Saturday, February 29th, 2020

School's Trump flag removal order irks some

By William Kincaid
COLDWATER - Carrying out a proud agricultural tradition, FFA students paraded a convoy of tractors down North Second Street on Friday before pulling into the high school parking lot to celebrate FFA Week.
This year's FFA tractor drive-in, however, sparked controversy on social media and elsewhere, with some people expressing anger over FFA students being told to remove flags bearing the name of President Donald Trump once they parked on school grounds.
High school principal Jason Hemmelgarn was out of the district on Friday to attend the boys state bowling tournament at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. However, he told the newspaper an FFA adviser had informed him that no issues occurred and that the students were very respectful in complying with a directive to remove the Trump flags from their tractors while they were parked on school grounds.
District officials posted a formal statement about the FFA event on the school's Facebook page.
"Before this morning's FFA activity, students made their advisor know of their intention to decorate their tractors with political messages. They were informed that while they are free to do so outside of this school activity (including as they drove down public roads to campus), once their tractors were on school grounds as part of the FFA event they were to remove these political decorations," the statement reads.
Students were advised to wear official FFA dress and that the purpose of this activity was to promote the FFA, farmers and agriculture, the statement continues.
"No students were told they would be suspended or that any activities would be cancelled in relation to this," the statement reads. "As with all voluntary student activities - whether it is a sport, an arts event, or some other club - the district does not allow political speech in favor of or against any candidate, party, or issue. Our voluntary student activities are open to all students and are meant to serve as uniting events for the school community."
Superintendent Jason Wood could not be reached for further comment.
Additional online story on this date
Division II Boys State Bowling Championships
Coldwater's Schoenherr, New Bremen's Alig earn All-Ohio honors
After going to the wire in the quarterfinal and semifinal matches, Coldwater did not want to drag out the championship match of the Division II state boys bowling tournament. [More]
Subscriber and paid stories on this date
Errors by law enforcement also alleged
WAPAKONETA - Lawyers for a man charged in connection with a fatal St. Marys shooting argued in court on Friday that an informant had improperly acted as a state agent and that law enforcement officials had made errors when interrogating their client and administering a photo lineup.
Election 2020
CELINA- Celina City Schools District voters will decide during the March 17 primary election whether to approve a bond issue and levy to build new schools.
ST. MARYS - Three Democrats running to challenge 4th District U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, in the November general election faced off in an Auglaize County Democratic Party debate on Thursday.
Flyers oust top-seeded Indians; Cards top 'Skins in OT
ST. MARYS - Two teams, each riding seven-game winning streaks, will collide in the Division IV district semifinals at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday at Wapakoneta High School.
LIMA - Celina's brief postseason run came to an end on Friday.
The Bulldogs had their season ended by a team primed for a state-tournament run.
Top-ranked Shawnee improved to 23-0 with a 64-24 victory over Celina in the Division II sectional final at Lima Senior High School.
COLDWATER - The third quarter was important to both Parkway and Minster on Friday night.
The Panthers outscored Upper Scioto Valley 17-4 in the third quarter of their Division IV boys basketball sectional to move on with a 63-39 win over the Rams in the opening game at the Palace in Coldwater.
Area Roundup
Compiled by Colin Foster
The Coldwater boys basketball team had a long tournament run last year.
Maybe another one is in store?
On Friday,