What you missed in Columbus for March 14

Russia continues to escalate its war against Ukraine; a grand jury declines to indict the officer who killed Ma’Khia Bryant; and more from the weekend

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
A Ma'Khia Bryant mural in Denver, Colorado

Over the weekend, Russia continued to escalate its war against Ukraine, besieging a number of cities with strikes that have created a growing humanitarian crisis. The United Nations has recorded at least 596 civilian deaths, according to the Associated Press, though the U.N. believes the toll is significantly higher. And on Sunday, Russian forces shot and killed American filmmaker and journalist Brent Renaud, who was gathering material for a report on refugees.

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is contributing to already-high gas prices, which have risen 22 percent in two weeks. The average price of regular-grade gasoline in the United States has risen to $4.43 a gallon, an increase of 79 cents over the price in late February. In response to rising gas prices, Uber announced it would be adding a surcharge to fares and deliveries. 

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On Friday, a Franklin County grand jury declined to indict Nicholas Reardon, the Columbus police officer who shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in April 2021. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office published the complete investigation online, which you can view here.

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Also on Friday, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium reached a $400,000 settlement with former CEO and president Tom Stalf. Stalf's personal use of zoo assets, uncovered by Dispatch reporting, made up a majority of the misspending that dragged the zoo's finances into the spotlight.

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Actor William Hurt, who won an Academy Award for “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and was nominated for his work in three other films, including “A History of Violence,” died Sunday at age 71. On social media, fans and colleagues paid tribute to Hurt’s immense talents, while a few vintage stories about the actor recirculated, including this read-to-the-end Twitter thread first posted in 2019.

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March Madness NCAA brackets are set. On the men’s side, Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas and Baylor earned the top seeds, with Ohio State drawing the No. 7 seed and a first-round matchup with No. 10 seed Loyola Chicago, a team that is no stranger to the Cinderella run. (The two square off on Friday, March 18.)

On the women’s side, Louisville, South Carolina, Stanford and NC State earned the top seeds, while Ohio State enters the women’s tourney as a No. 6 seed. OSU will face the winner of Missouri State vs. Florida State on Saturday, March 19.