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Columbus City Schools using $870k to pay off “secret” radio debt

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According to the current President of the Board of Education for Columbus City Schools Gary Baker, the state shortchanged the school district by almost $100 million a year in state financial aid. And just last month, dozens of Columbus City School teachers took the day off from school to march for better pay, smaller classroom sizes, and better working conditions.

However, it’s been announced that the Columbus Board of Education will use $870,000 of its general education fund—local and state money earmarked for teaching students—to pay the debt of local National Public Radio affiliate WCBE.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the $870,000 debt run up by WCBE has been kept secret by now. A background memo obtained by The Dispatch reveals Scott Varner, Executive Director of Strategic Communications and Public Relations at Columbus City Schools, communicating to Superintendent Talisa Dixon that the school board “may be asked again to supplement the station’s budget through the general fund.”

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Baker told The Dispatch following the 7-0 “consent agenda” omnibus vote that the administration recommended that Columbus City Schools covers the debt of WCBE using its general education fund. He also added that he is “pleased” the district is able to help fund WCBE, “a valuable community service.”

Back in 1970, WCBE established itself as an “educational tool of the Columbus City Schools,” according to the station’s website. Today, “WCBE is an NPR affiliate, broadcasting twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.”

The station is well known for its annual spring fundraiser (that was alarmingly unfruitful last year) that funds its $1.2 to $1.3 million budget. However, The Dispatch reports that district officials only recently learn that NPR had been accepting payments from WCBE General Manager Dan Mushalko.

Mushalko is on paid suspension pending the outcome of an internal audit. Read more at The Dispatch.

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Studio 35 Theater reopens during renovations

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Don’t mind the dust, moviegoers! Studio 35 Cinema & Drafthouse will reopen today, Thursday, May 16. The landmark theater in Clintonville has been closed since Monday for renovations, which are ongoing.

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Additions include a second-story screening room, new seating in the main auditorium, and a kitchen. The upgrades to the historic theater, which opened in 1938, are expected to be completed in August of 2019.

Studio 35 is a champion of independent cinema in Central Ohio, so be sure to get out and show your support throughout their renovation! To catch movie times, view menus, and keep up to date with all of Studio 35’s awesome events, visit studio35.com.

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Quiet down, Uber has a huge announcement

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Tired of being bombarded with political opinions on your way to the grocery store? Sick of feeling obligated to ask, “So, how long have you been an Uber driver?” when all you want to do is scroll through Instagram? Longing to sit in silence in the backseat of a stranger’s car you hailed from the internet? Do you just want to sleep?

We know Uber drivers are only being polite and friendly, but sometimes, you just need quiet.

You need “Quiet Mode.”

Uber has finally rolled out a feature that allows riders to request minimal conversation during rides. Instead of fake laughing and politely nodding your way through a ride, hoping the driver takes the hint, you can simply select the “Quiet preferred” option. There are also options for “Happy to chat” and “No preference.”

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Instead of rudely smashing the “Quiet Mode” button mid-ride, this distinction can only be made before users request the Uber. A few other new options riders can select prior to hailing a vehicle include:

  • Help with Luggage: let your driver know an extra pair of hands is needed for your luggage.
  • Temperature Control: communicate your optimal temperature before entering a vehicle.
  • Extended Pickup Period:  riders will have a little extra time to get to the car when unexpected delays pop up.
  • Premium Support: access premium phone support with live agents if you need something to be made right. 
  • Professionalism: ride with confidence knowing that your professional, commercially-licensed driver is at the top of his or her game.
  • Consistent Vehicle Quality: expect the same kinds of rides, every time, with consistent vehicle model, makes, interiors, and exteriors.

Here’s the catch: these luxury “Rider Preferences” only come with Uber Black and Uber Black SUV premium rides, though. Are you willing to drop the extra dough to control the conversation during your next Uber ride?

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More scooters coming soon to a sidewalk near you

Mike Thomas

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Love them or hate them, it seems another wave of shared mobility devices are on the way to Central Ohio.

According to a report from WCMH, more than one thousand new electric scooters and bikes from companies with names like Jump, Spin, and Roam could be coming soon.

Jump and Spin have already gained approval from the city to launch their fleets of electric scooters and bikes. Under current rules, each company is allowed up to 500 mobility devices—meaning 1,500 more scooters and bikes will be available throughout the city.

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Columbus based e-bike company Roam is still in the process of gaining approval for a planned Spring 2019 launch. While electric scooters have become a familiar sight, Roam’s bikes are sure to stand out when they eventually hit the streets:

Are you excited to see more mobility options coming to town, or worried about the issues these devices raise? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

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