Large white SUV with Police in letters on the side and lights on top

As I write this article, the total number of homicides in Columbus has reached a record breaking number of 140, breaking the previously held record of 139 in 1991. The latest victims range in age from 37 to 57 years old.  Columbus is the 14thlargest city in America with at least 860,000 residents living in this rapidly growing city.

According to the HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, Columbus has about 1,691 homeless residents, which includes veterans, families, youth, sheltered and unsheltered and chronic homeless people. The total number for Ohio is 10,095 homeless residents. The good news for Columbus is that 2017 saw a decrease by three percent from 2016.

According to the Ohio Department of Education 2016-2017 Report Card Resources, Columbus, Ohio received D’s and F’s in all categories in education. The city schools earned an F in the Graduation Component Grade, a D in the K-3 Literacy Component Grade and an F in the Prepared for Success Grade.

Purplish and reddish hues in a photo of several young people, black and white, holding their fingers as peace signs in the air, cheering and clapping under a tent with the words COMFEST in orange at top

COMFEST ANNOUNCES 2018 LOGO CONTEST 

ComFest announces its 2018 Logo Contest and calls all artists to enter original designs.  Each year the selected logo appears on ComFest tee shirts, ComFest beer mugs, and the cover of ComFest Program Guide and thus becomes a part of the festival’s history. A public viewing of entries will be held on Thursday, March 1; 2018 at 7:30 PM at the Goodale Park Shelter House.First round of voting includes the attendingpublic. The three finalists will be reviewed at the following ComFest General Planning meeting on March 25, where a final selection will be made. 

Guidelines and details are found on the website, comfest.com. Artists should always include the Hopewell Symbol in the design, along with the date of the festival, a reference to ComFest/Community Festival, and promote harmony, tolerance, and peace in its essence. Remember: ComFest is a progressive organization dedicated to an inclusive community. 

COMFEST GRANTS

Ten or so little plant pots all with soil and small green marijuana plants in them

Once upon a time, every medical marijuana ballot issue and legislative bill contained a provision to permit personal cultivation. In 2007, introduced, but long forgotten Ohio House Bill 343 would have allowed patients to possess 12 mature plants. Limits in the Marijuana Policy Project’s 2012 model bill were set at 12 plants AND 12 seedlings. Why then was home growing omitted from Ohio’s new law?

In June 2016, Ohio became a “legal state” with the passage of Ohio House Bill 523. The legislation established a Medical Marijuana Control Program with cultivators, processors and dispensaries, but forbade “home growing,” well, sort of. The bill itself makes just one vague reference, “cultivator license holder shall not cultivate medical marijuana for personal, family, or household use.” I guess the rest of us can? Ah no, for that one must to defer to the Ohio Revised Code where growing marijuana carries the same penalties as possessing equivalent amounts: small means minor misdemeanors, large can lead to felonies and even mandatory minimum sentences.

For several months we’ve been hearing a crescendo of outcries that Russia used social media to sway the 2016 presidential election. The claim has now been debunked by an unlikely source -- one of the most Russiagate-frenzied big media outlets in the United States, the Washington Post.

 

Below are two articles that nicely illustrate the cunning methods that ALL multinational mining, exploration, drilling, energy extractive or oil transporting corporations use to try to sanitize what in reality are greedy designs to enrich corporate stakeholders by raping, stealing, exploiting and permanently polluting the land, water and air that really has always belonged to the indigenous people and who simply want to protect what has always been theirs.

 

The first article illustrates how an otherwise respected major educational institution like Duke University (of Durham, North Carolina) could be easily bamboozled by financial enticements from an exploitive corporation. (Duke University was, incidentally, founded and funded by robber baron James Buchanan Duke,an exploitive tobacco and electric power industrialist that at one time acquired a monopoly on cigarettes and thus gained enormous wealth by marketing a highly addictive and deadly product.)

 

Baldish white man wearing a suit holding a microphone and talking

Ohio Democrats need a bold new leader, a gut fighter with a heart of gold to win back the governorship in 2018.

His name is Joe. Joe Schiavoni.

The two-term state senator from Boardman, who was born in Youngstown, is 39 and has never run statewide before. But he conducts himself with the wisdom and maturity of a much older person as his experience as a workers' compensation attorney will attest.

His approach is to go out and talk to people as he crisscrosses the state. He wants to find out what Ohioans of all walks of life are thinking about, what their challenges and needs are and what he can do to help them as a state senator and as a future governor.

Well under 6-feet tall with a shaved head, broad-shouldered and muscular, Joe looks like the former Golden Gloves boxing champ that he is.

But he is the consummate gentlemen in his dealings with people.

He understands the key issues of the day. Asked about sexual harassment, he said he will teach his young sons to treat all women respect as they treat their mother.

Two pieces of hard bread with green and orange foodstuff on them on a white plate with a bowl and glass on the table in the background

Little Eater, a concept restaurant designed to promote more organic, produce-based foods and support local farmers, has expanded operations into a stand-alone restaurant in Clintonville at High Street and Deland Avenue. While there are still some animal products on the menu, vegan options are significantly represented. And, everything I have tried there was excellent, bursting with delicious flavor and colorful appeal.

Their fresh, vegetable-based, seasonally inspired foods are revitalizing. Their warm soups are comfortably satisfying and they have recognized that even vegans deserve dessert. The Columbus Vegan Meetup had a delightful experience there recently and we are grateful to entrepreneurs empowering vegan access and affordability.

As humanity’s population is rapidly growing and technology is constantly evolving, it is urgent for our cultural traditions and infrastructures to evolve into a model that is consciously consistent with our values: energy efficient agricultural production and a sustainable model of human coexistence with fellow earthlings.

Guy in a black hoodie and brown heavy winter coat with fur collar sitting at a table with his face looking down where he is signing a CD

Decide if you’re the Party of Caligula or Brewster's Millions.

Vladamir Putin: Reread the Communist Manifesto, and stop bribing Republican politicians who cut social programs and taking measures to create greater class disparities in hopes of collapsing our economy. Oh wait; I get what you’re doing.

Pedophiles: Barely Legal Magazine is not child porn for a reason. Follow this logic.

The Constitution: Campaign finance reform. Pass 28th Amendment to overturn Citizen's United which was a Supreme Court ruling that allowed corporations to pump money into elections in a manner that corrupts the process into not working for American citizens’ best interests. This would also make shopping easier.

Humans: Don’t fall for false equivalencies or weird name games. At best they can be non-logic-based coincidences utilized for further exploration. Like most languages, they should be viewed as attempts to communicate instead of truths.

Older man with unkempt gray long hair and a beard looking intensely at the camera wearing a cape

Your heroes aren’t perfect. That’s the lesson of The Last Jedi, the latest feature film installment in the Star Wars series. Your heroes aren’t perfect, and they can’t single-handedly save the universe. Sometimes they try to run from their problems. Often – okay, pretty much always – they make mistakes, and not just little ones. Sometimes they fail, with tragic consequences. They can help us, but ultimately we have to save ourselves.

It’s there when Rose finds Finn, great hero of the Resistance, sneaking into an escape pod because he’s convinced their ship is going to be destroyed. It’s there when General Leia slaps Poe for his showboating that ultimately worked but at the cost of far too many lives. And it’s there when Luke refuses to help Rey because his last attempt at training new Jedi went so horribly, horribly wrong.

It’s not a bad message to find us at the end of 2017, a year that, in progressive politics, has been more about movements than personalities. Heroes haven’t saved us. Leaders haven’t saved us. It’s all been down to ordinary people.

A big green leaf with 7 leaves, a pot leaf it is, with words MARIJUANA in capitals below

In late November, Ohio marijuana aficionados waited with excitement to see which 12 companies would receive a coveted Level 1 mega-grow cultivation license. To everyone’s surprise, of the 109 applicants, 73 were “disqualified.” Other irregularities in the selection process began to appear.

Another surprise came on December 11 when Jimmy Gould of ResponsibleOhio fame, whose company CannaAscend was “disqualified,” announced at a Cincinnati press conference that he and fellow RO founder Ian James were preparing a “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Amendment” for the fall 2018 ballot.

I caught up with Ian, a long-time colleague, to learn more:

MJB: How does it feel to be back?

IJ: I love this stuff.

MJB: Is Ohio ready for adult use marijuana?

IJ: I trust the voters before the bureaucrats. Our research shows that 6 in 10 Ohio voters support legalizing marijuana for adult use. And the numbers keep growing. A Pew (Research Center) poll from 1998 had 81 percent opposed. Both Pew and Gallup now find 64 percent/34 percent in favor nationwide showing that marijuana has strong unflappable majority support.

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