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Columbus Hotel earns “2018 Hotel of the Year” honors

Mike Thomas

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As a leader in the hotel industry in Columbus, Le Meridien, The Joseph has been awarded the designation of “2018 Hotel of the Year” in the Distinctive Premium Brand category by Marriott International.

According to a press release from Marriott, this distinction is awarded annually to a property that, “best executes on the brand promise while driving an overall balanced scorecard.”

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A number of factors are considered in giving this award, including financial metrics, online feedback, community involvement, and hotel culture. Of over 350 Distinctive Premium hotels in North America, Marriott designated 14 as 2018 Hotel of the Year, including Le Meridien Columbus, The Joseph.

“The team has given tangible meaning to the brand theme of ‘destination unlocked’ by providing authentic and indigenous [sic] experiences to our guests,” said Jason Mack, General Manager of the hotel. “I am so proud to work with such passionate and engaged associates. They are truly the best hospitality professionals in the industry.”

Since opening in January 2015, Le Meridien Columbus, The Joseph has worked to cultivate local partnerships and create brand awareness to the community through various programming efforts.

Congrats on the recognition, Le Meridien, The Joseph! We know where we’re going for our next staycation.

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Crime

Unsolved Ohio: Who killed Peggy Andrews near OSU in 1962?

Regina Fox

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How does a well-liked, 19-year-old, small town girl wind up dead in a Columbus garage? Unfortunately, even after nearly 60 years, no one knows.

The lifeless body of Mary Margaret “Peggy” Andrews was found in a garage near the Ohio State campus on September 20, 1962. She was shot three times in the face and—judging by the condition of her clothing when investigators arrived—sexually assaulted.

Peggy moved out of her parents’ home almost immediately after graduating from her Catholic high school near Steubenville, Ohio in 1961. Along with two other young women, Peggy lived in a boarding house on 18th Avenue near Buckeye Donuts. She enrolled in night classes at the Columbus Business University (now Bradford School) and worked full time as an accountant’s secretary.

She was smart, well-liked, and deeply religious. People close to her described her as “carefree” and “lighthearted,” reports Columbus Monthly.

It was a Thursday at 5:00 PM when Peggy left her downtown workplace before heading to class. She met up with her two roommates, Carol Maxwell and Carol Eick, and two male classmates outside her office. Typically, Peggy would’ve taken the bus with her roommates, but she wasn’t feeling well that day. Instead, she caught a ride with her friend and classmate Ron Negutt to avoid the uncomfortable bus commute.

He pulled up to Peggy’s boarding house and watch her walk to her door under the streetlamp light. Negutt took off before she had gotten inside, eager to meet his buddies at the 7-11 Club. He arrived at the bar around 9:30 PM, reports Columbus Monthly.

This was also the time Maxwell and Eick say they arrived back at the boarding house. Both women, along with the housemothers, waited for Peggy’s signature high-heeled entrance through the back door, but she never came.

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Meanwhile, Columbus Business University student Gary Ontko was moving into his new apartment on Woodruff Avenue. Around 11:30 PM, Ontko volunteered to help out his roommate who had forgotten to roll up his car windows.

He approached the garage cautiously as he was new to his surroundings. As he grew closer, that’s when he saw them: a pair of human legs illuminating in the moonlight.

Peggy’s purse contents were strewn about, her long red coat was covered in dirt, but the small black bow remained pinned to her curly brown hair. Her school books were discovered neatly stacked on the ground behind her boarding house.

Everybody in Peggy’s life, including Negutt who was the last known person to see her alive, were cleared as suspects. Police expanded their search to registered sex offenders in the area, which garnered a possible link. A .22-caliber pistol found in a university district drain spout in 1963 supported the link, but did not cement it.

Another break in the case occurred decades later in 2000. Forensic scientists extracted DNA from a stain on the back of Peggy’s shirt and tested it against DNA samples obtained at local, state, and federal crime scenes. The tests garnered no results.

This stain just may be the key that unlocks the entire mystery. Now, if they could only find a match.

Anyone with additional information or questions regarding this case should submit a tip.

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Zoo mourns loss of “colorful,” “gentle” creature

614now

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Over the weekend, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium announced the death of one of its beloved creatures.

Kinshasa, the male mandrill, passed away at the ripe age of 22 years old, surpassing the median life expectancy of his breed by nearly a year. Animal Care and Animal Health staff made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him after this health declined rapidly due to several age-related disease processes.

Kinshasa came to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in 2017 where he became an “amazing” stepdad and best friend to Mosi.

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In a post on Facebook, the Columbus Zoo remembered Kinshasa for his “colorful looks,” “gentle nature,” and active lifestyle.

“Although our time with him was short, he had a lasting impact on all who knew him and was an amazing individual,” they wrote.

Kinshasa, we hope you are playing with your blue barrel and water-based, tempura paint that you loved so much.

Today we are celebrating and remembering the life of Kinshasa, the male mandrill. Animal Care and Animal Health staff…

Posted by Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Saturday, July 13, 2019
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Update: Killer’s blood-soaked car leads to arrest in July 4th slaying of young woman

Mike Thomas

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Update: Court documents filed in Delaware County detailed 24-year-old John Bartholomew’s statement to deputies, in which he admitted to killing 28-year-old Brittany McDowell and disposing of her remains in a shallow grave in Alum Creek State Park on July 4.

Brittany McDowell

Bartholomew told deputies he picked up McDowell on Sullivant Avenue, and that he paid her $60 for sex acts. He went on to say that McDowell demanded more money, and threatened him with a taser.

Bartholomew told deputies he then pulled out a gun from under his seat and shot McDowell in the side of the head before using a different gun to fire a second shot, which struck McDowell on top of her head, killing her.

Bartholomew stated he then dug a shallow grave near Alum Creek State Park, where he disposed of the body.

Deputies said it was a person who Bartholomew hired to clean blood from his vehicle who called in a tip to Police, leading to his arrest.

Bartholomew was not required to enter a plea and is being held on a $1.5 million bond.

***

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Authorities made a grisly discovery over the holiday weekend when an officer stumbled upon a shallow grave containing the body of a young woman.

At about 6:30 p.m. on July 4, an officer with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources discovered a shallow grave near the pull-off area in the 6400 block of State Route 37 near Alum Creek State Park while on foot patrol.  

Deputies responded to the scene and found the body of a white female in her late 20s. The body was later identified as as 28-year-old Brittany D. McDowell of Columbus.

Due to injuries observed on the body, Delaware County deputies say they are investigating the case as a possible homicide.

Deputies ask anyone who may have information regarding this case to contact the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office at 740-833-230 to leave a message, or call 740-833-2800 to speak to a live person.  

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