Thursday, June 26, 2008


It is official - I have relocated to Los Angeles and with that I no longer get to see first hand the comings and goings in Columbus. Until I figure out my next steps I am going to leave this blog active and then update you.

Thanks for reading Columbus Independent the past year and I hope you consider joining me in my next adventure.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Saturday June 14th - 10am to 6pm
Columbus Landmarks welcomes everyone to the 9th annual City Hop tour of 17 properties showcasing unique examples of downtown living spaces.

JUNE 14th
Start tour at any of the 3 ticket stops:

1. Ibiza in the Short North Arts District,
830 N. High Street
2. Neighborhood Launch in the heart of downtown
Gay & Fourth Street
3. The Arena Grand Theatre in the Arena District,
175 W. Nationwide Boulevard
Fri, June 6th, 6pm - 9pm
June 14th, 4pm - 8pm
Harrison West Community Center
575 W. First Ave.
ARMS Properties, Capitol South, Campus Apartments, Inc., Nationwide Realty Investors, Orange Barrel Media, The Edwards Cos., Wagenbrenner Development - Harrison Park
MEDIA SPONSOR Columbus Alive


Arena Crossing Apartments
The Buggyworks
Courthouse Condominiums
8 on the Square
Harrison Park
Hartman Lofts
The Jeffrey
Kramer Place
Lofts at Jeffrey Place
Neighborhood Launch
The Condominiums at
North Bank Park
Ohio Loft
199 S. Fifth
Rich Street Walk
The Seneca Luxury Apartments
Sixty Spring

Friday, May 30, 2008


Columbus, Ohio's happening sideStory Highlights
The opening of the pro hockey arena helped revive the once-gritty area

Today the Short North district is packed with galleries, restaurants and shops
A lof of the same stores and locations highlighted but the review is positive and once people get here they can discover new locations on their own.

The North Market, an indoor food emporium, has been around since 1876
Next Article in Travel »

By Jason Cohen

(Budget Travel) -- Tens of thousands of people head to Columbus every fall during Ohio State's football season. I'm as much a road-trip loving football fan as the next guy, but I actually never thought the Ohio capital was as charming as say Madison, Wisconsin, or Ann Arbor, Michigan. I obviously wasn't looking very hard. With a revamped downtown and a booming population (it surpassed Cleveland in size in the 1980s), the city has restyled itself from a college town into a fairly happening urban center.

For the full article...

Monday, May 26, 2008


The former Coffee Table and 8 at Buttles and High is going to be called Black Olive. Signs in the windows say they are hiring all positions.

Best Apparel and Uniform sandwiched between the former Garden Church and Milk Bar is moving. This was the most random new business I noticed to locate in the SN last year. I hope a shortage of scrubs with kitty kats does not suddenly appear. I jest.

Industry Standard's building is for sale and most of the merchandise has been pulled from its shelves.

O Patio and Pub opened up on E 15th Ave in the former Four Kegs which adds to the number of campus neighborhood bars I will not frequent.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


On Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. OSU City and Regional Planning Master Candidate students will be presenting their vision for East Franklinton. The presentation is designed to spur conversation about how to redevelop Columbus' first neighborhood. The presentation represents a culmination of a ten week long intensive studio class. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this free event but since space is limited you must confirm your attendance.

General details are (click on invitation image for full information):

Columbus Firefighters Union Hall (Local 67)
Former Toledo and Ohio Central Railroad Station

397 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH

Wednesday, May 21, 2008
6:30 p.m.

R.s.v.p. by Tuesday, May 20

Complimentary parking available
in the adjacent Spaghetti Warehouse lot

Monday, May 12, 2008


Life of the Party

* Ward: ISO / I-10
* Boxer
* 10-12 mos
* 50 lbs. / Male
* # 80427007

Abu reminds me of an old, fedora-wearing Italian who sits on the same park bench each morning in the park. Check out Abu at Franklin County Dog Shelter.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


This Saturday, May 10, 2008, the 16th Annual Stamp Out Hunger, the nation's largest one-day food collection event, is taking place. The food drive focuses on restocking community food banks, pantries and shelters across the United States. The drive is meant to coincide to when donations historically begin to drop off- after the holidays. The decline in donations is especially concerning because the hunger problem is its most critical during the summer when school provided breakfasts and lunches are no longer made available. The need is especially great this year as unemployment and gas prices rise and signs point to a recession.

So what do you have to do to participate- barely anything. Just place non-perishable food items in a bag by your mail box this Saturday morning and your letter carrier will collect it and drop it off at a local food bank. Since my mail box is directly on the street I am going to place my bag of goods by my front door and attach a note to my mail box. Just a thought. So clear out your pantry or make a special trip to the grocery store and help families stay healthy and fed this summer.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I'm sweet, loving, and laid back at times! 99% housebroken. Will make a very loyal friend for life! I know sit and will dance for a treat. I've neen recently groomed and had my teeth brushed. I need an owner who will keep up on my general health and grooming. Please see Cassie at the shelter with questions!! Spanky is in foster care, please email Erin to meet him!
6-7 yrs.
14 lbs. / Male
# 80406009

Yes- I totally admit to picking Spanky because of his name and the promise of a dance.

Check out Spanky and his 364 friends available for adopation at


Reward your taste buds with spectacular foods from around the world. On Thursday, May 8, 6-9 p.m., Global Gallery, 682 N. High Street, will be presenting global and local delicacies, music and fun. Global Gallery's annual International Dinner is a casual social event which brings the community together to celebrate World Fair Trade Day - a day to think about how Fair Trade improves the lives of many people.

Last year over 450 Columbus residents enjoyed the annual International Dinner. Coordinated by Global Gallery's group of community volunteers, this year's new features include a concert stage and educational games for children.

The ticket prices for this event are $10 in advance ($12 at the door) $18.00 per couple. For more information or to reserve tickets by phone, please call 614-444-5945,614-478-8007 or 614-621-1744.

682 North High St
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Thursday - May 8th, 2008

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I was intrigued by Sweden's recent decision to introduce a female alternative to the walking-man crosswalk signs. Each local authority can determine which sign design is used. Do I think they are necessary? No. Do I think they provide an interesting variation to the streetscape? Yes.

I know when I travel I of course remember the signature landmarks that define a city but I also love to find and tell others about the quirky things I stumble upon. Those stories get passed from one person and while I am not saying people will travel to a city for quirky cross walk signs it plants a seed in people's mind about the city. These little features also get picked up by mainstream media far and wide as human interest pieces. News outlets can't tell just report about the sixteen shootings that occurred that day- they have to end the report on a positive, upbeat note so you can go about your day.

Clearly gender balanced crosswalk signs will not solve a city's woes but it certainly is different and in a time where cities are increasingly looking very similar it is a creative way to distinguish itself and of course, say it is now safe to cross the street.

And just for fun, here is another street sign that is making its mark in England.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Cooper Stadium in Franklinton will become a race track. I am sure the neighbors will just love the sound of gunning engines and screeching brakes. Nothing raises real estate values like junior Nascar right next door.

More details to follow in the a.m. from city officials.


Good news - you can finally get that crescent moon or Chinese character tattoo that you have always wanted. Fat Tire Tattoo and Piercing is opening up at 1443 N. High Street (W. 8th and N. High). Check out their myspace page - they are offering a tattoo special.

And no, Mr. T is not Fat Tire's work. I trust that their team would not willingly put any A-Team member on anyone's arm. The Facts of Life girls....that might be another story.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Compliments of While I won't be biking to Gahanna for work, I will be biking to class. Even if you only bike once and it is to do a short errand you are still participating in promoting alternative transportation options.


Nothing makes an impression in the workplace quite like Martian green biker pants. It commands attention. It makes a statement.

And that statement is, “I’m celebrating Bike to Work Week, and my fashion sense is questionable.”

Bike to Work Week kicks off May 12, so the time to prepare is now. Putting your rear in spandex biker gear is highly optional, but some things are just required.

1. Know the Law
Casey Karnes of B1 Bicycles (124 E. Long Street) says that respecting the law is critical. Stay in the street and off the sidewalks.

2. Know How to Park
Some businesses have bike racks nearby, some don’t. Make sure there’s a safe place to store your bike once you make it to work.

3. Get Fuel
You’ll need to refuel after the morning ride, so plan on biking to the Statehouse lawn on Monday, May 12. The party will include bagels, coffee, a live band and a few political celebrities until 9 am.

4. Get Cajones
You’ll still need a little chutzpah when it comes to sharing the streets with cars. Karnes also suggests, “Hold your ground… stay two to three feet from the curb.”

5. You Need a Bike
The newly expanded B1 Bicycles definitely has bikes - there’s even special “commuter” bikes with compartments for carrying the regular workday clothes (hint hint).

Fun Links
These two websites can help you plan for Bike to Work Week


I think most people have noticed that this blog has recently thrown pet themed topics into the mix. True, I may have become a little dog crazed since we adopted Rilo but my peeked interest is largely due to the repeatedly expressed need for more pet amenities such as dog parks by Columbus residents.

While fenced dog parks are definitely needed to provide pets a safe place to exercise and socialize with other dogs, I have heard little discussion among pet owners about the need for better designed shelters, the place where most of these individuals have adopted their companions from. Shelters such as the Franklin County Dog Shelter (FCDS) are the intermediary care givers for our soon-to-be best friends so we should insist upon the inclusion of features that offer better treatment and care of animals. Just as we set new standards for the care of humans we should be pushing for innovative facilities that promote healing and maximally enhance the physical and emotional well being of animals as they recover from past traumas and await adoption.

A couple stories in the past few months have gotten me thinking about the condition of animal shelters. In Morgan County, Ohio the dog warden was asked to resign or be fired because all the unclaimed dogs in his care were being killed - some by gunshots- and dumped in the back of the shelter. Most of these dogs went unclaimed because the shelter had no public hours to view them. The Humane Society admits that rural communities think of their pets in a different way than more urban communities and therefore the care of the animals is low on the totem pole.

The Franklin County Dog Shelter (FCDS) is clearly NOT the understaffed barn that housed dogs in Morgan County. The FCDS animals are well tended to by staff and a large volunteer corp but the conditions of the shelter are not ideal. The cramped environment limits the amount of interaction between dogs and potential adopters and the noisy, cold environment stresses out the animals and contributes to them getting sick and developing behavioral problems. Plans are on the books for an $18 million new shelter to be built but a new building does not necessarily mean better conditions or improved accessibility for potential adopters.

My friend Jean told me about the Washington Animal Rescue League's (WARL)new facility which has essentially set a new standard for animal shelters. I was amazed to read about how much thought they placed into the facility and wanted to share with you what Franklin County could have. The WARL shelter opened in the fall of 2006and can now accommodate nearly 400 animals, an increase of 66 percent.

Some of the new features include:

separate ventilation systems for each living unit
skylights and glass apartments to maximize natural lighting
privacy nooks
elevated beds
heated flooring
flowing water and music
hutch doors

Half of you reading this just thought to yourself "I don't have a skylight, why should a dog?". The other half of you said, "Fancy Feast should also be served on pewter platters to the cats".

The reason for these added amenities is that they improve the behavior and health of the animals which means a better behaved companion for potential adopters. In addition to the noise level subsiding to to occasional bark, the ventilation systems have been essentially eliminated respiratory problems and the animals get more rest and are less fearful of people. The improved condition of the dogs and the increased number of visitation rooms is expected to contribute to an increased number of pet adoptions. The quicker turnaround time for animals to be adopted means a reduced operating expense.

The Franklin County Dog Shelter is considering such improvements to the new shelter but which and how many of them that will eventually be included are unknown.

The other improvement I would like to see to the shelter is a more central location. It is likely that the new shelter will be similarly located out in no man's land near the existing location. I found this location during my visits terribly inconvenient, confusing and a little depressing. I know the shelter is considering other locations and I am at a loss of where it could be better placed but I am sure smart people like you all can recommend multiple options.



Life of the Party
Allie is an energetic, sweet girl. She would love an active home where she can get in plenty of exercise and playtime!
Ward: 2 / 241
Australian Cattle Dog
1 yr
51 lbs. / Female
# 80327006

Isn't she adorable? Plus if you bring her home all the uncooperative cattle that I am sure are lingering outside your door can finally be coralled.

Check Allie out and the other 363 available dogs at the Franklin County Shelter at

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Busy Bee
Foxy is a timid, yet loyal and affectionate girl. She is already housebroken and knows sit, down, come, and give paw! Foxy needs a home with no small children. Foxy is in foster care, please email Erin to meet her!

* Mixed
* 2 yrs
* 41 lbs. / Female
* # 71208008

Poor Foxy...she has been at the shelter for months and all though she is in foster care right now she hasn't found a permanent home to call her own. She was completely lovable when we were looking but she was just a little too big for our apartment. As the shelter notes, she tends to be a little shy but I think it is because all the other dogs barking nonstop has her stressed out.

Can you give Foxy a home?

Friday, April 18, 2008


Congratulations Columbus you did it! You set a goal and accomplished it. Yes, Columbus is ranked second as the city with the most sexually satisfied men by Men's Health magazine. A proud distinction you all had a part in.

I decided to post this for two reasons. One, I find most rankings ridiculous because of the determining criteria and two, because people tout them as fact if they are on top of the list but scorn them if they don't get the ranking they agree with.

Of course Men's Health did not speak to anyone to gauge their sexual satisfaction instead they base it on condom sales, birth rates and sex toy sales from Babeland and Pure Romance. Ummm, really? I hardly think a guy getting someone knocked up demands good sex. Sometimes all it takes is three drinks, five minutes and a poor decision.

Check out the rest of the rankings....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Looks like La Fogata is finally replacing the dirt patch and sometime parking lot in front of the restaurant with a patio. Saw cement being poured this morning on what appeared to be a patio foundation. The most important question at hand is will it be ready for Cinco de Mayo?

Their website ( still has them only being located in Pickerington which is uber great and all but that oversight certainly can't be helping them sell tacos in the Short North.

La Fogata
790 N. High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Not margarita related and thus infinitely less interesting, the Annunciation- Greek Orthodox Cathedral has razed their orginal structure and has begun construction on an expansion project to house education classes, etc.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I thought it would be fun to do a photo of the week and while Nuns on Bikes and the men from Thunder Down Under were contenders I thought I should choose something more cause driven.

So while there won't be habits or scantily clad men on here there will be dogs that are available for adoption from the Franklin County Shelter in hopes to draw more foot traffic to their website and physical location. My partner and I recently adopted a dog from the shelter and while she is still learning and may or may not pee when she gets excited we never realized there was something missing from our lives until she came home with us. If your lifestyle and finances allow it, seriously consider adopting a dog or volunteering.

This week's featured dog is Magic- the dog we almost took home

Magic aka Ozzie
Life of the Party
This handsome boy is a real gem! He is smart, affectionate, curious, and LOVES to play. He's a good-natured pup who loves toys and to play with other dogs. He still has puppy energy so will need adequate exercise. Knows sit, down, & come. Crate-trained and housebroken.

I can attest Magic is a beautiful and fun dog and if our apartment allowed it I would take him in a second.

To adopt Magic or see more of the other 372 available dogs available at the Franklin County Dog Shelter, visit


The Italian Village Society was posting fliers on doors this weekend announcing two pretty great events for the neighborhood.

First is the Clean Out Your Basement Recycling Event hosted by AEP. To help keep things out of landfills the Salvation Army will be collecting clothes and furniture, Fireproof will be shredding documents and paper and TechUsed will be taking electronics and household appliances. This is everyone's opportunity to get rid of the Debbie Gibson and long unworn pair of jellies that have been hanging around the house. Collections will be at the Fireproof parking lot at 2nd Avenue and High Street.

Soap box moment- I wish the SNBA would have selected an organization other than the Salvation Army which refuses to offer domestic partner benefits to their employees in adherence to their biblical principles. The Short North was largely redeveloped by and remains home to many GLBT individuals and GLBT-owned businesses and organizations participating in these types of neighborhood events should reflect the values and needs of the SN community. Soap box put away.

Second, the Italian Village Society Amicis will be fielding gardening questions and offering tips at Christopher Columbus Park - the triangular park in the middle of Warren Street between Summit and 4th. The first 200 villagers to visit the booth will receive a free packet of flower seeds. Volunteers can also help the Amicis spruce up the flowerbeds in the park.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


One of the reasons I like living in dense cities is that despite the large number of people around you are somehow able to go about your business unnoticed. I find comfort in being swallowed up by large groups but every once in a while I seek out the opportunity to be truly alone. Today I found the chance at the Gahanna Woods just off Havens Corner Road in, you guessed it, the City of Gahanna.

It could have been the clear blue sky, comfortable weather or my sidekick Rilo (puppy) but the woods provided the perfect escape. However, not all went well. I wore flip flops in celebration of the first warm day of the year without fully understanding that woods are actually a swamp forest. Swamp forest + heavy recent rains = not so good flip flop conditions.

Regardless the setting was serene and the trails were very well taken care of. And according to the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves I saw the best remaining complex of buttonbush swamps and vernal pools in central Ohio. All I know is that I saw trees and bodies of water and I thought it sure looked pretty. Now I didn't see these but apparently there are going to be yellow water-crowfoot and skunk cabbage coming up soon.

No one in their right mind should ever pass up the chance to see skunk cabbage. Just think of the great water cooler conversation opportunities that arise from it.

"So Chuck, how was your weekend?"
"Amy, it was fantastic. The new crop of skunk cabbage is fuller and more pungent than I've ever seen it. It should be the next yankee candle scent."

I digress. Any way, set aside an hour and drive out to Gahanna and enjoy some cypress-knee sedge. More information can be found at

Friday, April 4, 2008


Earth Day for me parallels New Years Eve - minus the excessive amount of alcohol I typically consume- because I make a conscience effort to evaluate how I am living my daily life and how it impacts the environment. Do not get me wrong- I am not health nut nor do I chain myself to trees but I do believe that we have a responsibility to ourselves and our friends and families to reduce our environmental impact.

There are a million of ways you can introduce more environmentally-friendly behaviors into your daily life. Here are a couple easy and affordable suggestions:

*Use tupperware containers for your lunch instead of sandwich bags
*Bring reusable bags for your grocery trips; if you do use plastic grocery bags
take them back to the grocery store on your next trip to recycle them
*Cut up old clothing i.e. socks, t-shirts, etc. to use as rags instead of using
paper towels
*Turn off lights when you you are not using them. No one cares if your house
looks cozy from the street.
*Walk or ride the bus to work at least once a week to work. A work out might
shave off a couple pounds while you are at it.
*Get your coffee in a reusable coffee mug instead of a disposable paper cup.
Most coffee shops reward good behavior by shedding off a dime for your total.
*Decline a bag with your next take out meal. Do you really need a paper bag to
carry your single aluminum foil-wrapped Chipotle burrito?
*Wear your jeans and other articles of clothing more than once. Febreeze it.
*Wash your dishes by hand to control how much water is used or ensure that your
dishwasher is fully loaded before pushing starting the cycle.
*Buy "green" cleaning products. Clorox just launched a new brand, Green Works,
that is only few cents more than non-green brands and actually clean.
*Don't pick up crap freebies from events, etc. if you are not going to use
them. Chances are you will throw them away.

Most of these simple behavior changes require minimal changes in your daily activity and can help you save money, get fit and feel better about your place in life. So why not kick off Earth Day and a new way of living by volunteering for Earth Day this April 26, 2008. You decide how much time you can contribute and what activities you are able or willing to do.

To volunteer, visit

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Last night we went to dinner at the Rossi last night and noticed that they are nearing completion of their expansion into next door. According to the waitress the new side is relatively complete, they just need to frame up the wall in the front which they knocked through to connect the two units. The planned opening date is April 1. The most amazing thing is that despite them almost doubling their floor space they are maintaining their existing kitchen to servic the whole restaurant. Admittedly I love the restaurant but the service is not uber fast so I hope they can make do with this tiny space.

On a food note - my partner loved his burger but I was pretty disappointed in the pizza and our friend scoffed at the pasta. Normally we love this place - especially the entrees - so I am not going to acknowledge that this dinner ever took place and of course go back to see the bigger and better Rossi.

Monday, March 3, 2008


I really have to give CCAD credit for beginning to distinguish itself in a city which is OSU obsessed. I like their plan to replace a purely functional and non-aesthetically pleasing structure with a dorm to house more students but transfer the functions of the classroom building to their newly acquired and more visibile space on Broad Street. I think the blend of office and government workers with college students will add a new energy along that corridor and get people to notice the campus more since students will be going in and out of the Broad St location after 5 p.m. when that stretch is typically deserted.

Art college to finish off quad with dorm that's in demand
Monday, March 3, 2008 6:17 AM
By Mike Pramik

The glass facade of the new dorm at Columbus College of Art & Design will face the quad.
College students typically can't wait to ditch the dorms.

But when a 1,300-student school has residential space for only 250 students, suddenly young people might well come knocking on its door, looking for a place to stay.

That's the case at Columbus College of Art & Design, where plans for a new dorm received approval last week from the Columbus Downtown Commission.

The college's planned $11 million dorm will provide an additional 208 beds, as well as another landmark framing the campus quadrangle. College President Denny Griffith said work should begin in mid-May.

"We have heard a clarion cry from families who would very much like to see additional on-campus housing for upperclassmen," Griffith said. "At some later stage, we might want to add more."

For the full article:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Once again I'll be getting up at 5:00 a.m. this coming Tuesday to help out Franklin County. The work is extremely rewarding and helpes provide legitimacy to the election process. Consider volunteering your time. Contact informatin is below.

338 sought to work polls on March 4
Wednesday, February 27, 2008 5:47 AM

Franklin County is looking for 338 poll workers for Tuesday's primary election.

The Board of Elections will keep telephones open until 8 p.m. weeknights and until 5 p.m. during the weekend to sign up workers. Training courses run through Monday. Register online at vote. or call 614-462-5393.

Workers are paid at least $110 for the day, depending on their assignment. They must attend a two-hour course, be able to work from 5:30 a.m. until at least 8 p.m. on election day and have transportation.

The board expects to hire about 5,000 poll workers for this election. It still needs 200 Republicans and 138 Democrats, including 30 as presiding judges.

Areas short on Republican poll workers include Bexley, Gahanna, Dublin, New Albany, Reynoldsburg, and central and northeastern Columbus. Democrats are primarily needed in suburban precincts outside I-270.

-- Barbara Carmen

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The Dispatch reported on a few new restaurant openings in the SN and downtown area. Most of these have been reported on elsewhere but this article clears up opening dates, etc.

VegiTerranean- Chrissie Hynde creation. Locations currently being scouted.
Cafe Lola- focuses on grab and go lunch crowd. Broad St and N High.
Original Soupman- you guessed it...soup. Next door to Lola and will open next week.
Cinco- Mexican fare. Huntington Building. Open in five months.

Read the article at:

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Camera is still crapped out so you are just going to have to trust me on this.

Exile on 4th Street reopened this past Friday evening and I have to admit the remodeled bar is pretty great. No longer do you enter through a side door and the boarded up street windows have been replaced with actual windows. The interior has been freshened up and feels more opened. The remodel continues with a larger dance, stage and patio being added. Fourth Street seediness just got a little less.

Welcome back Exile.

Friday, February 22, 2008


This Monday, February 25, 2008, the City of Gahanna's City Council will once again consider passing a resolution in support of the Ohio Hub Freight and Passenger Rail development. In October 2007, the Council rejected the proposition 4-3 but due to a few new faces on the board and additional time to learn more about the hub plan the resolution stands a favorable chance at passage.

If you are in support of the Ohio Hub plan, consider attending the Gahanna City Council meeting Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. Gahanna City Hall is located at 200 S. Hamilton Road and offers plenty of free parking since you can't ride the rails there just yet.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I rarely ever do more than just glance through The Other Paper because I never find any substantive journalism in it. I have come to accept that it really is just a big events calendar that lets me know just what is happening at Ugly Tuna every night of the week. I admit, I have been there once and I did consume a fish bowl of liquor while there. I digress.

However, in this week's issue of the OP, Kitty McConnell brings to light more information regarding the old Little Brother's Location. Apparently the new business, Liquid, is going to be debuting this spring as a bar/restaurant geared toward gay professional women. In my head I am imagining Jennifer Beals, Pam Grier and all the other L Word ladies hanging out on High Street and I am loving it.

The design of the new space is about half-way done and how it is described in the article sounds nice. I am anxious to get a sneak peek of the place and maybe convince the owners to name it something other than Liquid which just makes me think of it as a place where the clap is swapped back and forth.

Check out the article only available in print on page 15.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I am all for placemaking and I agree that universities should make a greater effort to make sure residents, students and visitors know its defined boundaries. However, I think there are a couple things a little off with plan proposed by OSU students.

First, the coined name "Unidentity" is atrocious. I get where it came from and good for them for trying to be clever but using a prefix that means "opposite of" and "not" when trying to create identity isn't the smartest move.

Second, the arch is already taken by the Short North. Creating a unique identity means using symbols that are not already adopted by other entities. Sure, the SN does not have exclusive rights to the arch but when the areas are so close to one another they may want to try something more distinctive.

I give the students props for trying to create a more clearly defined campus. The banners are a great start but there are many other options to consider. I would suggest these good folks look to other colleges located in urban environments to see what they have done. George Washington University right smack dab in the middle of DC has done a great job.

Unidentity gives face to University District
By: Cara Shirley
Posted: 2/19/08
Block O banners suspended from lamp posts and archways curving over streets might adorn the University District by 2009.

This is part of a new plan developed by a group of Ohio State students. They call it the "Unidentity Project," an effort to define the boundaries of the University District and to make people feel more welcome when they enter it.

"I believe building the arches will identify and consolidate the community, instill pride and strengthen the community," said Nick Uhas, project director.

Uhas said the University District consists of OSU's campus and the residential and business areas that surround it. The north border is Arcadia Avenue, the south border is fifth avenue, the East border is the railroad tracks and the west border is the Olentangy River.

The group said its motives for creating the project are evident in the name it selected. "Unidentity" is a combination of the words "university" and "identity."

The arches were initially Uhas' idea and the banners were Taylor Meadows.' Because they are both members of the Undergraduate Student Government, they combined their goals into one project and gathered support from additional USG members along the way.

The project outline, which they began in the fall, designates that banners run along the lamp posts on High Street and Lane Avenue, while the arches will be constructed in four different locations on the north, south, east and west borders of the district, said Brennan Duty, USG member and co-project director.

Uhas thinks branding the edges of the University District with arches will help students and residents better understand the boundary locations.

After talking with fellow OSU students, Uhas said he realized, "there was confusion about where the University District stops and starts."

To gather more precise data on what students know and do not know about the district, Uhas created a survey. Jerry Dunleavy, a USG member helping with the project, sent out the survey to 10,000 students through Webmail last week.

The results are still coming in, but out of the 250 students who have responded so far, 61 percent do not know where the district starts and stops. The survey revealed that 75 percent of students would like a welcoming structure.

Once they finish gathering the survey data, Duty said those involved in the project will develop "a business plan" and present it to OSU's Campus Partners and Columbus City Council.

Because the lamp posts on High Street and Lane Avenue are owned by OSU, the university has the power to approve the banners. The arches, though, must be approved and funded by the city of Columbus, Duty said.

Duty said constructing arches around the University District has been proposed in the past by city officials, "but no one spearheaded it." However, the funds set aside for the arches still exist and are waiting to be spent, he said.

Uhas said he is so adamant about the project that he will make it happen this time around.

He said since the student population is contributing $250,000 a day to the part of the University District surrounding campus, the city should support the project.

"Look what Ohio State does for Columbus. We want Columbus to do something for Ohio State," Uhas said.


Curious about who the 19 Democratic superdelegates are for the state of Ohio? These folks may have the power to decide the upcoming presidential election. If you want them to know who you think should lead the country in 2008, call their offices. Also know that superdelegates can switch their support up to the election.

Distinguished Party Leader

David Wilhelm- supports Obama

US House

Marcy Kaptur
Dennis Kucinich
Tim Ryan
Zack Space
Betty Sutton
Charles Wilson

US Senate
Sherrod Brown


Joyce Beatty
William Burga
Enid Goubeaux
Mark Mallory
Ronald Malone
Rhine McLin
Patricia Moss
Sonny Nardi
Chris Redfern
Stephanie Tubbs Jones- supports Clinton

Monday, February 18, 2008


Two more storefronts may be opening soon along High.

Restaurant owner accused of mortgage scam
Monday, February 18, 2008 12:23 PM

The Columbus Dispatch
DELAWARE, Ohio -- The co-owner of the Happy Greek restaurants was arrested Friday as part of a lengthy investigation into a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud ring that authoriies say operated in Franklin and Delaware counties.

Authorities on Friday arrested Gihan “Gigi” Zalat, 40, of Columbus, and charged her with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. She is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Delaware Municipal Court.

The Dispatch reported last year that law-enforcement officials suspected that Zalat and her husband, Mohamed Hassan, ran a fraud ring that involved foreigners buying houses in elite central Ohio neighborhoods.

Police have said real-estate deals were hatched at meetings in the basement office of the Short North restaurant location.

Real estate agents and mortgage brokers became suspicious when buyers began to offer sellers thousands more than the asking price for some homes.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


My partner and I have been checking out dogs for the past few weeks and I can't tell you how great the volunteers are at the Franklin County Dog Shelter. Each day wonderful individuals help walk the dogs, clean their cages and show them to prospective adoptive parents.

So, first I encourage you to consider opening your home to a dog if your lease allows it and you have the time and patience for one.

Second, consider volunteering. You decide what you are willing to do and when.

Third, donate money or needed items. Money is always the most helpful but think about contributing the following items on the shelter's wish list:

soft or chewy dog treats
extra towels or blankets
pet carriers
canned or soft dog food
plain or vanilla yogurt
kongs and other toys

Find out more about the shelter at

Friday, February 15, 2008

STILL FOR SALE- 1120 N High St

Although the location is great, they are definitely asking too much for the site especially since the New Victorians purchased the beautiful Mason Building up the street a few years ago for only $500,000. I think this site will require a lot of work and a lot of money to meet the expectations of the SN clientele.

Info is as follows:
$750,000. 8 apartments, 2 commercial spaces in rapidly developing Short North. Recent improvements including roof, gutters, landscaping, tuck point, etc. Opportunity to add value. Condo-conversion potential. Off-street parking pad for 5 cars. Large-scale development directly across the street.


Got $53K? If so, you can buy a cute little boutique business. Fibres at 791 N. High Street in the Short North is up for sale.


I really enjoy street vendors. Admittedly I like their tasty morsels they hawk but they also add a unique vibrancy to city streets. Without street vendors I would sadly be without a Hebrew National and the latest issue of Hello! more often than I would like.

A group of investors in DC just launched a unique twist on the street vendor concept that would be great to duplicate in Columbus whether it be targeted to the business day downtown, post bar crowd or both.

On the Fly is an eco-friendly sidewalk vendor that promotes sustainability by offering locally produced food and drinks and serves it in biodegradable packaging... and of course, the carts are electric. Even better is that the food options are a little more upscale than traditional street fare and prepared by chefs from Zagat rated restaurants.

On a related note, for those of you interested in keeping street vendors part of the urban landscape, you can provide financial assistance to the Street Vendor Project. The nonprofit organization's focus is helping street vendors to continue operating as legitimate businesses in NYC and opposing "quality of life" efforts to remove them.

Monday, February 4, 2008


It's that time of the year again- tax season. However, I am glad to see that the City/County is attempting to help out low-income residents by offering free tax assistance. I am unsure how these entities are advertising the service but I hope they are attempting to publicize this opportunity heavily in social service agencies and non-profit groups. Unfortunately I have seen similiar services offered in the past that end up underused because they fail to get the word out. If you work or volunteer for a social service agency that administers services to low-income individuals, I encourage you to make this information readily available to your clients.

Coalition is offering free tax help
Monday, February 4, 2008 3:04 AM

Thousands of Franklin County residents may be giving too much of their hard-earned income to the IRS.

A coalition of county and city government offices, banks, universities and nonprofit organizations have joined to offer free tax-preparation services to households earning less than $40,000 a year.

Officials fear that low- and middle-income workers are unaware of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, which makes qualified residents eligible for a credit of as much as $4,716. Or, worse yet, residents are paying for tax services that they can get for free.

Volunteers will be available at 18 sites in Franklin County throughout the tax-filing season to help prepare returns. To get more information, determine eligibility and find locations, call the 211 information line.

As an incentive to call, officials said that in 2005, the Internal Revenue Service returned more than $161 million to 85,000 Franklin County households because of the tax credit.


A student in the City and Regional Planning Program is conducting a survey to measure student satisfaction with parks, open space and green space. If you are so inclined to participate in the 10 minute survey, visit:


There has been a string of new graffiti popping up in the Italian Village lately and I thought it would be a good idea to remind people that the City offers free paint and tools from its mobile tool library to combat graffiti. Other home maintenance equipment is also available. Additionally, if you or a group wants to volunteer to help clean up graffiti, you can volunteer with Keep Columbus Beautiful.

Here are the contact numbers:

Mobile Tool Library: 614-645-8542

Keep Col. Beautiful: 614-645-8027

Thursday, January 31, 2008


The Dispatch reported today that OSU is considering requiring sophomore students begin living on campus in the coming years. As of right now this is all talk. No buildings have been proposed and no financing lined up- so we are told. Currently there are 6,000 sophomores enrolled at OSU, 2,900 of which live on campus. What surprised me about the article is that there is no discussion of the potential effect this may have on the Columbus housing and apartment rental market especially in the University District. Another threat would be to local merchants who serve the student population. It is true that many second year students live at home and most do not live alone but this decision can have some pretty bad effects. I am definitely interested to see what comes out of the Trustee meeting and if any realty managers or landlords come out in opposition to this plan.

OSU may require sophomores to live on campus
Thursday, January 31, 2008 12:20 PM
By Kathy Lynn Gray
Ohio State University sophomores, about 6,000 strong, would have to live on campus under a proposal the trustees are considering today.

President Gordon Gee is pushing for the change, fueled by studies that show on-campus students graduate quicker, have higher grades and are happier at school, Provost Joseph Alutto said this morning.

“This is all being driven by a concern for academic priorities,” Alutto said. “We have all the resources on campus for students to excel. They take full advantage of those things when they live on campus.”

OSU now requires freshmen to live on campus, although those whose families are in the area can live at home.

OSU houses 9,800 students on campus now. About 5,600 are freshmen and about 2,900 are students living in campus housing for a second year, said Rich Hollingsworth, vice president for student affairs.

Requiring sophomores to live on campus would mean adding enough housing for at least 3,500 students, Hollingsworth said.

How that would be done hasn't been decided, Alutto said. He and other OSU officials will discuss possibilities at a trustee committee meeting today.

Alutto couldn't say how quickly the housing could be added or what it would cost but said “we want to get it done as quickly as possible.”

Gee also wants to speed up $196.9 million in planned renovations to current dormitories, which include adding air conditioning and more private bathrooms as well as eliminating rooms housing more than two students. Those improvements would be completed by the fall of 2012. Under the prior plan, they wouldn't have been completed until 2014 or 2015.

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where Gee was president before returning to OSU in the fall, required all students to live on campus.

Many Ohio public universities require sophomores to live on campus, Alutto said. At Miami University in Oxford, the requirement goes into effect this fall.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


A small little blurb showed up in the Dispatch this morning about Whole Foods phasing out plastic bags at all of its 220+ stores by Earth Day on April 22, 2008. There is only one WF in Columbus (Dublin-Granville) so while the impact in the region may not be dramatic it is a start. WF is a trend setter and hopefully other supermarket chains will voluntarily phase out plastic bags to keep pace with this juggernaut of a grocery store. However, since plastic bags are typically 3 cents cheaper than paper and the grocery market produces very thin profit margins it is doubtful that they will find goodwill in their hearts on their own. Some states including California have begun to require stores recycle plastic bags and San Francisco has gone one stEp further by banning plastic bags with some exceptions. My home town, San Luis Obispo, CA is also considering a city-wide ban.

Mayor Coleman continually talks up his Get Green initiative but I have seen no mention of a similar program. Once again Columbus is a follower instead of a leader. Maybe his campaign should just be renamed Get Green When Convenient.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


A friend of mine stumbled upon this MORPC program advertised on campus and thought I should pass this along. I think a lot of people do avoid participating in carpooling programs or riding public transportation because they do not want to be stranded if their situation changes. The MORPC program aleviates the stress and financial burdenn associated with these unforseen circumstances eliminating one more excuse for not to carpool or ride the bus.

Guaranteed Ride Home Program (GRH)

RideSolutions' GRH Program takes the worry out of being stranded at work in the case of an emergency or unexpected overtime for commuters who rideshare. This MORPC program is free to anyone who carpools, vanpools or rides public transportation and is registered with our program prior to an emergency. Registration with the GRH Program is free, and entitles commuters to a 90-percent cab fare reimbursement. GRH can be used up to four times a calendar year.

For more information, visit:

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Between the Sunset Lounge and the St. James on N. Fourth Avenue was a suprisingly fun gay bar called Eagle in Exile. Yes, the name is a little scary. Yes, you had to enter on the side. Yes, you had to park on neighboring gravel lot. Yes, the front windows were boarded up. Yes, a manequin in black leather was always in the window on the second floor.

So, not it was not a charming, quaint locale but the two times I went there the drinks were cheap, people were friendly and the sound system rockin'.

Any way, I drove past it this past week and they are actually renovating the 1940's structure and adding what appears to be a side patio. The windows are tinted but no longer covered and it looks like people will once again be invited through the front door. The Franklin County Auditor's website lists the property as being bought last month for a little less than $200K but not a bad deal since the redone retail/commercial/restaurant space should attract a lot of the new IV residents and they are getting apartments above.

I am assuming the Eagle is in a much better place now but this is just guess since the phone number is disconnected. I'll also post an old pic of the manequin- it always made me smile.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


While I remember loving to feed the ducks at the lake as a kid, I also remember giant geese running after me until I dropped my entire bag of Wonder Bread for them. I tell you those birds can run.

Columbus City Council is about to make feeding wildlife on city property off limits. It may sound like they are killing a charming afternoon activity but there are multiple valid reasons to support its passage including the health of the animals, disease control, overpopulation, etc. Selfishly I just want people to stop feeding birds in parks so I do not have to weave in between flocks of pigeons or hose down a bench to sit on it.

If people are looking to feed something hungry they should look to the multiple homeless shelters and soup kitchens that could use your help. I promise they will let you hand out Wonder Bread treats too. And if you can't stop feeding birds, look into buying a bird feeders that can be filled with tasty seeds or nectar for your backyard.

Columbus Dispatch article below.

Columbus Council proposal
Feeding critters wouldn't fly in city parks

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 6:48 AM
By Robert Vitale

Life has gotten a little too easy for ducks and geese in Columbus -- and a little too treacherous for people walking through city parks.

Legislation proposed to the City Council last night would make feeding wildlife illegal on city property, which officials hope might shorten the animals' stay in local parks as they're forced to search for their supper.

"We've created an environment where they're not living like they were," said Alan McKnight, director of Recreation and Parks. "The biggest challenge has been geese. They've become very aggressive."

And very messy. Along the Downtown riverfront and at Griggs and Hoover reservoirs, the end result of the birds' free meals -- their copious droppings -- has required more frequent cleaning and prompted worries about possible health hazards.

McKnight and Councilwoman Priscilla Tyson, who's sponsoring the legislation, said the proposed ban isn't designed to punish well-intentioned parkgoers. They promise that police won't be patrolling Columbus parks looking for children with bird feed or slices of bread.

It's a health issue for wildlife, too, Tyson said.

The California-based International Bird Rescue Research Center says on its Web site that people who feed bread and other processed foods to ducks and geese "are killing the birds with their kindness."

Bread and crackers offer no nutrition for the animals, the center says. It says human feeding also makes them dependent and less likely to seek their natural sources of food.

Some wildlife advocates, though, say feeding bans have little impact on bird populations and that the idea of health hazards from bird droppings isn't supported by research.

Dublin passed a law in 2003 that bans people from feeding ducks and geese. The Columbus legislation, which extends to all forms of wildlife, likely will go before the City Council next week.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I enjoy advertising in the city landscape. Advertising often offsets administration/operating costs for public amenities such as bus systems and provides passerbys with public service announcements or something interesting to look at and evokes a "city" aesthetic and feel.

However, I have noticed that Columbus has a problem with bench signs. The benches I am talking about are not the ones that are in parks or at bus stops that are routinely used by pedestrians. These benches are those placed along roads with high volumes of vehicular traffic and are placed specifically to advertise products not to create gathering spaces or comfortable waiting areas. These benches are actually just small billboards in disguise allowed to exist because they are in a bench format.

I find that these benches detract from the neighborhoods by their half-hazard placement and allow companies to take advantage of loopholes in existing sign code ordinances. I called the City of Columbus Development Dept because I had some difficulty navigating their Graphics ordinance and am waiting a call. I'll post the result.

I plan on starting a list of locations of where I feel back bench advertisements are inappropriately located.

Speaking of benches, I hope the Columbus Public Arts Commission encourages bench designs similar to these.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


I love Yankee Trader but the building that it is located in has been neglected for a long time and as neighboring buildings are being renovated, the structure's condition becomes more obvious.

Turning the site into a boutique hotel is a great idea. People's lodging preferences have evolved from finding comfort in chain hotels and are looking to complement their visit to another city with a unique overnight accommodation. Currently the Lofts are the only boutique hotel in Columbus but the expanding hotel and airport market suggest there is a greater demand for the niche lodging style. The location alone directly across from the Convention Center and adjacent to the Arena, SN, IV, and VV districts will help make this property conversion a success.

As for the criticism that a boutique hotel would dilute City plans for a large service hotel, I doubt that. Boutique and chain hotels attract different clienteles who are able/willing to pay more for a more customized overnight stay. While some distance between the properties is admittedly more ideal I do not think one would hurt the other especially since the Convention Center is trying to attract larger conventions which would in turn demand more rooms.

On another side note, you can see that the building's asking price -$5.1M reflects the growing popularity of the downtown and neighboring districts.

Boutique hotel suggested
Talk of 155-room inn near convention center riles backers who want a full-service property
Saturday, January 12, 2008 6:48 AM
By Mike Pramik and Marla Matzer Rose
A funky novelty store predating the Greater Columbus Convention Center and today's trendy Short North may play a key part in the future of both.

The owners of Yankee Trader have enlisted a real-estate broker to seek a buyer who will convert their aging brick building at 463 N. High St. into an upscale hotel.

The downside: The potential development could hurt plans for a larger, convention-style hotel being considered a block away on property controlled by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, local officials said this week.

Yankee Trader co-owner Lynette Howard said she's not planning to close the quirky store, known for Halloween costumes, rubber eyeballs and plastic rats. But she says she might move.

"I would never sell the business," she said. "If the price were right, I might sell the building."

Broker CB Richard Ellis said the Yankee Trader building, directly across from the convention center, would be ideal for a "boutique" hotel -- an intimate, upscale property not affiliated with a name brand.

The price being asked for the building is $5.1 million, according to the CB Richard Ellis report. That's quite a change from 1966, when it was assessed at $20,630.

Continued at....

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Broken Camera+Holidays+School Restarting+Sick+Bad Eggroll= No Blog Posts.

Sorry for not posting anything lately but I will be back in the game soon. If you are curious about anything let me know and I will look into it.


Your resident Nancy Drew