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Long Live The Spirit of Columbus!

On this day, 53 years ago, Jerrie Mock became the first woman to fly solo around the world when she landed The Spirit of Columbus right here in our amazing city (at what is now John Glenn Columbus International Airport). 29 days, 22,860 miles, long live The Spirit of Columbus!

More than just the name of a plane that made history, The Spirit of Columbus is what distinguishes and inspires us today. From the arts to business, from restaurants to neighborhoods, from Sunday to game day, The Spirit of Columbus fuels and defines us today more than ever. Explore more Spirit of Columbus photos.

The Columbus Foundation is working to capture The Spirit of Columbus through images that showcase the determination, dedication, and commitment of people in our smart + open community. Be sure to check out columbusfoundation.org and follow along on Facebook as we continue to celebrate The Spirit of Columbus through photography. You can also tune in on Instagram.

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Best Bites Preview: Honey Cakes, Gourmet Cookies, Mini Bundts and More

Are you the kind of person who'd rather eat dessert first? Us to! That's why Columbus Underground's popular event Best Bites: Sweet Treats is returning this year, and  to celebrate all things sugary and sweet in the City. We are bringing you a preview of our featured vendors before the event on February 23rd! What would a dessert festival be without cookies and cakes? Read below for a few you can expect to see there:

Elena's Specialty Cakes is giving you choices, with 4 different cake samples at the event:  Russian Honey Cake, Lemon Ecstasy, Strawberry Romanoff, Chocolate Raspberry. Owner and Master Baker, Elena Birukow, specialize in high end European style treats. Each goodie is handmade and decorated by Elena herself, who spent over 25 years learning the craft in European restaurants in her native Russia before coming to the US 10 years ago. Located in the Short North Arts District patrons can swing by for a daytime indulgence or order for a special occasion. 

Cincinnati based Donna's Gourmet Cookies is bringing their baked goodness into the Columbus market and giving Best Bites attendees a chance to try their treats. For 30 years, Donna's has been whipping up their cookies in small batches from scratch. At Best Bites: Sweet Treats, they will be sampling bite size chocolate chip cookies, brownies and pecan bars. Currently Donna's Gourmet Cookies can be purchased online or various markets and restaurants around Ohio.

Upper Arlington's Nothing Bundt Cakes will be showing off  4 flavors of their signature bundtinis. These mini bundts are topped with a signature butter cream cheese frosting for an added indulgence. Each bite is crafted to perfection to melt in your mouth. Their cakes are made with real ingredients using the recipes hand-crafted by their founders to remind patrons of home baked treats.

Mrs. Turbo's Cookies is a retro themed 50's style bakery that offers hand crafted gourmet cookies made from scratch. Their thick and chewy cookies are all natural with no trans-fat, no additives or preservatives. These treats can be found at their storefront in Gahanna or ordered online. Mrs. Turbos's will be featuring samples of their chocolate chip cookies, whoopie pies and famous buckeye brownie at Best Bites: Sweet Treats this year!

The third edition of Best Bites: Sweet Treats will be held on Thursday, February 23 from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the Columbus Athenaeum. This year's event will feature additional space and activities for new and returning guests to enjoy! Tickets to the event are on sale now! Entrance to the event includes samples of each featured sweet treat, live entertainment and a cash bar featuring Modelo Negra, St. Brendan's Irish Cream and Meier's Wine.

All participating treat makers include Three Kids and a Kitchen, MMELO, J-Pops Gourmet Ice Pops,  Rime Time Curiously Crafted Pops, Velvet Ice Cream, Early Bird Food Truck, Elena's Specialty Cakes, Mrs. Turbo's Cookies, Lopaus Point, Winans Chocolates + Coffees, Bailey's Drive Inn Donuts,  Dough Mama,Short North Piece of Cake, Nellie's Natural Ice Pops, Two Little Buckeyes, Fantasy Cupcake, Positively Sweet, LLC, Torlitas, Handel's Ice Cream,  The Guild House, Nothing Bundt Cakes,Coco Cat Bakery & Chocolates, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Pouf Cotton Candy,  Donna's Gourmet Cookies and Jeni's Ice Cream.

A portion of the proceeds from all ticket sales will be donated to the The Columbus Foundation's Gifts of Kindness Fund, a community-focused fund that helps Central Ohio families with emergency needs. The Columbus Underground Best Bites events have helped to raise over $16,000 for local charities in 2016!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS

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$250M-plus residential push coming to Easton, developer in turn to support Linden revival

The developer behind Easton Town Center is planning a large expansion of residences around the venerable shopping center, with investment likely totaling more than $250 million. Georgetown Co. has reached a financial arrangement with Columbus, through which it promises to create 500 jobs and help fund a revival of the nearby Linden neighborhood while receiving a break on property taxes. The 10-year, 100 percent property-tax abatement could save the developer $68 million over 37 years, said Steve…
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Bob Evans Restaurants CEO: 'It's time to grow' under new owners

Bob Evans Restaurants can finally look toward the future. The New Albany-based restaurant chain Tuesday announced it was splitting from its public parent, Bob Evans Farms Inc. (NASDAQ: BOBE), in a $565 million sale to San Francisco-based private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, a move that will take the 523-unit chain private and better position it for growth, executives said. “Golden Gate was interested in Bob Evans because they see both the future potential and what already has taken place,”…
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Columbus Oh Plumber Reviews

Worldwide of pipes you have the great, the bad, and the unenlightened. The unenlightened was where I spent the majority of my time at until I obtained enlightened on plumbing issues. Ideally this short article will certainly conserve you from my frustrated and also difficult experiences.
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New Concept Revealed for old ZenCha Space Downtown

It wasn't too long ago that the Asian restaurants with which we're all now intimately familiar were considered strange, exotic concepts. But, over the last 30 years or so, we acclimated to their existence, and they adapted to our safe tastes, cooking up as much sweet and sour chicken and fried rice as we could […]
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Best Art Gallery in Columbus: Wild Goose Creative

To label Wild Goose Creative as a mere art gallery is doing the organization a disservice, but when asked about the city's best art galleries for the year, our readers and contributors picked Wild Goose as the top response for venues that serve that purpose. After ten years of operations at 2491 Summit Street, Wild Goose […]
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Holiday Shopping Guide 2016 – Week Two

Have you been enjoying Columbus Underground's Holiday Shopping Guide? This weekend, take advantage of Black Friday and Small Business Saturday deals in the Short North and more! Thanks once again to Elm & Iron for being the presenting sponsor of our shopping guide. Make plans to stop by their Holiday Open House in Clintonville for […]
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Blue-Collar, Rural Voters Give Presidency to Trump

“Politicians are all talk, no action. Nothing's gonna get done. They will not bring us, believe me, to the promise land,” Donald Trump said in his 2015 speech announcing his run for president. The message resonated. Although Trump was unable to win the popular vote, he's claimed 276 electoral votes and is the victor in […]
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St. Clair Hotel Building on Near East Side Being Sold to Developer

Community Housing Network (CHN) is in contract to sell the former Hotel St. Clair on the Near East Side. The affordable housing nonprofit announced in August its plans to sell the building, and has now confirmed that it has a buyer. Tim and Mike Kelley, under the name Innisfree LLC, are currently inspecting the building […]
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Ohio Mayors Discuss Opportunities and Challenges

The theme of this year's CEOs for Cities national meeting is “The Opportunity City” - a mantra oft repeated by Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther when describing both the aspirations and accomplishments of his city. As Ginther took the stage during the opening remarks of the three day conference, the theme quickly broadened to talk not […]
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Top of the List: Tax incentive deals ranked by job impact

The No. 1 state tax incentive deal over the past year involves a massive facility and a $220 million investment by a tech giant in Licking County. We recently ranked the state tax deals for business operations in Central Ohio by the job impact of incentives approved from July 27, 2015 to May 23, 2016. Weekly edition subscribers can find the full list by clicking here. Click on the slideshow to see the top incentives, including company investment.
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Goodale Pro Hardware Closing Doors in Grandview

After eight years of serving the hardware needs of Grandview Heights and the surrounding areas, Goodale Pro Hardware is closing its doors for good. Father-and-son owners Jeff and Jeffrey Zettler have labeled the closure as a retirement sale, and currently have all items in the store priced to close out all inventory.

When the store opened in 2009, it was a complement to the Downtown Zettler Hardware store, which had served the community since the 1840s. The Downtown store closed temporarily in 2012 for repairs after a car crashed into the front of the building, but it never reopened for business.

No final day of operation has been set as of yet, but Zettler stated that it would likely be late-April or early-May.

For more information, visit www.goodalehardware.com.

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Women's Fund Hosts Statehouse Day to Fuel Women's Political Engagement

The Women's Fund of Central Ohio, acting as a parental guide to the region's fired up feminists, convened hundreds in Ohio's capitol building on Thursday for a day of education. Traveling from near and far, women and a handful of men spent a workday looking at public policy through a gender lens and learning how to hold legislators accountable. At the end of the day, 140 event-goers went on to have meetings with elected officials.

“The really special thing about being in these buildings is they belong to us,” said Wendy Davis, guest speaker at The Women's Fund's Ignite Change event. “Every single corner of it belongs to you, and you have every right to expect that you will be heard when you are in it.”

Davis, a former Texas senator serving from 2009 to 2015, gained national recognition in 2013 for performing a filibuster to block a bill that would end up cutting the number of abortion clinics in half, closing over 80 health clinics not providing abortions, and hobbling the ones that survive. Davis' filibuster went on for 11 hours. From there, thousands of Texans who'd shown up in support helped carry the special session past the vote's midnight deadline, but a second special session passed the bill anyway. Although the Supreme Court ultimately ruled that it was unconstitutional, it's unlikely that family planning and abortion access in Texas will ever be as easy and affordable as it was.

Since then, an estimated 180,000 women have lost the only healthcare they had, and teenage pregnancy increased along with the number of self-induced abortions. The state's maternal mortality rate, doubling between 2010 and 2014, has exceeded that of most industrialized nations.

“We know that we're up against that right now,” Davis said. “Those very same policies are being pushed in other states and, of course, at the national level.”

Kasich signed Ohio's own 20 week abortion ban into law in December, prohibiting an extremely rare procedure that expecting mothers seek when a severe birth defect is discovered.

Davis took a look at history. In 1972, birth control was legalized, followed by abortion in 1973. These back-to-back wins for the women's rights movement would allow women to “finally control our reproductive destiny, which meant controlling our economic opportunity.” Women flooded the workforce.

Between 1973 and 2000, the percentage of working women finally passed 50 percent, peaking in 1999 at 60 percent and settling at 56 percent in 2015. They now constitute 47 percent of the entire labor force and hold 52 percent of all professional-level jobs. Still, when it comes to leadership positions and elected offices, women remain underrepresented.

To determine what's holding women back takes a layered approach that considers intersectionality, which describes how economic status, gender identity, race, and other identifiers come together to create a web of obstacles to success. A large part of it is ingrained sexism, implicit biases that label leadership qualities like decisiveness and confidence as positive for men and negative for women, that label all women as compassionate caretakers and men as breadwinners.

Where these biases appear in policy is in the lack of paid family leave, forcing women to choose between having a career and having children. The absence of affordable childcare plays its own part in keeping potential working women from leaving the house. After shelling out enough dollars to cover in-state tuition in many states, women end up earning less by working full-time minimum wage jobs than they would from government aid.

“Women's rights are human rights, and human rights are women's rights,” said Davis, quoting Hillary Clinton.

“And her statement, of course, sought to get at this point - the idea that women's rights shouldn't be considered as rights accorded to us as a special interest group, but rather as rights that, when provided, benefit us all,” she continued. “Essentially, she was addressing the intersectionality of our mutual interests.”

When women enter the workforce, more dollars enter the economy, and everyone benefits. This blends the struggle of the entire working class with that of women. And while it's important to look at how certain issues may uniquely affect each woman, every individual story should be recognized as part of the collective struggle against the few billionaires at the top.

This unified fight, only won through unrelenting political engagement, is a long game.

“It's not a sprint; it's a marathon, as the saying goes,” said Davis, who started the non-profit Deeds Not Words to provide resources fueling grassroots political enthusiasm.

Beyond marching, calling, emailing, postcard-writing and donating, it means voting and holding lawmakers accountable for the votes they cast, rewarding those who do serve the people's interests, and encouraging women to run for office.

“It's right, moral, and imperative for women, families, and our country that women are equal at every corner,” Davis said. “In classrooms, in executive suites, in board rooms, in legislative bodies and governor's mansions, and yes, hopefully, one day, even in the highest elected office in the land.”

For more information, visit www.womensfundcentralohio.org.

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Time Running Out for Local Group to Transform Abandoned Livingston Avenue Theatre

Just after Rodney Grist and his group, Livingston Cultural Arts Theatre (LCAT), appeared on the scene to revitalize the abandoned Livingston Avenue Theatre, Westerville developer The Woda Group swooped in with a $12 million check to fund a low-income senior housing project.

Grist, a 20-year Columbus City Schools educator and relatively new resident of Old Oaks, started seeking support for his idea in August. Since then he's bounced between area commission members, city council members and developers, unsuccessfully selling his dream of a civic engagement center with space for forum theater, musical performances, dance and art studios and gallery space.

The point is to create a draw to an area that, other than the continued expansion of Nationwide Children's Hospital a mile down the road, “looks like it's been forgotten by the city.”

“I'm happy to have [senior housing] there, just not in that location,” Grist said. “The problem with Woda's proposal is it doesn't provide anything in terms of commerce or growth for the area. They're going to take that building and turn it into senior apartments, and then they're going to go away.”

For residents of the area who've seen it sit vacant for years, the prospect of real money coming in and transforming the eyesore is too appealing to pass up, even if it's not the ideal purpose for the 70-year-old structure.

With four “Yes” votes and four abstentions from the Livingston Avenue Area Commission, the decision will go to Columbus City Council on Monday to grant Woda the variances it needs to get started. Before then, Grist is hoping someone with either a big check or major influence will take his side. His initial contact was Mayor Andrew Ginther with the hopes that, similar to former Mayor Michael B. Coleman's commitment to the King-Lincoln District's Lincoln Theatre, Ginther would make the Livingston Avenue Theatre his own pet project.

“When he was asked about his priority for the city: neighborhoods, neighborhoods, neighborhoods,” Grist said. “And senior housing in that spot is not doing anything for the neighborhood long term.”

The key difference between the two theaters is their history. The Lincoln Theatre, maintaining its identity even through its vacancy, started out as an important cultural center for the neighborhood. Born in 1928 as the Ogden Theatre and Ballroom, it was a movie and jazz hub. Changes to the area in the form of highway construction and resident displacement closed the joint, years transforming it into a decaying shell. A superficial fix-up saved the theatre in 1992, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Livingston Avenue Theatre opened in 1946 at 1567 E. Livingston Avenue and has worn several faces. From adult theatre to gay friendly club to possible rehab facility, its identity has been somewhat more malleable; “restoring it” could have many meanings.

Told by Livingston Avenue Area Commission Chair Terry Elliot that LCAT came to the table too late, Grist may have to consider other options in the neighborhood, like the vacant Champion Theatre occupying a lot less than a mile away, an idea he's not thrilled about. Providing less space and carrying less significance, he doesn't know that it would provide everything he needs for a full cultural arts center.

In what might be the last effort made to realize LCAT's dream, Grist is leading a phone campaign. His group of 35 supporters, and whoever else they can get, will make calls to each council member asking them to consider LCAT's proposal before approving Woda's variances on Monday.

Photos by Walker Evans.

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Amazon to base Prime Air unit at $1.5B hub at Cincinnati airport

In a massive economic win for Northern Kentucky and Gov. Matt Bevin, Amazon.com Inc. will build a $1.49 billion air services hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, airport officials said Tuesday. Both CVG's board and the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority were in session Tuesday to approve the deal. KEDFA is expected to offer $40 million in incentives for the project. CVG's board approved a resolution leasing nearly 900 acres around the airport to the company…
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Emergency Plumber Columbus Ohio

Call 614-454-3220 currently to have a Columbus Emergency Plumber at your area when possible! Our exceptionally experienced firm is staffed with specialist and qualified plumbings that services are above the industry standard. Our plumbers have abilities that have actually been sharpened by years of appropriate work experience. We are committed to finishing the fixings and anything various other that our task may require, in a quick as well as timely fashion to lessen any further troubles on your family members or workers. We function 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Fixing your pipes problems is our top concern. We are delighted to help our customers take care of any kind of and all of their issues, we intend to provide our clients with lasting services as often as possible. We take satisfaction in our capability to provide the quality pipes services at a reasonable price. If you call us to operate in your office or home, felt confident that we will certainly take every precaution necessary to stay clear of bring upon any type of kind of damages to your house and possessions. Along with any type of damages that is being brought on by your plumbing problems. We will respect your personal privacy at all times as well as do our finest to finish our service in a prompt way. Our staff is filled with excellent and courteous males and females that are there to get the task done.
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Former nursing home operator sentenced to pay $167,650 to reimburse Medicare, Medicaid, plus investigative costs

A former nursing home operator was sentenced to pay $167,650 to reimburse Medicare and Ohio's Medicaid program and investigative costs on Monday – after the Newark man unsuccessfully sought to withdraw his guilty pleas on three forgery and records- and evidence-tampering charges. Ten other former employees also have been convicted in the sweeping case. Steven Hitchens, 61, also was sentenced to community service and three years' probation Monday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, the office…
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Brewing For Good

Local brewer, Lenny Kolada, crafted a new way to give through his latest venture, Commonhouse Ales. A portion of sales from its flagship beer, Six.One For Good., goes to a Donor Advised Fund at the Foundation to positively impact our community. Read more in the latest issue of Nexus: bit.ly/winter2016nexus The Columbus Foundation is working to […]
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Shop Talk: Replenish Spa Opens New Clintonville Location

Replenish Spa – owned and operated by the mother-daughter team of Deja Redman, Chanelle Redman and Wuavette Duncan – strives to create a sense of refuge throughout the entirety of their building. The three women opened their first spa location four years ago in the Discovery District of Downtown Columbus, and are excited to expand […]
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45-Unit Apartment Development Announced in Franklinton

The latest development announcement in Franklinton isn't quite as large as some of the others discussed this year, but it will still provide needed urban infill and new housing to a prominent location in the neighborhood. “OUT OF TOWN” is the name of the new 45-unit housing development that is slated for construction at 520 […]
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Columbus set to pay $37,500 to neighbors in Upper Arlington house explosion

Columbus will pay $37,500 to an Upper Arlington family whose house was damaged by a March 2015 natural gas explosion that destroyed their neighbors' home. The city is settling a claim by David Hamilton and Beatrice Hamilton, residents of 3430 Sunningdale Way. Though they had not filed a lawsuit, they were claiming that the city shared some liability in the explosion, which Columbus has denied. “The settlement ends a disputed claim in the best interests of the city, considering all of the risks…
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Zoup! Opens in Arena District, Bluescreek Announces New Chef and Cafe, Land-Grant to Open at Airport

Bluescreek Announces New Chef and Cafe Bluescreek Farm Meats recently announced the addition of Chef Spencer Haney and the opening of a new cafe. Bluescreek, a former vendor for the North Market, opened their stand-alone location in Spring of this year and established their own market with local sources. Their new cafe features items like […]
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Target store coming next to the Ohio State campus

Target is coming to a busy intersection by the Ohio State University campus. The discount retailer is planning to open a smaller-than-usual store at the corner of 16th Avenue and High Street, across from the Wexner Center for the Arts and in the heart of the corridor being redeveloped by Ohio State and private developers. Edwards Cos. President Ryan Szymanski said Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) will operate the 28,000-square-foot storefront on the ground floor of the Columbus developer's six-story Wellington…
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