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UToledo Police to hold active shooter training March 30

The University of Toledo Police Department and the Office of Recreational Services will conduct a training exercise Saturday, March 30, to test the response of campus law enforcement in the event of a violent intruder within a University building.

The active shooter simulation will take place from 8 to 9:45 a.m. inside the Student Recreation Center on Main Campus. The training is scheduled to be complete before the Student Recreation Center opens at 10 a.m.

Similar to other active shooter training exercises University police have conducted, campus safety officials will test first responders’ communication, response and scene management. This exercise, however, also will test the response of more than 70 staff and students who work in the Student Recreation Center.

“We’ve been doing active shooter exercises for many years, and we continue to build upon previous experience,” University Police Chief and Director of Public Safety Jeff Newton said. “It’s an opportunity for officers to train in their response to an active aggressor and also for the students and staff to train in their ALICE principles.”

ALICE, which is an acronym that stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate, is a national program that instructs participants on how to survive an active shooter situation. The University regularly offers ALICE training to students, faculty and staff; go to the University Police ALICE Program website.

Many of the staff and students participating in the March 30 exercise have undergone ALICE training. Demond Pryor, director of the Office of Recreational Services, said it is important to provide training that readies students for a variety of situations.

“We feel it is our responsibility to prepare our students for potential incidents in our facility and to increase their awareness of how to respond to an incident in the community,” Pryor said.

Signs will be posted that say “UToledo Police Training Event” around the Student Recreation Center. In the event of a real emergency, the public address and UT Alert systems would be activated to inform the campus community that a dangerous situation is occurring and to stay clear.

Regular police training exercises are a key part of the University’s mission to ensure a safe campus environment.

“It’s important for every location to prepare,” Newton said “We’ve seen that no location is immune to this type of violence. Churches, movie theaters, shopping malls, workplaces and schools are all potential targets for an aggressor. It’s really prudent for everyone to train. We want to ensure we’re providing the safest environment possible for our students and staff.”

To learn what to do in the event of an emergency and for more information on the University’s emergency preparedness plans and procedures, visit the emergency preparedness website.

Rocket club to compete in National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships this week

The Rocket Disc Golf club will travel to Appling, Ga., to compete in the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships Wednesday, March 27.

Club members will leave Tuesday, March 26, to arrive in time for the event, which will take place at the International Disc Golf Center. UToledo is one of 34 universities from across the country that will hit the course.

Rocket Disc Golf qualified for nationals with a second-place finish at the Great Lakes Collegiate Open earlier this month at Deerfield Nature Park in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

“Thankfully, Chris Wojciechowski, Rocket Disc Golf No. 1 player, shot the hot round of the day to secure a berth for us,” said Aaron Chelchowski, president and founder of the club. “Our team is getting ready, and we are excited to show the rest of the schools that are going to nationals that we are to be taken seriously.”

The team consists of Chelchowski, a senior majoring in sales and marketing; Wojciechowski, a Ph.D. student in measurement; Ryan Rau, a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in education and leadership; and Alex Phillips, a senior majoring in professional sales.

“It has been a whirlwind starting this club in time to compete this year,” Rau said. “An absolute round of applause to Aaron Chelchowski for all the hard work and hours of time he has put into this. He has truly been the thrusters that have propelled this rocket of a club.”

After qualifying for nationals, the club had to figure out how to make the trip happen. Rau and Chelchowski went into fundraising overdrive and received more than $1,000 in less than one week via GoFundMe. Donations came in from UToledo alumi, family, and disc golfers from collegiate programs around the country.

“This club raised more than $2,000 in funding through shirt sales and disc sales through a partnership with Discraft Discs, the world leader in disc sports, before ever getting to the first budget allocation meeting,” Wojciechowski said. “The club has staying power and will be a part of the fabric of the University for years to come.”

Students who want to get involved with the Rocket Disc Golf club can email Chelchowski at aaron.chelchowski@rockets.utoledo.edu or rocketdiscgolf@utoledo.edu.

Bridge by Savage Arena to be replaced

The pedestrian bridge by Savage Arena will close Monday, April 22, so it can be replaced this spring and summer.

The bridge by Savage Arena will close Monday, April 22, so it can be replaced. All other spans over the Ottawa River will be open during the project.

“In continued efforts to maintain and improve the University’s infrastructure, the current Savage Arena pedestrian bridge will be removed and replaced,” Doug Collins, director of grounds and transportation, said. “The new bridge will be a prefabricated steel truss bridge spanning over the Ottawa River, very similar to the new Carlson Library pedestrian bridge.”

A redesigned plaza area at the north end of the bridge will feature a seating area overlooking the river along with benches near lot 2, he added.

The new bridge will feature accessible routes in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

All other bridges crossing the Ottawa River will be open during the project, which is scheduled to be complete in August. Detour signs will be posted.

State of the University address slated for April 3

President Sharon L. Gaber will celebrate The University of Toledo’s recent accomplishments and share her vision for the future during her State of the University address.

Gaber

The speech will be Wednesday, April 3, at 4 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium, followed by a reception.

University students, faculty, staff, alumni and the public are invited to attend.

“Our University community has achieved so much together in the last year, and we are making an impact thanks to the dedication of our faculty, staff and students,” Gaber said. “We look forward to this annual moment to celebrate our successes, our exciting new directions, and the many people who make our campus such a great place to learn.”

This will be Gaber’s third State of the University address since being named president in July 2015.

Toledo falls to Northwestern in second round of WNIT, 54-47

Big Ten member Northwestern utilized a 25-2 second-half run en route to claiming a 54-47 victory over Toledo Sunday in the second round of the Postseason WNIT in Savage Arena.

With the loss, the Rockets end their season with a 21-12 record.

Senior Kaayla McIntyre had 12 points and 10 rebounds vs. Northwestern March 24 in the second round of the Postseason WNIT.

The Wildcats (18-14) shot 40.0 percent (10 of 25) from the field and 77.8 percent (14 of 18) from the free-throw line after the intermission to erase a nine-point halftime deficit, while UT went 14-plus minutes without a field goal. The Rockets made only six baskets in the second half and scored 18 points after the break, compared to 10 field goals and 34 points for Northwestern.

Senior Kaayla McIntyre paced Toledo with 12 points, nine boards and three thefts, while classmate Mikaela Boyd had 10 points. The Rockets also received seven points from sophomore Nakiah Black, six from junior Sara Rokkanen, and a game-high seven assists by junior Mariella Santucci. 

As a team, UT shot 36.0 percent (18 of 50) from the field, including 23.1 percent (4 of 17) from three-point range and 58.3 percent (7 of 12 from the charity stripe.

Lindsey Pulliam led Northwestern with a game-high 17 points, followed by Veronica Burton and Abbie Wolf with 13 and 11, respectively. Burton and Wolf spearheaded the visitors second-half effort, tallying 10 and nine points after the intermission to help NU advance to the Sweet 16 in the 22nd annual postseason tourney. 

With the completion of today’s game, the collegiate careers of seniors Boyd, McIntyre, Sarah St-Fort and Mae Tshitenge came to an end. The Rockets’ quartet were a part of 81 overall victories over the last four seasons, including 43 league wins. They also played a significant role in helping the Midnight Blue and Gold secure three post-season berths during this time, including a 2017 Mid-American Conference Championship.

Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame nominations due April 15

Nominations for the 2019 class of the Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame are being accepted through Monday, April 15.

Nominations may come from any source. Nominations from previous years automatically carry over to the next year.

Criteria are:

• Any athlete who has performed with distinction at The University of Toledo. The athlete need not necessarily be a graduate.

• Any athlete who has been out of the University for at least five years and who has demonstrated good citizenship since leaving the University. For the 2019 class, nominees must not have been active on or after July 1, 2014.

• Any coach, administrator, trainer, etc. who has served The University of Toledo with distinction for a period of at least five years and who has been retired or resigned or otherwise disenfranchised from his/her position for a period of at least five years. For the 2019 class, nominees must not have been active on or after July 1, 2014.

The nomination form can be found on the Toledo Rockets’ website.

Email the nomination form along with all supporting data to Paul Helgren at paul.helgren@utoledo.edu.

Nominations also can be mailed to:

Paul Helgren
The University of Toledo
Athletic Communications Office MS 302
2801 W. Bancroft St.
Toledo, OH 43606

Members will be chosen by a three-quarters vote of the selection committee.

The Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame banquet will be held in the fall, with the 2019 class being presented at halftime of a Toledo football game.

UT prevails over Seton Hall, 71-65, in first round of Postseason WNIT

Toledo pounded out a hard-fought 71-65 victory over Big East member Seton Hall Thursday night in the first round of the 2019 Postseason WNIT in Savage Arena.

With the win, Head Coach Tricia Cullop became the school’s all-time winningest women’s basketball coach passing Mark Ehlen (240-149, 1995-2008) with 241 victories patroling the Toledo sidelines.

Senior Mikaela Boyd had 15 points and five boards vs. Seton Hall in Toledo’s first-round victory in the Postseason WNIT Thursday night.

The Rockets (21-11) advance to the second round for a matchup vs. Big Ten member Northwestern (17-14) Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m. in Savage Arena. For ticket information, go to the Toledo Rockets’ website.

Senior Kaayla McIntyre paced four Rockets in double figures with 16 points, followed by senior Mikaela Boyd and sophomore Nakiah Black with 15 and 14, respectively. Junior Sara Rokkanen rounded out Toledo’s double-digit scorers with 10 points off the bench.

Toledo also benefited from seven points and a game-high seven assists from junior Mariella Santucci to win its first-round game in the Postseason WNIT for the seventh-straight time. 

As a team, the Rockets shot a respectable 47.5 percent (28 of 59) from the field, including 30.0 percent (6 of 20) from three-point range, and 75.0 percent (9 of 12) from the charity stripe.

UT also held a 32-28 edge on the glass and finished with 21 assists on 28 field goals, marking the eighth time it has posted at least 20 helpers. 

Selena Philoxy led the Pirates (15-16) with a game-high 19 points, while Nicole Jimenez and Victoria Cardaci had 15 and 14, respectively.

Seton Hall was without the services of its leading scorer Shadeen Samuel, who did not dress for the game due to illness. The 2018-19 first-team All-Big East honoree came into the post-season game averaging 18.3 points per game, 8.6 rebounds per game, 2.6 assists per game, 0.8 blocks per game, and 1.5 steals per game and 32.3 minutes per game.

Study explaining side effects of statins finds drug can have unexpected benefits

While investigating why cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins cause negative side effects such as blurred vision, short-term memory loss or increased risk for diabetes, cellular chemists at The University of Toledo discovered several previously unknown benefits.

It is well-established statins can help lower the risk of heart attack by lowering blood cholesterol, but statins also may play a protective role in the event of a heart attack because they can suppress a biological process that disrupts cardiac function.

Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, assistant professor in The University of Toledo Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, monitors Mithila Tennakoon, UToledo Ph.D. student, as she exposes living cells to statins in his lab.

By suppressing the activity of key cellular receptors called G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their interacting partners called G proteins, statins have the potential to alter various bodily functions controlled by this important pathway, according to research published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology.

“We believe this and our future investigations can help physicians make more informed decisions about prescribing statins, opening a whole new door to what statins can do in addition to cholesterol control,” said Dr. Ajith Karunarathne, assistant professor in The University of Toledo Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

GPCR signaling pathways are crucial to our survival. They are the largest pharmaceutical drug target — more than one-third of all drugs on the market — because GPCR pathways regulate the body by controlling a variety of functions from vision to heart rate and neurotransmission.

Statins are designed to target and inhibit the cholesterol-synthesis pathway, which is why it is an effective and popular drug to lower cholesterol. But parts of the cholesterol-synthesis pathway are needed for the GPCR signaling pathway to function, which explains the temporary negative side effects while taking statins, such as blurred vision or short-term memory loss.

The UToledo scientists also revealed another crucial finding: The cholesterol-lowering drugs reduce the ability of migratory cells, such as cancer and immune cells, to travel.

When testing GPCR-directed cell invasion, Karunarathne’s lab found that statins reduced movement more than 10-fold compared to the control group.

“This indicated that GPCR-governed cancer cell migration also can be reduced by statins,” Karunarathne said.

The research was done using cells, not human patients. Karunarathne’s lab uses light to control cell behavior — through a novel method named subcellular optogenetics — and studies the way cells respond to light through signal transduction pathways.

“We observed that different types of statins induce very different deviations or changes to G proteins in the GPCR pathway,” said Mithila Tennakoon, a UToledo Ph.D. student in Karunarathne’s lab and first author of the study.

“The side effects of statins are not uniform,” Karunarathne said. “Cells in the eyes, brain, heart and lungs can have completely different impact levels because they have different types of G proteins.”

These findings help explain the molecular sources for side effects of statins, which Karunarathne’s lab discovered can have different effects on tissues and organs.

This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Shorthanded Rockets fall at Xavier in NIT, 78-64

A shorthanded Toledo men’s basketball team saw its successful season come to a close Wednesday evening with a 78-64 loss at Xavier in the first round of the 2019 National Invitation Tournament at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati.

The Rockets concluded the season with a 25-8 record, the second most victories in school history.

Senior Jaelan Sanford led Toledo with 23 points in its 78-64 loss at Xavier.

The Musketeers will play at Texas in the second round Sunday, March 24.

Senior Jaelan Sanford scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Rockets, who were playing without a pair of injured starters — junior Willie Jackson and sophomore Marreon Jackson.

Senior Chris Darrington registered 18 points, a career-high five rebounds and four assists. Also scoring in double digits was senior Nate Navigato with 16 points on 4 of 7 shooting behind the arc.

“I’m extremely proud of the way we battled against a very talented Xavier team,” Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “We made some turnovers during their second-half run that led to fast-break baskets and it really cost us. Once they gained some separation, it was tough to come back.”

Sophomore Naji Marshall topped Xavier with 20 points, a career-high 21 rebounds, and a team-high six assists. Marshall’s work on the boards helped the Musketeers control the glass by a 51-31 margin.

The Rockets shot 39.0 percent from the field and limited the hosts to a 40.3 shooting mark.

Toledo led by as many as four points in the first half before settling for a 27-27 tie at intermission. Darrington’s layup with 16:04 remaining put the Rockets in front 36-35, marking the last time UT led in the contest. Xavier responded with a 23-2 spurt over the next five and a half minutes to take control.

University’s Big Event set to make big impact in community

Spending time with seniors, visiting patients in the hospital, helping with spring cleanup — these are a few of the assignments on the list for The University of Toledo’s Big Event.

The largest student-run service project will take place Saturday, March 23.

More than 1,000 University students, faculty, staff and alumni are expected to pitch in this year across the Toledo area.

“It is inspiring to see participants come together from all backgrounds to make a difference in the city we all have the privilege to call home during our time at the University,” Tara Roeder, a senior majoring in accounting and director of the Big Event, said.

Volunteers can check in starting at 9 a.m. at the Student Recreation Center. An opening ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. and feature two speakers: Ken Leslie, founder of Veterans Matter and 1 Matters, and University alumnus Matt Rubin, president and CEO of Crane Development Ltd. in Toledo, who was involved with the Big Event when he was a student.

The vision for the Big Event was to give University students a chance to show their appreciation and give back to surrounding communities by completing service projects.

University volunteers will be assigned to more than 50 locations in the area, according to Dylan Vonderhuevel, a senior majoring in premed biology and director of job sites for the Big Event.

Locations include the University’s Stranahan Arboretum to clean up damage sustained during the ice storm; Toledo Bikes! to help repair recycled bicycles at the nonprofit organization; Sunset House Retirement Home to talk to seniors and play games; and Mercy Children’s Hospital to visit patients.

“I realize I’ve been very lucky to grow up with the family I have and be able to attend college, so I have always wanted to help others who have been less fortunate,” Vonderhuevel said.

“I hope participants leave this event inspired and with a newfound or renewed passion for service,” Roeder said.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer can sign up on the Big Event registration website through Friday, March 22, and at the event Saturday morning.