Ramp Supremes Crunch

Someone asked me recently: “Why rollerblading? It’s a good question. Since I started skating last August, I broke my ankle, apparently injured all the soft parts of my body, permanently scarred my right knee and removed gravel from my hands which were bleeding. And yet, I am going back. Much of the reason is because of the Crunch Ramp Supremes. What started in 2019 as a small group of friends skating together has grown into a community of over 100 skaters and bladers of all genders, races and skill levels. The group’s numbers increased with the pandemic, but the sense of camaraderie and support remained strong. We share tips and tricks, swap erasure stories, attend community events, and fundraise for local nonprofits. And of course we are skating.

I often say that you won’t find a more supportive community than roller skaters. Perhaps this is because we understand that there is power in numbers. Most quad skaters are female or non-binary, and we’re used to fighting for space, both in skate parks and in other areas of our lives. Maybe it’s because we understand that what we’re doing is really fun but also really hard. My fellow Crunch Ramp Supremes would like me to highlight everything I have accomplished over the past few months. “See what YOU can do now! They might say. And they are right. I skate for myself. But I also skate for them. —Brittany Moseley

Say It Loud Columbus co-founders Paisha Thomas, 46, of Worthington and Joseph Gardina, 37, of Westerville, organized the group to add music to the social justice protests.  The couple were pictured at the Maroon Arts Boxpark in the King-Lincoln / Bronzeville district, where they previously performed and held events.

Tell it Fort Columbus

Residents of central Ohio who attended protests last summer in response to George Floyd’s death have already spoken out loud, but local musicians Paisha Thomas and Joey Gardina have sought to amplify them further. Last year, the two launched Say It Loud Columbus, which hires local musicians to bring their gifts to protests against police brutality and other major issues. “We started with five to seven artists,” says Thomas. “We have probably reached about 20 artists.” The connection between social change and live music is important to Thomas, who says, “I grew up in the black church, so music and the inspiration of music has always been a part of who I am. – Pierre Tonguette

Following:Local musicians add music to protests against police violence, hope to uplift activists

A robot, right, delivers food to diners at Mala HotPot Restaurant, 3777 Park Mill Run Drive, Monday, November 23, 2020. Manager Yvonne Cao shows how customers can get their food from the robot's trays.

Robot servers, Mala Hot Pot

They don’t have human touch and that’s what made them perfect last year. At a time when face-to-face contact with other people could prove fatal, Mala Hot Pot in Hilliard began using two cyborg servers to reduce this type of interaction. True, the flesh-and-blood workers are still used to seat guests, take orders, and prepare meals in the kitchen. But the robots deliver the food to the tables, using sensors to avoid hitting people, stalls and other obstacles. The arrangement worked so well, in fact, that Jay Yang, the owner of the restaurant, is now distributing the $ 13,000 machines made by the Chinese company Keenon. With COVID-19 vaccines making people more comfortable dining out, Yang says robots can also help cope with ongoing labor shortages in the service sector. —Dave Ghose

Ian Graham pictured at Needle Exchange Records & Tapes

Ian Graham, Needle Exchange Records & Tapes

When the North Clintonville record store opened in the spring, owner Ian Graham gave his business an additional social mission: to promote harm reduction, a less punitive approach to drug policy and treatment. The name of the store, in other words, was no joke. “I wanted to be able to support him,” says Graham, who has partnered with Harm Reduction Ohio, the state’s largest distributor of the anti-overdose drug naloxone, to share the non-profit organization’s literature. lucrative and eventually offer the drug that saves lives. free in store. With the number of overdose deaths increasing in Franklin County during the pandemic, the Needle Exchange will become a scarce small business that also serves as a distribution site for naloxone, also known as the Narcan brand name. “Every box of Narcan has the potential to save a life,” says Mary Loesch, director of distribution for Harm Reduction Ohio. —Dave Ghose

Following:The Needle Exchange finds its place in a crowded record store

Squirrel, a baby manatee, explores the 300,000 gallon coastal manatee habitat at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium with Stubby, a longtime resident manatee.  Squirrel is one of the smallest calves the zoo has ever cared for, while Stubby is an adult.

Stubby, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The only permanent resident of the zoo’s Manatee Coast exhibit has helped lift the spirits of a city weary of the pandemic over the past year. Stubby, the zoo’s beloved 1,500-pound sea cow with a partially amputated tail, has developed a special bond with an orphaned manatee named Squirrel. Although Stubby has long been the unofficial surrogate mother to the zoo’s manatee, her caregivers say she has never been so closely related to another calf as she has been to Squirrel. Since Squirrel’s arrival in November, the couple have been inseparable, with the youngster being happiest when she touches his pool mate. Stubby, in turn, welcomes the attention, helping Squirrel find food and become comfortable in his surroundings. It all makes you want to put social distancing aside for a moment, jump in the pool, and give Stubby a big wet hug. —Dave Ghose

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