Friday, September 28, 2012

Time: How Columbus, Ohio Bounced Back from the Recession

If you ever wonder what kind of economic development might be accomplished in this country with more bipartisan cooperation, consider Columbus, Ohio. It’s become a celebrity city of sorts lately, talked up in a New York Times Magazine piece about the success of Ohio, and visited over a dozen times by the presidential candidates on the campaign trail. No wonder – the Columbus metropolitan area has created more jobs than any other place in Ohio over the last two years and it’s become a model for what an economy can do when you admit that growth isn’t about tax cuts and austerity but about both streamlining government and investing in the right things.

The quick story of Columbus is that a Democratic mayor got a bunch of Republican businessmen in the city to agree to – gasp – a tax increase, in order to do the kinds of investments (in infrastructure, job retraining, education, and downtown renovation) that result in real growth. And that’s what they’ve gotten there. There’s plenty in Columbus that comes straight out of the Brookings/McKinsey playbook – German style industrial research centers, a strong community and state college system and smart ways of tapping Chinese investment. I could go on—but instead, you should go read my latest Curious Capitalist column in Time magazine, which tells the full story.

(MORE: How Bad is America’s Pension Funding Problem?)

Columbus is representative of a bigger shift in this country. I think that post election, the economics and job creation focus is going to move to cities and what’s happening at the local level in places like Columbus, Chicago, Portland, Raleigh, Minneapolis, Mesa, and San Jose. We’ll move from a simplistic conversation about tax cuts versus spending, and we’ll start admitting that we really have no idea why US GDP growth is as slow as it is, and there’s no one way to explain the 2 percent economy (which is really a 5 percent or 0.5 percent economy depending on where you live). And, we’ll have to start experimenting with lots of different paradigms. That will happen at the city level.

I think what we may see is a kind of industrial policy executed via cities; they become the petri dishes in which we do different growth experiments. Each one will tell a story – how to boost exports, create creative industry hubs, revamp housing, retrain Rust Belt workers, etc. There will be important political and cultural implications in all this, too (next week, I am planning to do some reporting in San Bernardino on that city’s attempt to use eminent domain to force banks to restructure underwater loans). As I said in my “Go Glocal” feature recently in Time magazine, all economics is local. Expect the economic and business news next year to be just that.

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Columbus Dispatch: Grand jury does not indict Victorian Village man who fatally shot partner

By  John Futty
The Columbus Dispatch Wednesday September 26, 2012 2:37 PM

A Victorian Village man who said he was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot his partner five months ago has been cleared by a Franklin County grand jury.

John A. Reed, 54, was arrested on April 6 after he called 911 to report that he had just shot his roommate, Jeffrey A. Caldwell, at 69 W. 5th Ave.

“He was killing me, he was trying to kill me,” Reed told the operator.

Although Franklin County Common Pleas Court records show that the case remains active, a grand jury heard the evidence in late July and decided not to indict Reed, Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said.

Defense attorney Terry K. Sherman said he took the unusual step of giving his evidence and witnesses to the prosecutor’s office for use in their grand-jury presentation. Reed testified before the grand jury.

“It’s unusual but not unheard of” for a defendant to testify in a grand-jury hearing, Sherman said.

O’Brien said the targets of grand-jury proceedings testify “on occasion” at the request of a defense attorney or after an invitation from prosecutors. He called the practice “fairly rare.”

Reed had been the victim of ongoing domestic abuse in his relationship with Caldwell, 56, Sherman said.

“It was battered woman’s syndrome, but involving a guy,” he said.

Reed told police that he and Caldwell were in an argument that turned violent on the night of the shooting. He said Caldwell was beating him and he feared for his life.

Reed “grabbed his .22-caliber revolver and as (Caldwell) cornered him in the bathtub, he shot (Caldwell),” according to a report read during Reed’s initial appearance in court on April 9. He was released on bond after the hearing.

Reed retired in 2008 after about 30 years as an employee at the Ohio State University Medical Center.

Caldwell worked at the Kroger store in the University District and formerly operated Caldwell Interiors Ltd.

Sherman called the case “about as good as you can get for self-defense.”

Columbus Dispatch: Italian Village store closed pending drug-sales investigation

By  John Futty
The Columbus Dispatch Thursday September 27, 2012 8:03 PM

An Italian Village convenience store accused of selling bath salts and synthetic marijuana will remain padlocked while a Franklin County judge determines whether it should be closed permanently.

The S&K Market, 127 E. 5th Ave., has been closed since Sept. 17, when the Franklin County prosecutor’s office filed a civil action saying the property is a public nuisance because its owners and operators knowingly allowed felony drug sales.

Environmental Judge Harland H. Hale granted a temporary restraining order that prohibits the store from operating until the case is decided.

The case was set for trial today, but the judge granted a continuance while attorneys attempt to resolve criminal cases against two brothers who co-own the business.

The market, along with two Short North businesses, was raided on July 25 by the Franklin County Drug Task Force as part of a nationwide crackdown on synthetic designer drugs.

Soleiman Mobarak, 29, of Solera Drive on the North Side, and Hasan Mobarak, 28, of Rita Joanne Lane on the Northeast Side, are charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs and trafficking in spice, which refers to a mixture marketed as synthetic marijuana.

Undercover officers purchased bath salts — synthetic hallucinogens that have been linked to psychotic episodes and deaths — and synthetic marijuana during visits to the store, according to the complaint filed by prosecutors.

The suit asks the judge to eliminate the nuisance by ordering the sheriff’s office to “close and padlock” the building and “take possession of furniture, fixtures, equipment and material.”
A new trial date has not been set.

Columbus Dispatch: Goodale Park fountain spouts water again

By  Mark Ferenchik
The Columbus Dispatch Friday September 28, 2012 12:12 PM

It’s been two weeks since the Goodale Park fountain was turned on.

The water continues to spout. The pond in which it sits is holding water.

All is well. (For now, anyway.)

“Everybody’s pretty happy about it,” said Jason Kentner, the president of the Friends of Goodale Park.

Not to mention relieved.

The water to the fountain was turned on back on Sept. 14. That was a little more than two months after the pond was refilled.

Kentner’s group spent $8,500 to install a rubberized lining around the base of the fountain in June to fix a leak that had drained the pond since last fall.

That came after the city spent $144,600 to line the bottom of the pond in April with a clay called bentonite to plug the leak. That fix didn’t work.

Kentner said the city also installed a new ground water pump to recharge the pond during dry weather.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Central Ohio ends summer with rising home sales and prices

Central Ohio ends summer with rising sales and prices

(Sept. 19, 2012) Home sales during the most active time of the year showed impressive gains over last year and were the highest since 2007 when the housing market began its descent after the boom.

The 8,921 residential home closings during the months of May through August were 11 percent higher than last
 summer and 12.2 percent higher than in 2009 when home sales hit its lowest point since the summer of 2000, according to the Columbus Board of REALTORS®.

“Higher prices, low rates and lower inventory proved to be an exceptional environment for home sellers this summer,”
 said Jim Coridan, 2012 President of the Columbus Board of REALTORS®. “But the strongest factor was and continues to be the abundance of motivated buyers in the market today.”

Demand outstripped supply, as new listings on the market (3,096) fell 0.9 percent from the month before and the total inventory of homes for sale (11,571) was down 32.3 percent from the same time last summer (17,096).

“We’ve seen higher sales gains and falling inventory for over a year now which has pushed home prices up,” Coridan said. “We’re hoping more homeowners with an interest in selling recognize their advantage this fall as it’s getting tough to find property to sell.”

Not only that, the average turn-around time from the date “For Sale” signs went up until a bargain was struck
 decreased 15.5 percent last month from 96 days to 81 days.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This Weekend - The 2012 Short North Tour of Homes & Gardens showcases 10 neighborhood treasures


The 2012 Short North Tour of Homes & Gardens showcases 10 neighborhood treasures.

On Saturday and Sunday, September 15 and 16, home improvement and landscaping enthusiasts are invited to explore some beautiful and unique spaces in the historic Short North neighborhood at the 2012 Short North Tour of Homes & Gardens, presented by the Short North Civic Association and Keller Williams Classic Properties.

This yearʼs tour features 10 locations, including the century-old residence of Ken Brushaber and Sue Nicholson, who spent 11 years restoring and adding on to their property, and the updated condo of Jason Hunt, part of a development created by former Buckeye football player Curly Morrison in which each function of the home has its own floor.

Tour attendees will also get an intimate look at innovative projects in-progress, such as developer Connie Klemaʼs latest effort, tall, narrow single-family homes on the edge of I-670 with four-story floor plans and a car “elevator” for stacked parking. The first residence completed by Bruce Shumard and Eddie Hambrick in a 10,000 square foot former manufacturing facility is also included; along with a behind-the-scenes peek at the long-vacant Garden Theater, which is on the road to becoming a state-of-the-art performance facility through the efforts of the nonprofit Short North Stage.

The preview tour, sponsored by List Columbus, begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 15. The $100 ticket includes a cocktail reception and a chef-created dinner in a lovely private neighborhood home. Preview guests will be among the first to see another up-and-coming local development, the in-progress microbrewery and event space Seventh Son Brewing Company, site of this yearʼs reception.

The general tour is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 16. Tickets for Sunday are $15 in advance, $20 day of tour, and include access to a trolley shuttle bus for easy traveling between tour stops. Advance tickets are available at Spinelli’s Deli, 767 Neil Avenue, and online at Day-of-tour tickets will be available only at Spinelli’s Deli.

More information about this year’s tour is available through the Short North Civic Associationʼs website,, and its Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

TIME - Guess the 2nd Most Sexually Satisfied City In the U.S.

Official: The Most Sexually Satisfied City In the U.S. Is…

Los Angeles? No? New York City? No? Milwaukee? Nope.

According to a Men’s Health survey, Indianapolis, Ind., is the most sexually satisfied city in the country.

The men’s magazine factored in condom sales, birth rates and sales of sex toys in their decision to declare Indianapolis No. 1 on its best sex list – for the second time. (The city also held the top ranking in 2008.) “Every year, the field of drivers in the Indianapolis 500 burns through a ton of rubber, but then so do the locals — Indy’s condom sales are 16th highest in the country, according to A.C. Nielsen data,” the magazine wrote. In fact, the Midwesterners proved themselves a kinky bunch indeed, claiming six of the top 10 slots in all.

Top Ten Most Sexually Satisfied Cities

1. Indianapolis, Ind.
2. Columbus, Ohio
3. Fort Wayne, Ind.
4. Cincinnati, Ohio
5. Salt Lake City, Utah
6. San Antonio, Texas
7. Denver, Colo.
8. Austin, Texas
9. Boise City, Idaho
10. Chicago, Ill.

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