Letters to the editor

Church works to recover from flood
Asbury South United Methodist Church would like to update our friends in the community about how our church is doing after the flood of March 20.

First, though, we want to thank everyone who has helped and supported us during this challenging time. We are blessed to be part of such a caring community.

Work on our damaged sanctuary is slowly proceeding. There has been much behind-the-scenes activity – planning, identifying contractors, and lining up materials. We are starting to do some of the projects involved in restoring the sanctuary, but we have a long way to go. Our work is compounded not only by the costs of the restoration, but also by the challenges presented by the pandemic. Physical safety is paramount for a church. In spite of the obstacles, we are hopeful that we will make steady progress.

We are also hopeful that our outreach ministries, including the Community Lunch, Community Store, and Friday Morning Breakfast, will be a priority as we rediscover what the new normal will be. We recognize the importance of these ministries and want to be certain that, when they reopen, they are operated in accordance with the health and safety guidelines of that new normal.

We will continue to keep people informed as we move into our future. If you would like to contribute to our sanctuary restoration, please send donations to the church at 4760 Winchester Pike Columbus, OH 43232. They will be promptly and safely handled. Thank you.
Marcia Cooper, chair
Church Council

Libraries remain closed
Thank you for the support you’ve shown the Columbus Metropolitan Library during this global crisis. With the safety of our customers and staff our top concern, we continue to keep a close eye on the news coming out of the governor’s office, as well as guidelines from local, state and national health officials as this pandemic continues to evolve.

In response to Governor DeWine’s recent framework, we are preparing for a phased-in approach to reopening. We are finalizing a plan to open a few locations in May with limited services. Specific timing is subject to the availability of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for our staff and guidelines for customers. We will provide advance notice and specifics of locations and services as soon as possible. Until then, the closure of all 23 of our library locations will continue.

As part of our ongoing planning, we’re coordinating with public libraries around the country to share best practices and ways we can better serve you. Last week we announced a unique partnership with Battelle and OCLC, two industry-leading institutions in central Ohio, to learn more about how long the COVID-19 coronavirus lives on different types of library materials. The work we do here will have far-reaching implications for public libraries around the state, country and even the world, ensuring that the vital services libraries provide to communities can resume in a way that is safe for everyone.

We continue to work hard to find ways to provide you and your family with more digital resources and online programming. Visit columbuslibrary.org for free access to regularly updated, trusted information about COVID-19 and to keep up-to-date with what we’re doing.

We’ve also provided more ways to connect with us:

•Phone Lines: We’ve reopened our phone lines at 614-645-2275 so you can reach us to get the help you need Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

•Homework Help Chat: Our new live chat feature lets K-12 students and educators connect with us for help with at-home learning Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

•Reserve an Expert: You can now schedule a one-on-one, virtual appointment with a librarian to get help with genealogy, local history, business information, searching for a job or downloading digital content.

We’re eager to reopen our doors and see you again in person when it is safe to do so. Thank you again for your trust and support as we all continue to navigate this new way of living and learning together.
Patrick Losinski, CEO
Columbus Metropolitan Library

Continue sustainability practices
“Flattening the curve” has been the driving force behind nearly every policy decision the past few weeks. And rightfully so. In order to protect the health and safety of American citizens, we need to stop the spread of coronavirus as quickly as possible.

In working to achieve this goal, we’ve seen a temporary reduction in pollution, energy consumption and waste production. Recently, The New York Times reported “huge declines in pollution over major metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Chicago and Atlanta.”

Locally, Franklin County has seen reductions too. The closure of schools, universities, businesses and other commercial facilities has resulted in a reduction in the amount of recyclable and waste material that’s being created. In fact, the amount of material coming to the sanitary landfill is down 8 percent, or approximately 2,000 tons a week, from just a few weeks ago.

While this is good news in the near-term, these environmental improvements aren’t permanent.

That’s why I encourage you to continue the sustainability practices you’ve always engaged in and, if you’re inspired, to adopt a few more. There are so many things you can be doing, and just a little bit of effort can make a very big difference.

Take recycling, for example. With coronavirus forcing many of us to work from and spend more time at home, we’re consuming more products packaged in glass, plastic and cardboard. These materials are all recyclable, and Franklin County’s curbside pick-up and drop-off recycling programs make recycling as easy and safe as possible.

Recycling right has never been more important. The reduction in the amount of available material has also created an increase in the demand for recyclables like paper and cardboard. Recycled newspapers, magazines, envelopes and school papers are needed to create products like paper towels and the toilet paper that’s been so hard to find. And recycled cardboard is used to make new boxes so we can avoid shopping in person and instead have goods shipped to our homes.

If we all prioritize recycling now and into the future, we’ll not only help our environment, but we’ll also help our economy. Nearly 400 companies make up central Ohio’s recycling industry, providing jobs and much-needed paychecks to about 5,000 people. Whether you recycle, compost or just turn off lights, your actions matter.

Before I close, I’d like to express my gratitude to the first responders, healthcare workers and others on the front-line of this battle. This includes SWACO’s very own employees who are working hard every day to keep the landfill open for the health and safety of our community as well as all of the sanitation workers who, day in and day out, are putting their health at risk to ensure our waste and recyclables are collected and disposed of. Thank you to all of them!
Ty Marsh, executive director

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