Fifty exotic animals were on the loose. Their owner was dead. Muskingum County deputies gunned down tigers, lions and bears in rainy fields about 55 miles east of Columbus, a senseless tragedy that stunned the world.
What happened: 10 years ago today, exotic animal collector Terry Thompson set 50 animals loose before fatally shooting himself on his 73-acre farm west of Zanesville.
The number of homicides in Ohio rose last year to its highest mark in three decades and once again exceeded the national rate, according to statistics released by the FBI.
Why it matters: These estimated figures reinforce data showing a surge in homicides and violent crimes the past two years in Columbus and other major Ohio cities.
- Legal experts believe social-economic changes brought about by the pandemic, such as an increase in unemployment, could be behind these spikes, Axios' Russell Contreras reports.
It's been seven years since a replica of the Santa Maria, the flagship of Christopher Columbus, was removed from the Scioto River as part of a Scioto Mile redesign project. It remains in city storage with no plans to set sail anytime soon.
- The $1.3 million attraction opened Oct. 12, 1991 as the centerpiece of a yearlong 500th anniversary celebration of Columbus' 1492 expedition.
The funds that established Ohio State University in 1870 only existed because the U.S. government seized land from Native Americans.
What's happening: For the past year, the university has been working toward making reparations to tribes affected by the loss of land.
- A team led by professor Stephen Gavazzi, who initially approached OSU about the project, is gathering information to help the university create a "land acknowledgement" in the months ahead.
- So far, the university has awarded $230,000 in internal grants to the land acknowledgement team.
- The group gave a presentation last week to put this issue in the public's eye ahead of Indigenous Peoples' Day. More than 700 people representing 35 land-grant universities attended.
The first two electric buses in the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) fleet will hit the streets this coming Monday.
Why it matters: The electric bus rollout is part of a long-term goal of COTA and the city of Columbus to cut back on carbon emissions by transitioning to greener energy sources.
- The new electric buses can hold up to a six-hour charge and cost just shy of $1 million apiece.
- COTA estimates each bus will save as much as $500,000 in maintenance and fuel costs over a 12-year lifespan.
After a year marred by scandals, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has lost accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for the first time in 41 years.
- The news comes a day after the zoo named Tom Schmid its next president and CEO.
Why it matters: AZA is the industry's top accrediting body and sets the gold standard for animal care. A lack of accreditation is a blow both to public trust and zoo leadership going forward.
- Finances could also be impacted, as the zoo will be ineligible for some grants and other funding sources, officials said in a statement.
The new Hilltop branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library was abuzz with activity yesterday, just a few days removed from its grand opening at 511 S. Hague St.
- The library is now much larger and features an interactive children's area, a School Help Center for students and copious meeting spaces for adults.
Why it matters: Hilltop is the 12th Columbus Metropolitan Library branch to get a makeover since 2014, with more renovation projects on the way.
👋 Tyler here. I'm too far behind on my reading list as it is, so instead I checked out a couple of DVDs:
- "Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges & Universities."
- "Mamma Mia!" for two reasons: It stars Meryl Streep and I don't need another reason.
Columbus woman Sacoya Cooper disappeared over a month ago, and her loved ones are canvassing the community and asking others to aid their search.
Why it matters: After the disappearance of Gabby Petito attracted international attention, many are putting a spotlight on other missing people — and pointing out that cases involving people of color and LGBTQ people are often overlooked.
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