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The Closing Volley

This is my final letter as editor of (614) Magazine. Those are among the hardest words I’ve ever had to type. I’ve always told myself that I wouldn’t stay in this seat forever, but it’s still hard to prepare for the day when “not forever” arrives at your door, leaving even someone like myself at [...]
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This is my final letter as editor of (614) Magazine. Those are among the hardest words I’ve ever had to type.

I’ve always told myself that I wouldn’t stay in this seat forever, but it’s still hard to prepare for the day when “not forever” arrives at your door, leaving even someone like myself at a loss for words.

As a little inspiration for one last Opening Volley (by my count, the 102nd), I reflected on my first one, penned June 2010:

“I’ll put my own stamp on the magazine, sure. Most likely, some of these ideas haven’t yet presented themselves to me.”

If only you knew, you big dum-dum.

I’d love to give myself points for prescience there, but how could I have known what this would all mean? How could I have known we’d last at all?

I didn’t know we’d print a story about a long-forgotten Columbus swimmer that would lead to justice for his legacy in the Wall Street Journal (Thanks, Lori Gum).

I didn’t know I’d watch my Uber driver make global news and come out of the closet on The View four months after picking me up on a random Friday (Thanks, Trey Pearson).

I certainly didn’t know that I’d win an *Emmy for the least amount of work I’ve ever done on something so cool, hosting a food show called NOSH. (Thanks, NBC).

(*Regional, and the interns always assume it’s just a prop sitting at the front desk).

I did know that when I first sat down in this chair to write this letter that I was sitting in a position that was perfectly suited for me—even though it was something I never could have aspired to back when I was starting out.

I didn’t know it would give me the most satisfying and fulfilling time of my life, a period of feverish creativity, passionate collaboration, and an intense feeling of civic pride I’d not previously enjoyed.

“What (614) will continue to do is to present Columbus as the diverse, interesting—and growing—Midwestern hub that we feel it is. To hell with that Cowtown bit.”

My thesis statement in that first letter—I called a shot I didn’t have the right to. But damn, if we—and I do mean we—haven’t helped accomplish that in this last decade. We used to have to prove that we were more than college football and chain restaurants. Now, we’re having spirited debates over the loss of cocktail bars and craft breweries.

It’s that collective effort to move the Columbus culture that fueled us at (614)—less so than the other way around. I’ll put that humility aside only long enough to say, I do think we succeeded in our goal to make this magazine stand out from the rest of the rack. If I do say so myself, we set a new print standard for those glossy city mags you see strewn about any active city. Yes, we are the city guide—this festival, that band, those food trucks—but it’s always been my hope that we could be more. It’s been my hope that we’ve been able to serve as part of the city’s conscience, and present a curation of our collective personality on display. Maybe we’ve been a guide to what life feels like in Columbus’s modern rebirth, a new outline for a city without an identity for so many decades—other than their incessant, sometimes obsessive search for one.

But, we’ve mostly been YOU. If there’s one thing I’ve been most proud of over the last 10 years and 100-plus issues, it’s that we produced an open-source document for Columbus—an approachable read that gave access to the everyday folk in Columbus. It’s always been a poorly kept secret that if you have an idea that Columbus would love, you have a spot in (614). No credentials or diploma needed. Just someone with the same passion we had. Your new editor-in-chief Jeni Ruisch has it. And I can’t wait to see her era of this funny little journalistic experiment begin.

I’m gonna miss the work like hell—I won’t lie. It’s been one of the great pleasures of my life to put this thing together. I’ll miss wondering what’s on your mind; what stories you were excited to share with and through us.

I’m not going anywhere, though. I have plans and schemes to continue to pay forward what this magazine and this city has given to me. In what capacity? I suppose I am still plotting that chapter, but as always—I’m open to Columbus’s input. In other words:

“Most likely, some of these ideas haven’t yet presented themselves to me.”

Cheers, Columbus. I’ll see ya out there.

Travis Hoewischer, Editor-in-Chief

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Govt & Politics

OP-ED: Heartbeat Bill will likely affect 11yo Ohio rape victim

Caitlin Horwatt

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The passage of Ohio’s recent “heartbeat bill,” signed by Governor DeWine, marks a massive and distressing win in the conservative quest to outright ban abortion. All parties supporting the bill—from DeWine to legislators and lobbyists—are well aware that the action will be blocked by courts as they uphold Roe v. Wade, which protects the right to abortion until 24 weeks gestation. We should be frightened as we explore whether their big picture goal is to get Roe v. Wade overturned by the decidedly conservative Court.

By banning abortion after a heartbeat is detected, the law prohibits abortion as early as eight weeks, well before many women know they are pregnant. Add in the already mandatory twenty-four hour waiting period between first appointment and procedure, and the likelihood of legal abortion for even a pregnancy detected early seems slim. The law is an blatant attempt to ban women’s right to choose.

The Guttmacher Institute found that ​1 in 4 women​ has had an abortion before age 45. The Pew Research Center found that ​58% of Americans support legal abortion ​in all or most cases, with polarizing views against abortion coming mostly from Republican and religious Americans. These statistics fail to depict, though, how traumatic the impact can be for women forced to carry a child to term when she does not have the means or support to do so. The law is meant to protect the fetus at a term that is far earlier than the 22 to 24 weeks at which it is viable, all at the cost of the mother.

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The bill notably does not give exceptions for cases of rape and incest, only allowing exceptions for medical necessity to save the mother’s life. This means an ​11 year-old rape victim from Massillon​ will likely have to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

Heartbeat bills do not ban abortion; they ban legal abortion. I think of a sign I saw during the 2017 Women’s March: a metal coat hanger with the words “WE WON’T GO BACK” scrawled below. The passage of this recent law achingly raises questions of whether or not we will go back.

Women who now find themselves pregnant could have their lives forever changed. Even if they choose to surrender the baby after birth, the cost of a pregnancy is astronomical and healthcare is far from a certainty in this country. If the pregnancy was caused by rape, the potential for trauma only escalates. Women will have few places to turn, with the most vulnerable unable to seek safe healthcare and the potential high for maternal deaths as part of botched abortions.

The ACLU and other organizations are already moving to challenge the ban in court. I can’t shake the looming feeling that these challenges will only play into the hands of those anti-abortion supporters, and that we may be entering the most important fight of our generation in this fight for a woman’s right to choose.

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Govt & Politics

OP-ED: ‘Red flag’ is far cry from where Ohio gun law should be

Joanne Strasser

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Last weekend, a man entered a synagogue in Poway, California armed with a rifle. The Washington Post reports that prior to him entering the place of worship, the accused shooter wrote a 7-page letter about his hatred for Jewish people. He believed killing them would “glorify God.” Below is an op-ed from one Columbus mother who believes Ohio should be taking a stronger stance against guns following of the Poway tragedy.

Even in light of this past weekend’s synagogue shooting, DeWine is still unwilling to change Ohio’s gun laws. He is, however, advocating for Ohio to pass a red flag law, which would allow law enforcement to seize guns from individuals deemed a societal risk.

This isn’t the first time the red flag law was floated in the Ohio Legislature.  In the wake of last year’s Parkland High School shooting in Florida, former Gov. Kasich backed the proposed law, which ultimately failed to gain support.

Opposition to the legislation stems from Republican lawmakers’ belief that it infringes on the constitution rights to bear arms and proper due process of law. However, 14 other states have already implemented the red flag law.

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Moms Demand Action, a national gun control organization, notes that 42% of attackers exhibit warning signs before shootings occur. And although this legislation would only be a small step in the right direction, it could help save lives.

But ultimately, statistics don’t matter to politicians, who are dependent on dollars from the gun lobby.  And until our elected officials decide that Ohioans‘ safety comes first, any measure, regardless of how small and sensible, will fail. 

Ohio Republicans need to take a long hard look at their agenda and ask themselves if it truly serves our needs. Which is more important: our children feeling safe at school or campaign contributions? 

The red flag law is a common-sense measure, and while it’s a far cry from where Ohio gun restriction needs to be, it’s certainly a start.

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Food & Drink

Review: New tasting menu at Veritas offers uniquely special experience

Regina Fox

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On a warm and windy day in April, after bringing everyone in the (614) the 4-11, I had the immense pleasure of enjoying taste profiles, textures, and pairings unlike anything else I’ve experienced in all my 24 years.

The scene: Veritas.
The food: Josh Dalton’s new Chef’s Tasting Menu

As Columbus’ only exclusively tasting menu experience, Veritas takes all the guesswork out of ordering and puts all its confidence into a small, meticulously-crafted, multi-course menu. Never having experienced a tasting menu before, I didn’t know what to expect, but having read a great deal about Veritas prior to my visit, my expectations were high.

Boy, did they deliver.

My guest and I were seated front and center at a table with a view of the pristine kitchen. Hm, dinner and a show, I thought as I met eyes with a man wearing a white chefs coat through the glass. We both smiled. I was excitedly nervous! Veritas was tastefully decorated, lit lowly, and populated by middle aged people wearing mostly business formal attire who, I guessed, were fluent in the language and etiquette of tasting menus. I spun my nose ring nervously.

Then, our host Mitch approached us and put my nerves at ease. He delivered two Snapdragon cocktails (Junmai sake-based and gorgeous) and warmly welcomed us to Veritas.

Our snacks would be right out, Mitch said. But, the snacks we got weren’t like any Fritos or Rice Krispy treats I’d had before. Three bite-sized goodies spaced out evenly on a long white plate lay before me and my grumbling stomach.

Course 1 Snacks

First (left to right) was a small radish dipped in rendered A5 Waygy beef tallow and sprinkled with smoke sea salt—savory beyond belief. I finished the radish and impolitely dabbed up the salt remnants with my fingertip. Next was a walnut cheddar wine cracker topped with whipped smokey blue cheese roasted red grape, balsamic reduction—delectable. And the grand finale: New Zealand Deep-Sea Red Crab salad wrapped in daikon radish, topped with chive. I could’ve eaten a bale of this seafood concoction.

But alas, Veritas likes to keep you hungry as not to spoil any of the riches ahead.

Course 2 Celeriac + Frisee + Black Garlic

This delicacy is made from a molded goat cheese shell, filled with a beet-based foam, and garnished with compressed apples and tarragon. The cold and airy feel of the foam, sweet firmness of the shell, chewiness of the apples, and freshness of the tarragon all joined hands and sang “Kumbaya” as I consumed. Or, maybe that was me singing…

This was by far the best and most complex mix of flavors and textures I had ever had.

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Course 3 Celeriac + Frisee + Black Garlic

I was already juggling my cocktail, my mildly sweet and tart champagne flute from the snack course, and a glass of white wine from the last course when the knowledgable Veritas Sommelier delivered a glasses of “orange” wine to the table. I know what you’re thinking because I thought it, too: no, the wine is not made from oranges, but rather blends both the red and white style of winemaking to create a unique vino. Don’t mind if I do, I thought as I indulged.

As I wolfed down this obscure looking but totally delicious dish, I had absolutely no idea what Celeriac was and my only knowledge about croquet exists because of the movie Alice in Wonderland. Beneath the frisee salad and bursting beads of smoked trout roe was a black garlic sauce-soaked celery root lightly fried in bread crumbs. This was the first warm dish and I was officially in love with Celeriac. Still not sold on the game of croquet.

Course 4 Monkfish + Prosciutto + Hen of the Woods

Prosciutto wrapped anything is a delicacy. Prosciutto wrapped monkfish is a prize. And I was just straight up spoiled with the sautéed hen of the woods mushrooms.

Course 5 Way Flank + Sunflower + Pomegranate

Wagyu, come to mama. Twice pan-seared—once in garlic and butter—laying on a bed of pomegranate yuzukoshu black garlic reduction that I could see myself swimming in a vat of. This was my favorite course by a mile. My only complaint is that my affection for it far outweighed its actual weight.

Course 6 Gjegost + Lychee + Sumac

Full disclosure, the ingredients in this dish may as well have been written in another language, because I had never heard of gjetost foam, lychee sorbet, or sumac. But, it cooly calmed my palate and I was a happy little lychee.

Course 7 Butternut Squash “Tart”

Ah, the seventh and final course. Plated to perfection, the dessert entree was a modest one, bringing in savory profiles and unique textures. My favorite bites were those of the sponge cake and mole ice cream. Call me traditional.

Coming in at $75, the Chef’s Tasting isn’t going to be your Thursday Happy Hour Plans. But, that’s okay because what it does offer is a uniquely special experience that cannot be had anywhere else in the city. Everyone can can offer 1/2 off appetizers, only Veritas can delivery an exceptionally high level of service, quality, taste, character, and creativity each and every time.

Veritas is located at 11 West Gay Street and is open 5pm – 10pm Tuesday through Saturday. To learn more about Veritas and the Tasting Menus, visit Veritas.com.

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