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Today's newsletter is 923 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: 🗳 Ohio won't bar Trump from ballot

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Ohio is rejecting activists' efforts to block former President Donald Trump from being on next year's ballot over his alleged responsibility in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Why it matters: The decision helps Trump dodge an early campaign threat and allows him to remain eligible to compete for a state he won comfortably in the 2016 and 2020 general elections.

Driving the news: Groups urged elections officials in at least eight swing states to disqualify Trump based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bans anyone who's taken part in a rebellion against the government from holding a state or federal office, Axios' Erin Doherty reports.

Zoom in: Free Speech For People wrote to Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) on Aug. 30 and argued he should declare Trump ineligible for the state ballot.

  • "Ultimately, Ohio law leaves you no neutral position … Allowing a known insurrectionist to appear on the ballot is inconsistent with your prior commitments and your oath of office to support the U.S. Constitution."

The other side: LaRose's office says it has no right to take such action.

  • "This is a fringe legal theory that's been widely rejected outside of the wishful thinking of some partisan activists," spokesperson Mary Cianciolo tells Axios in a statement.
  • "Secretary LaRose has no legal authority to keep a candidate off the ballot who legally qualifies under Ohio law, and he has no expectation that a rational court will order him to do otherwise based on this ridiculous attempt at election interference."

What they're saying: LaRose is not alone. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) and others have been similarly reluctant to take action.

Meanwhile, Trump has pleaded not guilty to felony charges that he tried to overturn the 2020 election and obstruct the certification of election results on Jan. 6.

What we're watching: Presidential candidates have until Dec. 20 to file paperwork to appear on the March 19, 2024, Ohio primary election ballot.

  • Former Gov. John Kasich defeated Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary here.
  • Trump is expected to face another Ohioan this time around, Upper Arlington's Vivek Ramaswamy.

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2. More downtown projects could replace parking lots

A rendering of an apartment building with ground floor retail space proposed for 281 E. Spring St. Courtesy of the Columbus Downtown Commission

Two more downtown parking lots may bite the dust as developers plan a new apartment building and an OhioHealth outpatient clinic at two locations east of Capitol Square.

Driving the news: The Columbus Downtown Commission will discuss the project applications this morning and could vote to give them the OK.

Zoom in: Riewald Development is planning a seven-story, mixed-use building at 281 E. Spring St.

  • It would feature 1,937 square feet of ground floor retail space, a third floor outdoor deck and 132 residential units spread between the third and seventh floors.

Meanwhile, OhioHealth wants a new five-story parking garage and two-story ambulatory (outpatient) facility at 322 E. State St., about one-quarter mile to the south.

A rendering of a new medical office building and parking garage.
A rendering of a new parking garage and outpatient facility proposed for 322 E. State St., across from Grant Medical Center. Courtesy of the Columbus Downtown Commission

3. Nutshells: Your local news roundup

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🌿 U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio's most prominent Democrat, says he hasn't decided if he'll vote for or against a statute to legalize recreational marijuana statewide on Nov. 7. (WOSU)

🚻 Columbus' permanent public restrooms have been installed at three downtown intersections and should be operational in "the next few weeks," after inspections on the $2 million project are finished, a Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District official tells us. (City of Columbus)

🍺 Seventh Son and The Brew Brothers earned silver medals at the 2023 Great American Beer Festival for their Stone Fort and Toasty brews.

  • That's an improvement from last year, when our local breweries were snubbed. (GABF)

4. How to be a true Columbusite

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Thank you for helping us compile a list of must-do activities in Central Ohio.

💭 Alissa's thought bubble: Now that I've crossed off going to a Buckeyes game, this gives me plenty of inspiration for what to do next!

What you're saying:

🔥 Brian B.: Glass Axis. Attending a class is good, but going to a holiday celebration such as Halloween or Valentine's is even better!

🌹 Carol B.: Franklin Park, Park of Roses and the Ohio Statehouse.

ğŸŽ­ Caitlin A.: Attend an Actors' Theatre play in the park at Schiller Park in German Village. Bring a blanket and a beverage and enjoy!

🇩🇪 Al R.: Definitely brats, kraut (or spaetzle), a pretzel with hot mustard, a cream puff (any flavor), and the adult beverage of your choice (Dunkelbrau preferred here) at Schmidt's in German Village is required to really be a Columbusite.

  • A mega-sandwich and dill pickle at Katzinger's Deli nearby could be a backup at fulfilling this stringent requirement … But why not do both?

🏒 Cathy J.: Be sure to go to a Blue Jackets hockey game. There's more going on than just the game!

A new career is waiting for you

💼 Check out who's hiring now.

  1. VP, Business Development - Consumer at WillowTree.
  2. Director, Application Development at NetJets.
  3. Vice President Global Quality & Regulatory at Safecor Health.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

5. 🚲 1 CoGo photo to go

Axios publisher Nicholas Johnston gives a "thumbs up" before pedaling back to his hotel Wednesday night on a CoGo bike. Photo: Alissa Widman Neese/Axios

Axios publisher Nicholas Johnston was in town last week and gave our CoGo bike share program a glowing review.

Quick take: "The only way to travel!" he tells us.

  • It was a less than $5 round trip from the Westin hotel to the convention center, which was across the street from where we met him for dinner.

Meanwhile, the nearby parking garage cost us $7 — plus the gas to get there. An Uber or Lyft undoubtedly would've cost even more.

📱 Pro tips: Book a bike share ride through the Lyft app. A day pass is $8 and a yearly membership is $85.

The bottom line: Sounds like another thing we need to cross off our "never have I ever" list.

This newsletter was edited by Lindsey Erdody and copy edited by Kate Sommers-Dawes and Keely Bastow.

Our picks:

⚾ Tyler is reading Joey Votto's story of life as an unglamorous minor leaguer.

🤔 Alissa is trying to figure out this year's Mountain Dew VooDew mystery flavor.