Sometimes journalism informs. Sometimes it entertains. But it's especially gratifying when it inspires.
It seems our story on Bob Erickson and his struggles to maintain his curious home of many rooms in the face of threats from the city's code enforcement officers to condemn it has spurred his Clintonville neighbors into a community act of goodwill.
In that story, “The Mystery House of Clintonville,” which appeared in our March issue, freelancer Kathy Lynn Gray—a Clintonville resident herself—wrote about how Erickson had remodeled his Indianola Avenue home numerous times over many years, continually adapting it for his own family and a multitude of foster children. Many of those additions and redesigns, however, went unfinished as his family situation changed and he got older. Last year, the city caught wind of some of those unfinished projects and, after inspecting the property inside and out, cited a number of code violations and deemed it uninhabitable until it could be brought up to safety standards.
After the story appeared, community members rallied to help Erickson, offering to paint, clean and donate money in a flurry of posts on a Facebook group for Clintonville residents. “Wouldn't it be great if all of Clintonville could come together and help this guy out in appreciation for the good work he has done for the world?” wrote Julie Janson.
Another neighbor with construction experience, Beth Erler, is working to organize volunteers to help Erickson address and remedy the needed improvements and allow him to return to his home.
Unfortunately, as much as he appreciates the gestures, Erickson says he can't allow his neighbors to work inside his home until city inspectors agree that it's safe to occupy.
“I'm touched by the responses of these people, and I'll find ways for them to be helpful,” Erickson told our reporter in mid-April. But he said electrical work needs to be completed before the next city inspection, and he's trying to work with a city consultant on that. He hopes once that's finished, the city will lift its “do not occupy” order, and he can invite volunteers in to help.
For the second year in a row, Columbus Monthly magazine has been nominated as one of five finalists for magazine of the year in our circulation division by the national City and Regional Magazine Association.
The award for General Excellence is based on an entry of three complete issues from 2017, two of which must be from consecutive months. Columbus Monthly's entry consisted of our March “Spring Fashion” issue, our November “10 Best Restaurants” issue and the December issue featuring our “Money, Power, Egos” cover story about OSU's Wexner Medical Center.
Other finalists in Columbus Monthly's circulation category are Palm Springs Life, Sonoma Magazine, San Antonio Magazine and Cleveland Magazine.
Entries were judged by a wide range of industry professionals from publications including Better Homes & Gardens, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper's, National Geographic and many others.
Winners will be announced at CRMA's annual conference June 2–4 in New Orleans.