Westside Messenger - May 7th, 2023

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<strong>Messenger</strong><br />

<strong>Westside</strong><br />

<strong>May</strong> 7 -20, <strong>2023</strong> www.columbusmessenger.com Vol. XLIX, No. 22<br />

4220 W. Broad St.<br />

(Across from Westland Mall)<br />

614 272-6485 open 7 days a week<br />

Featuring<br />

our<br />

famous<br />

STEAK<br />

COMBO!!<br />

Healthy Kids<br />

on the Hilltop<br />

<strong>Messenger</strong> photos by Dedra Cordle<br />

For three decades, YMCA locations across the country have<br />

hosted a spring event that aims to inspire children and their<br />

families to get and stay active – especially as the summer<br />

break from school approaches. Called Healthy Kids Day, each<br />

location creates fun activities for the young patrons in the community<br />

and Hilltop YMCA officials estimated that over 100 children<br />

and their families walked through their doors on April 29<br />

to participate in the festivities. In addition to building obstacles<br />

courses, hosting a cheer clinic, and having a number of local<br />

organizations on hand to give information on ways to improve<br />

their overall health and well-being, the Hilltop YMCA was also<br />

the site of a Jr. NBA Skills Competition that saw more than 20<br />

individuals score high enough to snag a spot to compete at the<br />

national level later this summer. Youth experience director<br />

Latoyia Mosley said the staff always look forward to curating a<br />

special Healthy Kids Day for the community as it can go a long<br />

way toward sparking a life-long love of being active physically<br />

and mentally curious about the world around you. Among the<br />

educational booths that were set up at the location was the<br />

Ohio State University’s Level One Trauma Center where representatives<br />

spoke about the importance of brain health and<br />

wearing protective gear while riding a bicycle. Here, student<br />

Elaine Smith places a new helmet on soon-to-be avid bike rider<br />

Isaiah Baker, 4.<br />

Road Diet planned<br />

for congested street<br />

By Dedra Cordle<br />

Staff Writer<br />

A 1.5-mile stretch of the West Mound<br />

Street corridor is slated to be resurfaced<br />

next year. When the project is completed,<br />

new pavement markings will change the<br />

flow of traffic in order to improve safety for<br />

motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.<br />

At the Greater Hilltop Area<br />

Commission meeting on <strong>May</strong> 2, city transportation<br />

planners and project consultants<br />

were in attendance to unveil the roadway<br />

improvement recommendations that came<br />

from an eight-month study to determine<br />

the best method to reduce vehicular congestion<br />

and risk to those who access the<br />

heavily traveled corridor.<br />

According to transportation planner<br />

Emma Kogge and transportation technology<br />

planner Mae Thompson, the city’s divi-<br />

See ROAD DIET page 2<br />

Inside<br />

Nicolas Piciucco, 9, swiftly navigates the dribbling obstacle at<br />

the Jr. NBA Skills Competition.<br />

Angie Jordan, a Body Pump instructor at the Hilltop YMCA,<br />

cheers on Greysen Sawyer, 5, as he tries to do 15 ab crunches<br />

at the obstacle course ab crunch station.<br />

Pets of the Week .................. 13<br />

The Reel Deal ........................ 20<br />

Safety on the Streets<br />

City of Columbus plans to crack down<br />

on illegal street racing Page 3<br />

Baby Shower<br />

Families on the westside were treated to<br />

a community baby shower Page 14<br />


Transportation • Care Team • Concierge Service<br />


Serving Superior Health Care to the 55+ Community<br />

Let’s change the world together!<br />

SEE<br />

PAGE 13<br />

FOR<br />

MORE<br />


PAGE 2 - WESTSIDE MESSENGER - <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong><br />

around the westside<br />

Memorial Day Services in Prairie Township<br />

Prairie Township will host two Memorial Day services<br />

on <strong>May</strong> 29. The first service will begin at 9:30 a.m. at<br />

Galloway Cemetery, 6333 Alkire Road. This service will be<br />

led by Amvets Post #1928. The second service will be conducted<br />

by Camp Chase Post #98 of the American Legion. It<br />

will be held at noon at Alton Cemetery. For more information,<br />

visit prairietownship.org.<br />

Blood drives on the westside<br />

The American Red Cross will host several blood<br />

drives on the westside including:<br />


Continued from page 1<br />

sion of traffic management is making a recommendation<br />

that the roughly 1.5-mile stretch of West Mound<br />

Street between Central and Wayne Avenues be reconfigured<br />

to accommodate the “road diet” method.<br />

A road diet may sound scary, intimidating, or even<br />

downright confusing, said Thompson, but she added<br />

that the road diet is one of the simplest and most effective<br />

ways to improve safety for all roadway users.<br />

“The Federal Highway Administration has found<br />

that (the road diet) does reduce crashes by 19 to 47 percent,”<br />

she said, noting that there have been 205 crashes<br />

reported on this section of roadway between 2019<br />

and 2022.<br />

What the road diet reconfiguration along this specific<br />

stretch of West Mound Street will do is remove<br />

two of the four travel lanes that currently exist and<br />

reallocate space in the center for a two-way left-turn<br />

lane. Additional space near the curb-lane has also been<br />

earmarked for bicyclists.<br />

Thompson said it is their belief that the creation of<br />

the two-way left-turn lane would enhance the operations<br />

of the street and vastly<br />

improve the flow of traffic.<br />

“If we are thinking about<br />

Hilltonia Middle School, for<br />

those people who are taking a<br />

left turn, it (the two-way leftturn<br />

lane) allows people to move<br />

out of the way of traffic so they<br />

can take that left whenever it is<br />

free.”<br />

She said they believe that a<br />

two-way left-turn lane would<br />

also benefit the residents who<br />

live throughout the area.<br />

Kogge and Thompson said<br />

the city also looked at two additional<br />

alternatives to improve<br />

safety and reduce the traffic<br />

congestion along West Mound<br />

Street between Central and<br />

Wayne Avenues.<br />

The second alternative was<br />

to create a buffered bike lane<br />

that would allow distance<br />

between the vehicles and bicycles<br />

to create a more comfortable<br />

experience. Pedestrians<br />

would also have a bit more room<br />

to walk on the sidewalk.<br />

Thompson said the trade-off for<br />

the second alternative would be<br />

that traffic would continue to be<br />

paused so motorists could make<br />

the left turns.<br />

The third alternative was<br />

the creation of a separated bike<br />

lane, which is very similar to a<br />

buffered bike lane. However,<br />

this alternative would have<br />

www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

•<strong>May</strong> 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Prairie Township<br />

Community Center, 5955 West Broad St.<br />

•<strong>May</strong> 17 from 1 to 7 p.m. at St. Cecilia Church, 434<br />

Norton Road in Columbus<br />

•<strong>May</strong> 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at OhioHealth<br />

Doctors Hospital, 5131 Beacon Hill Road<br />

To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-448-3543 or<br />

visit www.redcrossblood.org.<br />

placed a physical barrier on the roadway to separate<br />

the bike lane from the traffic lane. Thompson said the<br />

trade-off for the third alternative would be it was in<br />

the second alternative, meaning that traffic would continue<br />

to be paused so motorists could make left turns.<br />

Commissioner Leah Brudno asked if the city had<br />

looked into combining their preferred alternative (the<br />

road diet plan) with the third alternative so there<br />

could be some form of physical barrier to keep bicyclists<br />

safer from vehicles.<br />

Kogge said that is something the city looked at but<br />

they made the determination that the road was not<br />

wide enough to accommodate both options. She said<br />

there are some portions of the road, such as the intersection<br />

with Central Avenue, where some type of physical<br />

barrier could be installed as the roadway widens<br />

out in that area.<br />

The future installation of bump-outs, similar to the<br />

safety features that were recently placed on Sullivant<br />

Avenue, was also discussed during the study recommendation<br />

when commissioner James White said he<br />

would like to see them be placed on the roadway as a<br />

speed deterrent. Commissioner Josh Maddox said he<br />

would prefer that the city not install bump-outs on this<br />

portion of West Mound Street as he dislikes the fixtures<br />

so much that he goes out of his way to avoid traveling<br />

on Sullivant Avenue.<br />

Kogge said the city did not intend to install bumpouts<br />

or a similar safety feature during this project as it<br />

is solely a resurfacing project with new pavement<br />

markings. She did note that a bump-out or a smaller<br />

median could be installed in the future should funding<br />

opportunities be made available.<br />

She also shared traffic and crash data that showed<br />

a reduction of crashes by 51 percent and a speed reduction<br />

of eight miles per hour near the bump-outs and<br />

small medians on Sullivant Avenue. A resident in the<br />

audience said she would like to see any feature that<br />

would reduce the speeding that takes place on West<br />

Mound Street.<br />

The city will accept public comment on the recommendation<br />

for the next month. The public can submit<br />

comments by visiting these websites:<br />

tinyurl.com/WMound or tinyurl.com/WMoundStudy.<br />

The latter web address is hosted by the city of<br />

Columbus and it has included a slideshow of the recommendations.<br />

In other news, the GHAC government and legislation<br />

committee will meet for the first time this year on<br />

<strong>May</strong> 23 at 7 p.m., or immediately following the community<br />

relations committee which will be held at 6:30<br />

p.m. On the agenda for the government and legislation<br />

committee is a redistricting discussion with a representative<br />

with the League of Women Voters of Metro<br />

Columbus. The committee will also be discussing the<br />

forthcoming election. Brudno said she encourages<br />

those interested in becoming a commissioner to attend<br />

this meeting. It will be held at The Design Refinery, 11<br />

N. Westmoor Ave.

www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

<strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong> - WESTSIDE MESSENGER - PAGE 3<br />

Safety Focus<br />

City officials to crack down on illegal street racing<br />

On <strong>May</strong> 3 Columbus <strong>May</strong>or Andrew<br />

Ginther, City Attorney Zach Klein, and<br />

Division of Police Chief Elaine Bryant<br />

announced steps the city is taking to target<br />

illegal drag racing, reckless operation on<br />

city roadways, and to hold offenders<br />

accountable for endangering public safety.<br />

City officials have received complaints<br />

from residents and business owners about<br />

street racing in multiple neighborhoods<br />

across the city, and are taking action as<br />

this activity ramps up in the spring and<br />

summer months.<br />

“Anyone who is using our streets as the<br />

backdrop for illegal and reckless behavior<br />

will be captured and prosecuted to the<br />

fullest extent of the law,” said Ginther.<br />

“This type of behavior is unacceptable,<br />

plain and simple, and it won’t be tolerated.<br />

We’ll continue to coordinate with law<br />

enforcement and prosecutors to go after<br />

these criminals and keep our neighborhoods<br />

safe.”<br />

On April 29, Columbus police officers<br />

responded to reports of street racing on the<br />

4100 block of Indianola Avenue in<br />

Clintonville. Several spectators were also<br />

observed vandalizing vehicles in the area.<br />

When police arrived to disperse the scene,<br />

several gunshots were fired in the direction<br />

of the officers.<br />

“These street racing and take over<br />

events are dangerous and are done in complete<br />

disregard for the safety of others,”<br />

said Bryant. “We want the message to be<br />

clear. You race, you lose. It is that simple.<br />

If you race, we will find you and arrest you,<br />

and impound your vehicle.”<br />

Earlier in April, one individual was<br />

killed in a crash believed to be connected to<br />

street racing in south Columbus. CPD is<br />

holding extensive planning and strategizing<br />

meetings with their officers to find<br />

additional ways to hold people accountable<br />

around the westside<br />

Hilltop Legal Clinic<br />

The Legal Aid Society of Columbus will<br />

host a Hilltop Legal Clinic every Monday<br />

from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Columbus<br />

Metropolitan Library Hilltop Branch, 511<br />

S. Hague Ave. in Columbus. A legal aid<br />

attorney will be available to answer questions<br />

regarding landlord and tenant issues,<br />

public benefits, consumer debt, and family<br />

law. To receive free advice, you must have<br />

a gross household income below 200 percent<br />

of the Federal Poverty Level. For more<br />

information, call Legal Aid at 614-241-<br />

2001.<br />

Free legal advice<br />

at Westland Library<br />

The Legal Aid Society of Columbus will<br />

offer free legal advice the first Monday of<br />

each month at the Westland Area Library,<br />

4740 West Broad St. Representatives will<br />

be on hand from 4 to 6 p.m. to discuss noncriminal<br />

legal matters like health benefits,<br />

medicare, and landlord issues. Fore more<br />

information, call the library at 614-878-<br />

1301.<br />

Community Fest<br />

Franklinton Prep High School, located<br />

at 40 Chicago Ave. in Columbus is hosting<br />

a Community Fest on <strong>May</strong> 25 from 9 a.m.<br />

to 12 p.m. Participants will have an opportunity<br />

to talk to vendors and collect material<br />

about resources in the community for<br />

healthy living. There will be give-aways,<br />

free food and complimentary face-painting.<br />

For more information, contact Jackie<br />

Jenkins, student success coordinator at<br />

614-653-7135.<br />

for their actions.<br />

“Street racing is a real and immediate<br />

threat to public safety, and the city is<br />

responding in kind. We’re sending a message<br />

to anyone getting behind the wheel in<br />

Columbus: if you operate a vehicle recklessly,<br />

we will prosecute you,” said Klein.<br />

“During Operation Wheels Down, we<br />

impounded vehicles and aggressively prosecuted<br />

offenders. We’re going to do the<br />

same for drag racing - and make our streets<br />

safer in the process.”<br />

Enforcement and prosecution of reckless<br />

driving offenses have been a top priority for<br />

city leaders in recent years, with Columbus<br />

City Council passing an ordinance in 2021<br />

enhancing penalties for illegal, reckless<br />

operation of certain vehicles on city streets.<br />

In 2022, the city attorney and police<br />

chief joined Ginther in unveiling Operation<br />

Wheels Down, a coordinated effort to step<br />

up enforcement and prosecution of individuals<br />

illegally and recklessly operating vehicles<br />

like dirt bikes and ATVs on city<br />

streets.<br />

In the initial months of enforcement in<br />

2022, Operation Wheels Down led to<br />

dozens of arrests and charges filed as well<br />

as the recovery of a number of stolen guns<br />

and vehicles. The city also impounded vehicles<br />

as evidence in many of these cases.<br />

The joint announcement builds on the<br />

framework created under Operation<br />

Wheels Down as law enforcement and prosecutors<br />

work together to disrupt drag racing<br />

networks and events throughout the<br />

peak spring and summer months, impound<br />

offenders’ vehicles, and offer plea bargains<br />

only if there is an evidentiary issue that<br />

requires it.<br />

The city will also aggressively prosecute<br />

any other activity related to street racing<br />

such as weapon offenses, rioting, and property<br />

damage. Whenever legally permissible,<br />

the city will seize vehicles used to facilitate<br />

this conduct to the fullest extent<br />

allowed by law.<br />

Mother’s Day<br />

Buffet<br />

Yum’s the word at our delicious<br />

Mother’s Day Buffet!<br />

Sunday, <strong>May</strong> 14th<br />

NOON - 4pm<br />

<strong>May</strong> 3 marks the one-year anniversary<br />

of the announcement of Operation Wheels<br />

Down.<br />

$28.95 per person plus tax<br />

Family Table (seats up to 6) $159 plus tax<br />

Appetizers • 3 Blend Salad • Ribs • Chicken • Pork Brisket<br />

Variety of Side Selections • Beautiful Desserts & Beverages<br />

(Cash Bar Available)<br />

CALL JP’s Boltonfield<br />

614-878-7422<br />

www.JPSBBQ.com<br />

Music (Rick Barr)<br />

Reservations Required.<br />

Limited Seating.

PAGE 4 - WESTSIDE MESSENGER - <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Herb and Perennial Plant Sale<br />

Celebrate the 30th annual Gardens at<br />

Gantz Herb and Perennial Plant Sale 8:30<br />

a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, <strong>May</strong> 13 at<br />

Gantz Park, 2255 Home Road in Grove<br />

City.<br />

Browse and shop for a wide variety of<br />

culinary and landscape herbs, garden vegetables,<br />

native perennials, rain-garden<br />

plants and more. Gardens at Gantz volunteers<br />

will also answer your gardening questions.<br />

This is a rain-or-shine event. Cash,<br />

checks, and credit cards ($15 minimum)<br />

are accepted. Proceeds benefit the Gardens<br />

at Gantz Farm volunteers.<br />

www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

OPEN This Sunday <strong>May</strong> 7 1-4pm<br />

144 Woodlawn Ave.<br />

Thomas Rouse DDS, Jason T. Culley DDS FAGD<br />

• General Family Dentistry • Cosmetic Dentistry<br />

• Dental Implants and Crowns<br />

No insurance, no problem:<br />

In Office Membership Program available to adults and children.<br />

1225 Dublin Rd. STE 40<br />

Columbus, Oh 43215<br />

614-488-9050<br />

Be the first to view this renovated ranch<br />

located in Lincoln Village South<br />

3 lrg BRs 1 ½ baths….all main level no steps, large modern eat-in-kitchen<br />

with new stainless steel appliances. Fenced rear yard with patio and large<br />

storage shed. Southwestern Schools.<br />

See with Bob Hunter 614-357-0001<br />

Aspire Group Real Estate realtor.bob@sbcglobal.net<br />

Accepting most insurance<br />

FREE Whitening<br />

with a New Patient exam<br />

9745 Fairway Dr.<br />

Powell, Oh 43065<br />

614-766-5722<br />

5040 Palmetto St. STE A<br />

Columbus, Oh 43228<br />

614-878-7733<br />

Musicians from the Columbus Symphony Orchestra perform for students at The Run<br />

The Race Center Day School.<br />

Inspiring future musicians<br />

Touch-a-Truck<br />

Prairie Township will host a touch-atruck<br />

event from 12 to 2 p.m. <strong>May</strong> 20 at the<br />

Galloway Road Sports Complex, 1503<br />

Galloway Road. This free event offers local<br />

children the opportunity to get an up-close<br />

look at some of the trucks they see on the<br />

roadways. For additional information, visit<br />

prairietownship.org.<br />

community events<br />

On <strong>May</strong> 2, musicians from the<br />

Columbus Symphony Orchestra came to<br />

perform for the students at The Run The<br />

Race Center Day School, located at 880 S<br />

Wayne Ave., on the westside of Columbus.<br />

The event was sponsored by The Brian<br />

Muha Memorial Foundation.<br />

The music filled the room and moved<br />

the children. They were transported to a<br />

beautiful world, just what they need every<br />

day. Now they want to learn to play the<br />

violin, flute, harp, and guitar.<br />

After lunch, the children made thankyou<br />

cards for the musicians. Several said<br />

they wish the concert could have gone on<br />

for another hour.<br />

The Day School is looking for donations<br />

of musical instruments (guitars, violins,<br />

flutes) that the children can use for practice.<br />

The school is also looking for individuals<br />

who may be willing to volunteer their<br />

time to teach the students how to use the<br />

instruments for one or two hours a week.<br />

For more information, email<br />

Rachel.Muha@gmail.com.<br />

The Day School, sponsored by The Brian<br />

Muha Foundation, opened in September<br />

2020. It is a small school, with only 10 students<br />

in attendance for the first year. Most<br />

of the classes were held at The Run The<br />

Race Farm, where the children could learn<br />

outside.<br />

Now in its third year, the school has 20<br />

students.<br />

The Day School is free of charge and<br />

classes are offered at The Center and at<br />

The Run The Race Farm.<br />

For more information, visit brianmuhafoundation.org.<br />

Breakfast at the Lodge<br />

The West Gate Masonic Lodge #623 is<br />

preparing breakfast once a month to benefit<br />

the Special Olympics. The public is<br />

invited to have breakfast the second<br />

Saturday of each month at 2925 West<br />

Broad St. Adults eat for a donation of $6,<br />

children age 3 and above pay $3. Serving is<br />

from 9 a.m. to noon.

www.columbusmessenger.com <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong> - WESTSIDE MESSENGER - PAGE 5<br />

Township Focus<br />

Prairie Township electric and<br />

natural gas aggregation program<br />

Prairie Township is providing residents with the opportunity<br />

to join others in potentially save money on electric and gas use.<br />

Savings are possible through a government aggregation, where<br />

township officials bring together citizens to gain group-buying<br />

power for the purchase of electric from a retail supplier certified<br />

by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.<br />

Township voters approved this program in November 2014.<br />

There is no cost for the enrollment and participants will not be<br />

charged a switching fee. For those who choose to take advantage<br />

of the program, do nothing, do not send in the opt-out form.<br />

Gas Aggregation Program<br />

Under this arrangement, Archer Energy has been selected as<br />

the Prairie Township preferred natural gas provider. To enroll<br />

into the natural gas program, call Archer Energy at 1-844-795-<br />

7491<br />

Through your township’s Natural Gas Aggregation Program,<br />

eligible residents will receive a fixed rate of $0.599 per Ccf. This<br />

program will begin in <strong>May</strong> <strong>2023</strong> and run through April 2025.<br />

There is no cost for enrolment.<br />

Budget billing of the Columbia Gas portion of the bill is available<br />

to anyone who prefers budget certainty. In order to have this<br />

service in place, please call Columbia Gas at 1-800-344-4077.<br />

Electric Aggregation Program<br />

Archer Energy has also been selected as the township’s preferred<br />

electric provider. Eligible residents will receive a fixed rate<br />

of $0.06999 per kwh. The electricity aggregation program begins<br />

June <strong>2023</strong> and runs through <strong>May</strong> 2025. To enroll into the electric<br />

program, call Archer Energy at 1-844-795-7491.<br />

Questions regarding the aggregation program, how to join the<br />

program, or any questions regarding your specific existing energy<br />

services can be directed to the township’s energy consultant,<br />

Trebel, LLC, at 1-877-861-2772.<br />

Prairie Township<br />

Summer Jobs Program<br />

Prairie Township is looking for students to participate in its<br />

<strong>2023</strong> Summer Jobs Program. This is an eight-week program that<br />

will begin on June 20.<br />

Eligible students are those that reside in Prairie Township, are<br />

at least 14 years of age and have completed grades 8, 9, 10, or 11<br />

during the 2022/23 school year.<br />

Students who participate in this year’s program will be working<br />

at the Prairie Township Community Center with the facility<br />

maintenance specialist. Community Center work includes<br />

indoor/outdoor cleaning and painting, watering the landscape and<br />

other various assigned tasks. Students will work two days per<br />

week, approximately four hours per day, between the hours of 8<br />

a.m. and 4 p.m.<br />

Applications are available at the Prairie Township Hall, 23<br />

Maple Drive in Columbus. Interested students may pick up an<br />

application in person or request one via email to acavinee@prairietownship.org.<br />

Applications are due by 4 p.m. on <strong>May</strong> 31.<br />

For more information, visit prairietownship.org.<br />

news and notes<br />

Township history sought<br />

The Southwest Franklin County Historical Society is in the<br />

process of updating its website on Prairie Township and is looking<br />

for historical photographs and stories of that area. Individuals<br />

who are willing to share information or photos are asked to email<br />

pictures and information to governmentalist@glial.com. Of particular<br />

interest would be any information of old buildings and/or<br />

businesses in the communities of Alton, Rome or Galloway.<br />

Adam Miller<br />


News from the<br />

Statehouse<br />

Ohio’s budget was passed out of The Ohio<br />

House of Representatives last week. It now<br />

heads to the Ohio Senate and, most likely,<br />

back to the House before it is approved by<br />

both chambers. The budget process<br />

avoided the headlines. After all, most members<br />

agreed on 75 percent of funding and<br />

debated the 25 percent that aligned with<br />

their political views. While the budget left a<br />

lot to be desired, the hard work escaping<br />

the current political headlines was a good<br />

thing. In the end, the House budget moves<br />

our state forward.<br />

You do not have to look very hard on the internet<br />

or social media to see that the political<br />

rhetoric has recently gone too far. I can<br />

only imagine what Jim Rhodes, Vern Riffe,<br />

Ronald Reagan, and Tip O’Neill would say if<br />

they were alive today. We have heard individuals<br />

claim that elected officials are possessed<br />

by demons and have seen others<br />

defend slavery, all while there were<br />

swastikas at local protests. These hateful<br />

voices may be loud, they do not represent<br />

how Ohioans feel.<br />

How do we combat these things and<br />

change the rhetoric moving forward? For<br />

one, we get involved. We work with one another<br />

by reaching out and helping those in<br />

need. According to Volunteermatch.com,<br />

there are more than 800 volunteer organizations<br />

in and around Galloway alone. From<br />

food banks to faith groups to sports and recovery<br />

support, we make the world better<br />

by engaging with one another. The Human<br />

Services Chamber of Franklin County has<br />

more than 160 members doing just that and<br />

they are always in need of more volunteers<br />

and members.<br />

As spring turns into summer, we have a<br />

choice in Central Ohio. Let’s choose to engage<br />

and help one another and focus on<br />

what unites us rather than what divides us.<br />

Go to events like the Bean Dinner, Summer-<br />

Jam West on the Hilltop, or the Celebrations<br />

at the Station in Hilliard. Or join one of those<br />

800 plus volunteer organizations. Let us rise<br />

above the rhetoric and make our community<br />

a better place for all of us.<br />

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Walgreens - Harrusburg & Hopkins<br />

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BP Gas Station - Georgesville Rd. & Broad St.<br />

Westland Library - Lincoln Village Plaza<br />

Giant Eagle - Lincoln Village Plaza<br />

Thorton’s Gas Station - 4990 W. Broad St.<br />

Walgreens - Broad St. & Galloway Rd.<br />

Kroger - Broad St. & Galloway Rd.<br />

CVS Pharmacy - Norton & Hall Rd.<br />

Circle K Gas Station - Norton & Hall Rd.<br />

Dollar General - Norton & Hall Rd.<br />

Marathon Gas Station - Broad St. & Murray Hill Rd.<br />

Speedway Gas Station - Broad St. & Murray Hill Rd.<br />

Dollar Tree - Broad St. & Murray Hill Rd.<br />

Speedway Gas Station - Broad St. 7 Freeway<br />

Sheetz Gas Station - Westland Mall<br />

Speedway Gas Station - Broad St. & Wilson Rd.<br />

Kroger - Consumer Square Shopping Center<br />

Franklin Township Business Office - 2193 Frank Rd.<br />

READ US ONLINE: www.columbusmessenger.com

PAGE 6 - WESTSIDE MESSENGER - <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Free lunch at Hilltop Methodist<br />

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In Education<br />

By Dedra Cordle<br />

Staff Writer<br />

A working mother of three wanted to better understand<br />

the electrical trades in order to assist her husband<br />

with their home improvement company. With a<br />

busy schedule, she worried that she would be unable to<br />

find the time to accomplish the task at hand until she<br />

learned that a training center for adults had been<br />

established nearby and was offering a course that<br />

could help her obtain the knowledge she needed. After<br />

successfully completing the program, she was hired by<br />

an electrical trades union and is now fixing properties<br />

across the county.<br />

A young man with a social anxiety disorder wanted<br />

to learn the basics of welding but was intimidated by<br />

the thought of attending classes at a university where<br />

there would be dozens of students present. When he<br />

heard that an introduction to welding course was being<br />

offered in the evening at a local high school career<br />

academy, he took a chance and thrived in the smaller<br />

and more intimate setting.<br />

A woman had a childhood dream of a career in the<br />

medical field but found her pathway harder to navigate<br />

due to financial constraints. When she was told<br />

that a state tested nurse assistant course was being<br />

offered at no cost to the individual, she knew that it<br />

was finally time to try to fulfill her life-long dream.<br />

Upon passing the exam and earning her credential,<br />

she received an offer to work at a care facility and is<br />

now doing what she feels she was always meant to do.<br />

These are just a few of the stories that have been<br />

shared by individuals who have participated in the<br />

adult training hub that was established at the South-<br />

Western Career Academy last year. District officials<br />

who oversee the program say it is their hope that there<br />

will be many more success stories like these to come in<br />

the future.<br />

When the state allocated funds in their biennial<br />

budget for the creation of the program that was<br />

designed to help adults earn credentials in various indemand<br />

career fields, officials had an inkling that it<br />

could be successful but wanted to temper their expectations<br />

as new programs can sometimes be slow to<br />

catch on with the general public.<br />

However, they said they could not help but feel a<br />

current of excitement over the potential of the program.<br />

“The original expectation was that the adult training<br />

hub would be a needed addition to our community<br />

to upskill our adults who are underemployed or unemployed<br />

in a short term flexible setting,” said Denise<br />

Giesecke, coordinator of the adult training hub.<br />

“Knowing that the potential target audience could also<br />

include parents and older siblings of students in our<br />

district, we knew the opportunity to make an impact<br />

was great with the addition of this program.”<br />

When the adult training hub had its grand opening<br />

in February of 2022, approximately 25 individuals participated<br />

in the course offerings, which were computer<br />

skills for the workplace and electrical concepts.<br />

Although it was a modest number, word quickly<br />

spread throughout that community that this new educational<br />

program held twice a week in the evenings<br />

could be a real boon for those looking to acquire new<br />

skills or even start a new career.<br />

Since the adult training hub has been established,<br />

nearly 100 individuals have earned credentials — or are<br />

www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

Hub program shows potential<br />

on their way to earning credentials as a new session<br />

started earlier this month — in automotive maintenance,<br />

computer skills in the workplace, electrical concepts,<br />

introduction to welding, and state tested nurse<br />

assistant.<br />

Giesecke said at a recent meeting where she presented<br />

an update on the program to the board of education<br />

that the adult training hub has surpassed their<br />

initial expectations.<br />

“In short, our program has exceeded our expectations<br />

in many ways,” she said. “To date we have served<br />

over 95 adults in our community and have a waiting<br />

list for many of the courses to help even more. Local<br />

businesses have stepped up to provide training,<br />

instructors, and financial resources to support each<br />

course.<br />

“We have been overwhelmed by the gratitude of the<br />

participants as they work to acquire skills that will<br />

better their families lives.”<br />

The majority of the operational funding for the program<br />

comes from the state, which allocated $150,000<br />

to cover the cost of instructor wages for two years.<br />

Giesecke said the district is monitoring the progress of<br />

the new state budget that is being proposed.<br />

“We await word that designated funds will be in the<br />

next state budget to remain funded,” she said.<br />

The district also received donations from local businesses<br />

such as Pathways Credit Union and<br />

Performance Columbus to cover the cost of materials<br />

for the adult students. The city of Grove City recently<br />

allocated $50,000 to pay for equipment and supplies.<br />

<strong>May</strong>or Richard “Ike” Stage was at the April 24<br />

meeting to present a check to the board on behalf of the<br />

council. Stage said the administration, the city, and<br />

the council are committed to providing assistance to<br />

adult students who want to learn new skills through<br />

the program.<br />

“It is such an important thing (to have in the community),”<br />

he said. “With the kind of businesses we<br />

have in Grove City, it is really important to make sure<br />

we’re doing — that all of us are doing — the things we<br />

can do to get the employees out there.”<br />

Giesecke said that state and local funding — as well<br />

as business donations and partnerships — are what<br />

have enabled the adult training hub courses to be<br />

offered at no charge to the community. She reiterated<br />

that while the district is monitoring the state budget,<br />

they have not considered the implementation of a fee<br />

to enroll in the courses.<br />

“At this time we have not considered a fee for the<br />

program as the original vision was to provide training<br />

free of charge to our community,” she said. “We want<br />

the program to continue to be accessible to all community<br />

members regardless of their ability to pay.”<br />

The next round of courses at the adult training hub<br />

will be in the fall of <strong>2023</strong>. The courses that are likely to<br />

be offered are Introduction to Automotive<br />

Maintenance, State Tested Nurse Assistant, and<br />

Welding but those sessions are not set in stone.<br />

“The adult training hub is fluid, meaning our courses<br />

align with student interest and business needs,”<br />

said Giesecke. “At this time it is too early to predict<br />

what will be offered in the future. That is the beauty of<br />

the program, our courses are relevant and beneficial<br />

for economic development and growth.”<br />

Giesecke said that individuals who are interested in<br />

enrolling at the adult training hub can visit the website<br />

www.swcsdcareertech.com for more information.

ActiveLifestyles<br />

www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

<strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong> - WESTSIDE MESSENGER - PAGE 7<br />

A bi-monthly feature celebrating our community’s senior citizens<br />

Fun ways to stay active<br />

Physical activity is<br />

an important component<br />

of overall health.<br />

Health experts advise<br />

that exercise can<br />

increase lean body<br />

mass, prevent conditions<br />

like diabetes<br />

and cardiovascular<br />

disease, improve balance,<br />

and positively<br />

affect mental<br />

h e a l t h / c o g n i t i o n .<br />

Exercise also can foster<br />

socialization with<br />

others, helping people<br />

overcome boredom<br />

and isolation.<br />

As individuals get<br />

older, they may not<br />

be able to participate in all of the activities<br />

they enjoyed as youths, but that doesn’t<br />

mean older adults must resign themselves<br />

to sedentary lifestyles. There are plenty of<br />

entertaining ways to remain physically<br />

active that can accommodate any limitations<br />

a person may have. Explore these<br />

methods for staying active.<br />

Explore senior center offerings<br />

Community senior centers often fill calendars<br />

with a vast array of activities, some<br />

of which can include physical activities.<br />

Hikes, walking tours, dances, and other<br />

activities all serve as entertaining ways to<br />

get out and about while meeting some fitness<br />

goals.<br />

Garden or do yard work<br />

The Office of Disease Prevention and<br />

Health Promotions says adults should get<br />

150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.<br />

Raking leaves, mowing the lawn, digging in<br />

flower beds, trimming bushes, and other<br />

outdoor tasks could help a person meet this<br />

quota in a way that doesn’t seem like exercise<br />

at all.<br />

Play games with grandchildren<br />

Little kids may inspire older adults to be<br />

more active, as it can be difficult to keep up<br />

with those youngsters. Take infants or toddlers<br />

for walks or push them in strollers.<br />

Attach a child seat or towing carriage to a<br />

bicycle and ride around the neighborhood.<br />

Play games that require movement, such as<br />

hide-and-seek or Marco Polo in the pool. If<br />

it’s snowing, have a snowball fight or make<br />

a snowman in the yard.<br />

Take up a new hobby<br />

Find hobbies that incorporate physical<br />

activity. Perhaps learning to salsa dance or<br />

taking Zumba will be fun? Pickleball has<br />

caught on across the nation. The sport is a<br />

mix of tennis, racquetball and badminton<br />

that caters to all ages. Joining a bowling<br />

team is another way to get active and meet<br />

new people.<br />

Physical activity is important at any<br />

age. Seniors can explore fun ways to stay in<br />

shape and be active to reap all the benefits<br />

of exercise.<br />

Veterans Hall of Fame nominations<br />

The deadline for submitting nominations<br />

for the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame is<br />

fast approaching. The Hall of Fame recognizes<br />

those who served in the U.S. Armed<br />

Forces and continue to contribute to their<br />

communities, state, and nation through<br />

exceptional acts of volunteerism, advocacy,<br />

professional distinction, public service, or<br />

philanthropy.<br />

The deadline to submit nomination<br />

forms for consideration for the <strong>2023</strong> class of<br />

the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame is June 1.<br />

The veteran must meet the following criteria:<br />

Be a past or current Ohio resident;<br />

Have received an honorable discharge; Be<br />

of good moral character.<br />

This Hall of Fame sets the standard for<br />

recognizing Ohio’s veterans for accomplishments<br />

beyond their military service. Visit<br />

dvs.ohio.gov/hall-of-fame for information.<br />

Photo courtesy of the Columbus Clippers<br />

Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers.<br />

THURSDAY, JUNE 8 TH @ 12:05 PM<br />

<br />

<br />


<br />

Tickets are $6 RESERVED and $5 BLEACHER SEATING<br />


<br />

Make checks/money orders payable to Columbus Clippers and mail to:<br />

<br />

<br />

Columbus Clippers Aenon: Spencer Harrison<br />

330 <br />

Hunngton Park Lane, Columbus, OH 43215<br />

Orders <br />

can be emailed to sharrison@clippersbaseball.com<br />

For cket quesons, call (614) 462­5250<br />

Ticket orders must be received by the Clippers before June 1st, <strong>2023</strong><br />

<br />


PAGE 8 - WESTSIDE MESSENGER - <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong><br />


ELVIS<br />

featuring<br />

Mike Albert<br />

and the Big E Band<br />

Saturday<br />

June 10, <strong>2023</strong><br />


1630 Schrock Rd.<br />

Dinner/Show Tickets $ 58.00<br />

Tickets by Phone: 614-792-3135<br />

Visa • Mastercard • Discover<br />


Active Lifestyles<br />

www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

Tips to make baking more healthy<br />

Baking sessions are a beloved family<br />

tradition in many households. But<br />

such sessions may not be as revered by<br />

family physicians, as baked goods are<br />

often prepared with ingredients, like<br />

sugar and butter, that aren’t necessarily<br />

sound additions to a person’s diet.<br />

Though baked goods may never<br />

rival vegetables in nutritional value,<br />

there are ways for amateur bakers to<br />

make these beloved foods a little more<br />

healthy.<br />

• Replace sugar with a fig puree.<br />

Figs are nutrition-rich fruits that serve<br />

as significant sources of calcium,<br />

potassium and iron. WebMD notes<br />

that figs also are excellent sources of<br />

fiber. Soaking eight ounces of figs in<br />

water can soften them before they’re<br />

pureed with water. The resulting fig<br />

puree can serve as a sugar substitute.<br />

• Make it a ‘dates’ night. Much like<br />

figs, dates can be pureed and serve as<br />

a sugar substitute. However, WebMD<br />

notes that pureed dates will not be<br />

able to replace all of the sugar in a<br />

recipe. One cup of pureed pitted dates<br />

with one cup of water can replace as<br />

much as half of the sugar a recipe calls<br />

for.<br />

• Replace butter with avocados. It’s<br />

not just sugar that can make baked<br />

goods so unhealthy. Many baking<br />

recipes call for a substantial amount of<br />

butter. California Avocados notes that<br />

avocados can replace butter at a 1:1<br />

ratio when baking. So if a recipe calls for<br />

one cup of butter, bakers can replace that<br />

with one cup of pureed avocados. WebMD<br />

warns that avocados have more water than<br />

butter, so bakers may want to reduce the<br />

temperature in their ovens by 25 percent<br />

and bake the foods a little longer.<br />

• Replace white flour with whole wheat<br />

flour. White flour is often the go-to for amateur<br />

and even professional bakers. But<br />

white flour is processed, which removes the<br />


Pre-planning your final wishes:<br />

A healing gift to your family<br />

Losing a loved one is a crushing experience. It<br />

knocks the wind out of you so much it’s hard to<br />

think. It’s ironic that when we are grief stricken<br />

and overwhelmed, we must make some of the<br />

most difficult decisions like how to honor our<br />

loved one, one final time.<br />

Writing an obituary, planning a service, and<br />

choosing a monument can seem unwieldy in those<br />

moments. What if you never discussed those<br />

things? What if you are not sure what they’d like,<br />

or your family members disagree? What if the<br />

costs are not within your budget? These challenges<br />

could be eliminated by preplanning.<br />

According to the National Funeral Directors<br />

Association, the median cost of a traditional<br />

funeral today is $7,640, before cemetery and<br />

headstone costs. Inclusive of them, it can be a<br />

$10,000 investment or more.<br />

bran and germ of the grain, thus stripping<br />

white flour of much of its nutritional value.<br />

Whole wheat flour is not processed, so it<br />

retains its nutritional value. Baking with<br />

whole wheat flour may require a learning<br />

curve, and some bakers prefer to use a mix<br />

of whole-wheat and white flour to preserve<br />

the flavors they’ve grown accustomed to.<br />

Baked goods may never pack the most<br />

nutritious punch, but there are ways for<br />

amateur bakers to make such foods a little<br />

more healthy.<br />

Making final plans is a wonderful gift to a<br />

family. It not only protects loved ones from<br />

unplanned expenses, it takes the guesswork and<br />

stress out of making important decisions during<br />

an emotional time. Today, it is possible to plan,<br />

design, and pay for everything up front from the<br />

service, burial, and headstone. In fact, companies<br />

like Modlich Monument Company can produce a<br />

headstone in advance, adding final touches at the<br />

passing of a loved one.<br />

Pre-planning gives the family time to research<br />

options, talk and include personal details that ads<br />

a special touch. Pre-planning also locks in the cost<br />

and removes the financial burden from survivors,<br />

a gift they will truly appreciate.<br />

Learn more at Modlich-monument.com or call<br />


www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

WESTSIDE MESSENGER - <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong> PAGE 9<br />

Proud to welcome Central Ohio Primary Care<br />

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Get even more for your Medicare dollar. If you're turning 65, new to Medicare, recently moved, have limited income,<br />

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Use your UnitedHealthcare UCard <br />

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Benefits, features and/or devices vary by plan/area. Limitations and exclusions apply. Other providers are available in our network. Network size varies by market. If your plan offers out-of-network dental<br />

coverage and you see an out-of-network dentist, you might be billed more. Network size varies by local market. Other providers are available in our network. Network size varies by market. OTC benefits have<br />

expiration timeframes. Call your plan or review your Evidence of Coverage (EOC) for more information. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare<br />

Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan's contract renewal with Medicare.<br />

© <strong>2023</strong> United HealthCare Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.<br />

60155098 H5253-109-002<br />

Y0066_220722_025325_M<br />


PAGE 10 - WESTSIDE MESSENGER - <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong><br />


Active Adult<br />

Communities: A Lifestyle<br />

Worth Considering<br />

Times have changed and people are<br />

now living longer, healthier lives.<br />

Through technology, diet, fitness and<br />

medicine, active adults remain independent<br />

longer. At age 55 plus, you<br />

might not be ready for a retirement community<br />

but may want to explore Active<br />

Adult living that affords a simpler<br />

lifestyle.<br />

In most cases, exploring options is<br />

really an issue of “when” and not “if”<br />

for active adults. When is the right time<br />

to give up mowing the lawn or shoveling<br />

the snow? What keeps you on the<br />

go? Active adult communities offer the<br />

space and environment for an engaging<br />

resident experience. Social engagement,<br />

physical fitness, intellectual and educational<br />

endeavors, creative, regular programming,<br />

and entertainment events are<br />

directed by residents and/or led by those<br />

whose interests are being served in the<br />

community.<br />

While Active Adult Communities are<br />

new to central Ohio, it is a growing segment<br />

of multi-family residential properties<br />

across the country. If you have not<br />

explored being a renter by choice, this<br />

55+ lifestyle option is something to consider.<br />

While you might want to live in<br />

the community where you raised your<br />

family, you can now opt for a lifestyle<br />

solution that is convenient, maintenance-free,<br />

carefree, and fun.<br />

These communities are meant to provide<br />

all the comforts of a single-family<br />

home with the convenience of being in a<br />

walkable neighborhood or a short drive<br />

from shopping, dining, entertainment,<br />

and healthcare. Such offerings fit with<br />

active adult consumers’ priorities, which<br />

can include housing accessibility,<br />

affordability, ease of maintenance, outdoor<br />

spaces for relaxation, proximity to<br />

shopping and activities, social interaction<br />

and connectivity and access to support<br />

and concierge services.<br />

Active adult living provides a social<br />

lifestyle that comes with being empty<br />

nesters and/or retired and having more<br />

time to learn, play, explore and make<br />

new and lasting friends on the same<br />

journey.<br />

Active Lifestyles<br />

www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

Why it pays for seniors to maintain good credit<br />

The benefits of maintaining<br />

good credit include looking more<br />

reliable in the eyes of prospective<br />

employers and securing lower<br />

mortgage interest rates when<br />

buying a home. Those rewards<br />

can benefit anyone, but they’re<br />

especially enticing to young people.<br />

But what about seniors? Do<br />

individuals stand to benefit significantly<br />

from maintaining good<br />

credit into their golden years?<br />

According to the credit reporting agency<br />

Experian, senior citizens tend to have the best<br />

credit scores of any consumer demographic. That<br />

could be a byproduct of years of financial discipline,<br />

and there are many benefits to maintaining that<br />

discipline into retirement.<br />

• Home buying and borrowing: Buying a home is<br />

often considered a big financial step forward for<br />

young people, but that doesn’t mean aging men and<br />

women are completely out of the real estate market.<br />

In its 2020 State of the Nation’s Housing<br />

report, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of<br />

Harvard University reported that the share of<br />

homeowners age 65 and over with housing debt<br />

doubled to 42 percent between 1989 and 2019. In<br />

addition, 27 percent of homeowners age 80 and<br />

over were carrying mortgage debt in 2019.<br />

Maintaining strong credit after retirement can help<br />

homeowners who still have mortgage debt get better<br />

terms if they choose to refinance their mortgages.<br />

Even seniors who have paid off their mortgages<br />

can benefit from maintaining good credit if<br />

they decide to downsize to a smaller home but cannot<br />

afford to simply buy the new<br />

home outright.<br />

• Rewards: Retirement is often<br />

associated with travel, recreation<br />

and leisure. Such pursuits can be<br />

more affordable when seniors utilize<br />

rewards-based credit cards<br />

that help them finance vacations,<br />

weekend getaways and other<br />

expenses associated with traveling.<br />

Seniors who maintain strong credit<br />

ratings into their golden years may have more<br />

access to the best travel-based rewards cards than<br />

those whose credit scores dip in retirement.<br />

• Unforeseen expenses: No one knows what’s<br />

around the corner, but savvy seniors recognize the<br />

importance of planning for the unknown. The<br />

COVID-19 pandemic seemingly came out of<br />

nowhere, and among its many ripple effects was<br />

the sudden job loss experienced by seniors. The<br />

JCHS report found that 21 percent of homeowners<br />

age 65 and over had reported loss of employment<br />

income related to the pandemic. Unforeseen medical<br />

expenses also can compromise seniors’ financial<br />

freedom. Maintaining a strong credit rating<br />

into older adulthood can help seniors navigate such<br />

financial uncertainty more smoothly. Such a strategy<br />

can help seniors secure low-interest loans or<br />

credit cards that can help them pay down sudden,<br />

unforeseen expenses without getting into significant<br />

debt.<br />

The importance of a strong credit rating is often<br />

emphasized to young people. However, a strong<br />

credit rating can be equally beneficial for seniors.<br />

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WESTSIDE MESSENGER - <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong> PAGE 11<br />

<br />

Franklin County Board of Commissioners: President John O’Grady • Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce, and Commissioner Erica C. Crawley<br />

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners and The Franklin County Office on Aging join with the <strong>Messenger</strong> Newspaper in providing this update on aging issues in Franklin County.<br />

Play Ball! Office on Aging Day with the<br />

Columbus Clippers Scheduled for June 8<br />

For the past 21 years, the Franklin County Office on Aging has partnered<br />

with the Columbus Clippers to host their annual Office on Aging Day at<br />

the award-winning Huntington Park. Office on Aging Day with the<br />

Columbus Clippers provides seniors aged 60 and older a chance to gather<br />

with their family and friends for a fun-filled day at the ballpark through<br />

discounted ticket prices.<br />

This year’s Office on Aging Day with the Columbus Clippers is scheduled<br />

for Thursday, June 8, <strong>2023</strong> at 12:05 p.m. in which the Columbus Clippers<br />

will go head-to-head with the Louisville Bats. Ticket prices for seniors<br />

will be $5.00 for bleacher seating and $6.00 for reserved seating, and the<br />

ticket price also includes a boxed lunch as well as a chance to win a variety<br />

of raffle prizes. Seniors who have a group of 10 or more can also<br />

request free transportation through the Office on Aging by calling (614)<br />

525-8832 by no later than Monday, <strong>May</strong> 8.<br />

This event also provides seniors the chance to connect with community<br />

organizations that provide resources to older adults. In the past, seniors<br />

have been able to get connected to resources regarding tax preparation,<br />

kinship support, mental health and other valuable services that make<br />

aging in place possible. This year seniors and their families will once<br />

again be able to connect to a variety of resources from community providers<br />

that help support aging in place, including Mid-Ohio Food Collective,<br />

the Franklin County Auditor’s Office, and the Veterans Service Commission<br />

among others. Franklin County’s Health & Human Services mobile<br />

unit will also be in attendance, which includes representatives from the<br />

Office on Aging, Job and Family Services, Justice Policy & Programs, and<br />

Child Support Enforcement Agency. The mobile unit helps residents get<br />

the assistance they need all in one place, including help with food assistance,<br />

Medicaid, rental assistance, employment opportunities, child<br />

support, re-entry support and more.<br />

Lastly, the day will also include pre-ceremonial activities including a<br />

warm welcome from the Franklin County Board of Commissioners’ President,<br />

John O’Grady, as well as a ceremonial first pitch. Past local celebrities<br />

for the first pitch include former 10TV Anchor, Jerry Revish, Professional<br />

Baseball Player, Allan Lee Anderson, and Community Leader and<br />

Civil Rights Activist, Don Elder. This year fans can expect to see the<br />

Office on Aging’s first African American female director, Chanda Wingo,<br />

to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.<br />

Franklin County seniors who are interested in attending the game can<br />

purchase tickets several ways. They can mail the order form found in the<br />

Columbus <strong>Messenger</strong> to:<br />

Columbus Clippers<br />

ATTN: Spencer Harrison<br />

330 Huntington Park Lane<br />

Columbus, OH 43215<br />

Seniors can also order tickets by calling the Columbus Clippers at (614)<br />

462-5250. To request transportation for groups of 10 or more, call the<br />

Office on Aging at (614) 525-8832 by no later than Monday, <strong>May</strong> 8.

PAGE 12 - WESTSIDE MESSENGER - <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong><br />

We are the BEST community newspaper!<br />

Need advertising? Call 614-272-5422 today.<br />

Care<br />

that<br />

comes from<br />

the<br />

Heart<br />

Skilled Nursing Care • Long-Term Care<br />

Short-Term<br />

Rehabilitation<br />

Hospice & Palliative Care • Respite Care<br />

614.834.2500<br />

6725 Thrush Dr., Ca nal Winchester<br />

, OH 43110<br />

CW@AltercareOnline.net<br />

AltercareOnline.com<br />

Active Lifestyles<br />

Wellness and foot care for senior citizens<br />

LifeCare Alliance provides a nurse at the Prairie<br />

Township Community Center weekly to provide free<br />

foot care and other wellness services. To schedule an<br />

appointment or for more information, contact the wellness<br />

office at 614-437-2878.<br />

Parkinson’s support group<br />

The Grove City Parkinson’s support group meets<br />

the third Wednesday of each month at StoryPoint<br />

Grove City, located at 3717 Orders Road at 1 p.m. The<br />

meetings take place in the assisted living area of the<br />

community, which is located around the back of the<br />

building. The meetings are open to all who want to<br />

learn more about Parkinson’s disease. For more information,<br />

call Kathy Hakes at 614-507-8458.<br />

It is finally getting warm outside! You are using the<br />

Medicare plan you chose this past Annual Election Period<br />

(AEP).<br />

My name is Ralph Curcio, I live in Franklin County – you<br />

are welcome to contact me at 614-603-0852 or email<br />

RWCurcio@gmail.com. An item to review now is the cost of<br />

your medications, and to check if any assistance is available to<br />

help reduce your co-pays. Medicare provides a Low-Income<br />

Assistance (LIS) program for individuals according to their<br />

annual income, if approved this would reduce the amount of<br />

your monthly pharmacy copays. We could review to see if you<br />

community events<br />

www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

Alzheimer’s support at Ashford<br />

The Ashford of Grove City Alzheimer’s support<br />

group meets the third Thursday of the month at 2 p.m.<br />

at 3197 Southwest Blvd. For more information, contact<br />

Bethany Watts at 614-582-4905 or<br />

bwatts@wallick.com.<br />

Young at Heart club<br />

You are invited to join the Young at Heart seniors’<br />

group for fun and activities. The group meets every<br />

Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Central Baptist<br />

Church, 1955 Frank Road, where we enjoy bringing in<br />

guest speakers, sharing lunch, games, occasional field<br />

trips, bingo and cards. Call Norma at 614-308-5998 for<br />

more information.<br />


Be confident in the plan you select<br />

may qualify and apply. I also work with a Rx discount company<br />

that has a monthly copay of $39 for some of the more costly<br />

medications. Also, if you are turning 65 this year – know your<br />

best option, if still working, maybe just keeping your group<br />

plan. For Medicare plan options, select the coverage that offers<br />

the lowest copays for services and medications while including<br />

your current physicians. Plan options may include dental,<br />

vision, a monthly food allowance along with a fitness program.<br />

$0 cost for my consultation and enrollment services. You need<br />

to be confident in the plan you select!<br />

Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period (AEP) is<br />

over for <strong>2023</strong>, but maybe you still have<br />

<br />

- will I have to pay a penalty if I keep<br />

working after I turn 65, and want to keep my<br />

group plan?<br />

- any 5 Star Medicare rated plans in my<br />

county, that I can enroll into throughout the<br />

<br />

-<br />

meet with a local representative, and review<br />

more than 2 or 3 plan options.<br />

Call Your Local Ohio Licensed<br />

Independent Medicare Agent<br />

Ralph Curcio 614-603-0852<br />

$0 fee or $0 Consultation cost<br />

Be confident in your plan selection<br />

Keep your doctors and find the lowest<br />

copays for your medications.<br />

Come meet me at the Clippers vs.<br />

Louisville Bats game June 8th<br />

@12:05 PM<br />

- I need help in paying my Rx copays, any<br />

assistance available?<br />

<br />

Any information we provide is limited to those<br />

plans we do offer in your area. Please contact<br />

Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get<br />

information on all of

www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

In Education<br />

Columbus City Schools to choose<br />

between six for superintendent job<br />

Pet Corner<br />

Pets of the week<br />

The Columbus City Schools Board of<br />

Education has named six candidates who<br />

will interview for the position of superintendent<br />

The candidates for the position are:<br />

•Dr. Thomas Ahart (Des Moines, Iowa)<br />

•Dr. Angela Chapman (Columbus,<br />

Ohio)<br />

•Dr. Jermaine Dawson (Birmingham,<br />

Alabama)<br />

•Dr. Stephanie Jones (Chicago, Illinois)<br />

•Dr. Brian McDonald (Pasadena,<br />

California)<br />

•Dr. George (Eric) Thomas<br />

(Minneapolis, Minnesota)<br />

After a nationwide search, 31 candidates<br />

submitted applications to the CCS<br />

search consultant. Each application was<br />

screened based on their administrative<br />

experience, academic backgrounds, and<br />

input from the community and the board.<br />

Community input was developed through<br />

surveys, small group discussions, interviews<br />

with stakeholders, including students,<br />

parents, and families, and an in-person<br />

town hall held on April 25.<br />

Next, the search consultant performed<br />

an in-depth investigation of each candidate.<br />

The search consultant contacted references<br />

and others familiar with each<br />

applicant and assessed each candidate’s<br />

professional strengths and weaknesses.<br />

Interviews with the candidates will took<br />

place on <strong>May</strong> 2 and 4. After interviews, the<br />

board will invite final candidates to visit<br />

Columbus for a “Day in the District” on<br />

Thursday, <strong>May</strong> 11. As part of the Day in<br />

the District, the district will host a “Meet<br />

the Candidates” community forum, where<br />

members of the community can hear from<br />

the finalists in a moderated question and<br />

answer format. The event will also be<br />

livestreamed. Final interviews will be held<br />

the week of <strong>May</strong> 15.<br />

To read more about each candidate,<br />

visit ccsleadershipsearch.com/candidates.<br />

These furry friends are available<br />

for adoption at local<br />

rescues and shelters<br />

WESTSIDE MESSENGER - <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong> PAGE 13<br />


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Panda Bear is a<br />

sweet 1-year-old boy.<br />

He enjoys everything<br />

the world has to offer<br />

- playing, running,<br />

cuddling, eating,<br />

sleeping, and sun<br />

bathing. He loves<br />

both people and<br />

cats, and even likes<br />

the dogs that walk up<br />

to the window. Panda<br />

Bear would love a home that has a lot of windows<br />

and people with a lot of love. Meet him<br />

at the Colony Cats cage-free adoption center.<br />

FYI: colonycats.org<br />

Blackbird, the shorthaired<br />

black cat with<br />

one eye was found<br />

as a stray. With her<br />

sleek black fur, she<br />

blends in perfectly<br />

with the night sky,<br />

just like a blackbird<br />

soaring through the<br />

air. Her singular eye<br />

is sharp and<br />

focused, always on the lookout for any feathered<br />

friends that may be nearby. Blackbird is<br />

a gentle, unique, and charming cat who is<br />

sure to keep you on your toes. So if you’re<br />

looking for a feline companion who is as fierce<br />

and independent as a bird of prey, yet as gentle<br />

and loving as a little songbird, then<br />

Blackbird might be perfect for you.<br />

FYI: colonycats.org<br />

Winnie is 12 years<br />

old. She is very social<br />

and enjoys to be<br />

around people. She<br />

will even let people<br />

(and kids) pick her up<br />

for some cuddles.<br />

She likes to play with<br />

her toys and would<br />

love a forever family<br />

who will play with her<br />

and lavish her with<br />

attention. Winnie is<br />

up for adoption through Friends for Life<br />

Animal Haven.<br />

FYI: fflah.org<br />

Dee Dee is 12 years<br />

old and is the sister of<br />

Winnie. She is shy at<br />

first but will warm up<br />

quickly with a can of<br />

food. Dee Dee has no<br />

teeth, so she will<br />

need wet food or very<br />

small bites of kibble.<br />

She is a sweet girl<br />

who will sit on your<br />

lap and hang out. Adopt her from Friends for<br />

Life Animal Haven.<br />

FYI: fflah.org

PAGE 14 - WESTSIDE MESSENGER - <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong><br />

www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

CelebrateOne shows support<br />

for families on the westside<br />

Approximately 200 moms-to-be and new<br />

parents attended CelebrateOne’s community<br />

baby shower on April 29 at the<br />

Westgate Community Center.<br />

Expectant and new mothers had access<br />

to vital health care information, as well as<br />

childcare resources. Registered attendees<br />

also received a complimentary diaper bag<br />

with essential baby items, lotion, pacifiers<br />

and books. Some families were the winners<br />

of raffle prizes, such as strollers and<br />

swings.<br />

“Promoting infant, child and maternal<br />

health is vital to our mission to reduce<br />

infant mortality,” said Robin Davis, interim<br />

executive director, CelebrateOne. “We<br />

are excited to provide expectant mothers<br />

and their families with the tools they need<br />

to make healthy choices throughout their<br />

pregnancy journey and through their<br />

babies’ first year.”<br />

In addition to connecting families with<br />

resources and information, participants<br />

were able to attend a 30-minute training<br />

session on the ABCs of safe sleep. In 2022,<br />

30 babies died from sleep-related deaths<br />

which are completely preventable if babies<br />

always sleep alone, on their backs and in<br />

their cribs, every nap and every night.<br />

CelebrateOne is hosting three more<br />

community baby showers this year:<br />

• Thursday, June 8, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at<br />

First Church of God, 3480 Refugee Road,<br />

Columbus<br />

• Saturday, July 22, 1 to 3 p.m. at Scioto<br />

Southland Community Center, 3901<br />

Parsons Ave., Columbus<br />

• Sunday, Aug. 27, 1 to 3 p.m. at<br />

Ephesus Seventh Day Adventist Church,<br />

3650 Sunbury Road in Columbus<br />

Since 2014, CelebrateOne has been supporting<br />

pregnant women and families with<br />

babies under the age of 1 with a mission to<br />

get more babies to their first birthdays.<br />

To learn more, visit columbus.gov/celebrate-one.<br />

Activities for children were also featured at the community baby shower.<br />

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New parents attended CelebrateOne’s community baby shower at the Westgate<br />

Community Center. Participants got a complimentary diaper bag, as well as vital<br />

health care information.

www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

Commissioners campaign for<br />

Westland recreation center<br />

By Hannah Poling<br />

Staff Writer<br />

According to Westland Area Commissioner Janet Cahill, the<br />

parks and recreation committee is going to start a letter-writing<br />

campaign to Columbus <strong>May</strong>or Andrew Ginther about the need for<br />

a recreation center in the Westland Area.<br />

The topic was discussed at the April commission meeting.<br />

“We need to get residents to start complaining,” Cahill said.<br />

Cahill also said that she plans to have a table at the city of<br />

Columbus’ Rise Up CBus event on July 13 at Columbia Heights<br />

Church to talk to residents about the need for a Westland recreation<br />

center and to provide residents with an opportunity to sign<br />

a petition to get the ball rolling.<br />

Rise Up CBus is a free event for residents in Columbus to learn<br />

about a wide range of resources available throughout the city and<br />

about community partners. It includes free food and music, and<br />

admission is free.<br />

“We need to work hard on this Columbus rising celebration.<br />

From there, we will have our petitions to build the recreation center<br />

for people to sign,” Cahill said.<br />

The commissioners also unanimously approved the purchase,<br />

not to exceed $1,000, of a branded folding table, canopy, and table<br />

cover to use at the Rise Up CBus and future events.<br />

According to Cahill, the parks and recreation committee recently<br />

viewed the Westgate Recreation Center to see what it offered to<br />

the community. Cahill said that the Westgate Recreation Center<br />

is full of activities for its community, operating from 9 a.m. to 9<br />

p.m. at relatively no cost to its members and with scholarship<br />

opportunities for those who cannot afford it.<br />

“The amount of use all of those programs have,” Cahill said,<br />

“includes dance, guitar, arts and crafts, and ceramics all day long<br />

from morning until mid-day. Seniors are using them also, they<br />

have home school groups that use them and some preschools.<br />

Once kids get out of school, then all of the youth programs start<br />

and evening activities for adults after work.”<br />

According to Cahill, the tour only solidified how beneficial a<br />

recreation center in Westland would be to its residents.<br />

news and notes<br />

Volunteers sought at food pantry<br />

The Grove City Food Pantry is looking for volunteers. The<br />

pantry is located at 2710 Columbus St. in Grove City. It serves<br />

about 250 families each month in Grove City, Orient, Harrisburg<br />

and Galloway. Food donations are also needed. Those interested<br />

in volunteering for the Grove City Food Pantry or making a food<br />

or monetary donation can email<br />

managers@grovecityfoodpantry.org.<br />

The House<br />

Passes the<br />

Budget!<br />

On Wednesday, April 26, the Ohio House of Representatives<br />

approved an $88 billion biennium<br />

budget by a vote of 78 to 19. The bipartisan<br />

measure saw 32 Democrats join with 46 Republicans<br />

to pass the measure. The budget now goes<br />

to the Ohio Senate, which should approve its version<br />

by mid-June. A Conference Committee will<br />

work out any differences so that a final measure<br />

will get passed by both Houses by the June 30<br />

deadline. The fiscal year 2024-25 budget will take<br />

effect July 1 and will guide all state spending<br />

through June 30, 2025.<br />

I am pleased to report that the budget substantively<br />

addresses the state portion of public-school<br />

funding. The House version continues years 3 and<br />

4 of the implementation of the six-year phase-in<br />

of the Cupp-Patterson Fair School Funding Plan,<br />

which raises the share of state funding for the cost<br />

of public education. Specifically, the House version<br />

of the budget will increase funding for the<br />

South-Western City Schools from $138 million in<br />

FY <strong>2023</strong> to $152 million in FY 2024 and $156 million<br />

in FY 2025. For the Columbus City schools,<br />

state funding will increase from $175 million in FY<br />

<strong>2023</strong> to $198 million in FY 2024 and $202 million<br />

in FY 2025. Other measures in the budget provide<br />

$200 million for additional facilities and equipment<br />

for our career technical schools, funding for<br />

meals for all students who qualify for reducedpriced<br />

school lunches, over $100 million for literacy<br />

initiatives, and additional funding for teacher<br />

training in mathematics and science, which was<br />

one of my individual proposals.<br />

In the Medicaid portion of the budget, additional<br />

funding is allocated to increase the reimbursement<br />

rate for Ohio’s 60,000+ direct service<br />

providers (DSPs) from $14 per hour to $17 per<br />

hour in FY 2024 and $18 per hour in FY 2025.<br />

DSPs are the folks who provide home health care<br />

services for the elderly, disabled, and those recovering<br />

from surgery. Their work often times allows<br />

folks to continue to live in their homes, as opposed<br />

to more expensive assisted care facilities.<br />

Finally, the new budget cuts the state income tax<br />

by an estimated $930 million for working- and<br />

middle-class families. Individuals earning between<br />

$25,000 and $92,000 will see their state income<br />

tax rate reduced to a flat 2.75% for income<br />

above $25,000. The State has seen a higher-thanexpected<br />

increase in tax collections; so, the House<br />

wants to return a significant portion of it to taxpayers.<br />

(Dave Dobos represents the 10th District in the<br />

Ohio House of Representatives, which consists of<br />

parts of West, Southwest, and South Columbus,<br />

Grove City, and Urbancrest. He reports regularly<br />

on his activities in this position and his campaign<br />

has paid for this communication with you.)<br />

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PAGE 16 - WESTSIDE MESSENGER - <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong><br />

Shred Hunger<br />

The Franklin County Auditor’s office is partnering with the<br />

Mid Ohio Food Collective to hold “Shred Hunger,” a combination<br />

document shredding and electronic waste recycling event this<br />

<strong>May</strong>. Donations of food will also be collected for the Food<br />

Collective.<br />

Community members are invited to bring their unwanted<br />

paper documents and electronics to Mid Ohio Food Collective,<br />

3960 Brookham Drive in Grove City, on <strong>May</strong> 21 from 1 to 4 p.m.<br />

to have them collected and recycled in a safe, secure, and environmentally<br />

friendly way. This drive-through style event will take<br />

place in the parking lot of the food collective, with staff and volunteers<br />

available to direct the flow of traffic and assist with vehicle<br />

unloading.<br />

Among the materials that are accepted for e-recycling are: computers,<br />

laptops, tablets, monitors, cellphones, MP3 players, printers,<br />

copiers, printer cartridges, fax machines, VCRs, DVD players,<br />

LCD TVs, cameras, batteries of any kind, cables, hard drives, keyboards,<br />

and computer mice.<br />

Household appliances are not accepted.<br />

Participants are also encouraged to bring nonperishable food<br />

and household items for donation to the Mid Ohio Food Collective.<br />

In particular, the Collective is currently in need of the following<br />

items: chili with beans, tuna, canned vegetables, canned meat,<br />

soup, peanut butter, canned fruit, shampoo, conditioner, bar soap,<br />

toothpaste, body wash, toothbrushes, and deodorant.<br />

Ohio Attorney General to<br />

Shine a Light on Dumpers<br />

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and his environmental<br />

enforcement team unveiled a $1.1 million initiative to help communities<br />

statewide crack down on polluters who use their backyard<br />

— or someone else’s property — as a garbage can.<br />

“Shine a Light on Dumpers” is a multipronged campaign<br />

designed to expose illegal open dumping of solid wastes — including<br />

scrap tires, demolition debris and more — and to eliminate<br />

these inexcusable eyesores from Ohio neighborhoods.<br />

“We want local law enforcement, prosecutors and the public to<br />

know what they can do to combat the unsightly and unhealthy<br />

problem of dumping — and how my office can help them,” Yost<br />

said. “It’s time to reclaim our communities from these polluters.”<br />

Shine a Light on Dumpers will be rolled out in phases, beginning<br />

with new online resources focusing on awareness, legal guidance,<br />

training, and investigative and prosecutorial assistance<br />

from the attorney general’s office.<br />

The attorney general’s Environmental Enforcement Section<br />

(EES) has two units that deal with environmental crimes<br />

statewide: BCI’s Environmental Enforcement Unit and the<br />

Criminal Prosecution Unit. Although the units often work cases<br />

referred to them by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency or<br />

the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, they also work directly<br />

with local law enforcement agencies and prosecutor’s offices and<br />

are available, upon request, to help investigate and prosecute<br />

cases of solid-waste dumping.<br />

Another aspect of the initiative’s first phase will kick off in<br />

July, when AGO experts begin presenting monthly seminars<br />

across the state for police officers, sheriff deputies, sanitarians,<br />

code-enforcement officers and prosecutors. Attendees will learn<br />

how best to investigate incidents of open dumping and open burning<br />

of solid wastes as well as other environmental crimes, and<br />

receive the necessary legal framework for prosecuting such<br />

crimes.<br />

To learn more, visit ohioattorneygeneral.gov/ShineALight.<br />

Attorney General Yost has earmarked $1.1 million from the<br />

proceeds of a Volkswagen settlement for Shine a Light on<br />

Dumpers, with the bulk of the money going toward the second<br />

phase of the initiative. Phase two will focus on supplying technical<br />

equipment to law enforcement agencies that are battling solidwaste<br />

dumping in their jurisdictions.<br />

The Franklin County Commissioners released their<br />

annual State of the County report, and an interactive<br />

website that gives the community valuable insight into<br />

how their Franklin County government is working for<br />

them.<br />

The report is available at<br />

Report.FranklinCountyOhio.gov, and broken into sections<br />

based on the commissioners’ six core principles of<br />

good governance, Safety and Security, Economic<br />

Development, Health and Human Services,<br />

Environmental Sustainability, Fiscally Responsible<br />

Government, and Racial Equity.<br />

This year’s report shows that the county has maintained<br />

its double Triple A bond rating throughout the<br />

pandemic, one of only about 3 percent of local governments<br />

with a credit score that high. It notes that the<br />

county’s rainy day fund is $85 million, and details<br />

some of the ways that the commissioners have allocated<br />

more than $200 million in American Rescue Plan<br />

funds.<br />

“It’s such an honor and responsibility to be an elected<br />

leader in a community that you love, and all of us at<br />

Franklin County look forward to the State of the<br />

County report each year as an opportunity to report to<br />

the community on everything we’ve been working on<br />

for the past year and some of what we’ve got planned<br />

for the year to come,” said board of commissioners<br />

president John O’Grady.<br />

Highlights of this year’s report include the morethan<br />

$50 million the county spent in 2022 to develop<br />

affordable housing, support the homeless, and help<br />

families avoid homelessness, as well as the early<br />

results of last year’s small business grants which show<br />

almost three dollars in value for every one dollar<br />

www.columbusmessenger.com<br />

State of the county report released<br />

granted. They include reports on innovative workforce<br />

development programs and historic investments in<br />

affordable child care, and insight about how the commissioners<br />

are working to instill the tenets of equity<br />

and inclusion in everything they do. The report also<br />

details the day-to-day work of the county, which<br />

Franklin County families rely on such as the 163,000<br />

SNAP recipients, the more-than 450,000 Medicaid<br />

recipients, and the more-than 24,000 children in publicly<br />

funded child care.<br />

“County government touches the lives of every one<br />

of our residents each year,” said commissioner Kevin<br />

Boyce. “This report is our opportunity to let our residents<br />

know how we’re working to serve every one of<br />

Franklin County’s residents every day.”<br />

Among the services provided to county residents<br />

last year, the commissioners’ Office on Aging delivered<br />

more than 1.2 million meals to seniors at their homes<br />

and attended 329 community events to reach their<br />

constituents where they live. The county’s Child<br />

Support Enforcement Agency supported 78,814 children<br />

last year, and the commissioners’ Community<br />

Partnership department made almost $20 in grants to<br />

more than 110 community agencies that serve the public.<br />

“The state of Franklin County is strong and the<br />

local economy is recovering well from the pandemic,”<br />

said commissioner Erica Crawley. We’re very proud of<br />

all of our accomplishments last year and looking ahead<br />

to being even more successful for our neighbors in<br />

<strong>2023</strong>.”<br />

The commissioners’ full State of the County report<br />

is available online at Report.FranklinCountyOhio.gov.

PAGE 20 - WESTSIDE MESSENGER - <strong>May</strong> 7, <strong>2023</strong><br />

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In Entertainment<br />

Blume’s book brought<br />

to the screen with care<br />

Judy Blume was long resistant to a film<br />

adaptation of her beloved novel “Are You<br />

There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”<br />

According to numerous interviews the<br />

prolific children’s and young adult author<br />

has given throughout her career, it was her<br />

fear that the story would be mishandled<br />

and that the 11-year-old girl at its center<br />

would be misunderstood that kept her from<br />

granting any and all requests to bring this<br />

world to life on the big screen.<br />

It was a concern that was likely well<br />

founded.<br />

Since its debut in 1970, the award-winning<br />

novel has been right near the top of<br />

the list of books that some individuals<br />

would like to see censored, if not outright<br />

banned, for its frank exploration of puberty<br />

and the questions it raises on whether<br />

there is a higher power who looks after all<br />

of us from above and beyond.<br />

Blume has never once shied away from<br />

debating the critics of her work but she is<br />

also a bit of a realist; she knew that any<br />

film studio would have had no issue with<br />

sanitizing the content of her book to make<br />

it more palatable to a wider general audience,<br />

completely bypassing the fact that<br />

over 90 million copies of her novel have<br />

been sold internationally.<br />

In 2016, she came across a little gem of<br />

a movie called “The Edge of Seventeen”,<br />

which is kind of like a more adult version of<br />

her most known book and fell in love with<br />

its realistic depiction of teenage angst.<br />

Although she did not reach out to the<br />

writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig and<br />

veteran producer James L. Brooks to tell<br />

them of her admiration for the film, she did<br />

agree to meet with the duo two years later<br />

to hear their pitch to bring “Are You There<br />

God? It’s Me, Margaret” to the silver screen<br />

for the first time.<br />

I don’t think the sky opened up or anything<br />

during the meeting, but something<br />

awesome must have happened because the<br />

ever-reluctant Blume finally saw a vision<br />

worth greenlighting and allowed Fremon<br />

Craig and Brooks to adapt her novel.<br />

Although the final product is not quite<br />

heaven sent, it is everything a fan of the<br />

novel could ask for — and everything a genuine<br />

lover of sweet movies that have just<br />

the right amount of kick would enjoy as<br />

well.<br />

This classic story of girlhood, puberty,<br />

and religious belonging begins with the titular<br />

character Margaret Simon (played by<br />

Abby Ryder Fortson) finding out that she<br />

and her parents, Barbara (Rachel<br />

McAdams) and Herb (Benny Safdie), are<br />

relocating from New York City to a New<br />

Jersey suburb. Margaret is unhappy with<br />

the news, to say the least, and is sure it<br />

will be an outright disaster.<br />

Much to her surprise, it’s not quite as<br />

disastrous as she was fearing as she makes<br />

The Reel Deal<br />

Dedra Cordle<br />

new friends, largely enjoys the new school,<br />

and is still able to see her much-loved<br />

Grandma Sylvia (Kathy Bates, a scene<br />

stealer) on a semi-regular basis, but doubts<br />

about her looks and personality start<br />

creeping in as her new group of pals focus<br />

on things like the size of their boobs (or<br />

lack thereof), garnering the attention of the<br />

cutest boy in school, and rushing to be the<br />

first to get their period.<br />

Because there is so much turmoil going<br />

on in her life, Margaret turns to God for<br />

comfort but finds herself woefully lacking<br />

in that department as well. You see, a big<br />

plot point in this book and adaptation is<br />

Margaret struggling to believe. She’ll talk<br />

to God, sure, especially when she wants to<br />

get that leg up in the bra department, but<br />

she was raised secular by her Christian<br />

mother and Jewish father and isn’t sure<br />

there is anyone listening to her pleas for<br />

help and understanding.<br />

Much of the film alternates between<br />

these two threads — her attempts of selfdiscovery<br />

and her attempts to discover (or<br />

disavow) religion — and it never falls into<br />

that trap of being too soft or too hard about<br />

either. Like our titular heroine, it flows<br />

with her and is never in judgment of her<br />

decisions.<br />

Part of what makes this adaptation<br />

work as well as it does is the pre-teen at<br />

the center of the action. Fortson, who was<br />

12 or 13 when filming began, gracefully<br />

captures the prepubescent agony of waiting<br />

for life to begin. You feel the urgency,<br />

shame, and wonder that Margaret does<br />

and it makes you so unbelievably glad that<br />

you have moved beyond that state of being.<br />

If you are still in that state of being, my<br />

condolences. (Life spoiler alert: It doesn’t<br />

get better. It just gets different.)<br />

The movie takes an expanded approach<br />

with the other women in Margaret’s life<br />

and the story is all the more richer for it.<br />

Although I would have liked to see Bates’<br />

role more developed, McAdams has more to<br />

work with as her character struggles too<br />

with this new change in their lives.<br />

The theatrical adaptation of “Are You<br />

There God? It’s Me, Margaret” may take a<br />

slightly different course than the novel on<br />

which it is based, but the magic of the<br />

material is all over this film. This is a film<br />

that cares for its characters, that cares to<br />

handle its themes with care, and it is<br />

infused with that humorous spirit and<br />

relatability that are the cornerstones of<br />

Blume’s work. Grade: B+<br />

Dedra Cordle is a <strong>Messenger</strong> staff<br />

writer and columnist.

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