Paige Pfleger

Paige Pfleger is a reporter for WOSU, Central Ohio's NPR station. Before joining the staff of WOSU, Paige worked in the newsrooms of NPR, Vox, Michigan Radio, WHYY and The Tennessean. She spent three years in Philadelphia covering health, science, and gender, and her work has appeared nationally in The Washington Post, Marketplace, Atlas Obscura and more. 

St. Louis, St. Paul, Richmond, Boston — cities across the country have dismantled, torn down or removed their statues honoring the explorer Christopher Columbus. One of the more recent and more surprising additions to that list is his namesake: Columbus, Ohio. The city once had three Christopher Columbus statues.

Construction crews recently dismantled a marble statue on the campus of Columbus State Community College, loading it piece by piece onto a flatbed truck to be put into storage.

A small Columbus statue still stands on the lawn of the statehouse.

Gov. Mike DeWine is asking the Ohio General Assembly to ban chokeholds, except in life-or-death situations, and to require independent investigations for all police shootings and deaths in police custody.

Several large metal shipping containers are lined up in a warehouse under a large American flag. Their doors are ajar and workers stream in and out, power tools buzzing.

These are no ordinary shipping containers: They represent a huge scientific breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19.

"We're looking at the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System that we've developed to be able to decontaminate PPE for health care workers on the front-line," says Will Richter, a researcher at the Columbus, Ohio-based company.

Every day for the past week, colleges and universities around the country have made the announcement: in-person classes are cancelled due to fears over the spreading coronavirus.

Ohio State. Harvard. University of Virginia. University of Michigan. Duke. These are just some of the more than 100 universities across the country that are moving classes online.

Lecture halls will be empty. Labs closed. Concerts cancelled. Sports practices called off. Some universities are asking students to go home early for spring break, and if on break now, not to return to campus at all.

It’s been a chaotic couple of days for the Arnold Sports Festival. First came word the expo was cancelled and spectators would be limited to a few competitions, then festival organizers said fans could come watch.

With nine deaths linked to COVID-19 in the U.S. so far, health officials around the country are playing close attention to recent travelers.

The Ohio Department of Health is waiting on test results for a new possible case of coronavirus.

photo of Mike DeWine
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Governor Mike DeWine is directing more than $2 million of grant funding into local drug task forces.

The funds will be distributed to 27 existing drug task forces to help disrupt the drug trade in Ohio.

DeWine hopes the funds will help law enforcement agencies identify traffickers, interrupt the flow of drugs from Mexico, and prevent the sale of illegal drugs to those struggling with substance use disorder.

Hamilton County was awarded the largest amount, with three agencies receiving nearly $230,000 total. It has one of the highest overdose death rates in the state.

In more than 30 states, it is illegal for someone with HIV to have sex without first disclosing their status. Some are now pushing to change that, arguing that the laws are actually endangering public health.

More than 1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and their HIV status could conceivably put them behind bars. That's what happened to Michael Holder.

"I served 8 1/2 years in prison and three years after on parole," Holder says.

A diversion program for victims of human trafficking is spreading to cities around the country. The model has roots in Columbus, Ohio, where a judge decided to direct women toward rehabilitation instead of jail.

Ten years ago, Judge Paul Herbert was sitting in a courtroom when he noticed a trend. He was seeing lots of women who were abused and forced into sex work, but they were being treated like criminals.

a photo of William Wood with a rifle in hand
PAIGE PFLEGER / WOSU

William Wood answers the door to his suburban Columbus home with a Glock 19 on his hip. His two toddler-aged children, Daisey and Wesley, peak out from behind his legs.  

Cartoons are playing on the TV as Wood shows his gun collection in the living room. He pulls loaded gun magazines off a closet shelf, buried underneath Monopoly and Candy Land.

"This camo one here shoots a .300 Blackout, this is a standard 5.56 round," Wood says. "The kid in Dayton, he used that, unfortunately."

PAIGE PFLEGER / WOSU

A high school in Columbus welcomed its first set of unique students this month. They have all struggled with addiction to drugs or alcohol. Heartland High School is the state’s first recovery school.

Mount Carmel Health System announced Thursday that CEO Ed Lamb will resign at the end of the month, following an investigation into "excessive" painkiller dosing by a former doctor. The hospital also fired 23 employees, including five members of the management team, involved in the cases.

Experts often blame illicit fentanyl for skyrocketing overdose deaths among illegal drug users. Now a series of deaths at an Ohio hospital is raising questions about oversight in prescribing pharmaceutical fentanyl.

“I water my horses out of this creek down here,” Jeff Ivers says, resting his hand on his horse’s nose.

He looks out over his land: 43 acres, surrounded on three sides by Perry State Forest, with a small creek running through it.