Columbus, Ohio USA
Return to Homepage


The Short North Gazette welcomes all letters to the editor, but reserves the right to edit them for space and clarity. All letters for publication should include name, address, phone, and permission to prints. Mail to: Commentary, the Short North Gazette, PO Box 8071, Columbus, OH 43201. Our e-mail address is:

January/February 2018

Dear Joel Knepp,

Just read your stories on factories and series of jobs in the latest Short North Gazette. I have nothing to add to the downtown jobs record, but wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed both articles, especially the latter. I love the way you can imbue factual reporting with sly humor! Although I don’t live in the Short North, I regularly grab my copy of the Gazette at the Upper Arlington library as soon as it comes out and read it with interest and pleasure. Keep up your fine work!

Karen Thimmes

Dear Editor,

I was very delighted with the article, “You Never Know What’s Under the Lid,” authored by Eric Anderson in your Nov/Dec ‘17 issue. I found it funny and brimming with insight. As someone who has practiced meditation for many years, Eric’s humorous approach to describing how certain surprising, maybe shocking perceptual experiences wake us up to “reality” (he shared his own experience of seeing “thin, rigid, hairy animal legs”) truly resonates with my personal experience of being in the present moment as a meditator. He describes this reality as “when our usually vigilant Ego-mind is caught dozing for just a second” and how suddenly, the “flimsy screen” of ego is momentarily moved aside. It does seem to happen like that! I am a former Ohio resident and have traveled a great deal. I just never see these kinds of articles in local newspapers. Good work! I look forward to all of Eric’s upcoming articles.

Sue Kurtz, Las Vegas, Nevada

November/December 2016

Dear Editor,

For the past several years, electric rates have been rising at twice the rate of inflation – a particular problem for those of us on fixed incomes. The higher cost does not mean that we are paying more for a better product. It is the same electricity that we have always used – only the price is higher.

Since electricity is a necessity, it is proper that it be subject to state oversight. But, somehow, even with that oversight, Ohio’s utilities have been allowed to inflate the cost of our power. Rather than addressing the problem as a whole, some of our legislators prefer to blame these rising costs on clean energy. Not only does renewable energy generate a small portion of our electricity in Ohio, it is also cost-effective with a bonus of cleaner air, which is critical for vulnerable populations like children and seniors who suffer disproportionately from respiratory problems.

We need to tell our legislators to stop playing politics with our electric bills. We deserve reasonably priced pollution-free energy.

Alan R. Rosenfield
Harrison West

Dear Editor,

Like Joel Knepp, I have had pangs of dismay with the degradation of the English language in our culture. [Respect Our Language, Sept/Oct] We differ in our response though. I am not always sensitive to what I would consider minor transgressions. I have, in all likelihood, skimmed over improper uses of “fewer” and “less” many times in my adult life. The more annoying trend of substituting sht- for st- is grating mostly because I don’t understand its popularity. I believe it would be impossible to argue against the assertion that web technology is having a corrosive effect on English. Twitter with its character limit and chat apps with fragmented, hyper comments encourage horrid English, if it even qualifies as English. We are inundated with techno-pidgin

Like most people, I often shrug at the lack of proper English. Did I appreciate Cormac McCarthy’s books less when they were breaking English rules? No. I appreciate literary experimenters like McCarthy. But I will admit that I want to slap my monitor if I see one more Internet netizen refer to “love me some.” So my response varies. I don’t see the mangling of English as intentionally disrespectful. But it can be disrespectful of our English teachers. In retrospect, I think teachers should view the rules of English and the breaking of the rules as both vital but unequal learning opportunities.

Mark Meldola
Brevard, North Carolina

March/April 2016

Dear Joel Knepp,

I enjoyed your article in this month’s [Jan/Feb 2016] Short North Gazette. Your observations are solid. It seems that both Columbus and Grandview city governments, in their efforts to draw consumers – not necessarily citizen city dwellers – are content to allow developers to re-create the world suburbanites have become accustomed to: automobiles for all and the requisite parking lots.

I watched a similar travesty play out in the University area (I live in Old North Columbus, sandwiched between OSU and Clintonville). When Wendy’s decided to “upgrade/re-develop” its location at Woodruff and High, those responsible for neighborhood integrity, both community and government, allowed the frontage to be installed to resemble the glass frontage one might expect in an indoor shopping mall. Totally inappropriate for the neighborhood, particularly in light of OSU’s construction of new dorms across the street, whose design is brick with features more consistent with High Street frontage north of Lane Avenue. I shouldn’t talk too quickly, though: the city is about to allow another developer – ah, those campaign contributions come in handy! – to develop the renowned “Pavey block” on the west side of High Street between Northwood and Oakland Avenues. The project has already been granted a variance that will allow fewer than the number of code-required parking spaces for such a project. (Is ANY developer EVER denied a variance related to urban parking requirements? Not that I can recall.)

Enough. Thanks for your work. Let’s keep up the good fight.

Warm regards,
Steve Abbott

November/December 2015

Dear Mr. Knepp,

I thoroughly enjoyed both of your essays about the Short North in the early years. [Short North Memories July/August, September/October]. I was there as well, witnessing the slow slog to where we find ourselves today. I moved to Columbus in 1977 to attend OSU for grad school in fine arts and stayed in Columbus ever since. I worked in one of those funky, first art galleries, Artreach Gallery, in the Yukon building. Part of the building housed Functional Furnishings, and UNICEF was in another spot. There was a deli and a bunch of guys trying to make cement art furniture, and a hippie jeweler. I am an artist, and my first job in the arts was at the gallery, which for me was life changing. There were seven of us working there, all but two were artists. We rented the large storefront our gallery occupied, and we had some older folks in our corner who helped us find and keep the place. They were the movers and shakers of the day involved in the arts. They had connections with the city and granting organizations. Our rent and our wages were paid by grants. We were actually being paid by the City of Columbus, which back in the early 1970s had programs to find people employment with the city.

Anyway, I enjoyed having my memories jogged by your story. I’ve read both of them. I think there is more material in your experiences. You could revisit that period of time in the future. I have given oral accounts of my memories. The area was so rundown and filled with colorful people and places: Winos, prostitutes, strip clubs, sleazy bars, and so many adult bookstores. Rooms for rent by the day, for men only. Icky old diners, and so many buildings rotting away.

We supported the efforts of pm gallery and other artists we knew who rented those cheap, rundown buildings, and storefront shops. I feel we are the unsung heros who helped bring interest to that area and started the movement to improve it. I was also
active in trying to save some of the crumbling, neglected buildings. I was a member of a group of concerned citizens who tried to save the Union Train Station and some associated buildings.

Like so many cities, it is usually the artists who locate the low-rent areas of a town and take it over and improve it. Then in a few years the developers take it over and the rent goes up and the artists have to leave. I do not feel welcome in the Short North these days since it has been overtaken by the extremely wealthy. I am very unhappy that so many great old buildings have been demolished.

There are many old Columbus history Facebook pages where we try to recall the past with personal accounts, old historical photos found in archives and the public library photo archives, plus random personal photos people took back in the day. Recently one of the historical group’s members were recalling the history of the Greystone Court apartments. I know folks who used to rent there in the 1970s and had some information. I’m still friends with one fellow who I plan to connect with soon, to get his personal recollections down on paper.

The contributors to these various Facebook pages are from every age group. Their memories really help flesh out the whole history of every building, street and neighborhood.

David Ettinger

Facebook sites recalling historic Columbus:

• Do You Remember: Classic Old Columbus
• Vintage Columbus
• Columbus Landmarks Foundation

Dear Editor

I love the Short North Gazette! It’s by far my favorite paper. I especially enjoy the articles by Tom Thomson. Do you know if he has a Facebook presence or an email I could use to send my heartfelt appreciation for his journalism? If not please pass along my accolades. Thank you for putting out such a great paper.

Val Seeley

Thanks, Val - Unfortunately, Tom doesn’t have a Facebook presence or email, but we will pass along the accolades!

July/August 2015

Dear Mr. Knepp,

I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed your article in the Short North Gazette [The Walking Life, May/June 2015]. My girlfriend and I chose to live in the Short North specifically for its urban pedestrian lifestyle. We both work in Grandview and enjoy our early morning walks to work (and stopping for a leisurely coffee along the way). I’m an architectural designer, and I do my best to advocate for pedestrian and cycle-friendly development when possible. Thanks for the article, hope to see you on the diagonal path through Goodale!

Adam Welker

May/June 2015

Dear Mr. Knepp,

I read your article Be Here Now, Jan./Feb. 2015, with some delight given that cell phones and all they have wrought have become somewhat of an existential obsession with me. I am not a neo-Luddite but a techno-skeptic. To describe my serious concerns about the ubiquity of hand-held technologies and our exponentially rising levels of narcissism would take up more than the space available.

There is one lesser-known aspect of these technologies which needs attention – because the longest war in modern history is fueled by these devices; because it has now in its 20th year claimed more lives than the Holocaust of WWII, well past the six million mark; and because the end of this war is nowhere in sight. We must pay attention because all of us, addicted or just healthily enjoying our cell phones, PlayStations, Xboxes, iPads, laptops and other mostly handheld devices are complicit in the war.

A few minerals, essential to the manufacture of these devices – coltan, tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold – are found in abundance in the Congo and neighboring Rwanda, and the profits from these minerals are being used to pay for a massive civil war. The Congo’s conflict has been a virtual black hole of reportage and diplomacy for two reasons: the world needs these minerals at ever-increasing rates, and poor, dark people dying have never really been anybody’s priority.

Even if you can put aside the fact that children are often doing the dangerous work of mining (due to unspeakable poverty and lack of resources like education), the ongoing carnage sees regular crimes like these: a grandmother gang-raped for days on end by a battalion of teen-aged boys; young men forced to kill the older men in their families, then at gun-point rape their mothers and sisters before being executed. Rape has become the lingua franca of this holocaust and yet who is paying attention?

I’m suggesting that we start a campaign of conflict-free phones that do not use minerals from that region. In the meantime, I carry on with my bedraggled phone, resisting the latest I-phone or whatever, not that my resistance is making a darn bit of difference, but because my conscience does not allow me to do that. The Congo came into my consciousness through my work and friendship with Eve Ensler, the writer of The Vagina Monologues and the foremost anti-violence activist in the world today. I have never been the same since.

Kaizaad Kotwal
Mumbai, India

March/April 2015

Dear Joel,

Wow, I knew I was about the only person in town who doesn’t give a shxx about the Buckeyes, but I didn’t know I was NOT the only one wearing a Luddite hat!

I cheered, reading your article [Be Here Now, by Joel Knepp, January/February 2015], for I have seen it all, too, and tsk-tsked to myself and wondered where civility is going these days. I have only a flip cell that I use in the car for emergencies or “I’ll be late,” and a land line otherwise. I feel almost out of the loop for having no ipad, ipod, MP3 player, smartphone, Bluetooth, nor Facebook account. From what I hear from friends, it seems to me that Facebook is where all the “action” and news is, but it also sounds as if one must spend HOURS daily checking the Facebook accounts of friends to keep up with everything, and must diligently keep one’s own page updated with photos and news. Waaaay more time than I want to spend on the computer for frivolity!
Once again, kudos on a terrific piece! - Karen Thimmes

Hello Joel,

I just finished reading your piece in the Short North Gazette. So grateful to find a kindred soul. I appreciate your insights about how cell phone use is eroding our
social skills and humanity.

A fellow flip-phone user, Lilli Buffin

Dear Joel,

Really appreciate your article in the latest Gazette. I design interactive apps and sites for a living, so I’m part of the problem. Yet, I could argue that I’m like any other worker since the Industrial Revolution: I make tools for people to use. The difference is that today’s tools talk back to us, tell us we’re important. “Someone needs you, likes you...loves you.” Hammers won’t do that. Your article is a good reminder that we need to put down the tools and soak in the life that’s breathing around us.

Dylan Menges, Merion Village resident


March/April 2014

Dear Editor:

The Short North Parents, a working group of the Short North Civic Association, was formed in an effort to educate families within the Short North about our current and growing education needs. Initially we developed a survey that gauged the present and future need for education within our neighborhood. The results only confirmed what we already suspected, that most parents leave the Short North once their kids reach school age for a perceived better school system in the suburbs. Cross-referencing this information with the data in the 2010 census, we began to realize the potential and value of a neighborhood school with real neighborhood support.

Our first meeting was February 21, 2014 at Seventh Son Brewing. We had approximately 75 passionate people in attendance and discussed topics such as the proposed moving of Fifth Ave International School to the Hubbard Elementary building, the lottery system, and our experiences within the educational system both public and private. Going forward we will begin to organize meetings with more frequency as we learn more about current and emerging education options within the Short North.

Aside from education, our group hopes to connect parents within the neighborhood to create a more family-friendly environment. In the near future we plan to organize play dates, events, fund raisers, all with the hope to create something special for a special neighborhood.

If you would like to stay informed or would like to help out, please join our mailing list by completing the survey at

Steven Mills

January/February 2014

Edward Babcock’s “Bikespokes in Flight” 1990. Photo Larry Hamill

Dear Editor,

My Aunt Susan sent me a copy of the history of the Doo Dah parade [Nov/Dec p.8]. Thanks for a trip down memory lane. Twenty-three years ago I rode my “Bikespokes in Flight” bike in the parade. What a surprise to see it again. My dad and I had built many custom bicycles while I was in high school, many of which we rode in the late-‘80s parades: “The Pink Flamingo,” “Tall Yellow” bike, and about two dozen more, all of which had two front forks allowing tight turns and riding sideways. In 1990, I decided I would build one by myself and needed a theme. I found an old couch from a doctor’s office that once the cushions were removed revealed a square tubing frame in several rectangles. This reminded me of the sculpture Brushstrokes in Flight and thus “Bikespokes in Flight” was born. Colored plastic panels were hard to find, so I used the sides of Rubbermaid trashcans from Odd Lots for the panels. We still have the bike, and your recent photo was a great trip down memory lane 23 years ago!

Edward Babcock, Pickerington Ohio

Dear Editor,

Your article in the Short North Gazette on Essaouria [Nov/Dec] brought back fond memories. My daughter and I visited
Morocco in 2001. I returned to Morocco to visit friends I met after a short stay in the Peace Corps. One of my favorite cities is Essaouria and I wanted my daughter to experience it. We were sitting on a wall by the beach when a couple of men on camels approached us. They asked me if I would like to trade my daughter for a camel. Hmmm.....quite an offer. I considered for a moment but my daughter's panicked face brought me back to reality.

I have to tell you, every now and then I think how different my life would have been if I owned a the Short North.

Sue Shellenbarger

November/December 2013

Bungalow Shadow by Paul Pedulla

Dear Editor,

Not long ago it would have seemed unlikely I’d ever see the Short North, much less fall in love with it. It all started Christmas Eve of 2006 in Massachusetts. That’s when I almost stopped painting.

Of course, it’s also true I had barely begun. After all, I picked up a brush for the first time the prior January after years of collecting art. And I liked what I was coming up with. But who was I supposed to show it to?

The deafening silence I received from my parents and siblings about my work that Christmas Eve had me packing the car with paintings after dinner, driving home to Boston and wondering why I ever revealed them.

A week later on New Year’s Eve, my partner, Lawrence, and I were at our place in Maine, where I had a couple of my larger pieces on a living room wall. It was a chilly day and we decided to invite a few neighbors over for an early evening get-together. We included a couple named Sharon Weiss and Roger Pettry, both of whom we’d met but just barely.

Sharon walked in and almost immediately darted over to the living room wall where my work was hanging.

“I love your art,” she exclaimed.

She continued to talk about it in a way that indicated to me she knew more about art than the average person. It was then that one of my other neighbors, Lucy Bigger, said to Sharon, “Well, you know these are Paul’s paintings.”

“You mean, he’s the artist?” she asked as she looked down at my signature on the canvas.

Before that moment, Sharon did not know I painted. I did not know she owned a gallery in Columbus. And she was the first person to come along in my life who loved my work without knowing it was mine.

But who was she anyway? After the guests left, Lawrence and I googled her. I was wowed by all the web info about her, the reviews of the Sharon Weiss Gallery and more. It was true ... a knowledgeable and known art professional had just validated my work.

The second wind I experienced after this encounter was empowering. I painted like crazy for the next six months. Another artist friend suggested I enter juried shows.

I started getting in. Sharon helped me price my work that summer. At open studios, I caught the attention of the press and galleries. My work was selling.

When Sharon invited me to exhibit in her gallery last year, I was delighted. By this time, we were good friends, too.

She has expanded my reach into the Midwest and even sold my work to a Chicago collector. But the experience went even deeper last month when Lawrence and I arrived in Columbus for the first time. We were on a road trip from Los Angeles to Boston, and Columbus, as it turned out, was a bigger highlight than the Grand Canyon.

We love the Sharon Weiss Gallery, the Short North, Rigsby’s, the archways, and more. But what really caught us by surprise was how at home we felt in all of these places almost immediately. We just kept meeting people we loved: artists, art lovers, collectors, and many already knew of my work. But even the staff in the Short North restaurants welcomed us with open arms.

Going to the George Bellows show at Columbus Museum of Art was exhilarating. I even bumped into fellow artist Michael Guinane at the exhibit, who I had met in Maine last year. And the staff at CMA? We chatted with at least three museum professionals for a long time as though we’d known them for years. This just doesn’t happen to us at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston!

So I’m grateful, and I just wanted to tell you my story. I never would have guessed Columbus, and particularly the Short North, would make such a big and wonderful contribution to my life as an artist, but it has. It’s an amazing neighborhood and I’m honored to be a part of it!

Paul Pedulla Cambridge, Mass.

Dear Editor,

I want to express how grateful I am to live in such an honest community! Several times, including this weekend with my wallet, I have had valuable possessions returned to me after I dropped them in the street without realizing it. Thank you, Short North, for being awesome!

Sarah Pechan


July/August 2013

Dear Editor,

Thanks again for the coverage you allotted me in your March/April issue. The story of my art, life and times has sparked renewed interest in my work and has been responsible for some new opportunities. Chief among them was an in-home art tour by two representatives of Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum. This over an acre, 67,000-square-foot exhibition space museum is considered THE gallery for “self-taught artists” []. Anyway, they showed up unexpectedly, knocking on my door, and after I made sure they weren’t trying to sell me Avon products and learning that their interest had been peeked by a link to your magazine, I proceeded to give them a 20-minute tour during which time they seemed well pleased, snapping off pictures as we walked and talked about. As they were exiting they assured me that some of my work would be included in one of their upcoming shows.

At the risk of being long-winded, a “thank you” to Lynda McClanahan for her letter to your magazine with its “Mr. Wince’s stuff belongs in a museum setting.” Why thank you, Lynda, it now seems this situation will come about at some point before I croak! Thanks again!

Charles Wince

Dear Editor,

We have the unique opportunity to engage legislators on the sidewalks where we live as they enjoy downtown Columbus, and one of the conversations can be about Ohio lawmakers having given oil and gas companies involved in fracking an illegal free pass to not have to report under Ohio’s Oil and Gas Statute (ORC 3750) how these companies are potentially putting us at risk. Federal law and state laws require that there be hazardous chemical inventory reporting and established methods by which doctors, nurses and medical researchers can access and share information about chemicals being used and stored so that in an emergency/attack/accident they can treat people appropriately if exposed to these materials. Federal law further requires industries that use hazardous chemicals to report them to state, county, and local emergency planners and would lift what is essentially a “gag order” that endangers first responders and frontliners responding to a chemical storage catastrophe from adequately protecting themselves and from notifying the public of the health risks, and as they do not know what chemicals they are dealing with doctors are essentially hog-tied by this “gag order.” These disclosures by companies using such hazardous materials must under the law include chemical information, quantities, chemical storage locations and associated hazards. This information is then used to develop local plans to address responses to hazardous materials incidents. We are now depending upon our Ohio legislator to get to work and come into compliance and require oil and gas drillers to report their usage of dangerous chemicals.

Java Kitrick

May/June 2013

Dear Editor,

I just finished the first run-through-reading of the latest issue of the Short North Gazette and had to write to tell you what a fine issue it is. The story on Charles Wince by Jory Farr is particularly moving. I have toured Mr. Wince’s home and also wondered about weak support for his art by local institutions. Kudos to Duff Lindsay for giving him a try, but, really, Mr. Wince’s stuff belongs in a museum setting. Why it’s not already there, only the art gods know. The poem “Hallucination at Hoover Reservoir” is a positive delight, as is Mr. Spires’ “Columbus Food Adventures” article. It is such a relief to hear someone tell it like it is about that atrocity, the Columbus Convention Center. I have become something of a crank on the subject, I’m afraid. I’ll never understand how Columbus could throw away a local landmark as if it were nothing....let alone all those trains! It’s enough to make you believe in original sin.

I look forward to completing the issue and discovering what other treasures lie in store. Thanks for producing the Short North Gazette. I look forward to every issue but this one is a real stand out. You have a fan!

Warm Regards,
Lynda McClanahan

March/April 2013

Hello Out There in C.O.,

As Columbus, Ohio, is so far away from my native NYC, my only link to your city was a friend who died recently from Columbus, here in New York.

My old buddy had been an orphan and raised by a family in Columbus, but that was decades ago. He never mentioned much more about a past he was glad to forget there, mostly with problems of his non-blood related family.

In any event, why I am stating this is that the week my friend from Columbus died, I found for 50 cents a nice first edition, even with its original cover affixed, of James Thurber’s autobiography and stories of life in Columbus, The Thurber Album, 1952, Simon & Schuster.

While being old enough presently to look forward to seeing a new Thurber drawing in the New Yorker Magazine when I was younger, chancing upon your blog (a detestable word) and finding the reprint of your writing from 1998 titled “Thurber Connection,” which is quite amazing and a great document, a da capo on Thurber’s life and return to Columbus.

Thurber’s recollection of his family and life from his society and at the university are remarkable in bringing your city to life to me, and the report of his burial – crows also flew by at my own brother’s funeral here in New York.

I want to close thinking in 1960 I worked back then as a photographer on 57th Street in NYC and would greet Burgess Meredith every day as he lived in that old building now long demolished but famous in its time as a residence for artists in the 1890s with central kitchen, laundry and valet service for all the lofts. What a nice life that must have been for the residents to presumably just work and be fed by others ... Lol!

Michael Martone (NYC)
Author of Dark Light
(Lustrum Press 1974 NY NY USA)

September/October 2012

Tom Thomson,

I want to thank you for printing the letter “Remembering Burkhart” in the July/August issue. I just read it, and it’s absolutely lovely. It’s something I’ll hold onto and keep. Thank you, Tom Thomson, for that contribution.

– Aaron Leventhal

July/August 2012

Hi Margaret,

What a good issue! [January/February 2012]. You must work so hard! I am proud to be a small part of it. I love getting your paper. Your part of Columbus sounds so cool. If you ever get out west, I highly recommend you visit Portland, Oreg. (Ever watch the IFC show Portlandia? Funny because it’s true.) It’s the Brooklyn of the West.
Keep on going!

Mark Stivers
Cartoonist, Sacramento, Calif.
email March 15, 2012

March 2011

Dear Editor:

For ten years now, I’ve been seeing “Missing Cat”/”Lost Dog” signs posted on poles and business areas all over the area where I live. I’ve seen cats and dogs wandering around streets, alleys and yards about every day near my place too.

Although it’s more normal to see a cat walking through a yard alone, a wandering dog with no master can be strange, for dogs are meant to be on a leash with a master nearby. Last month as I was headed off to work, I spotted a loose dog walking toward me along N. High Street with no master anywhere around. It was almost hit by three to five cars as it tried to walk across N. High. The last car’s lights shined in its eyes like a deer. Luckily the driver stopped a few feet from it and beeped his horn at the still dog until it raced across the street to a business driveway and safety. I’m not sure what happened to it after that, but I felt it was time to write an article about “Pet Safety” for the careless masters of dogs and cats to read. If so, the number of “Lost Pet” signs that have multiplied two to three times within the last three years, would drop.

If you have a cat or dog, try following these suggestions that I’ve written if you love your pet and want to protect it from harm:

1. Teach your pet to learn commands when you call its name, whistle, shake a treat-can or point a finger, such as “Jake, come.”
2. Though a leash is mostly for dogs, a cat can be walked on one too. Doing so will prevent your pet from getting lost or wandering away.
3. When you can’t keep your pet in the house or watch it outside, use a line-leash that can be attached to a pole, tree, etc. It may seem harsh on your cat, but a lost cat is worse.
4. Though cats can get through most gates and fences, a dog can’t as long as the fence is high and completely encircles your backyard. Make sure it’s higher than the dog can jump and there are no holes/opening that it can push through. A small dog usually can’t get over a three foot one, but a mid-big size dog can, so measure your dog’s (stand-up) height to the height of the fence. Keep your gates locked (closed when your dog’s alone in the yard without a leash. Keep climbing articles, such as a log-pile, away from the fence.
5. If your yard has no fence around it, follow #3. Never leave your dog alone in an open area without a watchful eye! Too many dogs have attacked another person or dog or gotten lost, due to this careless act.
6. Don’t leave your door/windows wide open if your pet can run/jump through them, especially your dog. some dogs have been hit by a car while chasing an animal across a street, such as a squirrel.
7. If you have to remove your pets collar for some reason, make sure you use another collar, unless it’s in a cage, or be sure your pet doesn’t leave your sight or closed-in area without having it put back on. A pet with a licensed collar is easier to find.

There are many other unnamed ways to protect your pet, besides these I’ve written, but always remember if you love your pet, learn to protect it. The pet of a careless master will get lost, injured or end up dead. A wise master will also try to bring his/her pet indoors when bad weather or darkness comes.

Steven McGarvey

August 2010

Dear Margaret Marten, Editor:

I have been reading the Short North Gazette periodically since I moved to Columbus, Ohio, in 2004. Over the last year or so, I have had a 3rd-shift position with a cleaning company contracted with the Main Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. During that time, I have been able to get my hands on the publication every month. The articles, essays, and poetry are a breath of fresh air from the barrage of ho-hum news and nightlife magazines. I have enjoyed reading such moving articles as “Parade Aides: Three Montessori Students Are Part of World’s Only Blind Marching Band” (December ‘09), and digging deep into essays such as “Film in the Age of the Ultimate Endless Cut” (August ‘09).

It was a sad month when the July issue did not appear, but when the “A Star is Born” satirical comic strip took front page, I knew that the August issue was worth the wait! There is no other publication right now that delights in the arts, and emotes as much joy as is put into the publication. Your poetry and cartoons are edgy and thought-provoking!

Having had poetry accepted in your publication twice in 2006, I am thankful that there is a publication that welcomes local voices, and is an outlet for those in the community. I am proud to have been published in your publication, and I can’t wait to keep reading each and every future issue!

James Lindenberger

Dear Editor:

Love, love, love the Short North. I live in Cincinnati and always dream of moving to the capital city.

Hoping you might be interested in a parking ticket I was issued when visiting your fair city last month. I was visiting my brother just for the evening. I parked on High Street and we had dinner at a nearby restaurant. After leaving an hour later, I had a ticket for “failure to display a front license plate.” No parking violation, just a license display violation. The interesting thing is that I was parallel parked very close to the car in front of me, so the officer had to go out of his/her way to see if I had a plate. Why would they do this if my meter was full? To make money. Bottom line ... a $40 dinner cost me $100, AND I won’t be frequenting that part of town again. My brother tells me the traffic patrol is relentless in the area. Hmm ... will local businesses be able to carry the weight of excessive parking violation patrols? Eventually, fewer patrons will hit that part of town because who knows what “out of the ordinary” violation can be slapped on their car while they dine.

Thanks for listening.

Very Frustrated,
Angi Marks

February 2010

Officer: Precinct rezoning hurts Short North

Dear Editor:

My name is Daniel Adair and I am a Columbus police officer, and I work the Short North (Precinct 1 – “A” Co.). I am writing this letter to ask if you are aware of the changes that are being planned regarding how officers will be assigned in the Short North. Now, the plan is to eliminate Precinct 1 – its borders are Goodale Ave. to the south, N.4th St. to the east, King Ave. to the north, and Grandview to the west – and move its officers to the Polaris area. The city’s plan is to split Precinct 1 in half, the 16th Precinct (downtown) will move up to W. 3rd Ave. and bring Precinct 4 (campus) boundary down to W. 3rd Ave. Right now there are 27 officers assigned to Precinct 1 on three shifts. These officers will be moved to the Polaris area, and the officers from downtown and the campus area will then cover the former Precinct 1 area. There is NO plan to increase manpower to either the 16th or 4th Precinct.

The Short North area will lose 27 officers over three shifts, and the Polaris area will gain the 27 officers, at the expense of the people of the Short North. I am a former resident of the area, and I joined the Columbus Police Department in May of 1981. I started my career walking a beat in the Short North/Campus area before going to first shift in 1988 on the 1st Precinct, so I have dedicated almost 28 years of my career to the Short North area. I am the most senior officer on this precinct, but by no means unique in regards to service time to the Short North. Almost all officers I work with have been here for at least 15 years. This dedication to an area is quite rare in relation to other precincts in the city, and we have worked very hard to help turn the Short North around from what it used to be – remember the prostitutes, street level drug sales, strip bars, local crime families and the “Short North Posse”?

I guess my objective with this letter is to advise the people of the Short North what they will be losing with the new Police plan: 27 dedicated officers who work this area, BY CHOICE, out of concern for the people and the area, will be moved elsewhere and they will then be covered by two already over-extended precincts without any increase in manpower.

If you wish to voice your concern regarding this, call 614-645-2931 or 645-2489 and tell them you do not want a decrease in officers in your area.

Thank You,
Daniel Adair #1066


December 2009

Dear Editor,

I enjoyed the article about the cat ghosts. [Feline Ghosts, by Ralph Whitlock, October 2009] I have a cat ghost story of my own. I am a self-taught artist who works with pastel chalks, and occasionally I am commissioned to create portraits of people or pets. A friend commissioned me to do a portrait of a cat belonging to friends of hers. She told me the cat’s name was Max and sent me a photo. Shortly after setting up my easel and chalks, I became aware of the presence of a feline circling my legs and climbing all over me. I can’t say I actually saw a physical manifestation, but its presence was so palpable whenever I worked on the portrait that it became an annoying distraction. The cat would not leave me alone and prodded me to perfect every stroke of chalk. I became a slave to the will of this cat-presence and worked on the portrait for three days – far beyond my original labor estimation – ensuring that every nuance of the portrait was attended to. Finally, the cat was satisfied. I couldn’t wait for my friend to come and pick up the portrait. When she arrived, I asked her if Max was deceased. She told me “Yes,” and seeing the odd look on my face, asked me why. I told her I had been “haunted” by the spirit of a cat from the moment I started to work on the portrait. I told her the cat was very particular and insistent. She said, “That describes Max, alright.” I shook my head, “I’m not so sure because this cat was a female, not a male.” She put her hand on my arm, stared at me wide-eyed, and said, “Then it was definitely Max because Max was a female.” I was relieved, not only because it confirmed I was not crazy but also because Max left with her portrait.

- Sharon Reeb

February 2008

Dear Editor,

The people of the Short North area and Ohioans across the state owe Senator George Voinovich genuine thanks for voting against new energy taxes. As a result of the efforts of our senior senator, Central Ohioans will not be forced to pay higher electricity, gas and home heating costs.

Even before the Senate took up the vote on the new energy bill, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget predicted the bill would raise taxes in a way that would increase energy costs facing consumers. Still, many lawmakers chose to ignore the significant impact on their constituents in order to force energy companies to pay a larger share of federal taxes.

Without that burden, energy providers will have greater capital to invest in exploration and production of new energy supplies – and that is critical to our national stability. Had the energy bill passed, domestic production would have surely slowed and the nation would have been forced to increase energy imports from overseas.

The people of Ohio are fortunate to have a leader like Senator Voinovich casting important votes on critical issues. I believe our neighborhoods and our state are stronger and better off as a result of this vote.

Caroline VonSick

Dear Editor,

The article by Greg Knepp [Pedal Pusher column December 2007] was interesting, but he left out any number of bike shops. One of the best is Once Ridden Bikes on Indianola Avenue – just south of Hudson. Although it is not in the Short North, it is easily accessible.

The authors of the articles are very good. One of them, Christine Hayes, aka Ramona Moon, appears only every other month. 'Tis a shame.

Edward Efsic

November 2007

Dear Editor,

I’m surprised I’m writing this. I’ve never written a letter to a newspaper before about anything. However, we’re talking about my neighborhood, and I feel compelled to respond.

I’m not a PC person. I was raised with ribbing and wisecracks being an expression of familiarity. I don’t take offense easily, preferring instead to try to find the person’s underlying message and not get fixated on silliness or ignorance. I was grinning reading the first two sentences of Greg Knepp’s reply to David Royer. [Letters, October 2007] He could have left it at that, or better said “no harm intended.” Instead, he went on to attack people he doesn’t really know, and then spoke for the neighbors, suggesting we are fearful and don’t rest easy living near the House of Hope. I don’t know if Greg is a neighbor or not, but he doesn’t speak for all of us.

I’m a neighbor. I live on Price. I sleep well.

I walk directly between those two buildings a minimum of several times a week: walking a load of recycling to the park, getting a few things at Giant Eagle, or just out for a stroll with my dog, Harley. As is my habit, I make eye contact and smile at people. There are usually at least a few guys out at the House of Hope talking or having a smoke. If they are looking in my direction, someone generally smiles back, waves, or says “Hi” – not construction site style, but just friendly. Pretty much the same interaction I have with others on that walk: the guy carving wood, the family with little kids playing in the front yard, the twenty-somethings grilling and having a beer on their stoop, the other folks on the sidewalk walking their dogs. I don’t know these people but feel a sense of geniality. They’re all simply part of my neighborhood, and I feel grateful to live in such a diverse and welcoming community.

I’m not Pollyanna. I’m not saying there isn’t crime in the area. However, being prejudiced against a whole group of people wastes energy and diverts attention away from addressing specific actual crime concerns.
I hope you’ll publish this letter. This is a great place to live.

Chris Gillespie

Dear Greg Knepp,

I didn’t read your original article that referenced the House of Hope [Pedal Pusher, September 2007], however I did see the article referenced in the Letters to the Editor section of the latest edition of the Short North Gazette and thought I should let you in on a little secret. I have lived across the street (northeast corner of Hubbard and Dennison) for three years and one month and have never had a problem with any of the individuals that are in the House of Hope’s treatment program. I (5’3" and 130 lbs – not huge and intimidating) walk my dog past the House of Hope every morning before sunrise and every evening after work and never feel unsafe or uncomfortable. The residents are always outside doing yard work or smoking cigarettes when I walk by and they are always polite and completely non-threatening. Additionally, I sleep great at night because having those individuals as my neighbors has never concerned me one bit. The program has a great reputation in the neighborhood, and I have never heard, nor voiced, any complaints.

I don’t know what the success rate of the program is, nor do I care, all I know is I live across the street and have nothing negative to say about the House of Hope.

Ashlie Molner

October 2007

Dear Greg Knepp,

I am writing in response to a comment mentioned in the article Pedal Pusher by Greg Knepp featured in the Short North Gazette, September 2007 edition. In the article Knepp references “…a real house of horrors – a residential treatment center for dope fiends and drunkards housed in two innocuous buildings…” when referring to The House of Hope, an ADAMH-funded agency.

These types of comments made about treatment centers further perpetuate the stigma associated with substance abuse and mental illness. These myths can cause people to misunderstand substance abuse and mental illness leading to the misuse and misrepresentation of these common, but treatable diseases. For this reason, ADAMH, the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County, has launched an Anti-Stigma Campaign, which focuses on reducing the stigma and informing our community of the facts associated with substance abuse and mental illness.

The treatment center Mr. Knepp is referring to is the House of Hope for Alcoholics. The House of Hope for Alcoholics provides long-term residential treatment for adult male alcoholics including individual, group and family counseling, educational information, work therapy, referral services, and aftercare.

The House of Hope is one of the oldest and most capable agencies in Columbus and throughout Ohio. It is led by Tom Ramseyer, a person who is respected throughout Ohio as a citizen of immense compassion.

I would suggest Mr. Knepp take the time to get off his bike and visit the House of Hope and learn what a difference they are making in our community.

- David A. Royer, CEO ADAMH Board of Franklin County

Dear Mr. Royer,

Dracula does not, in fact, reside at the corner of Dennison and Buttles, nor is there anything like an organized Downtown Donut Tour (though the route described in the article is real, and one that I have ridden on several occasions).

A certain amount of literary bombast is part and parcel to my columns. Still, the relapse rate of individuals who have completed rehabilitation regimes at facilities such as The House of Hope remains shockingly high. I wonder if the problem lies not in the institutions’ treatment methods, but rather their admissions policies. If the House of Hope were to require that each and every applicant be fully resolved with respect to his intanglements with the criminal justice system prior to being admitted for treatment, there would be no question as to said applicant’s reason for seeking treatment. The long-term recovery rate of House of Hope graduates would likely skyrocket as the institution would be working with a more highly motivated and therefore more receptive client base. Also, the neighbors would sleep better at night.

- Greg Knepp

September 2007

Greg Knepp,

I take issue with what you have defined as a “cyclist” and a “lifestyle cyclist.” [Pedal Pusher, June 2007] Simply because you ride a bicycle does not make you a cyclist. You don’t have the heart to make cycling your life, therefore you have no right to make judgments about what makes a “cyclist.” You say “cycling is a superb form of transportation, not a lifestyle.” This is grossly inaccurate, cycling is a lifestyle, not a form of transportation for self-important yuppies, or “great fun and terrific exercise.” I am one of those “lifestyle cyclists” as you say, and cycling is my life. Not simply any of those other things that you say it is. Yes, I cycle to get places, yes I cycle for fun and exercise, but more than anything I do it out of love, something you obviously don’t, can’t, or won’t understand. I cycle in the rain, snow, and intense heat, something I’m certain you don’t do.

I can hear you now, “Oh, I don’t feel like riding today, I’m too tired, it’s raining outside, it’s too hot” – pick any of the the above. I ride because I love it more than anything else, I ride because I have to, I ride out of obsession, passion, and because it is the most intense addiction I have felt in my entire life. At the end of a 100-mile race, with sweat dripping and legs ready to give out, what keeps me going? “Oh gosh, this is fun,” or “I really need to get some Goody Boy I can’t wait to get there, I hope the race route goes by there”? No. What keeps me going is desire, heart, and most of all love. All things that people that simply ride bikes won’t understand. That is the difference between you and me, sir. You just ride a bike; I am a cyclist. I suggest you amend your article accordingly.

- Militant Cyclist

Dear Militant Cyclist,

Thank you for your rousing email. You’re obviously an enthusiast and nothing I could pen would disuade you from cycling – quite the contrary. I guess my article is aimed more at those who would like to cycle more but are intimidated by the so-called “cycling culture,” which, let’s face it, tends to be a little jargony and technoconscious (and damned expensive to boot) and therefore somewhat exclusivist. Obviously, an article that instructs folks to wear helmets and to ride with, rather than against, traffic, is fairly elementary and isn’t going to do much for a cyclist of your experience. The fact is, we simply need to get more people to travel on two wheels (you know the reasons as well as I) and if poking a little fun at the cycling culture with its pompous thousand dollar bicycles, bird seed diets and stretchy pants helps, then what’s the harm I ask you! Keep up the good work, my friend! PS: I think you’ll find my more recent article “Old Schwinns for an Old Neighborhood” much more to your liking.

- Greg Knepp

Dear Greg Knepp,

I really enjoyed your article about all the old Schwinn bicycles. I recently purchased a Varsity ten-speed at a garage sale for $5. I put some air in the tires and determined everything is still working! I then went to my local bike shop and purchased two new tires and have been riding for the last week on a bicycle that is only 8 years younger than myself. I have always wanted a Varsity but never got one as a child. Now as an adult, I am having a blast riding around town on my Varsity. You are right about the imports; they are just rusting away somewhere while the Schwinn keeps rolling. My Varsity may show its age but it rides like new.

Thanks for a great article!

- Peter Gerritsen

June 2007

Dear Editor,

While going through my wife's "things", still piled here and there a full year after her death, I came upon that famous card from Citizens State Bank, Clara City, MN, Paul C. Forstrom, Vice President, Special Accounts. A Google search brought me to the delightful exchange in your columns between Mr. Eric Broder and Ms. Kathryn Forstrom [November 2005 Letters]. Not only was my curiosity satisfied as to whose card this was, but I was treated to a short story worthy of O'Henry. Thank you for providing the unlikely forum.

– Joe W. Brooks, Marietta, GA

May 2007

Oliver, on the couch!

I was just reading April’s Dis ‘n’ Dat column about An Open Book’s move and their cat Harvey Milk and thought I’d relate a similar story about my own cat.

Oliver picked me out at Christmas one year. I was at a party and as I walked up steps from the garage to the house, I felt this ‘tapping’ on my ankle. I looked down and there he was. I commented to the hostess, “Cute cat.” And she asked if I wanted him because her husband would not allow the cat inside the house. I had to think about it, having never owned a cat in my life. Watching the weather channel made my mind up. It was that winter when it was below zero for days.

Well, I have had good dogs, but none of them ever loved me like Oliver does.

I was living in a basement apartment when an opportunity came up to move to a ranch-style apartment in the same complex. Much nicer: more light (and big windows for Oliver) and NOBODY ABOVE YOU!

After I moved in, Oliver, now about 5 years old, was very upset. He paced around and around the living room, not recognizing it. He was making this wailing moan before he crawled under the couch. While under the couch he was shaking like a leaf. Even if I coaxed him out, he would scurry right back under it as quickly as he could. I have to admit, I was worried. He would only come out to drink some water or use the litter box. He even stopped sleeping with me! He ate hardly anything for days. Although he gets only low-fat dry food, I bought some canned
to try to get him to eat. Although he didn’t eat the canned food, he did drink the liquid.

Finally, after several days, he abandoned his security blanket-couch and ventured out. He explored and investigated every inch of the new apartment. It was so traumatic for him, I won’t move again.

– Steve Vargo, Oliver’s Meal Ticket

February 2007

View of the High Street mural depicting Van Gogh's
Cafe Terrace at Night
, work of Dragonfly Designers Dwaine MacDonald, Susan O'Dell and Patrick Corbett, 2003, has been affected by the recent construction of a smokers patio.

Dear Editor,

I am the owner of the building at 780 North High Street. At my own cost, and with the aid of Sandy Wood, we received the appropriate permits and the consent of our neighbors to add to the reputation of the Short North as an interesting arts district with the painting of a great mural which stretches over two buildings and has been applauded by most everyone in the short time that it had been there.

Obviously the owners of the restaurant and the Italian Village commission have scant regard for me as a good neighbor, or the community at large, as without even the courtesy of advising me, a monstrosity appeared destroying the mural for everyone but those who will use the compound to destroy themselves with their smoking.

At least I now know where the Italian Village Commission priorities lie!

I have spoken with a Mr. Black at the commission who tried to appease me by telling me the decision was not made in a smoke-filled darkened room. I guess that means the lights were on!!

And can you begin to imagine the disappointment of the artists who did such a great job.........?

The manager of Norka Futon has been great in keeping me advised of the steps of devastation.

I guess my main hope now is for the failure of the business next door so that the monstrosity can be demolished.

– Rodney Davis, Australia

Dear Beverly Mullet Randall

Recently I was given a copy of your article regarding “Dr. Lincoln Goodale and His Living Legacy” Part One [December 2006]. I am interested in collecting the continued series of this outstanding article. But my friend clipped the article and I do not know where she might have gotten it. Has Part Two been published and in what paper?

– C.L. Miller

Dear Beverly Mullet Randall,
I was delighted by your article [January, 2007] about Dr. Lincoln Goodale. I am a direct descendant of Cynthia Goodale Barnes Kilbourne and have always thought their stories fascinating, and there are many!

I was particularly pleased at the meticulous research you have done – I have read too many articles with glaring inaccuracies. In fact, I learned a couple of things I hadn’t heard before.

I am writing the history of the Gwynne family in Cumberland, Md.; Madison County, Ohio; Columbus Ohio; and points beyond. The first Gwynne in America had eleven children, some of whom also had large families, so you can guess the scope of the research!

I did not see Part One of your article, so I will try to get a copy from the Short North Gazette in the near future.
Were you aware that Lincoln’s father, Nathan, was kidnapped by the Indians? He was returned by the Indians, ill, to a woman in southeastern Ohio, where he died. It was quite a long time before the story came to light and the family finally knew what happened to him.

I also find Dr. Goodale’s will interesting. The provision that if any commercial activity takes place on the park property,
it reverts to the heirs. This has provided many moments of joking and humor in the family!

I have a portrait of Dr. Goodale that I particularly like – it is similar to the one you used, but I think it better. If you would like a copy, I can probably arrange that.

Once again, congratulations on your fine work.

– Nancy Kilbourne Gwynne (fun for a first grader to learn, I can tell you) Bailey

Dear Beverly Mullet Randall,

I am an archaeologist working in Ohio, actually our office is in Columbus, and in doing some work out on Blennerhassett Island I learned of the Farmers Castle fort at Belpre. I am thinking of doing some work at Farmer’s Castle (I do geophysical surveys that look into the ground without digging – pretty cool stuff!), and I was wondering if you had or knew of any more historical information than what is in your little article on Lincoln Goodale on the Short North Gazette Web site? I have Hildreth’s book with the chapter on the fort but I was wondering if there was more – or perhaps other drawings than the one that appears in Hildreth? Thanks!

– Jarrod Burks, Ph.D.

Dear Tom,

I ran across your Short North Gazette website – GREAT!!

I was searching for information about a Dr. James M. Phillips (for the American Spaniel Club History Committee) who lived in the north end of Columbus from about 1903 until his death in the 1940s. I’ve been searching for a long time now – old newspapers, Ohio Historical Society, libraries, OSU, etc., etc. Have found bits and pieces of information but would like to find more.

Dr. Phillips was a well-known breeder of cocker spaniels during the 1920s and 1930s and practiced medicine until his eyesight failed or possibly went blind, I’m not sure which. He is also known for his research and papers on genetics. He owned and operated the Pasteur Institute of Columbus (2057 N. High St.) circa 1910-1929 for rabies research.

I would especially like to know when he died. I found an article written by him dated 1945, and in a book I read, published in 1956, he was referred to as the “late” Dr. Phillips. So between 1945 and 1956, I assume. Perhaps you know something about him and/or know someone who does. I would be forever grateful!

I truly enjoyed your stories. Some reminded me of stories my late husband used to tell me about when he was growing up in Columbus.

Hoping to hear from you.

– Shirley Estel

Dear Editor
The Short North Gazette just reprinted that article on American beaver abroad in Tierra del Fuego [November 2006]. How did the paper get started with this particular train and who is interested in that there, so I can correspond with them?

I had lessons about the natural history of Ohio (southeastern Ohio in particular – the spaghnum moss swamp area that has been stripmined so extensively) as a little girl back in the 1950s. A lot of Germans (Adolph Hitler started paying for this in the 1930s) in particular relocated American animals and plants starting at least in the 19th century to central Europe (particular the lignite mining areas also spaghnum moss swamp areas but far more devastated than southeastern Ohio) and the temperate zone part of South America. This included birds and insects. As an aside, all of our non-native bivalves [mullusks] are edible (at least if their habitat is clean enough) and were brought here by the French much earlier than that. The French have a lot of our edible bivalves as well. Eating them can be very dangerous given the level of pollution in our wetland system.

Supposedly, there were attempts to re-create grapevine runs (huge grapevines 3-5 feet across and hundreds of feet long – the reason North American was called Vinland) complete with passenger pigeons and Carolina parakeets that ate the treetop grapes. These were fertilized by passenger pigeons and full of ferns and wildflowers where they were not walked upon, although it was called “running the grapevines” back then. These existed in southern Europe in the predawn period and elsewhere (Read The Fox and the Grapes again and realize why the fox did not want to reach so far and risk a fall) and were burned for cooking charcoal. Carolina parakeets were captured when drunk and sent abroad for the caged bird trade. It was a subsistence job back then much like gathering recyclable materials is today.

Could I be directed to someone who might be interested in this? Maybe no one is.

– Cindy Donahey

December 2006

Dear Short North Gazette and Visitors to the Short North,

My husband and I have followed with great interest the visual spread and tips on parking in the Short North featured in the Short North Gazette. We are very happy that this publication is encouraging people who don’t live here to park in various lots they may not know about and tipping them off about the “tow” areas. We think that is an excellent service and well needed.

What we are not happy about is the advertisement of the various side residential streets in the Short North where there is no permit parking (i.e. “free parking”) and the result of that advertisement.

Let us explain:

I have lived in the Short North on East 1st Avenue since 1994. I bought my house when it was abandoned and no one else would. I rehabbed it, lived through the Taylor Terrace years of crackheads on the lawn, cars and houses routinely getting broken into, fire trucks being called at all hours of the day and night, etc.

I saw Taylor Terrace torn down; I got married; I’ve seen neighbors come and go; I saw the New Village put in. So I have been here awhile. I have seen the Short North at its best and worst. Both my husband and I have seen the Short North improve, blossom, and grow. The Short North is our home and our neighborhood. We love it and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

But with positive growth, improvement, and increasing public awareness of the Short North, a price is being paid by all of us that live here:

Like so many other people on our street, we do not have the luxury of off-street parking. Our street doesn’t have permit parking, and we must park on the street in front of our house. And we are sick and tired of everyone using our street during Gallery Hop and various downtown festivals and parades as their own private parking lot.

It really makes us angry that on Gallery Hop, festival, and parade days, we have literally three options when it comes to parking (or not parking) in front of our own house:

1) We can park our car in front of our house on the street and not drive anywhere for the entire day and night, because if we leave, someone from the New Village who either doesn’t want to pay their monthly parking permit fee or use their designated parking spot, will take our parking space. (This happens daily; we watch them do it.) or

Someone that does not live here – you Visitors to our neighborhood – will take our parking space.

2) We can go ahead and plan to do something with friends outside of the neighborhood – we can do our normal routine, go to the store, run errands, whatever – but we know that we will literally have to stay away from our home until 1 to 2 a.m. Why? Because that is the time when all the people that don’t live here finally decide to remove their cars from in front of our house and leave to go to their homes.

3) We can go ahead and plan to do something with friends, and if we decide we want to come home anywhere between the hours of 6 p.m. and 1 a.m., we know we will find no parking whatsoever on our street because all of the spots are taken by the residents either from the New Village or from you Visitors to the area.

This then forces us to drive 3-4-5 streets away to park. This is unfair because we then are doing to others what is being done to us: Taking parking away from those homeowners on that street. Then we have to walk home that night and then walk back the next day to get our car. And we don’t like leaving our car on unfamiliar streets overnight.

This whole parking problem is compounded, personally for us, in that I was diagnosed this year with Menniere’s disease, a permanent inner ear disorder, which handicaps my balance, necessitates the use of a cane, and makes it extremely difficult at times for me to get about. When we have to park blocks away and I have to struggle to walk home, it is extremely frustrating and maddening.

So when publications add fuel to the fire by advertising that there is “free parking” on my street during Gallery Hop and other festvals, instead of going to a free lot or paying $2 for parking somewhere, you visitors descend upon our street in droves, and we and many other neighbors with no off-street parking privileges/ parking permits are doubly screwed.

We in the neighborhood live here 365 days a year; we pay taxes here; we spend money in the Short North area every single day of the year. Shouldn’t we have the right to be able to park in front of our own homes whenever we want to?

So, please, Short North Gazette, feel free to publicize Gallery Hop and the festivals and parades.

So please, all you visitors, feel free to visit our Short North. Feel free to take the bus to our area. Feel free to walk to our area. Feel free to park in the designated parking lots or at parking meters throughout the area.

But please, do not feel free to advertise our side residential streets as “free parking” options.

And please, Visitors, do not feel free to park on all the side residential streets. Because when you do that, you take away the only parking spaces that we homeowners who live here have. And that’s not fair.

Thanks for your listening ear,

The Frustrated Talbots of the Short North

Dear Frustrated Talbots,

The parking map is currently being revised with your concerns in mind. We appreciate your honesty and courage. Best wishes for the new year!

Short North Gazette

November 2005

Dear Mr. Broder,

I just happened to be looking on the Internet today for references to Paul Forstrom and read your October 2005 article, because you see, I just “happened to know” Paul C. Forstrom. As you said in your article, you probably don’t care if Paul Forstrom was a real person or not, but Paul was indeed a real person – he indeed did die – and no doubt someone indeed does carry on for him at Reader’s Digest – take heart!

But I can’t help tweaking your imagination of him. He was the epitome of the cliche – tall (relatively), dark and handsome, with a transcontinental smile – though he himself was no cliche. He was merely 40, or yet to be, when you originally wrote this article. He lived in suits (you got that part quite right), wore contacts not glasses, only grew a mustache on hunting trips or by special request! and was not at all chubby, but quite athletic.

He was a fine, fine man. He lived and loved each day to the fullest, died as he lived: unafraid, with tremendous grace, courage and humor. Each day with him was pure joy. He would have enjoyed your article immensely, as I did. Indeed, if he were still here, he would probably walk out to the mailbox today – especially since birthdays are such fine days to make a trip to the mailbox – and say over his shoulder to me with a big grin, “I’m going to go see if Mel is here.”

You, no doubt, are wondering why I’m telling you all this – telling you about a person you never met (but might have!). I guess I just wanted to express my thoughts about the particular possibilities of writing and the good vibes it can generate, like Mel does for you – does for many of us. Your story carried a lot more meaning for me than you probably ever expected.

So thank you for your article. I’m glad the imagined Paul Forstrom could make you smile and add to your story. It certainly has made my day to read it.

– Kathryn Forstrom

Dear Mr. Thomson and Ms. Marten,

I finally got around to reading the September edition of the Short North Gazette and was delighted to see Fritz the Nite Owl’s new column of Jazz CD reviews. I’m a jazz buff, and there’s so much out there that it’s hard to separate the chaff from the grain. Now I can. Fritz’s reviews will be of great assistance in my CD purchases, and now I have another reason to make sure I don’t miss an issue the Gazette.
Kudos on your new addition!

– Mark A. Miller


I was told that there is a great second-hand clothing store somewhere in or around the Shorth North area. Its name was something like the Second Act or the Act II, something like that. Can you tell me where this is located? 

– Gina Anderson,
(New Columbus resident!)

Take 2 Apparel is located at 30 Warren Street.

October 2005

Dear Jennifer Hambrick,

I work in a corporate setting, though I don’t share the general personality of those I work with. I’m a lover of history, music and art, which makes me an oddity in my workplace. When the announcement of the closing of Lazarus Downtown happened, my heart shuttered. Lazarus Downtown was the anchor and icon of our history in a city that has just started to realize the value of its history. When it was announced that the anchor store would close, I was stunned while those around me gave it little concern. I was actually asked, “Why do you care so much about a store?”

Thank you for your article [A Year Without Lazarus, August 2005]. It allowed me to attend the “funeral” that you spoke of. It also comforted me to know that someone else recognized the value of the historic store and was frustrated how others did not.

Shortly before the store closed, I was among the vultures who were taking advantage of the incredible bargains. Only I was not searching for clothing, plates or jewelry. I was searching for memorabilia so I could take it home and preserve it for my own comfort.

My wife and I are eccentric people. We have an ‘80s-themed game room and karaoke theatre in our basement. I wanted to display some nostalgia from the Lazarus Downtown store in these rooms: I purchased and framed a Lazarus boxtop. I purchased and used a red Lazarus tablecloth to make into a banner that draped across the ceiling in the game room. I purchased a black plastic Lazarus clock and displayed it on my antique shelf. My favorite purchase was a mannequin that my wife and I displayed in our karaoke theatre.  We dressed it in our favorite vintage clothing from the ‘80s. My wife and I were both teenagers during the 1980s and that is when we did most of our shopping.

Columbus is a city that has destroyed much of its history. Did you know that historians and the Columbus Metropolitan Library have no idea if Columbus ever had a 1st Street? I had to let them know that there was still a small segment of 2nd Street in existence. 

It’s sad to think of what was lost in this city, but I’m hopeful when I see what is starting to happen. The city, historic districts and private owners are beginning to appreciate the city’s history. The Smith Bros. Hardware building was restored, the Franklin Memorial building was revealed from behind its glass mask, and the Short North rebuilt the High Street arches.  God bless you, Short North!

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for your article and let you know I was touched by it.

By the way, you might see the Lazarus Downtown mannequin in the photos of our Klugh Theatre at

Timothy S. Klugh

September 2005

Dear Jennifer Hambrick,

Thank you so much for voicing what many Columbus citizens have felt since Lazarus disappeared from our city. ["A Year Without Lazarus," August 2005] It is indeed sad that there was no “official” closing to the store, the pulse of Columbus for over a century. I, too, wandered the grand building (the first reinforced concrete structure ever built in Columbus) on its very last day. It saddened me to think of what was once a grand experience being whittled down to markdown sales and stacked shelving at the very end.

Numerous published comments from local citizens attest to the yearly traditions of back-to-school shopping, Santaland and the High and Town Streets corner Christmas window, lunch at the Chintz or Colonial Rooms, and the infamous Lazarus Chicken Salad. Lazarus was not just a department store. It was the only place to shop in Columbus that also nurtured a “sense of community” for so many years.

On that last day, I was fortunate to see the remains of the Chintz Room, executive offices, the wonderful furniture galleries and their model rooms, all empty at the end, ghosts of their former purpose. In your August 2005 article, you mentioned your chance to see the removal of the large sign at the corner of High and Town Streets in August. The very next day after the final closing, the original, green-neon Lazarus sign at the corner of Front and Town Streets was gone also. Now, all that remains of the name are bronze letters attached to the State Street side of the building, “F & R Lazarus & Company.”

R. Douglas Ramsey

August 2005

Dear Art Lovers,

I am looking for someone to host a painting called American Fundamentalists by Joel Pelletier. He will have the painting at OSU for the conference of the Secular Student Alliance, August 12-14. He would like to have the painting on display here in the area, or anywhere in the Ohio/Indiana region, for about three weeks after the conference until he has to take it to Ann Arbor on September 5. We could also use a host for it in this part of the country in November and December 2005.

The painting is 14' wide by 8' high.  Pelletier can set it up on site in less than an hour – he frames it. It is meant to be leaned against a wall rather than hung and needs to be displayed in an area that can be secured. 

The painting can be seen at, and info about the artist can be found there as well. 

The Humanist Community of Central Ohio will probably be hosting a Meet-the-Artist event featuring this painting on Sunday, August 14. Information will be posted on our website as it becomes available ( However, we have no facility in which to display the painting for more than this one-day event. 

If you can offer any assistance in our quest for a host for this painting, please contact Amy Birtcher at 614-865-9146 or by email at

- Amy Birtcher, President
Humanist Community of Central Ohio

Dear Neighbors,

The Friends of Goodale Park are most grateful to the following individuals who have adopted flower beds in the park this summer and kept them looking so great:

Joel Knepp, Linda McClanahan, Doug Swartz, George and Sue Shellenbarger, Nancy Patzer, Greg Maynard, Barbara Hansford, Rick Frantz, Stan Sells, Greg Krobot, Martha Walker Garden Club

There are still a few beds awaiting adoption, so if you would like to enjoy the feeling (and exercise) of being a “Bed Adopter,” call Stan at 614-299-4202.

- Friends of Goodale Park

June 2005

Park Street – a misnomer?

Dear Editor,

This evening my wife and I came to the Gallery Hop in the Short North, our first Hop in several years. We enjoyed ourselves, and made purchases at several establishments.

Unfortunately, when we returned to our car, we found a parking ticket for $33. Apparently where we parked on Park Street becomes residential parking only at 6 pm. Our ticket was timed at 6:54 pm.

This has ruined what was otherwise a nice evening. There clearly is not enough parking for our monthly event, and the Columbus Police obviously are taking advantage of the situation, as I saw lots of tickets.

It will be a long time before we come back to the Hop.

Mike Swartzlander

April 2005

Arch Enemy

Dear Editor,

Whoever’s choice it is, may I suggest that the arches simply (?) be refitted with good old-fashioned, Edison-style filament bulbs? Those fiber-optic ‘bulbs’ were cold and green. And dim. For the few fleeting hours that they worked, those ‘bulbs’ were dimmer than everything else on the street, including the tiny white strands that line storefront windows. I’m not generally a complainer, but that seemed pathetic to me, for something that cost a (expletive deleted) lot to come up with.

The two ‘working’ arches north of Fifth Avenue don’t really work.  They’re on, kind of. Their ‘bulbs’ glow at about three different color temperatures and about ten different levels of brightness. Mostly though, they’re a sad indicator of the state of the entire arches project: that it’s become the perfect elephant-in-the-living-room for the City of Columbus.

– Rich Stadler


Dear Tom,

Once again I am impressed with the insight and tenderness that an old dog like you has. I mean the Legendary Tales piece that you wrote for the March 2005 issue. It makes me proud to have you for a friend all these years. Little did I know 25 years ago when we met that I would still be touched by your keen look into the life of someone like Bruce, whom I never knew.

I feel like I could have and should have known him. So, I must work not to miss those rare and wonderful people, warts and all. Your newspaper continues to get better, and I think March is the best one you have ever done.
Live and love long and prosper.

– Wayne Murphy

Thurber Fan

Dear Editor,

I received the copy of the Gazette in the mail today. What a nice surprise! Thanks for printing my poem in your March 2005 issue.
I can’t get enough of the articles about Columbus’ most interesting native son, James Thurber. A few years back, I read Burton Bernstein’s biography of him and have been enjoying Thurber’s wit and humorous eccentricities ever since. A classic quote comes to mind that seems to capture the essence of Thurber’s self-deprecating humor: “I do not have a psychiatrist and I do not want one, for the simple reason that if he listened to me long enough, he might become disturbed.”

I can totally relate to that.

Being an author myself, when people find out I’m a Columbus native, James Thurber’s name invariably comes up, and what gigantic shoes those are to fill! After a decade or more of “paying my dues,” I’ve envisioned being able to utter one of his quotes when I finally make it: "I write humor the way a surgeon operates, because it is a livelihood, because I have a great urge to do it, because many interesting challenges are set up, and because I have the hope it may do some good."

At present I can only relate to “interesting challenges” and the "great urge to do it" but I guess two out of four isn’t bad!

– Eric Walton

Clean Up Day

Dear Neighbors,

Although it seems we have been plagued with a never-ending winter, it is time to turn our thoughts to spring. A great way to enjoy the spring is to come help us spruce up Goodale Park. Our first “clean up” day is scheduled for Saturday, April 23 from 9 am until noon. That event will help us prepare the beds for the annual spring planting of annuals which will be held on Saturday, May 14, again from 9 am until noon. Bring a pair of work gloves, pruning shears and a hand trowel and join your neighbors in the park. Mark your calendar and do join us!

–Friends of Goodale Park

March 2005

Dear Editor,

Regarding the Goodale Park fountain design project: I am one of the people who looked at the four designs for the Goodale Park fountain and found them all lacking. The designs are all structure and no water. Why do we want to look at a contemporary structure in the lake of a “back-to-nature” style Victorian park? What I think we need is more water spraying around and better circulation to prevent the red tide effect in the summer months. Any structure should be kept to a minimum.

– Barbara Hupman

September 2004

Dear Short North Gazette,

Yesterday, I was contacted by a staff member regarding the poem featured in your paper that "appeared" to be about Fate Tattoo [August 2004]. During this conversation, I was asked if I had seen the poem to which I answered "no." Well, I have now read the poem thoroughly, and I have to say that I have never been so offended in all of my life. I understand that poetry is poetry and artistic license is what it is; however, when you take a picture and use the name of a specific business in said poem, it becomes declarative, not fictional.

Now, let me defend a trusted artist and long-time friend. I have been a client of Fate Tattoo for seven years. I have never been to a cleaner, safer, more comfortable facility. If anyone has any doubt about that, stop in and take a look around and you can see it with your own eyes - not to mention the certifications from OSHA hanging all over the walls. I guess these things would be hard to see if one had never even set foot in Fate Tattoo because they were just writing a fictional poem, like Doug Rutledge did. I am a professional adult, not a vagrant or a lost soul or some drunk off the street. In fact, I refer my clients to Fate Tattoo on a regular basis, as well as friends and family, because I am confident that they will be in a safe environment and will be treated with respect.

Finally, I want to say that I am truly disappointed with your publication for printing the poem in the first place. I thought the Short North Gazette was published to show pride in our town, not to slandarize long-time and upstanding businesses. It makes me sick that I even have to write this letter, but I absolutely cannot stand by and let someone who has never even been inside the doors of Fate Tatoo talk about it like it is a back alley parlor.

Jessica Starcher

August 2004

Dear Short North Gazette,

I wanted to thank all you folks and particularly the author of the recent article on the changing of the guard for Benevolence. [July 2004] If you could pass my gratefulness onto C.B. Findlay, I would be so appreciative.

What a wonderful article. It was written so accurately and displayed such a depth of integrated knowledge. It was better than I could have done myself! I read it with much nostalgia.

Thanks for all you guys have done for the Sanctuary with your excellent journalism and high standards of writing. How difficult that must be to obtain such with the limitations of timelines and sheer volume necessary for a newspaper.

Hope you all get down to the woods to rest and renew.

With thanks,

Nancy and Larry Henry, Highlands Nature Sanctuary

Dear Editor,

Thank you for publishing some of my poems in your delightful Gazette. Poet friends of mine in Columbus have kindly sent me clips and even whole editions of your newspaper.

Although my address is now Lebanon, Ohio, our family roots go back to Shadrach Postle of the late 1700s who settled along Old 40 on land now West Broad Street. Our Postle Cemetery is currently in a developer's clutches, with a perilous future. At least our name bears witness to our presence today in Postle Hall on our beloved OSU campus.

Is there any way I could be placed on your mailing list to receive the Short North Gazaette? It is a "bit of home" - not only for my family, but surely for man.

Sincerely, and thank you,

Elouise E. Postle

May 2004

Happy spring to you all! Well, maybe not so cheerful greetings to the dog owners and their faithful companions. My yard is not your pups' personal poop depository.

Before I go any further, thank you to those of you who bring your plastic bags along. We in the neighborhood truly appreciate your efforts. As for the rest of you, you are inconsiderate, non-bagging, and very much unwelcome in our neighborhorhood.Sound harsh? You should hear us when we step out of our cars or homes into a nice fresh offering from your best friend. Also, our flowerpots and plants do not need additional watering &endash; we will take care of that. Your dog's urine will kill our plants. We spend a lot of time and money making our yards beautiful. Please give them a chance. You should control your pet. He should not control you! Scooping poop from my cat's litter box is gross enough. I do not want to spend my days cleaning up after your pet. Thank you and keep on scooping! To the cat ladies on Hamlet. Yes, your cat can get pregnant while nursing another litter. You keep adding strays to an already overflowing neighborhood cat population. Your cats ruin our flowerbeds and are spreading fleas and disease to our indoor cats. Close your windows and keep the cats indoors. Must we call animal control?

I love animals. I just have a problem with some of their humans. So, please be good owners and scoop that poop. I will even give you a bag. Look for my house, it will have the string of bags hanging from the fence post.

– Name withheld for obvious, very smelly reasons

P.S. To those of you walking your dogs in Goodale Park, this is everyone's park! Keep your dogs out of the flowerbeds and scoop, scoop, scoop!


October 2003

Via Colori: Highway Heaven

It is now the day after Via Colori,

the street painting festival. Rain overnight washed away most of the art from the weekend, but it is still fresh in my mind. What started as an idea, a very few months ago, blossomed into an event that will never be duplicated, in intensity, in surprise and spontaneity, in energy. We will do it again - somewhere else - but we will most likely never be able to have it on the freeway again.

There is beauty in highways, hard to see when tearing along at 65 miles an hour. The interweaving of on and off ramps, the sloping grades, the texture of the asphalt, create art on a truly monu-mental scale. We were able, for one brief weekend, to take a small portion of a thing not designed for human scale, and make it accessible. The asphalt itself was a rich, black canvas. (Someone remarked that it was like the black velvet of an Elvis painting.) The soap-based pastels had an intensity of color that was equal to the task - mastering the texture of the asphalt and making it sing to more than the hum of tires.

The event Via Colori has been done in many other cities, but never quite like this. It is actually a franchise; they provide guidance and support in getting it going. What made ours unique, of course, was the freeway, and the ability to view the scene from above. Looking down on the works actually brought them into focus, like a pointillist painting. You could then get a feeling of the scope of the event, looking down on block after block of vivid color.

Then there were the artists. Two hundred or so artists creating ephemeral masterpieces, a square foot at a time. The two feet squares were reserved for

the children. Four, six and ten feet squares were sponsored by businesses, community groups, schools, families and who ever else wanted to pay their money. The sponsors could choose their own artist or have one assigned to them.

Many of the artists were from the art colleges, many more were professionals who display their work in Short North galleries. Many of the squares were group efforts, either collaborating on one image, or dividing a square into sections that might or might not interact with each other. Some of the images were topical, some funny, some very funny, some poignant, some even a little scary, but all were beautiful.

This would have all been grand enough, but then the people started to arrive. It is one thing to go to an art show, where only the finished product is displayed, all neatly framed and ready to hang. It is quite another to witness the process and progress of a work of art, especially knowing that it will soon be displayed only in your memory. In that way you, and all the others who come to the event, will own the art. The connection is made between hand and eye, artist and patron. Art at street level, quite literally.

I kept overhearing snatches of conversation ... "I didn't know it was going to be like this!" – "I didn't know that the artists were going to be working!" ... "I'm so glad I brought the kids!" ... "Where do you buy beer tickets?" - because, yes, while the emphasis was art, it was also a festival with music, great food, and beer. After dark, on Saturday, the street came alive with luminaries surrounding the works &endash; those completed, and those still in progress. The stage was under the High Street Bridge, creating an amphitheater effect, with space in front for the footloose to get free. And there was still enough light, from the strange yellow freeway lamps, to see the artwork.

I saw so many people I had not seen in years. Old local activists, old neighbors, old friends. It was so great to see so many people from all over come together to stand on a freeway. It was art, it was - in a strange way - a little bit outlaw, it was a party, it was fun. It was sensory overload the way the Gallery Hop can be. I had trouble getting to sleep last night. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw vivid images in bright colors against a black background.

Let's do it again next year.

Maria Galloway

Maria owns pm gallery in the Short North

October 2003

Aching Artist

Dear Margaret and Tom:

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do some art for the Via Colori event. There was an amazing amount of great work being done there! It was hot like trying to draw in a frying pan. And as of Sunday night, oh gawd, I am still exhausted, my back hurts and my legs feel like I ran a marathon. I can hardly move. Hope to do it again next year (or do we need another freeway first?)

Paul Volker

Sunday, September 14, 2003

October 2003

Elijah Encomium

Dear Gazette:

Ijust wanted to write a quick note of thanks for your publication's recognition of Elijah Pierce in an article written by Betty Garrett Deeds [February 2003]. I realize the story was written several months ago, but I just found it on your Web site today. I love his work and am always so grateful when someone helps in telling others about him.

I became aware of Mr. Pierce as a sophomore at Columbus West High School when a fellow student saw a picture I had created while in the 8th grade. He commented that it reminded him of Elijah Pierce and that he was surprised because he didn't think "whites" would be influenced by someone like him.

Interestingly, I never really saw his work or learned more about him until a few years ago (online) at a Web site. Also, my wife and I eventually moved back to Ohio from Florida and were at the Columbus Museum of Art when they opened the Elijah Pierce exhibit to the public.

I am no art expert or even talented enough to put art on canvas, clay or other materials, but his work moves me like nothing else. It's humble, textured, real. It says something. His works of faith give me hope. His works of conscience make me think beyond my immediate influences. And all of that motivates me to live my life the best that I can. His life work inspires me to know that one person really can make a difference and influence others beyond the days they live.

Marty Daniels


April 2003

Waiting For Elijah

Dear Editor:

I really enjoyed the piece about Elijah Pierce ["Elijah Pierce: Ecclesiastical Artist," February 2003]. Among other things, it made me think of the song by Sea Train Entitled "Waiting for Elijah." So I've been listening to it, as I sometimes do certain songs, over and over.

Elijah didn't seek recognition, so when it found him his life was sweeter than he ever could have imagined. His words, I think, show how much recognition means to people. It occurred to me that a reason for liking the Short North Gazette is that it gives people a chance to be recognized. What a great paper. I hope you are proud of it.

- Wayne Alt
Baltimore, Maryland

April 2003

Danny Deeds

Dear Betty Garrett Deeds:

I have been reading your articles with great pleasure and found your piece about Danny Deeds exceptional ["Bye Bye Snowbirds," February 2003]. Danny was one of my very good friends. I retired from the Columbus Dispatch in 1991 after 42 years, 13 as director of advertising in which I worked very closely with Danny on many Wigwam functions. He was absolutely the best! We had many good times together. In fact, he planned my retirement party at the Wigwam, and it couldn't have been any better. He was a terrific guy, and you should be very proud that he was your husband. Just wanted you to know.

- David Weltner

March 2003

Remembering Elijah Pierce

Dear Editor:

I enjoyed reading Betty Garrett Deeds' piece on Elijah Pierce in your last issue ["Elijah Pierce: Ecclesiastical Artist," February 2003]. Her writing and Dick Garrett's photos succeeded admirably in encapsulating his life story and personality.

I was fortunate enough to meet and get to know Mr. Pierce during the last year of his life. I produced a 6-minute video about him that he watched when it aired on local NBC affiliate WCMH-TV (4) around the time of his 92nd birthday. A short time afterward, I attended his funeral.

Despite his having witnessed more than 80 years of the 20th century and almost 8 years of the 19th, Mr. Pierce was far from the historic relic he might have been. He was smart, sharp, funny, and hip. He also was as vibrant as most of the twenty-year-olds I knew.

Mr. Pierce was a master storyteller. His favorite medium, of course, was carving - through which he told stories not only from the Bible, but from popular culture and his own life. Mr. Pierce preferred wood to words because he knew the objects he carved would long outlast him. He once told me gleefully, "I was called to preach, but I disobeyed. I ran from the ministry, oh, twenty years. But God finally put me on the woodpile, chopping wood. And so, I'll be preaching when I'm dead and gone. I'll still be preaching to your sons and daughters. Your grandchildren will hear some of my sermons."

But Mr. Pierce also could ably relate his stories in words. I remember sitting in his barbershop-turned-museum on Long Street (with and without my video camera rolling) for hours on end as he generously and genially shared tales of his fascinating life. He told stories of times so distant from my own experience that they might have been about a foreign culture or another planet, yet he brought them to life.

Often, the storytelling would germinate from a question I might ask about a particular piece. I recall discussing a work about slavery that contained dozens of individual carvings depicting in detail a slave's life on a Southern plantation. His father had been a slave in Mississippi, and Mr. Pierce shared with me what his father had told him about life as a slave.

Another of his works reveals over several panels the story of how he was nearly lynched when he was mistaken for a black man accused of murdering a white man. It describes his travails as he escaped an angry mob and ran twenty miles to his home. After dramatically recounting the adventure, he told me, "That carving shows it just the way it happened." Then remembering that the event had myriad particulars that even a master artist could not completely capture, he added with an infectious laugh, "Well, not exactly only partially."

When examining his enormous "Book of Wood," which (as described in the article) illustrates many Biblical stories, Mr. Pierce shared with me a wonderful metaphor: "God said your life is a book You write a page in life's book every day. Then one day, it will be opened and read before your very eyes. And you can't deny it because you wrote it yourself."

Mr. Pierce was a very kind and wise man who undoubtedly would have reason to be proud of the life he carved out, both literally and figuratively. It was a life that he was astute enough to know, once fashioned into wood, could be shared with people in places he would never visit and in times long after his last life-affirming breath. He was one of the great citizens of Columbus, the State of Ohio, the nation, and the world

- Rick Klaus Theis, New York City

February 2003

Dear Margaret,

I believe I have mentioned my friend Jennie Shafer to you before. She is the gal who will be 87 in June and has retired a couple of times, but goes back to work and keeps on being a world traveler. It was something she and Paul had always done together.

Since her husband of 57 years (unbelievable!) died about five years ago, she was rocked to the roots but has made her way back to the point of handling most of her decades-long employer's affairs, using a computer to keep up the accounting on his holdings in real estate and such.

When she's not running him and his business like well-oiled gears, she still takes at least a couple of trips out of the country each year, often to Paris or Quebec, and a few inside the States. Savannah was one of my favorites - I say mine, because she always compiles an account of her travels with pictures from them and shares them with family and friends.

A compulsive organizer, she already has her tickets and hotel reservations for a trip to Paris come spring. I asked her what she plans to take as her wardrobe, knowing she'd have it planned already, and she sent back the list!

This morning I received a vignette from her about the view from her kitchen window, which I think is very beautiful. Unusually poetic from Jennie. She has an earthy sense of humor and a good ear for dialogue. I've suggested before that she send you some pieces, so I'm taking the liberty of sending this along and have suggested she follow up and send you a few things to read.

You might or might not be able to publish some of her stuff, but even if you can't or don't, I think you'll enjoy reading her vignette for your own pleasure. The prospect of having the Short North Gazette add an Old Broads' supplement could give Tom a heart attack. Be gentle with him, Margaret. It's not his first time. (Well, I don't know about heart attacks.)

Take care, stay warm.

- Betty Garrett Deeds

Diamonds With Breakfast, by Jeannette Shafer

My house is placed at the apex of two deep ravines. Only a narrow strip of flat land provides side yards before the terrain drops down. The ravines hold tall, very old trees, younger growth and fallen trees or branches which the busy squirrels use as pathways across a small stream. As I watched, three deer stepped daintily across the fallen debris and continued down the ravine.

In my kitchen, a four-by-six-foot window frames the view. This morning, as I drank my breakfast coffee, the sun rose from the east. Snow and deep frost covered the branches, and they became wands of glittering diamonds, hundreds of them. I did not realize that a very fine mist was falling until the rising sun caught the tiny droplets of diamonds. I sat transfixed, the coffee forgotten. As the sun rose higher, the trees became simply snow-covered branches. As I stood to toss out my cold coffee, I looked down at the small side yard and it was a carpet of diamonds.

Friends and relatives think I should leave this house. No camera could have caught the glory of this morning, but it remains in my mind. One of the reasons I cannot return to the city. Soon spring will arrive, and I will watch as buds emerge, turn into such a thick canopy that I cannot see the small meandering stream. Fall will turn the leaves into a blaze of color so intense that at times my ravine will appear to be ablaze with fire. I will not leave this haven willingly, or at all, until it is time to meet Paul.

November 2002

Wood's Work "Legendary"

Dear Editor:

I want to compliment your staff on a very interesting article about Sandy Wood in the October issue [An Art-full Vision, by Cindy Bent].

I live in Australia, and as an owner of property in the Short North, I only get to keep in touch by an annual visit to my wife's family and through the online Short North Gazette.

Much to the protestations of my family, I bought a disused building on North High Street in 1988 when the area was languishing. Because of my experiences in other parts of the world, I could see the potential of the area à la Soho in New York, and of course the rest is history. Obviously Mr. Wood has played a major role in the significant success of the Short North. Although I have never met Mr. Wood, but spoken on the phone a few times, his work in the area is legendary.

Do you know when the arches are going up? There is one to be erected right outside my building.

I would be obliged if you could send me a copy of the October Gazette to keep for interest.

Best wishes for your continuing good work with the Gazette.

Rodney Davis, Australia

September 2002

Pride Peace

Dear Kaizaad Kotwal:

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the wonderful article that you wrote about the "religious" zealots who attempted to put a damper on our Pride holiday [Straight Talk, August 2002]. What a wonderful perspective you gave on this issue. I was overwhelmingly impressed and moved by your sincerity. Thank you so very much for exposing the sad reality of these people and their misguided notions to all the Short North Gazette readers.

I was both saddened and sickened by the protestors' extreme messages and actions this year. The dolls were particularly horrid. I just cannot imagine how anyone could consider nude dolls dangling from nooses to be religious expression. How can they possibly think that the God they worship would ever condone such violent and hateful expression?

What upset me the most was the large handwritten and illustrated sign that read "Ninja swords cure fags." I was literally moved to tears when I saw that sign displayed near Broad and High Streets. How could anyone be so cold and insensitive? This was referring to Brazon, a local female impersonator and well-known celebrity who was brutally murdered on May 17 by an attacker wielding a ninja sword. This senseless crime totally devastated many members of our community. I knew Brazon and considered that sign to be a "low blow" inflicted upon those of us who were still trying to heal from the news of her death.

I appreciated your advice about dealing with these people as well. I agree that we need to laugh at them and just hope they might realize how ridiculous they are behaving. Do they really think that they will convince us, with their signs and propaganda, to conform to the way in which they think we should behave? Obviously, they are entirely ignorant. The group that I marched with clapped and yelled as we passed by them to drown out their ridiculous banter.

My sister (who is heterosexual, though extraordinarily supportive and understanding) attended Pride with me this year for the first time and was very much bothered by the presence of all these protestors along the parade route. An overwhelming feeling of eeriness passed over us as we marched by each group of them. It is so sad that they insist on attempting to ruin our day of Pride.

Fortunately, they are not able to do so, no matter how hard they try! I only hope that we see the day when we can proudly march down that parade route and only see supportive people along the way and that those who do not support us choose to stay away and keep their hateful opinions to themselves.

- Charles Pankowski

September 2002

21st Century

Dear Editor:

With regard to your latest issue, I enjoyed reading about Frank Barnhart's recent career moves [Frankly Speaking, by Kaizaad Kotwal, August 2002]. It's good he's remained a notable figure in the arts community here for so long.

Barnhart addresses one thing in the article that has inspired this letter. Are there any community or town meetings where "average Joes" can go and express their concerns? Barnhart hit the nail on the head when he said that the needs of Short North residents are going to change many things. It's possible that if this

need is not met with a measure of original thinking, it will bring an end to the Short North as we know it, and what will evolve will be a neighborhood indistinguishable from any other in the Midwest.

Why does the traffic question have to rule everything? The Columbus Metropolitan Library has four to five levels of parking mostly underground, underneath the library. Isn't it about time to put old thinking and old ideas, like tearing down buildings and replacing them with parking lots, away - tucked neatly in the same place we put 'duck and cover'?

And it seems that I've missed any news article or discussion within the community having to do with mass transportation for Columbus. There must be some discussion going on somewhere, for surely someone has decided that mass transportation is out of the question for Columbus - not even express commuter buses are considered. What is it about this town that excludes the possibility of an elevated rail system &endash; just two: one that would cover the circumference of downtown (at least downtown, if nothing else) and one that would goes across?

Unless the transportation/traffic matter is approached with some creative 21st century ideas, both the Short North and downtown Columbus are finished as main attractions.

- Margo Wakefield

August 2002

Short and Sweet

Dear Editor:

This is just a hasty note to tell you how much I enjoy the Short North Gazette. I think that your publication is unique in many ways &endash; from the delightful selections of poetry to the Thurber articles to the fine reporting of Christine Hayes and Elizabeth Ann James. I also enjoy the bite and vigor displayed in the words of your new writer Betty Garrett Deeds.

I have only one complaint and that is the way Kaizaad Kotwal dominates your otherwise enjoyable paper. Every month, he rants and raves on and on about essentially the same thing. He is so tiresome! The man has diarrhea of the mouth. Why don't you gag him a bit, cut the length of his column down - or do something, otherwise my friends and I are going to quit reading your otherwise excellent paper.

How about more lively articles on movies, theatre, dining, personalities, and neighborhood history? Do some of that and you'll have a truly wonderful paper.

In all good faith,

-J. W. B.

July 2002

Column Comforting

Dear Kaizaad Kotwal,

Your recent column in the June issue [Straight Talk, "Saints and Sinners: Pointer's Fingers and Hypocrite's Hearts"] could not have come at a better time. You see, I had just such an experience that would also brilliantly illustrate your point. Only in my case it was far worse than inconvenience, it threatens my very existence and all that I hold true. My "fingerpointers" are huge hypocrites in their own right, and I was stunned that they would point their fingers at me. You put it into words better than most, and I think the world needs very much to see how much of this goes on. You gave some compelling examples, both personal and in the news that we hear every day.

I am also a writer and an artist trying to address the issues that are important, not only to myself, but to the world. People don't want to see the truth sometimes even when it's right in front of them. It's extremely frustrating when, as a writer, you devote part of yourself to getting your message out there, and wonder if anyone's listening. Thanks for saying it so well.

The poem you ended the column with was beautiful &endash; I plan to read it often, to remind myself that I'm not alone. I believe your column crossed my path to offer me some comfort. I should add that I live in Dayton, but visit Columbus as often as possible. My sister, who lives in Columbus, just happened to bring the June Short North Gazette to me last weekend when she came home for a visit. So you see, the fact that it came to me when I otherwise might have missed it was significant to me.

In the past, I usually have read the Gazette when I was visiting my sister, but I'm hoping to read it every month in the future.

- Ann Marsico

December 2001


Dear Editor:

How fun to see the delightful drawing of JungHaus on the cover of the November 2001 issue of the Short North Gazette! The artist, W.C. Hemming, did a fine job of capturing the charm of the home of the Jung Association of Central Ohio (JACO) here in the Short North.

It was a pleasure working with your writer Kaizaad Kotwal as he came to learn about our association. All of the informa-tion that he received from us and his experience of the 2nd Saturday Coffee and Conversation he attended were reported in a very appealing and factual manner.

However, since I was quoted so extensively in the rest of the article, I am compelled to distance myself from the introductory information Mr. Kotwal presented on Carl Jung. Some of the information was misleading and inaccurate based on what we have studied, and I am concerned that the reader may interpret these as facts. In this situation, it would have been important and helpful for citations of sources to be given or that it be clearly stated if and when concepts were Mr. Kotwal's personal theories or reflec-tions on material that he read.

While I appreciate the opportunity to express my concern over the question of accuracy and sources for the introductory part of the article, I would also like to express my prevalent feeling of gratitude to the Gazette for presenting us so warmly to our neighborhood. JACO has been in the Short North since 1990. With your assistance, we continue to invite folks to stop by and visit our gallery and book-store, and to attend a 2nd Saturday Coffee and Conversation and our programs &endash; to join us as we strive to learn about ourselves, the process of individuation, and the journey of life as we study the vast body of work of a great explorer of the psyche, Carl Jung.

Thank you for helping us get out the word that there is a very active, stimulating Jung Association in Central Ohio, happily located in the exciting Short North District!

- Gina Peacock
JACO Director

December 2001

Sam The Cat

Dear Tom Thomson,

Tom, if that was, as I think, your cat that passed away [November 2001, p. 3], what a sad thing to have happen. I realize we get attached to these little creatures with unexpected magnitude, and it's hard to lose one. He looked like a beautiful orange-and-white, which is incidentally the colors I admire the most. He was fortunate to have you as master, as proven by a long life there, and, I'm sure, a most happy one.

- Eric Rotolo
Victorian Village

(From the December '01 issue)

Home for Hats

Dear Mr. Thomson,

First, my condolences on the loss of your brother. [June 2001, p.3] Though my brother has at times been a worthy bearer of the title "bane of my existence," I cannot imagine what it would be like to not have him there. I'm sure I have earned the title quite frequently myself - on his behalf. That is part of our history and part of our connectedness. We love to push each other's buttons - with humor at the core = and do so quite well. Wouldn't have it any other way.

I read your piece on the "treasure trove" of your mother's hat collection [October 2001, p. 2], and though you describe your-self as a "mere man," your male psyche is quite perceptive. As you said, they are not just hats. They are history, art, expression and a part of your Mother's personality, wit and attitude. I, personally, am a great fan of vintage pieces. Dresses, shoes, spectacles, and mostly hats. My mother (78), for one reason or another, did not keep any of her gloves, wraps, hats or dresses. She actually even recycled her wedding dress into satin pillows for a college play.

You have a gift in the treasure trove you found. And I think it is wonderful that you want to see them worn again - the theatre is a natural. However, I have a request - actually two. If you have not as yet found a home for this part of your Mother's history. please consider myself as someone who is interested, and would wear them proudly.

I am one of those women who wear what they want to wear, whether it is "in style" or not, because I am one of those women who believe the style comes from the woman, not the clothes. I personally have about 40 or so hats, half of which are vintage, and I wear them every day. Once I get too many, I donate my "modern" ones to the Cancer Center for women going through chemo, and then start building up my collection again.

Next fall I will be getting married in a 1920's vintage beaded dress (not a "wedding" dress) and am looking for the hat to wear with it. If I don't find it, I will have one made from the one I found in a book on our Mother's era. One of your Mom's may be the one. In any event, if you've not already decided on the future home of your mother's collection, I'd love to have a chance to see it, and perhaps purchase one or all.

The other request I have for you is this. Before you decide on the next owner(s) of your Mom's collection, sort through and keep one for yourself. I know they are just millinery to someone else, but they tell a story about who your Mother was and are part of your history.

Thanks for listening. Look forward to hearing where the treasure trove lands.

- Cherylyn Bullock

(Printed March 2000)

Craig Carlisle Comes To Columbus

Dear Tom:

I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to communicate with Columbus in your January edition of the Short North Gazette. I appreciate that I was able to reach those people who were requesting an answer to my absence.

As you know, the month of March will bring my new series of Angel Heads to the Short North. I am very excited about this new series of work. I felt that coming into the new century, it would be appropriate to touch on something that we all have around us, though sometimes we choose to forget, our guardian angels. This new series of Angel Head paintings has given me a chance to reflect on different parts of my soul. I imagine that most people will relate in some fashion to different ones. So far my favorite is titled, "One Winged Angel Head."

In the mid '90s, Antiques on Poplar owner Sharon Weiss asked me to show a couple of my Little Head paintings in her gallery. Over the past four years Sharon has done a remarkable job showing and selling my Head paintings. She has remained my Columbus representative since I departed from the area in 1997.

I have fond memories of her little store on Poplar Street. I used to love dropping off an armload of paintings for her just as she opened on a Saturday morning. March will afford myself an opportunity to drop off more than an armload, as I am exhibiting ten Angel Heads and sixteen of my photographs (San Francisco landscape) in her spacious new gallery.

Sharon Weiss will be moving her wonderful gallery, Antiques & Art on Poplar, to 20 E. Lincoln Street just in time for my show. Sharon has asked me to be a part of her grand opening in the new space. It is such an honor to be asked, so much so that I have decided to fly in to Columbus especially for the opening on Gallery Hop, March 4.

It will be so nice to finally get a chance to set foot on home turf again. Over two years have passed since I was last in Columbus, and though I love California and all that is happening here, I could certainly use some Columbus hugs.

See you soon, my friend, and thank you for your support.

Craig Carlisle, San Francisco

(Printed February 2000)

Centofani Crusade

Dear Christine Hayes:

Congratulations, you are the first to mention one of my favorite things, the First Amendment rights battle that Gino Centofani has waged, unassisted by the "Cowlumbus Arts Community" (oxymoron if ever there was one) against Cowlumbus and Franklin County. He has risked personal mental and physical health as well as his home and finances to resist the hack "environmental judge" and his henchwomen in the Cowlumbus City Attorney's Office. These folks, acting on a tip from a disgruntled neighbor, have led a personal vendetta at city and county expense to stifle Gino's First Amendment rights to artistic expression claiming a public health threat, which was never proven, to forcibly remove his personal possessions from his private property and attach a financial penalty that could eventually lead to his losing his home. Not one of our civic governments most shining moments. Nor is it of any credit to the support, or lack thereof, exhibited by the "Cowlumbus Arts Community."

Where, during this two-year struggle, was the "Cowlumbus Arts Community"? Squabbling over GCAC and OAC funds, delivering the same trite local artist shows, wallowing in self-aggrandizing, sophomoric "performance art" and throwing a party once a month in the Shallow North "Art" District, while the slumlords gentrified the "real" arts out of the Short North District in favor of expensive dinners, restaurants, book stores, paper sellers, and neuvo-kitch retro fashion boutiques. These captains of real estate are now poised with the thinly veiled OSU gateway capitalists consortium Campus Partners to crush the final life out of the "art district" and create one continuous urban shopping mall from the Sissy Center all the way to Lane Avenue.

If there is an arts community in Cowlumbus, why does it sit by idly while Gino fights with all his resources to protect our First Amendment rights? Why does it not have a voice in the urban gentrification of High Street? What does it represent besides its own limited self-interests?

Thanks for at least mentioning Gino, but what are we going to do about it?


Andy Hudson

Sharing with Sharrock

Dear P. Susan Sharrock:

First let me say how much I enjoy reading the Gazette on-line. Perhaps the interesting point to this is I live in Australia, but my interest in the Short North area is due to the fact that my wife is from Columbus and her family still live there. During a visit several years ago, I bought a property at 780 North High which had been derelict for many years. My mother-in-law thought that perhaps I should seek psychiatric help for buying into a hot spot for prostitutes and gun fights, but I knew it had the feeling of Soho, N.Y., several years earlier. I subsequently leased the space to Poorboys Antiques for some years and then to Biashara for five years during which time the area has improved beyond even my wildest dreams.

The new enthusiastic tenant, Norka Futon, has worked with me to improve this lovely building dramatically as you will see when you go there.

I am thrilled with the proposed new arches and street beautification and only wish I could be there to help, but Oz is the ultimate place to live.

A few years ago the Italian Village proposed a mural for the side wall of 780 which was to identify the Short North for the traffic going towards the city. I had approved this and was (and still am) prepared to contribute, but nothing further has happened.

Can you help if you like the idea ?

Keep up your great work,
Rodney Davis

Love Letter

This letter is in reference to your January 2000 cover story.

Once again, Craig Carlisle has presented our community with a quasi, self-composed, love letter to himself.

We consider Mr. Carlisle a talented painter. What we would like to know is, what do his love triangles and swimming accidents have to do with the arts in our Short North?

Ass readers, we ask that you spare us the sugar and syrup. Let's hear about our community and the arts.

Three Short North Residents

Comfest Coming

I am trying to find out some information about being a vendor at this year's CompFest. A friend and I have our own art business (clay and ceramics mostly) and are interested in participating in the Comp Fest this year. I can't seem to find any information on the Comp Fest and how to qualify to be a vendor.

If you can give me any information, it would be greatly appreciated.


Sharon Walls

Comfest 2000 info can be found at:

Complaint. com

Tommy that is really a great Web site you have. The colors are good, the print is big enough for a blind bat like me to see, the pics come up quickly and are very clear. I haven't seen many sites that nice, including ones from museums, governments, etc.

If the Gazette ever talks about the Big Bear again, do yo think you could site their address, which is I sent them an e-mail suggesting that they hire more cashiers. I've never waited so long in lines that move slower than continents.

Maybe if enough people squawk, they will improve that store. Talk you to later,

Eric R.

Emerson Enthusiast

I enjoyed very much the article on the Short North Gazette Web site about Emerson Burkhart. I knew him when I was a kid. I first met him when I was 11 or so. My sister and I were playing in back of my grandfathers shop off of 5th near Leonard Avenue and we saw this man painting. We approached him and asked why he would paint the back of an old shop. He said, "Because everyone paints the front of them." One day he even included my sister in a painting that some galleries have called "Little Boy." Actually it is a girl with short hair and wearing peddle pushers.

I remember when I became a teenager he shook hands with me and kept squeezing. It hurt and when I tried to let go he asked, "Do you think artists are sissies?" I said, no. He said, "I was just checking. I was painting down by Alum Creek and some boys your age said that they thought artists were sissies."

I also remember being at one of his showings at his house. He seemed to delight in ignoring the "highbrows" while chatting with my younger sister and me.

Anyway, I just thought I would drop a line. I really liked Mr. Burkhart.

John Tewell


(From the September 1999 Issue)

Laminated Laughter

Eric Broder's "Why I am a Sex Machine" is possibly one of the most hilarious pieces I've read in years. It has received my highest honor to a newspaper: lamination.

Thanks for a good laugh.

Sarah Gulick


(Printed August 1999)

Jailbird Boy

I enjoy the Short North Gazette very much. Thanks for covering the neighborhood.

I must make an offer of correction in the July '99 issue. In Tom's Corner you mention Dave Betz's musical mockingbird dilemma. They had named the bird Attica supposedly after the To Kill a Mockingbird character.

The first name is Atticus. We have some friends who named their son Atticus, after the name of the character. He said that people frequently don't get the name or recognize the difference and refer to him as Attica and that he has to correct them and say it's Atticus - Attica is the prison!

Sherrill Massey

Gazette Glorified

My recent three-month visit to Columbus included the discovery of the Short North Gazette.

Congratulations to you, the editor, for a lively, informative, and attractive paper. I've seen similar publications in a dozen or more states, and most of them don't escape being dull and mediocre, or so overloaded with ads they are little more than junk mail.

The Gazette's well-researched articles on people and places associated with the cultural history of Columbus are first-rate. The series on the Sells Bros. Circus and Sellsville was of particular interest to me, and the continuing installments on James Thurber are excellent.

Thanks for the poetry and for the twinkle-nosed, bushy-tailed and feathered poets who inhabit margins, lacunae, and unexplored whitenesses. Thanks for the updated guide to the galleries without which callused and cranky feet would never find their way.

So, to purloin a phrase, it's good-by Columbus for a while. Best of luck to you and the Gazette.

Robert Perry

Bird Brain

You may add this to the collection of faxes, e-mails and letters you received informing you that Attica is a prison, and Atticus is the attorney in To Kill A Mockingbird.

Michael Wolfe

(Printed December 1998)

Viking Voucher

"Viking Premium Beverages. How may I help you?" "I'm looking for Abita, Goose Island, and Bad Frog beers. Do you have any of them?" "We carry all of them. How did you happen to hear about Viking?" "I was having lunch and reading the Short North Gazette. I saw your ad. I have been looking for the products I mentioned, but no other stores seem to have them."

Calls such as this one are a daily occurrence at Viking where we have developed a reputation for variety and freshness.

We have tried a number of different types of advertising . . . coupons, flyers, and three other newspapers, but none have shown the continued success we have had in the Short North Gazette. That is why we continue to be a long-term account of your paper.

Thanks for a job well done!

Carole Schwartz

Dennison Place Pride

Thank you for the move to a monthly publication with home delivery. I noticed in the November issue that Victorian and Italian Villages and Harrison West are listed as recipients, but not Dennison Place!

Your readers and advertisers might like to know that Dennison Place is a thin strip of land bounded by 5th Ave. and King Ave. with 400 households.

Are Necko and Weinland Park also receiving the Gazette? I'd like to know!

Sabrina Bobrow

Editor's Note: We're making amends! And we're checking out the other neighborhoods you mentioned.

Disco Defense

I recently read three comments you published opposed to a nightclub that my partner and I are opening. I found the comments published interesting and ignorant. Some facts that need to be stated are that we have been property owners since 1991 in Victorian Village. We have renovated and lived in four different residences. We also own commercial property in the Garden District and are investing to develop that corridor. In addition, we own two viable, cleanly run and successful Short North businesses, i.e., Union Station and Havana.

Your writers portray us as outsiders when in fact we have invested large amounts of time and money to help improve the Short North. Let us not forget that five years ago the Short North was floundering with the Russian Tea Room, 700 Club, Bermuda Onion and several other businesses closing and no viable tenants to replace them. I believe that we have helped to close those deficiencies and contribute to this area.

Our nightclub has over 180 parking spaces (more than legally required) which gives us more parking than the rest of the Short North combined to the South of Hubbard. We are proposing a 3500 sq. ft. restaurant addition which is smaller than most restaurants in the Short North. Our Nightclub is the same size as the former Skankland, and Little Brothers. We are experienced at operating this type of establishment, and on a Saturday night have shown that we can manage an exodus of 600+ people into the Short North at 1 am to 2 am without any problems. If these people want to oppose a business, where were they when Jillians went in with less than 20 parking spaces? What about an arena that does not have enough parking? What about a nightclub under Martini's that has no parking?

The parking problems on Hubbard are not the fault of the Short North businesses but instead the property owners (many opposing us) that have single family homes that are being rented as multiple apartments. When you put eight people in a house meant for two you will obviously not have enough parking. At noon, seven days a week there is no parking on Hubbard or Park. We cannot take away what does not exist and that is residential parking. There are many more residents in favor of this business than against, and we wouldn't let the views of a small group of people that are afraid of change influence your publication.

The only body that has worked against us is the Victorian Village Commission, and they have definitely stepped out of their realm of authority. We find it unfortunate that such a commission thinks that they can control business development, and we will let the courts determine that they have acted out of line.

If our club is so out of scale as they say then why did they allow Greg Zanetos to build a house that is definitely out of scale with the neighborhood? The obvious answer is that his house is a welcome investment and we would be worse off without it. When a commission applies principles without consistency then they are trying to determine justice in a discriminatory fashion, and that has always been the problem with the Victorian Village Commission. Columbus Alive, The Other Paper, and Channel 10 News have done unbiased stories which have clearly pointed out that a nightclub will definitely fit into our neighborhood. We would like to see your publication print this letter also and show some integrity in publishing.

In the end, we will see if we are right by the success of our venture. We harbor no ill feelings to the opposition and are more than open to hearing their concerns and working to make sure that they are addressed by our business operations. We are concerned that a member of the opposition sent us a death threat. We believe that the opposition is clearly a rabid group that is not using sense and is going for all or nothing as is shown by sending us death threats.

We will be opening Axis in 1999 so even to those opposed, we recommend you get your dancing shoes on.

Rajesh Lahoti



(Printed January 1999)

Candlelit Coffee

Get out your love beads, protest buttons, and incense. It's time for another "Spirit of the 60s" coffeehouse.

I will lead a candlelit musical year-by-year journey through the turbulent era, with live folksongs, "news reports," of 60s happenings, and displays of posters and newspapers from the decade. I will also model some of the far-out fashions of the 60s, and I'll quiz the audience with 60s trivia questions.

The coffeehouse happens Friday, January 29 from 7:30 to 10:30 pm in the basement of the King Avenue Methodist Church at 299 W. King Avenue at Neil. There's plenty of free parking south and west of the church.

Proceeds from the $10 suggested donations will go to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, which helps dozens of Columbus-area emergency food pantries.

For more information, call me at 263-3851.

Bill Cohen

Pelican Passage

I have a most unusual observation to relate. One afternoon in early December, I was finally treated to a good view of the White Pelican at the Greenlawn Avenue Dam. I watched it fishing from a spot about 50 yards away. The bird was tilting its head sideways and thrusting into the water and along the bottom. One thrust about every five seconds when it was in its rhythm. It was having fairly good success, catching small fish every 7th or 8th thrust or so. At one point it thrust at a huge carp and both were quite startled.

The next day was stranger. I only had time for a spot check at lunchtime. I arrived at 1:30 pm and the pelican was in the cove north of the dam. I could see through my scope that his success rate was not what it had been the day before. At one point I counted 31 thrusts between fish. I left the area at 1:38 pm and the pelican was still fishing as I drove away.

Nine minutes later, at 1:47 pm, I was at the corner of Goodale and High and what did I see? A majestic White Pelican about 100 yards east of High Street flying deliberately to the northeast. I watched it until I lost sight of it near Hubbard and Park. Now this had to be the same bird, perhaps dissatisfied with fishing on the south side of downtown, flying to new waters, but what a strange feeling. It seemed like the bird was following me.

Robert Evans


Go To Gazette Home Page