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Local career college ceasing enrollment, “effective immediately”

Mark Elliott

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Kaitlynn Pletcher loves animals. That motivated her to study vet assisting at Mid East Career Center in Zanesville instead of traditional high school. One day during junior year, a rep from the Vet Tech Institute at Bradford School in Columbus spoke to her class. Impressed, she applied immediately and was accepted to Bradford last summer. School was starting July 2019 so she started packing right after graduation for the move west. Her mother, Stephanie, has everything for Katie’s new dorm room “including pods for the dishwasher. Her dorm room has a dishwasher.” When the orientation schedule arrived requesting her presence on campus this week, Katie’s dream of working in a veterinarian’s office began to feel very real.   

But last Tuesday, all that changed. 

A form letter was delivered via Fed Ex, from Bradford School president Dennis Bartels reading, “Dear Applicant:  I regret to inform you that, due to declining enrollment, we have made the decision to no longer enroll any new students, effective immediately.” (The school does plan to remain open until April 2020 so all current students can complete their programs.)  With the letter came a refund of fees that the Pletchers had paid in advance.  

Statement on Bradford School’s homepage

Members of the admission staff at Bradford got fired about the same time Katie’s Fed Ex arrived.  But they were told a different story.  According to Bradford ex-employees who were on a conference call with school officials Tuesday morning, enrollment wasn’t the issue—it was accreditation and problems with student loans.  

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As a “for-profit” college, Bradford is held to different standards on loan defaults and graduation rates than schools like Ohio State and Kent State.  According to the Chronicle on Higher Education, over 1,000 for-profit campuses closed over the last five years. Another 270 have been under Federal monitoring this year. Bradford Schools, Inc. has already closed campuses in Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne over the past year

Now Katie needs a new plan. 

“She was accepted (at Bradford) last August” her mom told me. “Her second choice was Kent State, but they needed an application back in March, so she doesn’t know what to do now.”   

A quick online review found that both Columbus State and Kent State (at the Tuscarawas campus) have associate degree programs for future vet techs, with fall application windows still open.  

And her mom’s supply of dishwasher pods will last a long time.  

Columbus Native (Lincoln Village) I've spent my entire career in radio with stations across the South and Midwest. But I'm tired of moving around the country (my last employer wanted me in Albuquerque!) So I returned to CBus to be closer to friends and family and am freelancing now, including writing for (and about) 614. Reds, Bengals, Crew fan, and fan of whoever is playing the Cardinals and the Steelers.

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Update: Cajun food fans disappointed by Ned’s Bayou development

Mike Thomas

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UPDATE: While concrete information regarding the mysterious Ned’s Bayou is still unavailable, signs seem to indicate that the retail space will serve as a popup store for Twenty One Pilots merchandise when the duo comes to town for a double-header at Nationwide Arena on June 29 & 30.

Exhibit A: searching “Ned’s Bayou” on the Ohio Secretary of State’s online database shows an address on Worthington Galena Rd. for the business’ registered owner. The members of Twenty One Pilots are themselves former Worthington residents.

While this in and of itself says little, the group’s de facto mascot (seen here in the music video for the song “Chlorine”) happens to be named Ned.

Mere coincidence? I guess we’ll find out by the end of the month. For now, it seems fans of cajun food might have to look elsewhere to get their fix!

***

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A brand new awning sporting the words “Ned’s Bayou” has appeared over the former Blick’s Art Supplies location at 612 N High St in the Short North.

While initial searches have turned up little information about this forthcoming business, we can only assume that this will one day be the sight of a Louisiana-inspired restaurant of some sort.

Then again, the word “Bayou” carries other connotations. Maybe this will be the Short North’s first-ever spot for gator rasslin’. Only time will tell!

614NOW will keep an eye peeled for more info on this business as it becomes available.

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You complained, they listened. Short North parking changing today

614now

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Hey, Columbus, how are you liking the Short North parking plan? The Columbus Division of Parking Services still stands by it, albeit they make a few interim adjustments.

Beginning today, the following changes will take effect:

  1. Lower the 24-Hour Resident Guest Pass rate from $6 to $3
  2. Adjust the rate change timeframe from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. (at both meters and mobile pay zones)
  3. Lower mobile pay only (side street) parking rates from $2/hour to $1/hour between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in permit zones SNA, SNB and SNE
  4. Reduce Goodale Street meter rates to $1/hour and remove time limit restriction
  5. In partnership with the Short North Alliance, enhance the already successful off-street retail validation program with a new on-street validation program through the Park Columbus app

Then, in late summer, the following changes are tentatively planned to be made:

  1. Increase the number of guest permits available to residents from 1 to 2
  2. Allow visitors to extend time in mobile pay (side street) zones for up to 6 hours

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According to a release, Division of Parking Services is pleased with the plan’s many “accomplishments,” it has committed to continually reviewing feedback from the community and use it to make changes to better serve the public. The forthcoming changes were informed by an effort Parking Services dubs a “listening tour” where information was gathered from the public throughout March and April. Feedback gleaned from Short North business owners was also used.

“I am proud of the parking plan’s many successes, and especially its nimbleness to be responsive to the community it serves. The data-driven and community input we received allows us to enhance access and parking opportunities for residents, businesses and visitors of the thriving Arts District,” said Robert Ferrin, Assistant Director of Parking Services.

Parking Services sites the turnover in the neighborhood and the allowance of residents to use on-street parking to park closer to their homes as two of the parking plan’s successes.

How has the Short North parking plan affected your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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Unsolved Ohio: The bizarre disappearance of Brian Shaffer from Ugly Tuna

Regina Fox

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How can someone go into a second-story bar and never come out? I’m talking about the disappearance of Brian Shaffer in 2006.

On March 31, Shaffer and his friend William “Clint” Florence went out to Ugly Tuna to celebrate the beginning of spring break. Shaffer was a second-year medical student and surely wanted to cut loose a bit after a stressful week of exams. The two then barhopped down High Street towards the Arena District, reportedly taking shots at every stop.

A little after midnight, Shaffer and Florence met up with a friend of Florence named Meredith, who gave them a ride back to Ugly Tuna. The three of them are seen on security camera ascending the escalator to the now-closed bar in the University Gateway around 1:15 AM on April 1.

Shaffer (circled), Florence, and Meredith ascending the escalator to Ugly Tuna

Later, the camera captures Shaffer outside the bar talking to two women around 1:50 AM and then re-entering the bar. At this point, Shaffer was separated from his friends. The bar was closing and after searching and calling for Shaffer, Florence and Meredith decided to wait outside the bar for him to come out. After a while, the two left, assuming Shaffer had gone home.

But, the 27-year-old has never been seen or heard from since.

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Ugly Tuna had one entrance at the top of the escalator. Anyone entering or leaving from this would be caught on surveillance cameras. Investigators acknowledge the possibility that the cameras could have somehow missed Shaffer, though think it’s unlikely. Another improbably scenario they’ve entertained is Shaffer disguising himself and/or hiding from the cameras before exiting the bar. After all, the quality of security cameras circa 2006 was not the highest.

There was only one other way that Brian could have exited the bar that night, and it was from a back service door. Not only was this a door used exclusively by staff members, but it also opened to a construction site that would’ve posed a dangerous situation for a sober person, let alone someone who had been drinking all night.

It’s also important to note neither Shaffer’s cell phone, credit cards, or bank account have been used since.

The young man’s disappearance sparked an international search effort. Possible sightings started flowing in from Michigan, Texas, and even as far as Sweden. Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam (one of Shaffer’s favorite bands and motivation for a tattoo) even took time out of the band’s set in Cincinnati to put out a call for information that may lead to Shaffer’s discovery.

Shaffer received excellent marks from the university, was close with his family who lived in Pickerington, and had a good relationship with his girlfriend, Alexis Waggoner. He and Waggoner had a spring break trip to Miami booked—confirming plans with her over the phone around 9:00 PM on March 31. She, along with their families and friends, were convinced Shaffer would probably propose later that year or maybe even on their trip to Miami.

For months after his disappearance, Waggoner called his phone every night. It went straight to voicemail every time except one night in September when she heard the phone ring three times. There was no answer, but the call pinged a tower in Hilliard. There was hope for the first time in months! Unfortunately, the cellular carrier divulged that the rings were likely a glitch in the system, rather than Shaffer powering on his phone.

Everyone in Shaffer’s life agreed to take a polygraph test in order to clear them of any suspicion, except Florence. Reportedly, Florence refused the test because he felt he had told police everything he knew about the night Shaffer disappeared.

By all accounts, he was the All-American boy with everything to live for which is why his disappearance has been so troubling all these years.

 If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Brian Shaffer please contact the Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-645-8477, if requested you will remain anonymous. 

Additional information: Prior to his disappearance, Shaffer’s mother Renee died of a rare form of bone cancer called myelodysplasia. And just after his disappearance, his father died in a freak accident involving a wind storm and a tree branch. The immediate Shaffer family is survived only by Brian’s younger brother Derek.

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