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Ohio libraries bracing for tough choices as state funding revenue continues to dip

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Ohio public libraries act as community hubs not just for reading, but also internet access, and job and school resources. But they are being forced to have difficult discussions as state funding revenue continues to dip, threatening operations and programs.

For Victoria Schrock, who’s worked at three different library systems in the state, the library represents a bridge from patrons to basic human needs.

“I think really everything we do is connected to or promotes human flourishing,” Schrock said.

She started working in libraries in 2020 and watched as the communities relied more on digital resources, but also clung to access to technology, social services and learning-loss help as the pandemic closed schools and left parents and students without other options.

“One of my favorite things about my job is seeing people make connections and build community,” Schrock said.

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Clean Ohio Trail Fund Invests Over $1 Million in Upgrading Trails in Columbus, Gahanna, and Bexley

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Trails in Columbus, Gahanna and Bexley were among those that will receive upgrades with the help of over $1 million in grants from the Clean Ohio Trail Fund.

Columbus received a $435,000 grant for improvements on the Olentangy Trail, which spans from Worthington to Downtown Columbus along the Olentangy River. The project will complete the Olentangy Trail by connecting Northmoor Park to Clinton Cosmo Park with a 0.6-mile shared-use path from Whetstone to South Clintonville.

“When complete, this project will fill in the gap to create a seamless 14-mile regional trail that enhances neighborhood connections and improves safety,” the Columbus Recreation and Park Department’s website said.

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Popcorn, chips and more: Here’s your guide to local salty snacks

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he sweet stuff is great from time to time, but when it comes down to it, would you rather your life in the hands of a Skittle, or a salty, savory chunk of beef jerky or soft pretzel

That’s why we’re kicking off our cover section with a deep-dive into some of the Buckeye State’s best salty snacks, and where to find them.

Potato Chips

The top of the totem pole in the snack world is, for many, the potato chip. Lucky for us that here in Ohio, we have more than a few tried and true options to dig into.

The Cincinnati-based Grippo’s offers a signature BBQ flavor with enough seasoning powder to take down an elephant ( the best way), while Ballerich’s in Tiffin offers just about the coolest, vintage-leaning bag you’ll find, housing their “marcelled” chips (a term the brand invented to described the ridges in their chips, inspired by the starkly wavy hairstyle of the same name). Both brands are over 100 years old, and the prolific Conn’s isn’t too far off.

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Wendy’s improves customer satisfaction as Chick-fil-A again leads annual report

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Customers were happier in the past year with restaurants, including a Central Ohio-based operator.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index released its annual restaurant report on Tuesday. Customers were forgiving in the pandemic-addled 2020 report, but satisfaction was flat in the 2021 study.

Attitudes were more favorable in the past year. Fast food operators climbed 3% to a score of 78 while full-service restaurants rose 1% to 81.

Full-service restaurants share the highest customer satisfaction rating of any category the ACSI examines. It’s a three-way tie with athletic shoes and soft drinks.

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Romanoff Group to relocate, expand Gahanna headquarters

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The electrical and HVAC contractor plans to invest $2.5 million in the new headquarters, which will increase its local footprint by more than 40%.

Gahanna Lincoln’s Camden Bentley wins Gatorade Ohio Girls Track & Field Player of the Year

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Gahanna Lincoln High School senior hurdler ended her career as the Gatorade Ohio Girls Track & Field Player of the Year.

Camden Bentley, Gatorade announced Wednesday, was named as Ohio’s best high school girls track and field athlete, recognizing what it calls “not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.

Bentley, a 5-foot-7 senior, won the 100-meter hurdles at the New Balance Nationals in 13.41 seconds while also taking seventh place in the 400 hurdles. In the preliminary round of the state meet, she set a state record, finishing the 100 hurdles in 13.27 seconds: the fifth-best time in the country among girls high school track athletes.

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Residents: Gahanna neighborhood not given notice of road work

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GAHANNA, Ohio (WCMH) — A neighborhood in Gahanna is calling out the city for communication issues over a construction project.

Residents along Theori Avenue said they are excited about the new road, but wish they had known in advance.

Residents can’t use their driveways, saying it makes getting groceries to houses in the construction zone difficult. It was also a last-minute scramble to move cars to avoid getting stuck in their driveways, they said.

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Central Ohio solar project can be model for solar, farming mutual benefits

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While the world’s science community implores governments to speed the transition away from fossil fuels before a tipping point of no return is reached, the process of approving clean energy projects has gotten bogged down in local disputes. Some reports say Ohio is actually leading all states in this regard. 10 counties have now banned solar and wind energy facilities.

One of the most prevalent arguments is that solar panels interfere with the growing of food. To many this seems convincing as we all need food. But a deeper examination reveals this to be a false choice. Not only can we have both, but each can act as an actual enhancement to the other. It is a classic opportunity for a win-win.

Though not well known in the U.S., there is a new approach – called “agrivoltaics” – being applied at increasing scale around the world. The concept started in Japan, which now has more than 1000 agrivoltaic installations.  Germany, France, India and China are starting to adopt the practice as well.

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If you see one of these birds — report it

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[Editor’s Note: The video above highlights a rare raccoon spotted in Cleveland Metroparks.]

(WJW) – If you spot a wild turkey or ruffed grouse this summer, the Ohio Division of Wildlife is asking you to report the sighting.

Wildlife officials use public reports of the birds to help estimate population sizes, predict population changes, and guide management decisions, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The surveys take place each year in July and August when female birds and their young are most active.

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