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Today's newsletter is 951 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: ShotSpotter expanded to troubled neighborhood

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Columbus is further expanding the reach of ShotSpotter, its controversial gunshot detection program, to include a Hilltop apartment complex that has seen a rash of shootings in recent years — including the high-profile shooting of 13-year-old Sinzae Reed last October.

Why it matters: This is part of the city's widening effort to combat gun violence, which leaders have deemed a public health crisis.

Driving the news: The City Council approved ShotSpotter expansion to the Wedgewood Village Apartments yesterday alongside a 2023 operating budget funding public safety, infrastructure and other basic municipal services.

  • The subscription service involves a network of sensors meant to alert law enforcement to the precise location of gunfire.

State of play: Columbus has invested over $3.5 million from its General Fund into ShotSpotter since 2018, periodically expanding its reach to over 12 square miles of coverage in the Hilltop, Linden, South Side and Near East Side neighborhoods.

What they're saying: Ramon Obey II, co-founder of Justice, Unity and Social Transformation (JUST), a grassroots group that provides aid to Wedgewood residents, tells Axios the program is "truly the opposite of what the community needs."

  • "These people are expected to live in some of the worst conditions in Columbus, and then we're putting our money there just to criminalize them."
  • The ACLU is similarly highly critical of the technology, as are other local governments.
  • Chicago's Inspector General issued a report in 2021 saying the city's "ShotSpotter alerts rarely produce documented evidence of a gun-related crime, investigatory stop, or recovery of a firearm."

The other side: Council President Shannon Hardin defended the program, though he called scrutiny over ShotSpotter "fair."

Zoom in: More than a dozen homicides have been reported at Wedgewood since 2017, including the fatal shooting of Sinzae, a Black teenager, by a white resident who later claimed he fired in self-defense. An investigation is ongoing.

  • City officials have urged the complex's ownership to make safety improvements, per WBNS-TV, while a property manager blamed the violence on a lack of police presence.
  • Along with ShotSpotter, Columbus made plans to install new surveillance cameras along Wedgewood Drive.

What we're watching: The scope of work among three new crime analysts the Council agreed to hire earlier this month meant to "improve how the data collected by the ShotSpotter technology is utilized for investigative purposes."

Read the full story

2. ❤️ In Ohio, love is local

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Born in the Buckeye State? Your spouse likely was too.

  • And if you're still searching for your soul mate, you shouldn't have to look too far.

What's happening: Ohio is one of the states where you're most likely to marry a local, per a Census Bureau data analysis by the Washington Post.

  • We're No. 5, with nearly 60% of Ohioans marrying fellow Buckeyes from 2017-2021.

The big picture: Michigan ranks No. 1. That's fitting — those folks up north deserve each other.

  • Meanwhile, Nevada is where a local is most likely to marry somebody from another state — likely skewed by "what happens in Vegas."

Between the lines: Our ranking probably reflects native-born Ohioans' low likelihood of moving elsewhere, the Post notes. We also have less population growth from out-of-state transplants.

  • As a whole, interstate marriages are on the rise across the country.

💭 Our thought bubble: As two Ohioans married to fellow Ohioans, it's hard for us to argue against this one!

3. Nutshells: Almond of me loves almond of you

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

💵 Here's a primer of Gov. Mike DeWine's state budget proposal, from K-12 career tech investments to a $2,500 income tax deduction per child. (Ohio Capital Journal)

🙌 Maxwell Williams, who was left partially paralyzed after a drive-by shooting at Dick's Den bar a year ago, has made a remarkable rehabilitation. (Columbus Monthly)

🍷 The owners of Dublin's Market Bar are planning a massive "wine library" featuring varieties from around the globe. (614 Magazine)

🎨 Local artist Cat Ramos drew from her Indigenous heritage in painting for a pair of exhibits at All People Arts and Brandt-Roberts Galleries. (Matter News)

4. 🚗 Your travel recommendations

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Thanks to our readers for recommending a few additions to Ohio's most recent travel guide.

  • Some of your favorite spots to visit:

Fran B.: "The Garst Museum in Greenville. It has a fabulous exhibit on Annie Oakley and other historical events and personalities."

Kay B.: "One very important thing to add about Port Clinton: It’s the county seat of Ottawa County, home to almost 100 bald eagle nests, more than any county in the state. Lake Erie and its marshes provide an excellent feeding ground and is why the raptors have made an amazing comeback!"

Kevin B.: "The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield is a must-see. If you are a movie lover it is a no-brainer, but even if you are not, it is a fascinating historical location and an architectural marvel. And the tour guides are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, which results in a great tour experience."

Debra G.: "Yellow Springs of course! This village has great shopping and restaurant choices. It retains its counterculture vibe and celebrity sightings (it's the home of comic Dave Chappelle) are a pleasant surprise."

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5. 😢 We lost the pizza bracket

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

We appreciate the valiant effort, Columbus-style pizza fans, but sadly your votes in favor of our edge-to-edge toppings weren't enough to topple Richmond in the Axios Local pizza tournament.

The latest: Somehow a city that once made a yearly competition out of stuffing ferrets down people's pants — without wearing underwear — beat us with 55% of over 4,400 votes.

  • Sigh. And we thought Axios readers had good taste.

🍕 What's next: If you're a fan of Chicago's deep dish or Detroit's thick squares, continue voting in the next round!

This newsletter was edited by Everett Cook and copy edited by Keely Bastow and David Chiu.

Our picks:

🤣 Tyler is still laughing at this Columbus Metropolitan Library meme from the Super Bowl halftime show.

😼 Alissa loves this Ohio animal shelter's creative anti-Valentine's Day fundraiser.

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