Axios Columbus

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Happy Wednesday! Time again to start the day with a random Wikipedia search.

☂️ Today's weather: Rain, wind and possible thunderstorms. High of 77. Typical.

Situational awareness: A Franklin County judge yesterday temporarily blocked a law, set to take effect April 24, that would have restricted medical care for transgender minors in Ohio.

🎵 Sounds like: "FM" by Steely Dan.

Today's newsletter is 927 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Families navigating a FAFSA fiasco

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The number of high school seniors in Ohio filing for federal student aid this year is plummeting following the rollout of a glitchy new application process.

Why it matters: Because the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process is working so poorly, some students are now facing the possibility of enrolling at a college without knowing if they'll ultimately be able to afford it.

Driving the news: National College Decision Day — the traditional May 1 deadline for accepted students to commit to a school — is approaching fast.

Zoom in: To account for delays, Ohio State University pushed back its deadline for accepted students to enroll to May 15.

  • But other area schools are sticking with the May 1 deadline for now, including Otterbein University and Cedarville University, per WCMH-TV.

The big picture: The federal government, states and colleges use the FAFSA forms to determine financial aid eligibility. The new version was supposed to streamline a notoriously difficult process and expand aid eligibility.

  • But a disastrous rollout with technical glitches and incorrect information being shared has meant far fewer applications have been turned in at this point than in previous years.

By the numbers: About 33% of Ohio seniors had completed the application as of April 5, according to the National College Attainment Network (NCAN).

  • That is a 30% drop compared to this time last year.

Threat level: Ohio's high school class of 2023 left $120 million in Pell grants on the table, according to the NCAN.

  • More than $4 billion went unclaimed nationally.

Between the lines: Schools are having to decide between using faulty information that could mean students are on the hook for higher tuition bills after next school year, delaying their enrollment process, or asking families to make a decision without knowing their full aid package.

🤝 Get help: I Know I Can, a local nonprofit that serves Columbus-area students, is hosting FAFSA help sessions through the end of the month.

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2. 🌎 Ways to celebrate Earth Day

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Earth Day is coming up on Monday, and there are plenty of local opportunities to help care for the planet.

  • The following events are free, unless otherwise noted:

🍦 Linden Park cleanup: Join the Columbus Chamber of Commerce for a morning of park cleaning and pollinator garden prep, with an ice cream social afterward.

  • 8:30am-12:30pm Friday, 1350 Briarwood Ave. Register

🐯 Environmental protection: The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium will "party for the planet" all weekend and teach the importance of conservation.

  • 9am-5pm Saturday and Sunday. $20-34, kids under 3 free!

🏕️ Campground cleanup: Help ODNR tidy up Alum Creek State Park and enjoy complimentary lunch afterward.

  • 9:30am-12:30pm Saturday, meet at the amphitheater at 2911 S. Old State Road, Delaware.

👦 Children take action: Kids become "Planet Protectors" by learning about composting, tree planting and renewable energy at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center.

  • Register for a session at 10am or noon Saturday, 505 W. Whittier St.

🍺 Grandview cleanup: Volunteers will meet at Barrel and Taps to pick up litter along Grandview and Third Avenues, then grab well-earned drinks afterward.

  • 11am-1pm Saturday, 1380 W. 3rd Ave. Register.

🌱 King-Lincoln Bronzeville celebration: An afternoon of candle making and home gardening exhibits at the King Arts Complex.

  • Noon-3pm Saturday, 835 Mount Vernon Ave. Register.

🎵 Columbus festival: Local music, food trucks and sustainability-themed activities at Genoa Park.

  • 11am-8pm Saturday, April 27, 303 W. Broad St.

3. Nutshells: My friend, Michael Bublé

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🏀 Buckeye basketball players Jacy Sheldon and Celeste Taylor were picked fifth and 15th, respectively, in the WNBA Draft. (WSYX-TV)

🐌 Two giant orange snails make up a new exhibit outside the Dublin Arts Council building. (614 Magazine)

🖼️ Three "Gallery Hops" are planned on High and Gay streets in June, September and December. (Columbus Underground)

💬 Quote du jour

"I remember we were somewhere at a restaurant, and he says, 'I know Michael Bublé.' We're all like, 'Bulls---, Rimer. You don't know Michael Bublé.' … He called Michael Bublé, and there he was."
— Todd Sharrock, Blue Jackets vice president of communications, talking about broadcasting legend Jeff Rimer to Columbus Monthly.

Keep reading: Former players and friends shared memories of Rimer, who retired at season's end.

4. 📻 The top local radio stations in town

Data: Radio Online; Chart: Axios Visuals

The most popular radio station in Columbus must have lots of friends in low places.

State of play: WCOL-FM, or 92.3 on your radio dial, had the highest local ratings in February, according to the latest ratings data from Nielsen.

  • It was followed by WBNS-FM (97.1 The Fan) and WSNY-FM (94.7 Sunny 95).

The intrigue: Country music has long been a popular radio genre, but WCOL may have benefitted from Beyoncé's new country songs released in February.

5. 📣 Your pothole complaints

A toy car shows a Newark pothole and its eventual fixing. Photos: Courtesy of reader Mike W.

We wrote last week about pesky potholes and asked readers for their personal pothole frustrations:

Mike W.: I had a problematic pothole on my street in Newark and it was getting worse pretty quickly.

  • Since a picture is worth a thousand words, and I don't have time to write a thousand different words, I sent the above picture to the street department.
  • The pothole was fixed within two days. To thank them for responding so quickly, I sent them the second photo.

Holly A.: Thanks for this great article on potholes! I drive on Fifth Avenue between Neil and Grandview Avenues almost everyday, and the potholes are too numerous to call out individually.

  • There has been some repair work done — but some of the repair jobs are very much in disrepair! Help!!

Our pro tip: Columbus residents can report potholes on the city's 311 system.

This newsletter was edited by Lindsey Erdody and copy edited by Kate Sommers-Dawes and Anjelica Tan.

Our picks:

🎵 Tyler mainly listens to SiriusXM in the car.

👶 Alissa is on maternity leave.