Best of Columbus 2021: Editors’ Picks for Around Town

A trombone serenade, a teenage real estate investor, an unlikely meditation spot and more

Columbus Monthly staff
The "Chakra Mural" on Mound Street near South Washington Avenue

Last Word

During his nearly 50 years in journalism, Randy Ludlow earned a reputation as one of the toughest, orneriest and most intimidating reporters in Ohio, the kind of journalist that politicos who were engaged in questionable activities talked about in nervous, hushed tones, as court proceedings in the Larry Householder corruption case revealed. When Ludlow retired this past spring, he said goodbye in a perfect way. After Gov. Mike DeWine honored and congratulated The Columbus Dispatch reporter during Ludlow’s last COVID-19 press briefing, he responded, “Thank you, Governor, for that undeserved praise, and it should immediately be suspect coming from a politician.” 

Last Notes 

After being appointed to the Ohio Senate in 2011, John Eklund became known for his leadership on issues such as criminal justice reform and sports betting, as well as for his Mad Men-esque suits, cufflinks and slicked-back hair. When the Northeast Ohio antitrust attorney finished his term-limited tenure in December, he showed off another talent: his musicianship. As the clock approached midnight during a marathon, lame-duck session, Eklund brought out his trombone and played “Silent Night” and “Auld Lang Syne” on the Senate floor, earning a bipartisan standing ovation. 

More:Columbus Monthly’s Best of Columbus 2021

Teenage Real Estate Investor 

Since graduating from high school at 16, Chloe Green has been studying psychology at Franklin University while working two jobs, including running her own gift basket and party favor business. By last summer, she’d managed to save nearly $20,000 for a down payment on her first home. And in early May, she achieved her goal, purchasing a two-bedroom, two-bath $165,100 house across from the Canal Winchester community pool and down the road from BrewDog’s DogTap craft brewery, where she won’t be able to drink for another two years. “She’s by far the most responsible teenager I’ve ever met,” Andy Beigel, Green’s loan originator at NFM Lending at Easton, told The Columbus Dispatch.

The “Say Their Names Memorial"

Sobering Reminder of Racial Injustice 

There is a humble memorial hanging on a chain-link fence in Franklinton, tucked away near the train overpass on West Rich Street and across from the River & Rich development. Part of a national effort sparked in Portland, Oregon, the Say Their Names Memorial is a series of laminated black-and-white images of Black lives lost to racial injustice—some you know (George Floyd, Breonna Taylor) and many others you may not. It’s a valuable reminder that the struggle against systemic racism is far from over. 

Unlikely Meditation Spot 

Murals are rampant, and one of the latest is an eye-popping, 76-foot-long composition of circles in colors that represent the seven chakras, or energy centers in the body. A collaboration between painter Ryan Orewiler and reiki healer Darsy Amaya, the “Chakra Mural” on Mound Street near South Washington Avenue is intended as a healing space. Roll out your yoga mat, pop in your earbuds and listen to one of Amaya’s guided chakra meditation podcasts as the world floats away.