What you missed in Columbus for Jan. 24

Intel comes to town, COVID hospitalizations decline, Republicans submit maps again, NFL craziness and more from the weekend

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
A rendering of what Intel's $20 billion microchip plant could look like that is planned for Jersey Township in Licking County.

On Friday, the news became official: Intel will invest $20 billion to build two computer chip plants in nearby Jersey Township in Licking County. The semiconductor factories, known as "fabs," will employ an estimated 3,000 workers. It's said to be Ohio's largest economic development project to date.

***

Axios reports that Ohio's COVID-19 hospitalizations have now declined for two weeks, which could mean the omicron variant surge is waning. But we're not out of the woods yet. "Ohio is still averaging about 21,500 daily COVID cases over the past 21 days," Axios Columbus wrote in its newsletter. Nationwide, cases are declining. "If the pattern follows the trend that we’re seeing in other places such as the Northeast, I believe that you will start to see a turnaround throughout the entire country," said Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Sunday appearance on ABC’s “This Week."

***

The Ohio Redistricting Commission again approved state House and Senate district maps in a 5-2 vote along party lines, with Democrats objecting. The maps will once again face scrutiny from the Ohio Supreme Court, which recently rejected the commission's previously approved maps. The court is tasked with deciding whether the commission complied with anti-gerrymandering provisions in the Ohio Constitution that voters approved in 2015.

"I've felt a little bit like I am a mom with my two teenagers when I ask them to fold and put away the laundry and they simply have stuffed it in their drawers and called the job done," said House Minority Leader-elect Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington.

***

The New York Times reports that President Joe Biden "is considering deploying several thousand U.S. troops, as well as warships and aircraft, to NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, an expansion of American military involvement amid mounting fears of a Russian incursion into Ukraine."

***

In the Dispatch, Eric Lagatta reports on the city's efforts to curb lethal violence. In October, alongside Police Chief Elaine Bryant and city officials, Mayor Andrew Ginther detailed findings of a study by National Network for Safe Communities, which included a call for city leaders to implement a "Group Violence Intervention" initiative, or GVI. "Since that announcement, some community leaders and anti-violence advocates have expressed frustration with what they see as a slow implementation of the GVI strategy even as 2021 became the second record year in a row for the number of homicides in Columbus," Lagatta writes.

***

Columnist Theodore Decker has been sitting on a Meat Loaf story for nearly 30 years. Now you can read it.

***

Everybody says the NFL playoff games were bonkers.

***

It's snowing again.