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Op-ed: Whitehall mayor responds to recent negative press

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As the City of Whitehall, Ohio begins a new year and reflects on the successes of 2018, we were disappointed to see a 614 Now headline reading, “Whitehall takes top spot in ‘10 Most Dangerous Cities in Ohio’” based on a November 3, 2018 blog post on RoadSnacks.com.

We strongly disagree with some of the methodology that the study relied on in making their opinion on the level of danger in our community. The safety and well-being of our neighbors and business partners always will be our number one priority and, thanks to a number of initiatives we’ve undertaken, our community is experiencing great momentum.

Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard

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Our Safer Whitehall initiative, which includes the establishment of a specialized narcotics unit, the hiring of additional and the enhanced training of police officers, adding four new K-9 officers and our proactive Mobile Community Watch has all led to additional arrests being made, thus we are seeing lower crime rates. In fact, since the beginning of 2017, violent crime has decreased by 48%, robberies have decreased by 47% and theft arrests have declined by 22%. These are statistics from the Whitehall police department.

This positive and significant upswing in statistics can also be attributed to our aggressive approach to rid the community of criminal activity through increased economic development and innovative training for businesses and residents on how to prevent and decrease crime.

Great things are happening here. Heartland Bank and The Wasserstrom Company have moved their headquarters to Whitehall. The Whitehall Community Park is undergoing a multi-million dollar update with a new Community Park Y. And, the $50 million Norton Crossing project is underway at the gateway to our city – the intersection of Broad and Hamilton.

We are extremely proud of our community. We invite everyone to visit our city and see the progress we are making each and every day. 

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How to stay safe during Columbus Pride Parade, Festival

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The 38th year of the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival is also expected to be the biggest ever.

Last year’s parade attracted more than 13,000 people, up 5,000 from 2017. And this year, Stonewall is preparing for an even bigger celebration.

With large crowds comes safety concerns, which is why Stonewall is partnering with the Columbus Division of Police to make sure everyone stays safe, reports NBC4i.

During the parade on Saturday, there will be a heavy law enforcement presence in close proximity to the parade route and throughout the city, plus increased patrols to ensure safety.

The text alert system that allows festival- and parade-goers to receive safety tips from Stonewall and police will be active all weekend long.

Opt into the alerts by texting “PRIDE” to 888-777.

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Read the safety tips below from Stonewall Columbus:

  • LISTEN TO POLICE AND PRIDE SECURITY – THEY ARE THERE TO KEEP YOU SAFE
  • PACE YOURSELF
  • STAY HYDRATED
  • DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DRINK UNATTENDED
  • LEAVE YOUR PETS AT HOME
  • KEEP THE PARKS CLEAN
  • USE THE TRASH AND RECYCLING RECEPTACLES
  • PARK LEGALLY
  • BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS AT ALL TIMES
  • TAG YOUR BAG WITH YOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION (Bag Tags available at the Stonewall Tent)
  • TAG YOUR CHILD WITH AN EMERGENCY CONTACT WRISTBAND (Wristbands available at the Stonewall Tent)
  • QUICKLY VACATE THE PARKS WHEN THE FESTIVAL CLOSES
  • OUTSIDE ALCOHOL AND COOLERS ARE NOT PERMITTED
  • BE RESPECTFUL

Pride Festival kicks off Friday at Bicentennial and Genoa Park from 4:00 PM- 11:00 PM. The parade will begin on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Poplar Avenue and High Street in the Short North followed by the second and final day of the festival.

Street closures:

  • Washington Blvd. (between Broad and Main) through 11:00 AM on Sunday, June 16
  • Town St/Rich St. Bridge/Rich St (between Belle St and Ludlow St)
  • Main St (between Ludlow and Belle) with Waterford Towers Condos access through 11:00 AM on Sunday, June 16
  • Civic Center Drive/Second St – (between Town and Noble – with access to 250 Civic Center) through 11:00 AM on Sunday, June 16

Click here for more information about Pride events.

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How the “wettest year in Ohio history” could affect your grocery shopping

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While the rain may be ruining your weekend plans, it’s ruining the livelihoods of farmers around the state and, potentially, your grocery list. We are currently experiencing the wettest yearlong period in Ohio history, causing the state to be the farthest behind in planting corn and soybeans compared to all states that plant the crops, according to experts from The Ohio State University and federal reports.

And the trickle-down effect may impact your grocery shopping.

“Individual shoppers looking for specific items may experience hiccups in their availability or swings in their price,” said Ohio State University Department of Horticulture and Crop Science professor Matthew D. Kleinhenz, PhD.

As of June 9, only 50% of Ohio’s corn crop and 32% of its soybean crop was planted, a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows. By now, Ohio typically is 96% done with planting corn and 89% done with soybeans, reports the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State.

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But, the problems aren’t over once farmers get their crops in the ground.

“The growers who have been able to plant a corn or soybean crop likely will have to contend with other challenges that come with a lot of rainfall: more weeds, pests, and diseases,” reports Ohio State.

Though consumers may have more limited or more expensive offerings in the produce section this harvest season, the impact of the rain will have little effect on your shopping experience.

In my opinion, on the whole, Central Ohio shoppers can expect little change in the availability, etc of produce,” assured Kleinhenz. “The supply of produce is very resilient thanks to farms being located in many areas, the expertise of farmers, and other factors.”

Kleinhenz also reminds shoppers to remain patient and positive when something they’re looking for is not available, and use this time to enjoy what is available from growers.

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Ohio ranked as 13th “most fun” state based on these 2 things

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Based on “Entertainment & Recreation” and “Nightlife” offerings, Ohio is the 13th “most fun” state in the U.S.

WalletHub compared all 50 states with 26 indicators including number of attractions, restaurants, weather, events, and parks. The Buckeye State ranked 18th in entertainment & recreations and 8th in nightlife.

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California claimed the top spot while poor ol’ Wild West Virginia found itself at the very bottom.

To see the complete survey results, click here.

What are some aspects of Ohio that helped it secure the 13th spot? Let us know in the comments below!

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