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Train derailment, COTA strike power stormy summer

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

After a summer away from Columbus for many, the start of Fall Semester has brought thousands of students back to campus. Busy with jobs, internships, study abroad trips and vacations, many have missed the news on what has been happening in the Ohio State campus area.
With the first day of class right around the corner, here is a quick look back at what you missed from The Lantern over the summer.

Les Wexner’s Resignation
Les Wexner stepped down from the OSU Board of Trustees on June 8. University spokeswoman Shelly Hoffman said that the reasons for this resignation are unknown, but his current term wasn’t due to expire until 2020. Wexner completed his term as Chairman of the Board in April, and the position is now occupied by Robert Schottenstein. Wexner has made several significant contributions to the university over the years, including a $100 million donation to the university in 2011. In February the university medical center was renamed the Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University in his honor.

Parking Privitization
The university Board of Trustees met June 22 and approved a $483 million parking deal that leased all university parking assets to an outside vendor for 50 years. The accepted bid limits parking rate increases by 5.5 percent for the first 10 years under the agreement. After 10 years, rates will be capped at 4 percent or a rolling five-year average of inflation, whichever is greater. The $483 million bid was placed by QIC Global Infrastructure, an Australia-based investment firm, that is partnered with LAZ Parking, a company that specializes in parking operations. LAZ will handle operations of all permit sales, parking lots and parking garages. The agreement is not set to take effect until the 2013-2014 school year.

Urban Meyer kicks off football season
The Buckeyes held their first football practice Aug. 3, kicking off the start of the 2012 season and Meyer’s reign as head coach. The team was ranked No. 18 in the first top 25 poll of the 2012 season and will face Miami of Ohio at Ohio Stadium for their first game on Sept. 1.

Severe storm leave students without power
A severe storm blew through OSU’s campus June 29 leaving hundreds of students without power in the off-campus area. Trees in the area lost limbs, and significant damage was done to the OSU Don Scott Airport and a nearby farm. Thousands of Columbus residents didn’t have their power return for several days while crews cleaned up fallen trees and repaired power lines.
Train derailment in off-campus area
The campus area received national attention when a southbound train derailed in the early morning hours of July 11, just south of the Ohio State Fairgrounds at Fields and 5th avenues. The train had been carrying three ethanol cars, two corn syrup cars, eight wheat cars and four cars of mulch as it derailed, leading to an explosion. OSU students received an alert about the fire at 3:45 a.m., and another at 8:45 a.m., warning them to avoid the area. The reason for the derailment is still unknown, and representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board said that it could be 12 to 18 months until a probable cause of the incident is determined.

COTA goes on strike
COTA Union workers went on strike over contract negotiations, leaving the city without public bus transportation just before one of the city’s biggest events of the summer: Red, White, & BOOM!, a Fourth of July celebration which drew nearly half a million patrons to Columbus. COTA was reported to have transported more than 25,000 attendees to and from the 2011 event, and had been planning to charter 200 extra buses to accommodate the large crowds. The buses did not operate on July 3, the day of Red, White, & BOOM!, but continued operation the following day.

Buckeye athletes represent in London
Eleven current and former OSU students went to the Summer Olympics in London, but didn’t bring home any hardware for the Scarlet and Gray. Buckeyes competed in five different sports: fencing, swimming, rowing, soccer and rifle, and competed for eight different countries. Former Ohio State diver Katie Bell finished 16th in the semifinal 10-meter platform competition, and did not make it to the final round. Bell said on her Twitter account @HippieBell that the experience was “a dream come true and I have enjoyed every moment” despite leaving London with no medal to show for her efforts.


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