These people, to me, are the most egregious people that are convincing people to use heroin, giving it to them and they're dead an hour later," said Nice. "Nothing is being done with those."
Nice said the department is working to build homicide cases against the dealers. He said they currently have one case pending, but details of the case were not released.
Nice is working to convince state lawmakers to consider the importance of having tougher laws against dealers in fatal overdose cases. He said
"Those are things as a chief that I can speak out on and have word on, but the laws need to change significantly."
The new heroin unit will consist of two detectives that will have a primary mission to focus on heroin overdose investigations and to track the dealers involved in the case.