What you missed in Columbus for March 21

Rolling Stone covers the local Boogaloo Boi who went to Ukraine; Ohio State wins a national title; Crew player robbed in Short North; the Athletic ethers Urban Meyer; OSU's tourney run ends; and more

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Henry Hoeft

Henry Hoeft, the local Boogaloo Boi who said he was venturing to Ukraine to join the fight against Russia, received some unwelcome attention from the national media over the weekend. On Sunday, Rolling Stone posted an unflattering feature that explored everything from the circumstances that led to Hoeft being the subject of a glowing profile in the Dispatch to a recent video filmed overseas that has become a tool for Russian propaganda.

“A prominent extremism researcher has tracked the video across forums on Telegram and the Russian social media platform VK that use Hoeft’s claims to mock foreign fighters in Ukraine,” Rolling Stone wrote. “His video has also been blasted as disinformation by one erstwhile brother in arms, who called the video ‘100 percent completely false’ and the product of Hoeft’s bitterness at failing a vetting process to join the fight.”

In addition, the Rooster, which previously reported on Hoeft’s Boogaloo past, wrote today that it had obtained Hoeft’s military records, which contradict Hoeft’s narrative about receiving a Purple Heart while serving in Afghanistan. 

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Ohio State won its first-ever national title in women’s ice hockey when the Buckeyes defeated Minnesota-Duluth in the Frozen Four final by a score of 3-2 on Sunday.

"I just believed in these girls so much, as they did in each other, and I thought this was one of the best hockey games they played all year," Ohio State coach Nadine Muzerall said. "So deserving of it, and they never quit. They played flawlessly tonight. I'm so proud of them."

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A debate between Republican candidates jousting for the Senate seat being vacated by Rob Portman took an ugly but totally in-character turn on Friday when frontrunners Mike Gibbons and Josh Mandel briefly engaged in an onstage standoff. In videos that circulated from the Gahanna debate, Mandel, who stood up to challenge Gibbons during an exchange, appears to call Gibbons a “pussy,” though the two campaigns have since argued about who uttered the word, with the Mandel camp releasing as evidence a slow-motion video that gives off strong “Seinfeld” second-spitter vibes.

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More good news? The Republican senatorial primary might continue beyond May as the Republican-led Ohio Redistricting Commission begins its fourth attempt at drawing up constitutional maps, the first three having been struck down for partisan gerrymandering by the Ohio Supreme Court. The commission is currently working to meet a new March 28 deadline established by the courts and is scheduled to meet with a pair of independent mapmakers suggested by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

The Republican-caused delays have thrown the May 3 primary into disarray, with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issuing a letter on Friday stating that ballots for the primary would not include races for the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives.

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Tragic stories continue to emerge from Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine. The Associated Press recently released this harrowing report, which details a journalist’s escape from Mariupol, a city that has been under heavy Russian fire. “The deaths came fast,” said AP video journalist Mstyslav Chernov, recalling the early days of the Russian attack. “On Feb. 27, we watched as a doctor tried to save a little girl hit by shrapnel. She died. A second child died, then a third. Ambulances stopped picking up the wounded because people couldn’t call them without a signal, and they couldn’t navigate the bombed-out streets.” 

Read the entire account here.

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Months after former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was cut loose by the Jacksonville Jaguars, stories about the coach’s rocky NFL tenure continue to surface. Today, the Athletic released a scathing report describing Meyer’s leadership approach as “belittling” and “demeaning,” which aren’t the kind of adjectives you expect to hear about someone who was once drafted by OSU to teach a course in leadership and character.

In one exchange, according to four people in the room, Meyer fumed about a missed assignment during a preseason game. “And do you know what would happen if I cut you guys?” Meyer said. “You couldn’t get a job paying more than $15 an hour.” 

The implication that his players weren’t capable of anything outside of football soured many in the room, according to the report. “I lost all respect for him after that,” one veteran player told the Athletic.

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The Ohio State men's basketball team's March Madness run came to an end yesterday with a 71-61 loss to Villanova in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

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The Columbus Crew (2-0-2) remained unbeaten after playing the New York Red Bulls to a 1-1 draw on Sunday. Darlington Nagbe scored the equalizer in stoppage time, cracking a shot past Red Bulls goalie Carlos Coronel from deep in the box in the 95th minute of play.

In other Crew news, midfielder Derrick Etienne was assaulted and robbed in the Short North on Thursday. According to a police report, the assault took place just after 10:50 p.m. in the area of North High and West Russell streets.