Our editors picked some of their favorite trends, new additions to the city and more

Four-legged Deputy

Loveable isn't often the adjective used to describe law enforcement these days, but for the newest member of the Franklin County Sheriff's office, that's his only role. Four-month-old Mattis K. Nine is a yellow English Labrador retriever and the sheriff's first therapy dog. Mattis' role will be to interact with citizens in crisis situations, whether it's victims of crime or children caught in a home SWAT situation. “The thing about dogs is that they don't really care what the situation is—they're caring and unconditional and just want to be accepted. That makes them a great tool for reducing a stressful situation,” says Mattis' handler, Deputy Darrah Metz. “He's bringing people joy and giving people a little moment of peace, and isn't that what it's all about?”

Extinct Trend

The latest craze in Central Ohio has really turned back the clock—by more than 65 million years. All things dinosaur-related are big business now. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium resurrected Dinosaur Island after a two-year hiatus thanks to visitor requests (catch it through Oct. 31). Several smaller-scale productions in April and May included Discover the Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Ohio Expo Center, Columbus DinoFest at the Franklin County Fairgrounds and “Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live” at the Palace Theatre. This fall, COSI will open two new dinosaur exhibits in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History.

Civic Trend

Thanks to a contentious presidential election, the Ohio Statehouse and the streets around Downtown have become ground zero for renewed interest in protesting. Whether it's opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, police brutality, abortion, President Trump or those rallying against his administration, protesting has gained new life as a popular form of civic engagement. Politics aside, re-energized democratic fervor is positive—traffic implications be damned.

Perk for Puppy Owners

Take Your Dog to Work Day is nothing new at BrewDog, the Scottish craft brewery that opened its first U.S. location in Canal Winchester in February. But the progressive company has taken its pet-friendly policy a step further, boasting the country's first “pawternity leave,” a week of paid time off for employees who adopt a dog. The perk reflects the company's laid-back culture and enhanced parental leave benefits.

Reuse

Shipping container dwellings have been among the nation's hottest housing trends for the last several years, and nonprofit Nothing Into Something Real Estate has found a way to repurpose the containers into a needed housing solution for low-income and at-risk individuals in Columbus. The 25-unit “cargominiums” built on the East Side offer two bedrooms and 640 square feet of living space. Now that's thinking outside the box.

Political Potty

The restrooms at High Beck Tavern in the Brewery District offer a different choice than most establishments: “Nasty Women” or “Bad Hombres.” The door décor, hand-painted in red with accompanying stick figures, has been showing up in social media selfies, which is just fine with co-owner Tommy Maher. “We've had minimal complaints,” Maher says. “The establishment has a little bit of a liberal vibe to it more than the conservative, so most people think it's funny.”

Social Media Meltdown

The Reynoldsburg RadioShack's Facebook page turned blue in a hurry following the store's closing in March, with profanity-fueled rants against customers—the one we can quote here said, “We always hated you … anyway.” The angst-filled rants went viral, earning mentions by Fortune and the BBC, among others.

New Downtown Vantage Point

Of all the new spots to take in the center city's renaissance, you really can't beat the view from Parks Edge on West Spring Street in the Arena District. This summer, residents will begin moving into the 12-story condo development, which overlooks the transformed riverfront, a view that will look even more impressive once the National Veterans Memorial & Museum is completed in 2018. But the vantage point doesn't come cheaply. Unit prices range from $450,000 to more than $2 million.

Marketing Opportunity: Heads

In one of the stranger marketing campaigns of the year, the Lice Clinics of America promoted a “new type of egg hunt” over Easter weekend by encouraging parents to check their children for the odious invader and opening its doors, including a location at 951 Worthington Woods Loop Road in Columbus, on April 8 to offer free lice-eradicating treatments.

Marketing Opportunity: Tails

Charmin dumped a truckload of toilet paper in the Pickerington yard of Michigan tight end Jake Butt. The winking marketing stunt was delivered at the start of the NFL draft in April, in which Butt was selected by the Denver Broncos. Fortunately, the family enjoys the name notoriety. They're known for showing up in force at Michigan games in matching jerseys, which included Dad's “Head Butt” and others with variations of “Nice Butt” and “Kick Butt.” An aunt, Theresa, only had to add an apostrophe to her name to create her “There's A Butt” jersey.

Guardian of the Fourth Estate

The Washington Post adopted the phrase “Democracy Dies in Darkness” as the 140-year-old newspaper's slogan in February, a phrase popularized by Post reporter Bob Woodward, who later revealed that it originated with a decision written by Judge Algenon Marbley of the U.S. District Court of Southern Ohio in Columbus in a 2012 case about voter suppression.

Use of the Law—Any Law

When police noticed a known gang member's social media post of him skinning a deer, they contacted Division of Wildlife officer Brad Kiger, asking him to investigate in hopes of possibly making an arrest. Kiger says he couldn't prove the suspected gang member was involved, and since the deer was already butchered when Kiger arrived, he couldn't prove where or even how it was killed. “What I believed and what I could prove were two different things,” Kiger says. “There were lots of versions of the story. Everyone was lying.”

Flashback: 2007, Kids' story about an existential Scandinavian rodent

No one can accuse the Wexner Center of dumbing down its youth programming. In May, the arts organization offered “Goodbye Mr. Muffin,” a Danish children's play about a dying guinea pig. From the play's online description: “Once Mr. Muffin was young, strong and proud. He could carry a whole cucumber on his back! Now he is old, tired and gray. He sits alone and remembers.”

Way to Tire Out your Pup

Central Ohio is home to 14 outdoor dog parks ranging from 13,000 square feet to 5.5 acres and offering a variety of activities. Below are a few favorites chosen by Columbus Monthly's Emma Frankart Henterly and her pooch Cam, a 2-year-old pit bull/German shepherd mix. Parks listed all provide pick-up baggies and separate areas for small and large dogs unless otherwise noted; human and dog ratings are both out of five.

Go to columbusmonthly.com/dogparks for ratings on all 14 Central Ohio locations.

Park

Area

Shade

Seating

Other amenities

Rating

Notes

Bark Park at Brooksedge Park

708 Park Meadow Rd., Westerville

1 acre and 0.75 acres (large dog enclosures); 0.25 acre (small dog enclosure)

Mature trees provide some shade, but not near seating areas.

Benches and picnic tables

A tunnel to run through and a few platforms to jump on; blue emergency call button

4 stars

3 paws

Two large dog areas are rotated to keep grass healthy, which prevents muddy spots.

Buckeye Area

Dog Park at Walnut Woods Metro Park

6716 Lithopolis Rd., Groveport

3 acres (large dog enclosure); 1 acre (small dog enclosure)

A covered shelter and lots of young trees provide plenty of shade.

Benches and picnic tables

Mulched agility courses in both enclosures have an adjustable-height jumping pole, weave poles, a tunnel, hoops and flat boulders.

4 stars

4 paws

A separate swimming pond is in its own fenced-off area accessible via the large dog side. It's only two or three feet deep, but dogs don't seem to mind.

Friends of Alum Creek Dog Park

3993 Hollenback Rd., Lewis Center

1.2 acres (large dog enclosure); 0.7 acres (small dog enclosure);

1 acre (doggie beach enclosure)

Plenty

Benches

Three separated doggie beaches and swim areas

4 stars

5 paws

A basic first-aid kit in the swim area is much appreciated, and the non-swim areas of the park feature brand-new fencing, installed this summer. Most maintenance is provided by volunteers with the nonprofit Friends of Alum Creek Dog Park association.

Godown Dog Park

6099 Godown Rd., Columbus

3.7 acres (large dog enclosure); 0.8 acres (small dog enclosure)

Plenty

Benches and fallen logs

Boulders and fallen logs to climb on and under; paved walking path provides some accessibility

3 stars

5 paws

Sporadic maintenance means trash cans often are overflowing at peak times and muddy pools are often present, but these cons are offset by the park's large size and abundance of available tennis balls.

Heritage Trail

Dog Park

7262 Hayden Run Rd., Hilliard

4 acres

A covered shelter provides some shade; trees are young and don't offer much.

Benches and picnic tables

Hills and tunnels built into them, plus weave poles; splash pad with multiple jets

4 stars

5 paws

Sides are divided by a dog's activity level, not size, which is unique in Central Ohio. Some of the muddy spots are roped off to keep dogs out, but not all of them. One patron warned us of ticks, but we didn't find any.

Pizzurro Park

Dog Park

940 S. Hamilton Rd., Gahanna

4 acres total (small and large dog enclosures combined)

Good shade along the fence line in the large dog area and throughout small dog area; umbrellas are set over tables in the large dog area

Benches and picnic tables

Obstacle course in a separate fenced-off area with weave poles, a jump pole, ramps and a tunnel; “time-out” enclosure on the large dog side; paved walking path throughout large dog sides

5 stars

5 paws

An adjacent kids' playground is hugely convenient for parents. The large dog enclosure is divided into two sections, which can be closed independently to allow grass recovery. Even after hard rains, the park had hardly any muddy spots at all.

Rocky Fork Metro Park Dog Park

7180 E. Walnut St., Westerville

1.8 acres total (small and large dog enclosures combined)

A few young trees provide no shade, but a pergola was under construction at press time.

Benches

Clorox wipes available near baggie stations

4 stars

4 paws

The splash pad is activated by human touch, which is great for water conservation. This park is newly opened in 2016 and enjoys frequent visits from park rangers, who help maintain order and cleanliness.

Scioto Audubon Metro Park

Dog Park

347 Maier Pl.,

Downtown

2.5 acres total (small and large dog enclosures combined)

None in the dog enclosures, but a central, fenced-in area between the large and small dog enclosures has a covered shelter with picnic tables

Benches and picnic tables

A seesaw, ramp, tunnel and jump stations in both enclosures

3 stars

4 paws

The area is very exposed on windy and sunny days, and the two enclosures are of similar dimensions, meaning small dogs have lots of room to run, but large dogs have less space relative to their size.