• Community Profiles

    The Heart of Nelsonville

    Nelsonville was originally settled in 1814 in what would become the Hocking Hills region. Now, Nelsonville is known for the one-star brick, Rocky Boots and their historic town square. From an opera house to coffee shops the historic square has a place for everyone. The square has always been a hub for local commerce, and as the businesses have changed the members of the community value it all the same. Kids today and yesterday have used the square for a place of gathering and are now beginning to be a part of the local economy. Click the video below to experience a virtual tour of the Nelsonville square or click…

  • Blogs

    New heartbeat bill proposed in Ohio House and Senate

    Republican lawmakers introduced another version of the “heartbeat bill” in the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives on Feb. 12. If the bill becomes a law, women will no longer be legally allowed to have an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected. Limiting options at that stage has caused outrage from people on both sides of the political spectrum. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks, which is before many women even know they’re pregnant. Former Gov. John Kasich vetoed similar bills twice, stating that it was inconsistent with previous Supreme Court rulings. However, Gov. Mike DeWine has expressed intentions to sign the heartbeat bill…

  • Blogs

    Is uptown’s landscape changing too much?

    Big Mamma’s Burritos could see major changes from new owners, further altering the main strip of Athen’s uptown. After a visit during Ohio University’s Sibs Weekend, D.P. Dough executives Matt Crumpton and Jerry DePizzo were impressed with the restaurant’s atmosphere. They bought the Athens location on Feb. 5. There haven’t been any concrete changes made to the business so far because the owners want to focus on getting to know the staff and operations. The ultimate goal is that Big Mamma’s remains “an enjoyable place to work,” DePizzo said in an article from the Post. The news has received some outcry from local residents on social media: “They didn’t do…

  • Community Stories

    Gigi’s: A restaurant that creates community six miles outside Athens

    The doors unlock at 7 a.m. and let in an elderly couple that could float away after all the coffee they drink. A little later Greg comes in. He’s a local who comes in twice a day every day. Then JT. He shuffles to the back booth to claim His space. His dirty overalls and rat tail braid make his drink order of green tea with honey somewhat surprising and humorous. The rest of JT’s boys come in and sit in the booth to begin discussing the day’s work ahead of them. When asked what his favorite part of Gigi’s was, JT replied, “I love the community, I know I…

  • Community Stories,  VR

    Beads (and Things) in Athens’ Backyard

    When other little girls were playing with dolls, Jo Merkle played with beads. “They all have stories, and they all have memories,” she said. “People have adorned themselves since they walked on two legs.” In 1990, Merkle turned her passion into profit and opened what is quite possibly the most culturally diverse craft store in Appalachia: Beads & Things. At first glance, the store is an explosion of color: beads and stones of every shape, size and shade hang from display racks, sit in baskets on the floor, and in small bowls on every available surface. As dazzling as it is, the true emphasis is on the “things,” as there…

  • Community Stories

    Welcome to Athens, Ohio!

    Take a dive into what makes this town so unique compared to the rest of Appalachia. Through this project, you will be able to take advantage of 360-degree video to immerse yourself in some of the main hot spots in Athens and get exclusive interviews from some of the employees in the town. You will have the pleasure of meeting three people who embody what Athens is all about. First, Thomas O’Grady is a part-time professor at Ohio University. Not only does he teach astronomy, but he is one of the main reasons why the Southeast Ohio History Center is filled with rich history. He definitely knows his facts. If…

  • Community Stories,  VR

    The Athens Farmers Market, a Community Experience

    Ironically set between a chain steakhouse and a movie theater on East State Street, the Athens Farmers Market has developed into a community staple and a destination for foodies throughout Appalachia. When the market opened in the early 1970s, it was comprised of only three farmers. Since then, it has grown tremendously. Click HERE for a virtual representation of the farmer market with interviews of vendors A study conducted by the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs perfectly portrays the popularity of the market. When the study took place, the population of Athens was 23,832, and the average Saturday attendance to the farmers market was over 2,500 people. The…

  • Blogs

    Reflecting on a semester of working with virtual reality

    It’s hard to believe it, but in two short weeks, the semester is over. Just like that, our 15 weeks of learning and working with virtual reality will end. Looking back on what we accomplished, I’m very proud of our capstone class. Here’s a summary of everything that’s happened this semester. We made this website First and foremost, we created valleyreality.org. (I’d link to it, but, you know, you’re already here.) Head on over to our “About Us” page to see the teams that made this site so wonderful. Shout out to the startup team for assembling the pages you’re viewing now. Modest self promotion for the editorial team (of…

  • Blogs

    American Airlines Leads Digital AR Integration

    Following the launch of the iPhone X, millions of iPhone users were introduced to a new technology rarely seen on a cell phone, augmented reality. With Apple’s ARKit, users were now able to interact with their environments directly whether is be through educational learning, real-time improvements to productivity, or even mindless fun playing games such as Pokemon Go. Unlike virtual reality which actually transport you into a new environment via headset, augmented reality is the next big disruptive technology to hit the market. With its real world applications and continuous improvements, many are wondering if it will be more valuable than virtual reality in the coming decade. One company who…