Gaming tournament shooting highlights security or lack of it
By TAMARA LUSH and RUSS BYNUM
Monday, August 27
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A champion gamer’s decision to open fire Sunday afternoon during a video competition — killing two people and wounding nine others before killing himself — has prompted calls from gamers for more security at esports tournaments.
“It’s very clear that we need to be more proactive for 2019 and beyond,” tweeted Joey Cuellar, the tournament director for the Evolution Championship Series, an esports event that focuses on fighting games.
The tournament is held in Las Vegas and draws some 15,000 people. In March, organizers called the FBI when someone wrote online: “mass shooting EVO18 see you there.”
That event went off without a hitch, but Cuellar also wrote on Sunday: “The amount of undercover law enforcement at Evo was unprecedented, and we will be installing metal detectors for ALL days next year.”
Esports are big business. A Goldman Sachs report in 2017 valued eSports at $500 million in 2016 and anticipated market growth. Entire companies have sprung up to form e-sports teams, and the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team sponsors an esports team (One of their players was injured in Sunday’s shooting). And it’s no wonder that everyone wants in on the action — careers can be made and millionaires are minted. Epic Games announced in May it will provide $100 million to fund prize pools for “Fortnite” tournaments during the first year of competition.
At Sunday’s Madden competition, the tournament was streamed live on Twitch.tv, an online network that attracts tens of millions of visitors, most of whom watch footage of other people playing video games.
This weekend’s “Madden 19 NFL Classic” was the first of four planned events.
According to the EA sports website – the game’s developer — the top two finishers at the Jacksonville event would earn a spot in Madden Classic main event in Las Vegas that’s scheduled for October.
There in Las Vegas, competitors will play for a share of the tournament’s $165K prize pool, with the winner taking home $25,000.
It’s unclear what kind of security was at the event, which was held at a game bar inside a waterfront mall.
Derek Jones of Santa Fe, New Mexico, came to Jacksonville to compete in the Madden tournament and was sitting in a fenced-in patio outside the venue when he heard the gunshots Sunday. Jones, 26, said he jumped the fence and ran.
Jones said he didn’t notice any security —either private security guards or off-duty police officers— at the venue. He said it’s a complaint he’s had with tournament organizers in the past.
“I’ve been telling them this for a while that you need to make the players feel safe,” Jones said.
He recalled a past Madden opponent who once kept screaming during their match that he was going to beat Jones up after the game. But Jones said that’s the only time before Sunday he ever felt physically threatened.
Electronic Arts, the Madden game developer, released a statement calling the shooting horrific and senseless. “Our focus right now is on those affected, and supporting law enforcement as they continue their investigation into this crime.”
Some top players and industry watchers said Sunday that security hasn’t caught up with the seriousness of the sport.
“Heartbreaking to hear about the shooting at the Madden event,” wrote Cristian Tamas, the director of esports programs for Twitch, the platform that broadcasts gamers’ live streams. “Unfortunately, this was a matter of when not if. Esport event security, in general, has been extremely poor over the years, we should’ve stepped it up long ago.”
In December, the Call of Duty World League tournament held in Dallas was evacuated — twice — due to bomb threats.
Seth Abner, an XGames Gold Medalist and Call of Duty World Champion, wrote on Twitter in the wake of Sunday’s shooting: “I’ve been saying events NEED better security. Such a damn shame that now event coordinators will respond after a tragedy happens.”
Some gamers say the pressure of competition, the desire to please fans and the intense gaming can lead to anxiety and mental health issues, or worse.
“In the world of competitive video games, mental health issues loom so large and come up so often that the problem somehow becomes invisible,” wrote Tyler Erzberger, who covers esports for ESPN. “In a world where one day you can go from playing in your bedroom to the next being criticized by millions under spotlights, mental health can’t be overlooked.”
His article on mental health and gamers ran online Friday. On Sunday, he tweeted that “99% of the Esports events i’ve been to have had decent to very good security.”
August 23, 2018
House Republicans Lead on Blockchain Discussion
Speaker Smith, economic and technological leaders tout benefits of blockchain technology
COLUMBUS—Speaker of the Ohio House Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) today joined with members of the House Leadership Team and Majority Caucus to discuss the future of blockchain in Ohio, in both the public and private sector. Joined by chief experts on the issue from around the state, legislators conveyed interest in connecting the legislature with more information on the benefits of blockchain technology.
As the utilization of blockchain increases, today’s press conference shed light on the importance of understanding blockchain technology and its potential to drive economic and workforce development, as well as the opportunity to increase government efficiency and strengthen cybersecurity measures. Blockchain allows for the creation of secure lists of records linked to one another. This includes electronic medical records, smart contracts, online voting, logistics management materials, government benefit transfers and title transfers. Essentially, in a blockchain transaction, a “block” is created that contains the details of the transaction. The information is visible to only those within the network but they are encrypted in a way to prevent them from being altered.
Joined by fellow legislators Reps. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township), Laura Lanese (R-Grove City), Scott Ryan (R-Newark) and Gary Scherer (R-Circleville), Speaker Smith highlighted the need for the legislature to look at the issue of blockchain more closely and possibly develop legislation on the issue in the future. Other states, including Arizona, Illinois, and Nevada have already taken legislative action related to blockchain.
“Ohio continues to lead on various technological fronts, and blockchain technology is a great opportunity for our state to prevent brain-drain and keep talent in Ohio to make us a leader in technological advancement and economic and workforce development,” Speaker Smith said. “The underlying use of blockchain technology can be utilized for a multitude of purposes and has the potential to innovate state government, making it more efficient, secure and transparent.”
Legislators were joined by Matt Wald, President and CEO of the Columbus Collaboratory, which is a company that specializes in advanced analytics and cybersecurity.
“Blockchain and related internet technologies will help to create the next level of process efficiency opportunities and drive new innovative applications, ” said Wald. ”Ohio has become a technology leader in a number of critical and growing industries, thanks in large part to our state’s embrace of advanced technologies such as blockchain.”
Jim Korcykoski, Chief Technology & Information Security Officer at Nationwide Insurance, also participated in the press conference to talk about the use of blockchain at major insurance and finance companies, such as Nationwide.
“Nationwide is committed to advancing blockchain technology and the potential for disruption across several industries, including insurance and financial services,” Korcykoski said. “We applaud Speaker Smith for bringing together a diverse group of leaders from business, government, academia, and technology to help position Ohio as a leader in this new, exciting arena, and we look forward to working with the legislature and the business community to help build on the momentum that’s been established so far.”
Efforts on this issue have been led in northeast Ohio by Bernie Moreno, President of the Bernie Moreno Companies and President of Ownum.
“If Ohio is to become a leader in blockchain technology, then it is critical that state leaders recognize and take advantage of this incredible opportunity,” Moreno said. “It is clear that Speaker Smith sees blockchain’s potential. My hope is that other statewide officials can do the same. By embracing blockchain, Ohio can reposition itself as a national leader in digital transformation and innovation. That will attract hundreds of start-ups to Ohio and create lots of high paying jobs.”
Workforce development was a major part of the discussion as this field continues to grow. Professor Hesham El Gamal, Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Ohio State University, shared his experience on this front.
“It is commendable that the state legislature has recognized the importance of blockchain as a potential transformational technology,” El Gamal said. “OSU is in a perfect position to assist the legislature with a state-wide effort to leverage this technology for economic development and workforce education and training.”
The press conference can be viewed here: http://www.ohiochannel.org/video/press-conference-8-23-2018-blockchain-technology.
Local author’s new book
“The third and final title in the Children of Exile series is all fans could hope for: exciting action, thoughtful examinations of social justice and prejudice, no excessive or gratuitous violence, a logically plotted universe, and an ultimately hopeful ending…this finale will be tremendously popular with series fans.”
— Booklist, Children of Jubilee
About the book: Kiandra has to use her wits and tech-savvy ways to help rescue Edwy, Enu, and the others from the clutches of the Enforcers in the thrilling final novel of the Children of Exile series from New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Peterson Haddix.
Since the Enforcers raided Refuge City, Rosi, Edwy, and the others are captured and forced to work as slave labor on an alien planet, digging up strange pearls. Weak and hungry, none of them are certain they will make it out of this alive.
But Edwy’s tech-savvy sister, Kiandra, has always been the one with all the answers, and so they turn to her. But Kiandra realizes that she can’t find her way out of this one on her own, and they all might need to rely on young Cana and her alien friend if they are going to survive.
About the author: Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including the Children of Exile series, The Missing series, the Under Their Skin series, and the Shadow Children series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her at HaddixBooks.com.
August 23, 2018
Grain Handler Sentenced to Prison for Stealing Millions from Ohio Farmers
(NORWALK, Ohio)— Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director David Daniels announced today that a Huron County man has been sentenced to prison for the theft of more than $3 million in grain from nearly three dozen Ohio farmers.
Huron County Common Pleas Court Judge James W. Conway today sentenced Richard J. Schwan, 79, of Monroeville, to four years in prison. The defendant was also ordered to pay $3,222,209.70 in restitution as part of his sentence. The money, which has now been paid in full, will reimburse the farmers, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund.
“This defendant sold grain for 35 hardworking farmers, but he deliberately failed to pay them their shares of the profits. He then essentially stole from every grain farmer in the state when the Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund was used to pay for the majority of the farmers’ losses,” said Attorney General DeWine. “I am happy that this investigation and prosecution has secured reimbursement for the fund, the farmers, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.”
The Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund is paid for by Ohio farmers through a half-cent per bushel fee and is used to reimburse them when a grain handler becomes insolvent. Approximately $2.5 million of the restitution will reimburse the fund, and the remaining restitution will pay the balance of the money still owed to the farmers and investigative costs incurred by the ODA.
“I want to thank the staff at ODA and Attorney General DeWine’s office for their work in resolving this case and proving that the system works,” said ODA Director David Daniels. “The department is pleased that the victims in this case and all of Ohio’s grain farmers will get back every cent stolen from the grain indemnity fund.”
Schwan operated Schwan Grain Inc., which transported and sold grain on behalf of the 35 farmers from Erie, Huron, Lorain, Richland, and Seneca counties. He was arrested in November after the investigation found that he stole the farmers’ profits between 2012 and 2014. The investigation also found that Schwan filed several financial reports and other documents with the Ohio Department of Agriculture that falsely reported and concealed his liabilities and the money he owed the victims.
Schwan pleaded guilty in July to two felony counts of aggravated theft, and one felony count each of attempted aggravated theft, falsification in a theft offense, insolvent handler, and delayed price agreement.
The case was investigated by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and prosecuted by Attorney General DeWine’s Special Prosecutions Section.
Delaware County Child Support Enforcement Agency Announces Coloring Contest Winners
DELAWARE, Ohio — Delaware County’s award-winning Child Support Enforcement Agency continues to honor Child Support Awareness Month in August. The agency recently announced the winners of a coloring contest they sponsored for local children.
CSEA staff members donated and stuffed three backpacks with school supplies appropriate for each age-group winner and their schools. The winners included: Khloe Thompson, age 4; Lorenzo Thomas, age 9; and Jarryn Andrews, age 10.
“Our goal is to raise awareness of the important services provided by child-support programs throughout Ohio and the U.S.,” said CSEA Director Joyce Bowens. “It’s also important to honor how critical the financial and emotional support is that parents and caretakers provide to children.”
Throughout August, the CSEA has been recognizing and thanking organizations and partners in Delaware County who assist them.
For more information about Delaware County’s CSEA, please go to https://childsupport.co.delaware.oh.us/.
Ohio Wesleyan Appoints Chief Diversity Officer — Juan Armando Rojas Joo, Ph.D.
Aug. 24, 2018
Joo, to Oversee Initiatives in Diversity and Inclusion
DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University today announced the appointment of Juan Armando Rojas Joo, Ph.D., as the university’s chief diversity officer.
In the newly created role, Rojas will oversee the implementation of Ohio Wesleyan’s diversity, equity, and inclusion policy and serve as a resource for related topics, including educational, facilities, and human resources-related issues, such as employee recruitment and retention.
A member of the Ohio Wesleyan faculty since 2004, Rojas also is a professor of Modern Foreign Languages and serves as the university’s associate dean of diversity and inclusion. As chief diversity officer, he will report to President Rock Jones, Ph.D.
“Ohio Wesleyan is fortunate to have Dr. Rojas as our first chief diversity officer,” Jones said. “The university will be well served by his deep passion for these issues and his commitment to supporting the further development of a campus culture that values every form of diversity and welcomes all people.”
Rojas was appointed associate dean of diversity and inclusion in 2016, and since then has helped the campus to review, refine, and approve its diversity, equity, and inclusion policy as well as implement initiatives to support a more diverse faculty and to embed diverse views, perspectives, and experiences throughout the curriculum. He will remain in his dean’s role in addition to serving as chief diversity officer.
“In my role as chief diversity officer,” Rojas said, “I plan to explore and strategize ways to improve organizational culture and existing policies with the goal of creating a more comprehensive academic environment for students, faculty, and staff from under-represented groups.”
In addition to adding a chief diversity officer, Ohio Wesleyan this fall also will be recreating its former Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, with Rojas helping to facilitate the group’s work. The council will bring many offices and voices together to discuss issues, share information, and create mechanisms to continue successful diversity initiatives.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to participate in the creation of an inclusive culture, one where all of its members can thrive and succeed,” Rojas said.
Already the author of six books of poetry, Rojas is quickly making his voice heard as an academic administrator as well. He has written an essay, “Advocating for a Diversity and Inclusion Commitment at Liberal Arts Colleges: Essential Conversations in the Role of the Chief Diversity Officer,” that will be published as a chapter in the forthcoming book “Valley of Hope: Diversity Triumphs.” In addition, he has been accepted into the 2018-2019 Senior Leadership Academy of the Washington, D.C.-based Council of Independent Colleges.
Rojas earned his both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso and his doctorate from the University of Arizona. Learn more about Rojas and the Ohio Wesleyan Department of Modern Foreign Languages at www.owu.edu/mfl. Learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion at Ohio Wesleyan at www.owu.edu/diversity.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.
A Biblical View of the Knox County Alien
By Pastor Stephen Howard, Morrow Bible Church
August 24, 2018
On July 31, an alien was reported crossing State Route 13 north of Mount Vernon. A report made to the Mutual UFO Network, Ohio (MUFON) described the being as “bipedal, 7 to 8 feet tall, dark tan to light brown skin, no body hair, tall slender body, arms and legs small in diameter, hands and feet oversized for body, small neck with oval elongated head, black eyes.”
People are having a little fun with this reported sighting, but others take aliens very seriously. Their high-dollar efforts are known as Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).
In these alien sightings many important details are undocumented and actual evidence to examine often does not exist. After all, U in UFO stands for “Unidentified.” But could aliens be real? What does the Bible have to say?
The Bible tells us that we are sinners. The entire human race has fallen into sin because of the sin of the first man, Adam.
Romans 5:12 explains, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
We are all descendents from Adam and have inherited a sin nature. Our sin creates all kinds of problems, both now and in the future. Sin separates us from God as the Bible says, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).
But God took action to do something about this separation. In His love, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He took the deserved punishment of sinners upon Himself as 1 Peter 3:18 describes, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
If aliens exist, they too would be affected by sin. How do we know? Because Romans 8:22 tells us about the universal effect of sin: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
Yet, the Bible says there is only one Savior from sin, Jesus Christ. He became a man to save the human race. Hebrews 10:12 tells of the permanence of Jesus’ sacrifice, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”
Jesus Christ is forever the God-man, not the God-alien. That makes the existence of aliens very unlikely. Jesus Christ came to save the people He created.
But creation is exactly what many extra-terrestrial supporters deny. Their view is that evolution is the reason for life here on Earth, and evolution must be the reason for intelligent life somewhere else.
Yet evolution is not the explanation of life supported by the Bible. Isaiah 45:18 makes clear how and why God created the earth: “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”
God created this earth uniquely to support human life. The more we learn about this universe, the more evidence we find for that conclusion. You can rely on the truth of God’s Word, the Bible. Save your doubts for the Knox County Alien.