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Green with Envy: Consider proposing with eco-friendly engagement rings
Jan 01, 2010
“Every day it seems like another Facebook status makes the transition from “in a relationship” to “engaged,” and this means that engagement rings are going to be in high demand as graduation continues to approach.
While conflict diamonds — diamonds sold to fund wars — have been getting a lot of news coverage recently, especially with the release of the movie Blood Diamond in 2006, there hasn’t been much talk about the bands that hold such diamonds in place.
Unfortunately, the gold that goes along with the diamonds is tarnished with controversy as well. Gold extraction in developing countries often is not regulated with environmental concerns in mind. Deforestation, water pollution and risks to human health are all part of the formula to extract gold for jewelry use.
Cyanide is often used to extract gold from the stone it’s attached to, and gold miners often use this toxic chemical without proper safety gear, according to The Independent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that cyanide inhibits cells in the body from using oxygen, leading these cells to die. The heart and brain are most affected by exposure to cyanide.
Mercury is another toxic chemical used, although by smaller mines, to separate gold from rock. Much like the way in which people remove precious metals from e-waste, it is done in enclosed spaces with high heat, which causes people to inhale the toxic fumes, according to National Geographic. Mercury exposure can lead to permanent brain damage.
Poor working conditions for humans go along with the poor conditions of the environment containing the gold mining operations. According to The Independent, three tons of toxic waste and, according to Mother Jones, 20 tons of mine waste come from creating one gold ring. The mines — created from blowing off the tops of mountains — leave cyanide running into the water supply and sulfuric acids forming from the rocks covered with cyanide, according to Spiegel.
It might change these gold mining operations to move one’s business elsewhere, and there are plenty of businesses selling gold that is certified as “eco-friendly.” The Web site provides a list of retailers who sell gold mined in a more socially — and environmentally — sound way.
Reducing your demand to developing nations’ gold mines isn’t going to be a slap-in-the-face to those people who are struggling to survive; the problem is these workers are struggling to survive in poor working conditions without proper compensation. Big business is what will be hit hard, and consumers can use their buying power as a tool of change.
There are other alternatives to purchasing a brand new ring as well, such as finding a jeweler who will melt your old gold into a new ring. Another option is a vintage ring or reusing a ring that has been in the family. Going as far as Pamela and Tommy Lee by getting ring tattoos, however, is not something I’m ready to endorse.
Tradition is tradition, and it doesn’t have to be broken in order to coincide with environmental concerns. But something as special and meaningful as an engagement or wedding ring shouldn’t come at the expense of someone’s health or have toxic pollution and deforestation attached to it.
An eco-friendly engagement — that has a nice ring to it.
Cathy Wilson is a senior studying journalism and a copy editor for The Post. Send her an e-mail at”

Judges drastically lower bail in felony assault case
Jan 01, 2010
“Judges sharply reduced bond Friday for a local man accused of deliberately burning a 20-month-old girl with scalding water.
County prosecutors also revealed a rough outline of their case against Andrew Hutchins, 20. After his girlfriend’s daughter showed up at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital with first- and second-degree burns in mid-December, prosecutors charged Hutchins with felony assault, felony child endangerment and violating his probation.
At two morning hearings, judges drastically reduced Hutchins’ bond. Athens Municipal Court Judge William Grim eliminated Hutchins’ $75,000 bond after a court delay forced the prosecution’s expert witness to leave before the proceedings began. Assistant County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn and Hutchins’ attorney, Bill Biddlestone, agreed on the bail reduction.
Hours later, after a separate bail hearing in Athens County Common Pleas Court, Judge L. Alan Goldsberry allowed Hutchins to post 10 percent of his $250,000 bond. Hutchins’ charge in Common Pleas Court, violating his probation, also stems from the burns.
As of yesterday afternoon, Hutchins was still in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail.
The defense and prosecution each presented their own version of events in Common Pleas Court, calling three witnesses and introducing evidence. Hutchins did not testify.
iddlestone said Hutchins put the girl in the bathtub after she soiled her diaper and then he briefly stepped away after running some water. During his 10-second absence, Biddlestone suggested, the girl stood up and turned the hot-water handle. The resulting cascade of 140-degree water burned her face, chest and back after she became trapped under the faucet. Standing water in the tub, he suggested, could have protected the girl’s lower body from burns.
Blackburn questioned that version of events, asking why the girl’s legs and buttocks weren’t burned if she was sitting in the scalding water. He also questioned Deputy Doug Crites, who testified that two cigarette burns on the girl’s foot would have made it painful for her to stand.
Crites also read a letter from a doctor in Columbus who, based on Crites’ information about the bathtub and his observations, said it was unlikely the girl could have caused the burns herself.
lackburn suggested, based on fingernail marks and bruising on the girl, that Hutchins picked up the girl and forced her face under the 140-degree water.
“If his client is completely innocent, he could have come right up here and said what he did,” Blackburn said, pointing to the witness chair.
“We’ll bring doctors upon doctors to talk about the pain this girl was in, that she’s still in,” Blackburn said, adding the seriousness of the crime demanded a high bond.
Biddlestone cast the case as an accident. He noted that the girl’s mother, Amber Milner, didn’t think the burns were serious enough to rush the girl to the hospital.
Hutchins didn’t try to flee after the investigation began, Biddlestone said, adding his client had generally abided by the terms of his probation.
“I just don’t see that this is a case that warrants a $250,000 bond,” Biddlestone said.
Hutchins, a convicted felon, has a string of past offenses: threatening to rob the local Kroger, shooting himself in the foot while intoxicated and possessing Methadone without a prescription.”

Your Turn: OUPD rejected strong female candidate, ignored low ratio
Jan 01, 2010
“Thanks to Ryan Dunn for the front-page article in the Jan. 8 Post noting the lack of female representation on the OUPD staff.  This is especially lamentable because one of the 3 finalists for the recently filled OUPD chief position was a highly qualified woman who is currently an assistant chief at another large Ohio university.
I would ask for some accountability from the hiring committee and other officials as to why this woman was not hired.  If she had been, it would have made a huge difference in OU’s ability to attract other women officers.
I find it very strange that David Hopka, assistant vice president for Safety and Risk Management, who was instrumental in the hiring process, says the problem is Athens’ isolated location.  As noted above, OU had a fine candidate who was very interested in relocating here, so I don’t think that argument holds water.
The fact that there is only one woman police officer here in 2009 is not acceptable.  Who can address this and change it? Can The Post look into this further?
Jan Griesinger is a resident of Athens.”

State Highway Patrol to merge local posts
Jan 26, 2009
“Dispatchers from the Athens post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol will move to Jackson next month as part of an effort to consolidate six local posts.
The southeast Ohio posts seek to reduce overtime costs and better use limited staff through a merger, said Capt. Paul Pride of the Jackson post.
The computer-aided dispatch system requires training that many troopers have not completed, so when dispatchers request vacation time or become sick, calls are routed to other equally busy posts, Pride said.    
The new system would provide more flexibility for dispatchers by dividing the 30 employees into three shifts. Eventually troopers plan to adjust the schedule to account for busier days, such as the weekends and holidays when more people are driving, Pride said.  
“This is making it a lot easier for our folks to have time off,” Pride said, “so they can have a life and spend time with their family and children.”
The Athens post, which employs six dispatchers, fielded 18,036 calls last year, Sgt. Jeff Holbert said. Athens dispatchers will start work in Jackson on Feb. 20.
“I think it will help with their scheduling and their time off,” Holbert said. “We’ll just have some adjusting to do.”
Because of the move, the Athens post might not have a person at the station at all times. In these instances, residents can enter the post and talk to a dispatcher through a telephone. If necessary, dispatchers can send a trooper to the post, Pride said.
The six posts were divided into three groups to share computer-aided dispatch systems, Pride said. The Athens post is paired with Gallipolis because of their proximity. The Athens post will share Gallipolis’ computer-aided dispatch system, but the Athens one will remain operational if Jackson’s systems were to fail, Pride said.
The first group of posts to combine was six stations near Bucyrus in November 2007. The Bucyrus post alone reduced its overtime by 80 percent, said Davius Reichelderfer, dispatcher supervisor for the Bucyrus and Marion posts.
“The largest impact is reducing the number of troopers who are asked to stay on posts to answer phones,” Reichelderfer said.
Pride said he expects the merger to improve maintenance for technicians stationed in Jackson and allow each call to be addressed.
“We want to be more effective,” Pride said. “It will be a better communication product in the end.””

Your Turn: Lost property should not become stolen property
Jan 26, 2009
“Have you ever lost anything and had someone contact you letting you know they found your lost item?
Have you ever found an item (cell phone, wallet, etc.) that wasn't yours but tried to contact the rightful owner?
I've done the first thing countless times (I work at Alden and a bar — lost cell phones are a weekly occurrence), and if I cannot get a hold of the person, at the very least I'll turn the item into the police station. However, I'm probably going to stop.
Sunday, I lost my wallet uptown on my way to work. I figured it would turn up by now, but I've gotten no e-mails, phone calls, nothing at all. The wallet was brown with a Notre Dame logo on the outside and contained money, ID's, photos of family members, and other things (gift cards, business cards — the usual everyday items). Chances are if someone found it, they probably looked to see how much money was in it and took that first, then moved on to the ID to see if they or a friend of theirs could use it as a fake.
After taking the money, ID, and maybe the gift cards (or a vendacard for the library, in case it was a studious individual), what more does my wallet mean to you? Why wouldn't you turn it in (if it was in a bar, turn it into the bartenders; on the street, take it to the police station) and give me the chance of getting some of my things back?  Replacing all that stuff is a hassle but it can be done, but getting back the pictures of my family or the business cards of friends/people I rarely see cannot.
I hope someone found it and still has it with the intention of getting a hold of me and returning it because that's what I would do. That's what a lot of people say they would do ... But would you?
I always feel like I'm doing a good thing when I call someone or e-mail them and tell them I've found their lost property. Who knows, maybe the person who found my wallet will lose something one day and have someone contact them. If that does happen, I hope they remember what they did to my stuff.
Mark Skirtich is a senior studying sports management.”

‘Drunken debauchery:’ Student group members nabbed for spray painting
Jan 12, 2009
“Two members of Students for a Democratic Society, a New-Left student group seeking radical changes at Ohio University, were caught spray painting “Revolution” on Bromley Hall early yesterday morning, according to a police report.
Athens police arrested Anthony Fantozzi, 22, and Austin Bugher, 21, for vandalism and possession of criminal tools — two cans of spray paint. One wrote on the building while another acted as a lookout, according to the police report.
Bugher said the “drunken debauchery” took place after he left The Union Bar and Grill early yesterday morning. When asked if he’d do it again, he said, “Depends, I guess … no.” Fantozzi said the spray paint had nothing to do with Students for a Democratic Society, but had no other comment.
Will Klatt, co-founder of the society’s Athens chapter and one of the group’s national organizers, said the vandalism wasn’t sanctioned.
“It was some kids being drunk and stupid,” Klatt said, adding he didn’t think it was fair to connect the arrests with the group.
Students for a Democratic Society held a national meetup in Athens shortly before the start of Winter Quarter and plans to form a student union this year. The group held an event Friday on College Green.”

Your Turn: Volunteers wanted to show high school students non-military opportunities
Jan 26, 2009
“Are you interested in helping high schoolers, perhaps in your own high school, find non-military employment or educational opportunities after graduation?
Youth are bombarded with advertisements encouraging them to volunteer for the armed forces; sometimes they see no other way to serve their country, to find employment, or to finance their further education. Military recruiters, under pressure to fulfill their recruitment targets, are reluctant to point out features of military contracts and of military life that might cause some to reject the route of military service.
The Appalachian Peace and Justice Network (APJN) is looking for volunteers to help distribute information in local high schools about non-military, post-high school opportunities and about some of the realities of military enlistment. If you are interested in helping with this, contact APJN at 592-2608 or
For some high school grads, military service will indeed be the best option, but young people should at least be able to know about other options and make informed decisions about enlistment.
As President Obama has said, it is time to encourage non-violent approaches, approaches that build, not destroy.
John N. Howell is the board moderator for the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network.”

Green with Envy: Cure common aches, ailments without using medications
Jan 25, 2009
“An apple a day used to keep the doctor away, but now it takes an arsenal of vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter medications. Popping pills has become a routine response to common ailments, but this habit has side effects on the body and the environment.
In an investigation conducted by The Associated Press, it was discovered that residues from various kinds of medication — including anti-convulsants, over-the-counter medicines and sex hormones — were found in the drinking water of at least 41 million Americans, or almost 14 percent of the U.S. population.
The body’s not completely absorbing all parts of the pills we swallow and people’s discarding pills lead to pharmaceutical residue passing through water treatment systems. While the amount of residue would not overwhelm anyone as a single dose, the investigation raises concern about the effect(s) of long-term exposure.
While someone taking medication for chemotherapy, epilepsy or thousands of other conditions that require prescriptions isn’t expected simply to stop his or her treatment, there are alternatives to over-the-counter medications sought for general aches, pains and discomfort. Traces of everyday pills like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) have been found in the waterways, too.
Natural and home remedies save money, avoid polluting the water supply and don’t have the lasting effects certain over-the-counter medicines have. Because the liver is the main processor of medicine, it also receives the damage done by these chemicals. Acetaminophen, according to the Foundation for Better Health Care, can cause liver injury if taken in large doses.
Headaches, for example, have a lot of home remedies, as WebMD suggests. Placing an ice pack on the painful area, napping or lying down in a dimly-lit room, walking, a warm shower or applying rotating pressure with your fingers to the source of the pain are all ways to combat headaches.
A few drops of peppermint oil on a damp cloth on the source of the pain, a hot towel or heating pad on the neck and shoulders or a gentle shoulder massage also could do the trick. Don’t forget to think about where the headache could be coming from — caffeine withdrawal? Stress? Not enough sleep? Addressing the cause is also key to preventing the resulting headache.
The same goes for the common cold — lots of water, decaffeinated tea and ginger ale. For a sore throat, gargle with salt water or place a warm towel on the outside of the neck. The Farmer’s Almanac offers a recipe — mix one-quarter cup of apple cider vinegar and one-quarter cup of honey, then take one tablespoon every four hours as needed.
Common sense solutions are sometimes forgotten — blow your nose often and don’t just sniff it back in, take warm showers so the steam will relieve nasal congestion, and try tilting the top of your bed upward so that all that congestion flows down and not back into your throat.
There are tons of home remedies for common illnesses  just as effective as pills. WebMD and natural treatment-oriented Web sites offer such remedies, although this is not to say to avoid medical treatment if your illness is severe. There are simple, natural suggestions for non-life-threatening aches and pains that don’t necessarily require medication. Your body, the municipal water system and aquatic life will appreciate it.
Cathy Wilson is a senior studying journalism and a copy editor for The Post. Send her an e-mail at”

Your turn: Applications available for soon-vacant positions as OU student trustees
Jan 26, 2009
“I was excited to see the public response to the Board of Trustees’ proposed Statement of Expectations. The student trustees served as excellent conveyors of that response when the Board discussed the topic, and the Board is now in the process of revising the statement. I think this shows the importance of the student trustees.
With that, I would like to encourage any eligible student to apply for this respected and vibrant position. The position is open to students who are available to serve a two-year term during their undergraduate or graduate studies at OU. The application is available on the Board of Trustees Web site: in the Membership Selection section, or in the Student Senate office, Baker 305. Information sessions about the position are also being held between now and the deadline, Feb. 27.
From speaking with former student trustees, I can say that holding this position can have a tremendous impact on a person’s life. It is an opportunity to learn and to serve your fellow Bobcats.
Sally Neidhard is a senior studying journalism and chair of the Board of Trustees Student Member Selection Committee.”

Passion Works studio moves to State Street
Jan 26, 2009
“Passion Works is moving out of the Atco, Inc. building on 21 S. Campbell St. for a more convenient spot in the former Magic Video building at 20 E. State St.
Passion Works decided to move mainly because of the lack of space at the Campbell Street location. The move will allow more space for the artists to work and display their jewelry.
“Because the studio and store are in the same space, we don’t have room to expand production,” David Barba, Passion Works Administrator, said.
Passion Works Studio is a division of Atco, Inc., a work-training center for adults with developmental disabilities.    
Barba also said he hopes the new location will give them more of a presence in the community and allow them to use fewer resources when directing people to the studio.
Currently, they are still at the renovation stage of the move. Barba said that they have just finished clearing out the location and have started painting. They are still hoping to put in accessible bathrooms.
Although there is still a possibility that they will move in the first week in February, Barba said he does not think that the studio will move to State Street until mid-February. Barba added he hopes that they can get the store there after a month.
“We don’t really like keeping the studio and the store apart for long,” said Barba, “so we’re going to try and get the store to the new location as soon as possible.”
Once Passion Works moves out of the Atco building, Atco will use the space to improve and expand the current programs, Barba said.”

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