Notoweega News

Board of Building Appeals upholds adjudication order against Nihiser

By DEBRA TOBIN Logan Daily News Reporter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

REYNOLDSBURG – After months of attempting to conduct building inspections at 54 E. Main St., Logan, and numerous complaints filed with the Ohio Department of Commerce, a hearing was held Tuesday in Reynoldsburg before the Ohio Board of Building Appeals.

The Board of Building Appeals is made up of four panelists: Robert A. Kerst, engineer; James Mulligan, fire service, chairman; Neil J. Giering, pipefitter; and Paul Beegan, architect. Attorney Alan Showalter represented the State of Ohio during the proceedings, with Geoff Eaton, Mike Taylor and Phillip Teal attending and giving testimony for the Department of Commerce, and Brian Robertson, Logan Fire Chief also giving testimony.

The panel deliberated for a few moments and voted 3-1 to uphold the adjudication order in which Nihiser must comply with the Department of Commerce and make application for plan approval with the department and allow access to the building for an inspection.

Also, no business can occupy or use the building until a certificate of occupancy has been issued. During opening statements, Showalter stated the State feels the building at 54 E. Main St., Logan, poses imminent danger because inspectors have not been able to gain access for an inspection. According to the Ohio Department of Commerce, building owners Michael Nihiser and his wife Vicki
Devol have been very reluctant in allowing inspectors into the building and have never filed an application for occupancy use change.

However, Nihiser stated he called Eaton on numerous occasions, but never received a return call. “I was trying to coordinate a time to meet, but it’s hard for me to get around,” Nihiser stated. “There were no return phone calls at all from Mr. Eaton or his office. I felt harassed. We have lived in the community all our lives.”

He also indicated he had made a public records request for several buildings in the downtown area of Logan, but never received anything in return. Mulligan reminded him those buildings had no relevance to the hearing.

Nihiser’s problems began when he leased the building to David Weber, who resides in the apartment located in the back of the building.

Weber’s intention was to open a teen center, Twilight Entertainment. However, because so many police reports were filed, and complaints filed with the Department of Commerce, the business was short-lived. Twilight Entertainment was a hangout for teenagers and many parents raised concerns of illegal activities and contacted local authorities. Once Twilight Entertainment closed, Weber, in turn, sub-leased the building to Dancing Elk, who relocated Red Door Internet Café to the site in September. However, that also was short-lived due to the many complaints and stop work orders placed on the building.

Throughout the hearing, Nihiser repeatedly stated Twilight Entertainment never opened for business, but there are Logan police reports indicating otherwise. When questioned about the Twilight Entertainment sign in the window, Nihiser referred to it as “signage.” He also stated numerous times that Red Door Internet Café never opened for business, although The Logan Daily News wrote several articles on the café and its opening.

When questioned about the two businesses being open, he kept asking inspectors, “How do you know  they were open? Did you see any customers? Did you see any money exchange hands?” “My lease is with Mr. Weber,” Nihiser stated. “If he sublet to Dancing Elk, he had no permission to do so. He had no permission to open a business without talking to the state or anyone. “If he (referring to Dancing Elk) opened a business, he did so without my knowledge or written permission, said Nihiser, who then specified that Weber could not sublet to anyone unless he had written permission from him or his wife.

Nihiser indicated he had no idea that the Internet café was opening or planning to open in his building. When asked how often he drives by his building, Nihiser replied, “Just about every day.” Beegan spoke up and asked, “Mr. Nihiser, you say you drive by your building daily or just about every day – didn’t you notice the Red Door Internet Café sign in the window along with the open sign?”
“It’s signage,” replied Nihiser. “Just because there’s a sign in the window, doesn’t mean it’s a business or that it’s open.”

As the testimonies proceeded, one of the biggest concerns raised by the Department of Commerce was the construction that was done while Dancing Elk was preparing to move his business into the building.

Concerns were raised of the new office structure built within the building as well as electrical issues. Nihiser indicated to the panel that Dancing Elk moved the office structure from his previous location and there was no electric installed on the office area.

However, when looking at state’s evidence photos, one photo clearly shows lighting along the top portion of the office structure and other areas as well. “Maybe it’s from an extension cord,” Nihiser stated. “Maybe he has an extension cord running from an existing outlet in that area.” Mulligan explained if that was the fact, it also is a code violation.

While Showalter questioned Teal and Taylor, Nihiser also had an opportunity to ask questions of the two inspectors. However, Nihiser kept alluding to other subjects not relevant to the hearing. Mulligan spoke up and reminded Nihiser several times, “Mr. Nihiser, you need to stick strictly to the testimony being presented and nothing more.”

Nihiser addressed the panel and stated he and his wife were out of the country during one of the visits from the inspectors, but felt he has done nothing wrong and was being harassed. The hearing continued for over three hours with testimony from both sides, but in the end, Nihiser stated, “This is a blue-collar Appalachian town struggling for business and if the business owner has to work with an architect to open his business, he can’t afford that.”

Nihiser spoke with Eaton after the hearing to discuss the procedure and his next step to assure the building is in compliance.

In the meantime, Red Door Internet Café remains closed to the public until further notice. The Logan Daily News attempted to reach Dancing Elk and Nihiser for a statement, but received no response.


Hearing scheduled with state on local building violations

By DEBRA TOBIN Logan Daily News Reporter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LOGAN — A code compliance hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 29 by the Ohio Department of Commerce on a downtown Logan building owned by Mike Nihiser.

According to department officials, inspectors have been attempting to conduct an inspection on the building for months, but have been denied access.

Lynn Tolen, communications director for the Ohio Department of Commerce, said that Nihiser has been very uncooperative with inspectors as well as officials from the Logan Fire Department who are seeking to conduct inspections on the building.

“This has nothing to do with the business that is located in the building,” Tolen said. “It’s strictly on the building itself. The department knows there have been amendments made to the building, and they need to make sure the building is in compliance with all regulations.”

However, Nihiser told The Logan Daily News in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon that he believes the hearing is about the renters wanting to open a teen center again.

“Didn’t you read the complaint?” he questioned. “Didn’t you get a copy of it? And, why is this so important?”

“They’re the ones that have to prove their case,” Nihiser stated, referring to the Ohio Department of Commerce. “I will see what they’re saying and then take it from there.”

Nihiser also said he questioned and requested information from the Ohio Department of Commerce on several other buildings in Logan that have changed occupancy over the years, but has received nothing to date.

“I requested a copy of at least six other buildings in Logan concerning building compliance and not having an assembly permit,” he said.

He requested information on the buildings presently occupied by Saving Hardware, Spotted Owl, Office City, the former Logan-Hocking Chamber of Commerce building, and others that have changed owners and building use over the years.

“How many inspections did the Ohio Department of Commerce conduct on those buildings throughout the years as they changed from business to business?” he questioned.

“The VFW used to be located in the building where Saving’s rental business is located now,” Nihiser said. “Did they need to have a change of occupancy when they moved in there? Were they inspected?”

“The old chamber office throughout the years was a dress shop at one time, a home, a dentist office, as well as other things — did they come down and inspect that building every time it changed occupancy? This is what you should be asking the department of commerce,” he said.

Nihiser’s building in question is located at 54 E. Main St. and is the home of the Red Door Internet Café & Arcade, which opened in September. Shortly after opening, though, the business closed its doors due to violations placed on the building by the Ohio Department of Commerce.

Red Door Internet Café & Arcade is owned by local resident Dancing Elk, who is sub-leasing the building from David Weber, who in turn leases the building from Nihiser.

Dancing Elk did admit to making some minor structural changes to the inside of the building, including painting the walls and constructing a non-stationary office area.

According to Tolen, the state is aware of the changes, but needs to inspect the building to make sure the structural changes meet all compliance rules and regulations.

When Dancing Elk closed his business in October, a note was placed on the door stating, “Closed until further notice. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

On Jan. 7, though, that note was replaced with a new one that said, “We will reopen after the 26th of January. Our doors have been closed since October in support of the building owners hearing with the Ohio Department of Commerce building compliancy department, which in our opinion, is an example of administrative bullying and political attempt to keep us from operating. We look forward to your future business in hopes that all issues will be dealt with.”

The following day, the new sign was replaced again with, “Closed until further notice. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

When asked about the upcoming hearing, Dancing Elk said, “As far as the hearing, I know nothing about it other than we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If we relocate, all the work and time has been for nothing. And we have to spend more money just to open.”

“If we wait until after the hearing to re-open, nothing is for sure and we could have been wasting time when we could have been operating,” Dancing Elk said.

“So far we have been sitting on our hands for four months, still paying our overhead and bringing in no revenue,” he explained. “This ordeal has cost me a lot of money I don’t have.”

“If I could afford to sue the state for this administrative bullying, I would,” he added. “You know the legal definition on their own documents states nothing about the ‘change of occupant’ which seemed to be their response when I questioned them about the legality of the definition of change of use and occupancy.”

“So at the request of the building owner, we have not opened,” he said. “Otherwise, I myself would have fought them in court and continued to do business if it had become a legal issue, which I believe might have been a misdemeanor. I do not agree with the way the state is conducting their affairs. The state is interfering with our commerce.”

A phone call to the Ohio Department of Commerce revealed that there has been a continuous issue with inspectors not being able to complete inspections on the building.

In September, five state officials arrived to inspect the building, but Nihiser was not present, so the inspectors left. According to Tolen, this has been a repeat occurrence.

“This is a violation hearing to determine if the establishment owner must allow officers in for an inspection,” Tolen said in a phone interview earlier this week.

“They need to allow inspectors in for code compliance and safety issues. It’s our understanding that the building owner not only has been uncooperative with our inspectors, but also uncooperative with your local fire department as well,” he said.

For Dancing Elk, it’s another disappointment and setback as he attempts to open his business and survive, yet keeps coming across stumbling blocks that prevent him from doing so.

“We just need to see both sides present during the hearing and hope both mutually agree to a solution to this issue,” said Logan Fire Chief Brian Robertson.

Logan City Service Director Steve Shaw agreed with Robertson and said, “We’re anxiously awaiting the outcome and hoping to get this resolved.”

Robertson and Shaw are planning on attending the hearing at the Ohio Department of Commerce office, located at 6606 Tussing Road, Reynoldsburg, on Jan. 29.


Ohio House passes legislation against sweepstakes gaming

By DEBRA TOBIN Logan Daily News Reporter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LOGAN — In an attempt to crack down on sweepstakes gaming at Internet cafes, the Ohio House of Representatives approved House Bill 605 during Wednesday’s lame-duck session, 63-30. The bill will now go before the Senate, which is expected to meet sometime within the next week. If passed, Internet cafes will cease to exist in Ohio, not particularly because they will be banned, but because there will be a cap set on the daily prizes.

House Bill 605 bans cash payouts and places a $10 cap on the value of other prizes awarded from buying the long distance phone cards that are used to play the electronic games.

Passage of House Bill 605 will affect more than 800 Internet cafes throughout the state, including the Red Door in Logan. And could possibly eliminate 4,000 jobs in a state that is already depressed. While some argue that Internet Cafes are not gambling facilities, the computer games in the cafes are similarly sounding to slot machines, video poker and video Keno games found at the casinos.

The difference is that instead of constantly feeding cash into a slot machine, sweepstakes customers buy Internet time that can cost the player anywhere from 25 cents to $1 a minute on phone cards. The customers are then given magnetic swipe cards loaded with sweepstakes points or passwords to get into the computer in order to enjoy sweepstakes play time on the machines.

Points accumulate on the machines just as with slot machines, and the more points accumulated, the bigger the potential prize.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine thanked the Ohio House of Representatives for its passage of the bill that would establish strict limits on sweepstakes gaming at Internet cafes.

“I thank Speaker [William] Batchelder, representatives [Matt] Huffman and [Louise] Blessing, and the Ohio House of Representatives for taking action on the unregulated gambling taking place at Internet cafes across Ohio. HB 605 is a major step forward to protect Ohio consumers. I look forward to and encourage swift passage of HB 605 in the Ohio Senate,” said DeWine.

Local Internet café owner Dancing Elk, who continues dealing with issues with the Ohio Department of Commerce over building code violations, feels that the Internet café legislation is a violation of the 14th Amendment.

“I don’t see where we are doing anything illegal or immoral. I’m amazed at the misrepresentation to the public,” he remarked. “They’re demonizing us and associating us with money laundering, the sex trade and racketeering. That may be a small portion of the business, but it’s not all of us.”

Dancing Elk further indicated that he pays his taxes and has complied with all laws set forth when he signed a moratorium with DeWine’s office this past year.

“You know, we are no different than the Publisher’s Clearing House or McDonalds. That’s all sweepstakes, just as this is sweepstakes,” he explained. “I can’t determine on the machines who’s going to win. These machines have clients nationally and the payout is 95 percent, which is better odds than that in a casino or racino.”

He has mixed emotions at this point on whether his tribally connected business will survive, but added, “It’s hard to say what’s going to happen, but I would be willing to use my knowledge of the gaming laws against theirs — they’re just trying to eliminate the competition, that’s all — competition of the casinos.”

While he holds out hope, he said, “We’ve been fighting the cause for common man and our freedom — in this town. We give to the community and moved in here thinking we were helping the community.”

“As a Native American, we have been fighting the government for over 300 years,” he chuckled. “We’re used to it.”

In addition, Dancing Elk indicated that the government is making it difficult to operate an Internet café, but appears to be more open to allowing casinos and said he wouldn’t be opposed to opening a casino in the area.

“If they want us to be a casino, I’ll open one. Give me my casino license and my tribe will open a casino. I’ll get investors and my tribe will do this,” he said.


Red Door Internet Cafe opens for business

By DEBRA TOBIN Logan Daily News Reporter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LOGAN — The Red Door Internet Café is now open for business. The store opened Wednesday for its first full day of business at 54 E. Main St. in downtown Logan.

“We’ve had a lot of customers who have been waiting for us to open and today will be our first full day,” said owner Dancing Elk.

Customers who frequent the business can purchase Internet time on 11 new machines or access the business website, (link removed), from the comfort of their homes and play one or all 25 sweepstake games.

In order to play, participants must be over the age of 18 and show proof of age. Once customers purchase Internet time at the business, they can access the sweepstakes games on the website with their chosen ID and password. Time can be purchased in dollar increments, according to Dancing Elk. Red Door will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to midnight.

“We are just taking it one step at a time,” he said. “We have the latest up-to-date machines and are providing the convenience of using the machines here or accessing the website from home.” The new establishment has a sitting area for customers to relax with wireless access, as well as a snack area and sweepstake machines.

Phone cards also can be purchased, which give 10 minutes of phone time, and also serve as a scratchoff game that allows the customer the chance of winning up to $500.


Owner of Red Door Internet Cafe & Arcade faces setback

BY DEBRA TOBIN Logan Daily News Reporter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LOGAN — After struggles and complications of getting his business up and running, Dancing Elk, owner of Red Door Internet Cafe & Arcade, has given up the hope of opening the doors at 54 E. Main St. in Logan.

“I tried to fight for what is right, but we are just going to take a different path,” Dancing Elk said in a phone interview Wednesday. “There’s just too much to deal with.”

Dancing Elk relocated his business from Spring Street to the Main Street location in hopes of opening sometime in early October. However, a stop work order was placed on the front door by Logan Fire Chief Brian Robertson last week for code violations on the building.

This left Dancing Elk in a quandary with opening his business in a timely manner. Building owner Mike Nihiser received a notice of violation on the building on or about Aug. 25 with 30 days to comply with the notice. When questioned, Nihiser stated all violations were taken care of and he knew of no pending violations.

On Tuesday, five state officials arrived to inspect the building, but Nihiser was not present so the building inspectors left, leaving Dancing Elk without any answers. David Weber Jr., who leases and lives in the building, also was not present.

During a phone interview with Nihiser, he stated he has tried to reach out to the state, but no one has returned his calls and he was unaware he was supposed to be on hand for the inspection on Tuesday. “I mean, come on now — a 24 hour span is a long time. What was I supposed to do? Camp out there until they showed up for the inspection?” he asked.

“I have called twice for Mr. Eaton,” he said. “And no one has returned my calls.”

Nihiser is hoping that with the violations against his building, that all parties involved are playing fair. “Where is all of this going to stop? They have to be fair about it,” he said.

“When someone opens a business downtown or anywhere, is the fire chief going to be fair? Are they going to be inspected like we are? My question is, are they going to make this big of a deal with all new businesses?” he questioned.

“I just don’t think they are being consistent,” Nihiser said.

While Nihiser has many questions, he stated he is waiting for someone to call him and tell him exactly what is needed to correct any existing problems with the building.

Dancing Elk was advised he now has the opportunity to appeal on the state level, but the process could take months.

According to Dancing Elk, he would need to hire a state-certified architect for the floor plans, and the plans would need to be signed off on — which could become very costly.

“I am just stymied by this,” he exclaimed. “This could cost thousands of dollars. I’m just astounded and don’t understand.”

Logan Fire Chief Brian Robertson stated it’s the State of Ohio that has the violation on the building. However, it was his office that issued the stop work order due to not having the proper permits. “It’s in the state’s hands, but anytime you change the footprint of a commercial building without state approved plans, it’s a violation of state code,” Robertson said.

Matt Mullins, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Commerce told The Logan Daily News in a phone interview, “It’s the building owner who must comply with the violation notice, not the occupants. In this case, it’s Mr. Nihiser who must comply with the change of use and occupancy violation.”

Mullins said Wednesday that Nihiser will be given an adjudication order once it has been prepared for the building code compliance. “We have received no cooperation at all from the building owner (Nihiser) during this process,” Mullins stated. “We have gone through the process and reached out to him on numerous occasions, but he has not submitted any plans for approval.”

For now, it’s another disappointment and setback for Dancing Elk, who is stuck in time warp battle with the Department of Commerce trying to enforce compliance rules with building owner Nihiser. In the meantime, Dancing Elk said, “I’m just washing my hands of the whole thing. All I wanted to do was open a business downtown and help the economy.”


Business relocates despite building code violations

BY DEBRA TOBIN Logan Daily News Reporter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LOGAN — Red Door Internet Café & Arcade has relocated from its Spring Street location to 54 E. Main St., with plans to reopen in two weeks.

However, with pending code violations on the building and a stop work order placed on the front door by Logan Fire Chief Brian Robertson, the opening may be delayed.

Robertson said he acted on a tip that renovations were being made to the inside of the building without the proper permits in place from the state.

“He’s making changes to the inside of the building without state approved plans,” Robertson said Wednesday after placing the stop work order on the door.

“It’s a violation to do any construction or alterations of a building in the state of Ohio without the proper permits or state approved plans,” he continued, explaining the need for the order. Dancing Elk, Native American owner of the new Red Door Café & Arcade, is sub-leasing the building from David Weber Jr., who in turn leases the building from owner Mike Nihiser of Logan.

With a two week window for opening the new business, Dancing Elk said he will do everything in his power to make sure all code violations have been taken care of and the building and business has all its permits as required by the city and state.

When asked if he knew there were pending fire code violations on the building for change of use and occupancy, Dancing Elk replied "no comment."

When asked if he told Nihiser about relocating his business to the Main Street address, he also had no comment.

“We will take it one step at a time and I will deal with the issues as they arise,” he said when told of the building violations.

Following a public records request, The Logan Daily News obtained information about eight building violations from the Ohio Department of Commerce. Nihiser stated that to his knowledge there are no other violations pending, but records indicate that on Aug. 25. a notice of violation was filed by the state.

According to the notice, the building is in violation of the fire code for change of use and occupancy. A reinspection is scheduled for Sept. 25 to determine if the violations have been corrected. Dancing Elk says he would like to open an adult Internet café and later a family-oriented arcade. Along

with the renovations and expansion of the business, Dancing Elk said jobs will be created. With another new business on Main Street, it will help draw people to the downtown area where it is needed, he added.

“I have complied with all the laws and I’m an upstanding citizen of the community despite the opposing forces placed in the way because we’re doing something different," he said. "The town now has the unique opportunity to welcome a new business to draw future tourists to the area when others are moving out of the downtown area.”

Dancing Elk said all rules will be strictly enforced and no one under the age of 18 will be permitted inside the Internet café. Those visiting the café will be able to purchase Internet time and also have the opportunity to win prizes.

The name Red Door is significant to the Native American reference to the Red Road. It is a concept of the right path of life, as inspired by some of the beliefs found in a variety of Native American spiritual teachings. Native American’s spiritual teachings are diverse, and while there are sometimes common elements, the ceremonies and beliefs are unique to the people of the diverse bands, tribes and nations.

Dancing Elk said he is thankful and welcomes the community’s support of not only the Red Door Internet Café & Arcade, but also Mingo Trading Company.


Police search local business

*Posted: Saturday, December 11, 2010 12:00 am *

LOGAN — The Logan Police Department executed a search warrant for Logan business Mingo Trading Company on Main Street Friday afternoon.

According to Police Chief Aaron Miller, the department received a tip about alleged illegal gaming going on in the facility.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office granted a search warrant. It is suspected the business is in violation of a law prohibiting cash payouts for skilled gaming winners.

The outcome of the search warrant was not available as of press time. Any findings will be reported to Hocking County Prosecuting Attorney Laina Fetherolf, who will determine if charges should be brought.


Skilled gaming charges dropped

By LESLIE GRAY Logan Daily News Reporter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LOGAN — Charges of “skill-based amusement machine prohibited conduct” against a local business owner have been dismissed.

Marshal Lucas, aka Chief Dancing Elk, pleaded not guilty to the charges (first-degree misdemeanors) in January after a search warrant was conducted at his business — Mingo Trading Company — in December of last year during which three games of skill machines were confiscated.

In July 2010, the Logan Police Department received an e-mailed complaint that the business was giving cash payouts for games of skill machines. The LPD contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Undercover agents from the office investigated the claims and on two occasions, Nov. 9 and Dec. 9 of 2010, were given winnings with cash.

Hocking County Prosecutor Laina Fetherolf said Lucas’ charges were dismissed because the case is difficult to process.

“The statutes are not well-written. There’s no differentiation in defining whether Mr. Lucas as the business owner or the clerks are guilty of the offense,” Fetherolf said.

Although Lucas did not give the undercover investigators cash winnings himself, two of his clerks did and the statutes do not clearly define who is held responsible, Fetherolf continued.

The prosecutor’s office dismissed the charges without prejudice, which means the state can refile the charges at another time.

In previous correspondence, Lucas told The Logan Daily News he believed the machines complied with state law and was upset by the way the search warrant was executed. He also said he has suffered a major loss of revenue to his business as a result.


Owner of Mingo Trading Company charged

By LESLIE GRAY Logan Daily News Reporter
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LOGAN — The owner of Mingo Trading Company of Logan has been charged in relation to a search warrant conducted at the business Dec. 11.

Marshal W. Lucas of Logan was charged with four counts of complicity to skill-based amusement machine prohibited conduct, first-degree misdemeanors, from alleged incidences on Nov. 9 and Dec. 9. An arraignment date has been set for Jan. 5 in Hocking County Municipal Court.

The Logan Police Department received a complaint the business was giving cash payouts for games of skill machines. “In Hocking County, we don’t see these type of gaming offenses,” Police Chief Aaron Miller said. “I think there are some skill games in the county, but we have not received any complaints about their proprietors providing cash winnings for playing games.”

The LPD contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which is the chief law enforcement office of the state. Undercover agents from the office investigated the claims and on two occasions, Nov. 9 and Dec. 9, were given winnings with cash, Miller said.

“Once winnings were obtained, the agents received cash for winnings, and state law says cash is prohibited,” Miller added.

The information obtained from the attorney general’s office was presented to Hocking County Municipal Court, which granted a search warrant for the business.

Three skilled gaming machines were confiscated. The court will determine what should be done with the machines.

In previous correspondence, Lucas told The Logan Daily he believed the machines complied with state law and was upset by the way the search warrant was conducted at his business. “I feel like I’m being tried by public opinion,” he said. “They made this into a public event.” Lucas said several police cars were there, and when he arrived, his employees were handcuffed. Miller said three police cruisers were sent to conduct the search, and it is not uncommon to handcuff those present until identities can be established.

Lucas, who also goes by the name Dancing Elk, said he also feels he is being singled out because he is Native American. “There are other machines in the area. Some of the prominent business people have these machines. Why are they singling me out?” he said. “There has been harassment of my business for two years.” Mingo Trading Company on Main Street sells a variety of Native American items.


Community and Campus Days exhibition explores music of Ohio River Valley

Ohio University Outlook This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ATHENS, Ohio (Oct. 16, 2006) -- The music of the Ohio River Valley was the theme of Ohio University's fifth annual 2006 Community and Campus Days and it's safe to say that the topic was explored to the fullest. Paschal Younge provided a display of African instruments. Photo by Pat Cambridge.

On Saturday, Oct. 14, the annual Community and Campus Days exhibition was held at Old Nelson Banquet Hall and featured table exhibits that included everything from books, paintings, photographs and other artifacts that displayed some of the history of people of color in the area. 

Many of the display tables displayed musical instruments used by people in the region whose origin can be traced to Africa such as the banjo, dulcimer and various types of drums.

Patrons were entertained throughout the day by local musicians and singers who performed folk, jazz and gospel music. Several Ohio University students performed a Copoeira exhibition for the audience. Copoeira is a martial arts form that originated in Brazil that combines dance, acrobatics and music with fighting techniques. The club at Ohio University meets on Saturday at 2 p.m. on the College Green. 

Zelma Badu-Younge leads African dances to music provided by her husband Paschal Younge. Photo by Pat Cambridge.Ohio University couple Paschal Young and Zelma Badu-Younge performed traditional African music and dances with the aid of some of their students. 

Two Native American exhibitors from Ohio, Marshall Lucas of Logan, and Richard Haithcock of Beavercreek, performed some of their tribes' traditional dances and songs for the audience. Lucas was representing the Notoweega tribe while Haithcock is a member of the Suponi tribe. They explained to the audience that they are cousins to each other and many of the local Native American population are members of tribes that migrated to Ohio from the Carolinas.

Other exhibitors included Athens area residents Ray Abraham, Mildred Vore and Richard Greenlee. Abraham's table displayed many old records and CDs from some of the great African American entertainers and a collage of many of Athens' accomplished African American citizens. Vores' table held a collection of old church hymnals as well as other music paraphernalia. Greenlee, chair of Ohio University's Department of Social Work, performed on his banjo and shared information about the origin of the banjo in Africa on his display table.

A photo of the Heritage Chorale from their Friday night concert. Photo by Pat Cambridge."The day got off to a good start when the Heritage Chorale gave a rousing performance of ["Lift Every Voice and Sing"] the Negro National Anthem this morning," said coordinator of the African American Research and Service Institute Deanda Johnson. "We had some nice new exhibits, including two from local Native American groups. There was also some great music performed. Next year, we want to build on this year and will likely focus the Community and Campus Days events on the women of color in the Ohio River Valley because many of their accomplishments have been overlooked."

Representatives from Ohio University's College of Medicine were also in attendance, providing free blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level screenings. 

Opening ceremonies included statements by master of ceremony and Ohio University Professor Vibert Cambridge, Athens City Mayor Ric Abel, Provost Kathy Krendl and Vice President of the Multicultural Genealogical Center Robert Daugherty.

"Community and Campus Days 2006 was probably the best we've had in terms of programmatic content," Cambridge said. "This was an extremely powerful year for the event starting with Thursday's presentation by Art Cromwell. The displays were absolutely fantastic. It was surprising to see all the artifacts that related to music in the Ohio River Valley. In terms of substance, this event was very powerful."

Community and Campus Days culminate on Tuesday, Oct. 17, with a 7:30 p.m. performance by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans at Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium. For tickets, call 740-593-1780.

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