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Incredibly rare babies arrive at Columbus Zoo from land down under

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For the first time in over 20 years, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is proudly welcoming three Tasmanian devils into its care.

The babies, Sprout, Thyme, and Mustard, remain in quarantine per standard protocol, but are transitioning to their brand-new habitat located in the Zoo’s Australia and the Islands region. As soon as the Tasmanian devils settle in to their new home, a public viewing schedule will be announced.

The Columbus Zoo is now one of only seven zoos in North America to currently house the species.

One-year-old Tasmanian devils were brought to the Columbus Zoo through the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. This Tasmanian, Australia government program aims to combat the threat of Tasmanian devil extinction due to a fatal, highly-contagious condition called Devil Facial Tumour Disease.

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The conservation of these animals is so important because they play a vital role in the ecosystems in which they inhabit. For example, Tasmanian devils remove sick, slow, diseased, and deceased animals from the landscape. They also serve as an important line of defense against invasive species, including feral cats.

Obtaining the three devils is only one pillar in the Columbus Zoo’s long history of supporting the species’ conservation. In the past the Zoo has employed the following projects to help sustain the lifecycles of Tasmanian devils:

  • aiming to develop effective strategies to rebuild wild populations of the Tasmanian devil through the understanding of demographic and genetic effects of the long term presence of DFTD in wild populations
  • assess the ecological impacts of a reduced devil population on other wildlife in the north-east coastal plains area
  • satellite tracking translocated Tasmanian devils; and the genetic analysis of Tasmanian devils (to look for signs of DFTD) from the south-west coast.

“The Tasmanian devils are an exciting addition to our Columbus Zoo family and play an incredibly important role as ambassadors for their species,” said Columbus Zoo President and CEO Tom Stalf. “It is a privilege to be able to work with the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program and continue to expand our impact internationally by contributing to the conservation of this species while also raising awareness within our own community about these animals and how we can help them.”

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Studio 35 Theater reopens during renovations

Mike Thomas

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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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