Year-in-Review: Where are they now?

Erica Thompson

Although 2016 proved to be a difficult year for the nation, there were still plenty of enjoyable and inspirational local stories that we can look back on fondly. Here, we thought we'd provide quick updates on a handful of the memorable people we crossed paths with this year.

Joshua Herald

Through the purchase of a fake domain name - - and some crafty video editing, Columbus drummer Joshua Herald pulled offan epic April Fool's Day prank in 2016. On April 1, many of his friends woke up to a fictitious 10TV news report that he'd been busted for running an international drug operation. The footage spurred companions to "unfriend" him on Facebook, family to contact the sheriff's office and 10TV's legal counsel, Jones Day, to send him a cease-and-desist email. When Herald wasn't able to comply with the law firm's demand for domain ownership - the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) would not allow a domain to be transferred for 60 days - he was informed he'd be sued for damages up to $150,000 for copyright infringement.

"Lo and behold, it looks like they were essentially just bluffing," Herald said in a mid-December phone interview. "I never got a court date or anything like that."

Instead Jones Day proceeded through ICANN's dispute-resolution process, which involved about 80 pages of paperwork.

"I guess they had somebody out there scouring my social media because they had quotes of my status updates," Herald said. "And believe it or not, they actually found theColumbus Alive article and then took … quotes in the article and put it into their legal document."

Around August, ICANN awarded the domain to Jones Day. Although the law firm never informed Herald that they were no longer planning to sue, he figured he was in the clear. In fact, the musician, also a freelance videographer and sound engineer, sent 10TV his resume - as he'd vowed to do back in April.

"Needless to say I have not heard a single word from them," Herald said. "[But] that April Fool's joke has kind of spring-boarded everything in a completely unintentional way because … I ended up getting a lot of client work as a consequence."

Herald has no plans of outdoing himself on April 1, 2017. "I think the only way I could top it is if I actually cooked meth and then got busted," he said. "And then it would be more of an Andy Kaufman thing where people think I'm joking … and that I'm still around somewhere."

However, he is going to do something - just in a completely different format. "It'll be interesting," he said. "I guess you'll just have to wait until April 1."

Troy Hammond

Last July, musicians and comedians gathered at Villa Milano to "Keep Troy Hammond off the Streets."

The benefit show was hosted to raise money to help Hammond, a local comedian who happens to be blind, save his Westerville house - where he lived for 20 years - from being sold in a short sale. The house was titled in the name of Hammond's wife, Patti, and ended up in jeopardy following her death in 2012. (Because Hammond and Patti's common-law marriage is not recognized in Ohio, ownership of the house - and the insurance funds - were transferred to Patti's late mother's estate.)

Alive caught up with Hammond in mid-December and learned the benefit show brought in 300 people and raised $4,000 of his $20,000 goal. But due to "red tape," the short sale never took place and the process of securing his house is at a standstill, he said.

Hammond continues to collect as much money as he can, be it from cash gifts that still come in, or profits from T-shirt sales. He also hopes a new YouTube video of the July show will bring in some donations. He even put on a smaller benefit show on Dec. 3 at Fiore's Restaurant in New Lexington, raising an additional $700.

"It may not sound like a lot but that's one month's legal fees plus the water bill," he said.

Ideally, everything will be resolved before spring, Hammond said.

"We're hoping that either there will be a short sale or that the company holding the mortgage at this time is willing to negotiate," he said, and acknowledged he'd have to use his late wife's IRA to help cover the cost. "I would still be better off financially if I were to arrange refinancing the mortgage than I would if I moved back to [an apartment in] the neighborhood where I first lived when I first moved to town."

Hammond said another benefit show at Fiore's is in the works for February. He credits his proactivity and positive attitude for helping him through the ordeal.

"I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "Let's just hope it's not a train."

Stacey Little

Back in September, Columbus State student Stacey Little enlisted a team of people, including former Columbus Crew SC goalkeeper Steve Clark, to help incarcerated male youth. Together they organized "Ball Smart. Ball Hard," a five-week pilot program that would teach young men sports training and life skills to prepare for reentry into the general population. The goal was to launch the initiative at the Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility (CJCF) on October 5.

"We went out there to pass out signup sheets and we thought everything was fine," Little said in a mid-December phone interview. However, according to Little, they were told the facility was on "lockdown," and they wouldn't be able to enact "Ball Smart. Ball Hard." She said they weren't given further explanation.

"It was a gut punch to us," Little said. "[But] we didn't want to pry. We didn't want to overstep our boundaries."

"The staff … needed to have more discussions with the folks who were coming in from the outside," said Kim Jump, the communications chief for the Ohio Department of Youth Services. "As you can imagine, with a juvenile correctional facility, there are a lot of security safeguards and a lot of parameters that have to be set to keep everybody safe and [for] everybody to understand what the expectations of the program will be."

Jump also shared that CJCF will look at "program possibilities for 2017."

Regardless of what happens at CJCF, Little is confident her group will still be able to reach children in need, including those who may be at risk of heading to juvenile correctional facilities.

"It was never intended to just be a program for Circleville," Little said, and explained they always planned to work with children inside and out of juvenile facilities. "We're still gonna do the sports, we're still gonna do the life skills, we're still gonna give them [the sportswear and equipment] that we've collected so far. So nothing's really gonna change except the location."

Currently Little and company are focusing on Linden-McKinley STEM Academy, which Little called a "highly policed school." And though the Crew SC declined to pick up Clark's option for the 2017 season, Little said she expects Clark to continue to be "in the fold."

"We're still trying to get the same outcome," Little said. "We're just trying to help these kids out and we'll do it the best way we can."