Franklinton and COTA get big fixes, doubt is cast on charter schools and the need for nurses remains as high as it was 2002.
Franklinton (February 2002)
By 2002, people were hoping to turn Franklinton from disfigured to distinguished. David Baker, president of Columbus Urban Growth Corp., wanted to build the West Edge Business Center near Cooper Stadium. Temporary construction HQ for the project was inside a building previously housing a topless car wash.
Columbus Urban Growth was shut down during the Great Recession. It came back to life in 2012 as Columbus Next Generation Corp., and continues to back Franklinton. One of its goals is to make sure that the old and new coexist in the neighborhood.
Charter Schools (March 2002)
Publicly funded, privately run schooling alternatives were newcomers in the early 2000s. This 2002 article described the gamble of millions of dollars diverted from public schools to fund them. Although many of the schools mentioned in the article still exist—like The Graham School and Horizon Science Academy—others fizzled out. In 2013, 17 Ohio charters closed. Another 14 closed in 2015, and at least 19 closed in 2016. With inflated enrollment rates discovered last year at ECOT, the state is demanding more accountability for charters.
Nurses (November 2002)
A nurse shortage plagued Columbus hospitals in 2002. Crises were cited in the article such as an inability at Mount Carmel to staff five of 15 operating rooms. The article cited burnouts from rising baby-boomer demand and a lack of appreciation as two reasons for the problem. Now, demand is made more desperate by the fact that as many as 1 million aging nurses will retire within 15 years, just in time for a vast influx of elderly baby boomers who will require more serious care.
Richard Cordray (February 2004)
Cordray the Collector
As head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington since 2012, Richard Cordray takes on banks and other companies accused of deceptive practices. But in 2004, as he entered his second year as Franklin County treasurer, he was doing battle against delinquent taxpayers on behalf of school districts and county agencies that depend on property levies. In 2003, Cordray collected $22.5 million from property-tax deadbeats.
Since President Donald Trump took office in January with a vow to ease corporate regulation, Washington journalists have speculated that Cordray might be fired. Should that happen, Ohio journalists speculate, the Democrat might come home to run for governor in 2018.
Bill Lhota (December 2004)
Can Lhota Save COTA?
After Ron Barnes' departure from COTA in 2004, Bill Lhota came out of retirement and took over for the transit company that faced a budget deficit of $1.8 million. The former AEP exec had no experience in the field and last rode the bus when he was in college.But when Lhota passed the keys to W. Curtis Stitt in 2012, he left a much more tuned-up model.
The transit agency has a new route system going into effect May 1 that it says will include more direct routes, more days of operation, shorter wait times and more useful connections.