Category Archives: Columbus – Westside-Hilltop

Needle Drop Off Boxes in Communities

Needle Drop Off Box S. Powell Ave & Sullivant Ave

What a waste of taxpayers money! Shame on Columbus City Council! As if a drug user is going to be so conscientious (as in conscious) to take the time and walk to one of these boxes! It’s classic enabling and not solving the problem. Again a “feel good” band-aid that our city officials thought would solve our drug problem.

And don’t say it’s just a metal box. Look at this picture: the box is new, has a lock on it, was set on a poured concrete foundation, and oh yes, we have to pay someone to empty it! Total waste of money that I would have rather seen going into the real issue of shutting down the drug dealers infesting our streets!




Confederate Monuments

Jeez, rename schools, tear down monuments, and now consider Camp Chase which by the way was only a training camp for Ohio volunteer army soldiers, a parole camp, a muster outpost, and later a prisoner-of-war camp for Confederates and civilians suspected of actively supporting secession and now a cemetery that does annually hold a ceremony to commemorate the Confederate soldiers who had been held and died there. Guess The Hilltop Historical Society better stop placing those Confederate flags on the graves every year!

Next we will redact our history books as we all shouldn’t be reminded of the evil things that we as Americans have done in our past. So it’s ok to protest today with hateful pointless violence and killing activities that we as a civilized society continue today all in the name of claiming that indicators of our evil history should be erased.

In my long years and many places that I have visited, some very horrific, I many times questioned why we memorialized such tragic events in our history. Each time I was pointed to the following saying:

        ’Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ – George Santayana

So today when I look at a monument especially the many in the south I don’t see a monument of hate, I look at the history behind the person or moment in history being memorialized, I look, I learn and realize that for every bad, evil, embarrassing moments in our history there has always been good, growth, and triumphs associated with it. We as a nation, as a country, as a melting pot of people, would not be where we are today if not for the combination of the both. I by no means say this is a favorable model but we has human beings have struggled and will continue to struggle with good and evil.

In an age where our entire history is available in the palm of our hand and current events is shared in a fraction of a second, perhaps we can take a minute or two and use our smartphone to snap a picture of that monument and read the history behind that memorialization instead of snapping a picture of it’s destruction and the hate and violence that went with the process. At least the monument for the decades it’s been there didn’t hurt anyone; it only stirred up feelings that perhaps could have been better guided if the history behind it was understood CLEARLY first and realize the monument is merely referencing a point in time in history and not a point in time of the present.


  • a statue, building, or other structure erected to commemorate a famous or notable person or event.
  • a statue or other structure placed by or over a grave in memory of the dead.
  • a building, structure, or site that is of historical importance or interest.

In my research I came across this article with interest:



“Summer Jam West brightens Hilltop”

“Summer Jam West brightens Hilltop”

True leadership is not about being a part of an organization or becoming involved with the status quo. Patti Von Niessen​ is a true inspiration and a much needed visionary in bringing quality events to the Columbus Westside Hilltop. She accomplished this without affiliation but rather taking her vision in bringing art to our community. In doing so she brought people from all cultures together, to mingle, eat, enjoy art, enjoy music, and make new friends. She has accomplished more in bringing people together with a solid theme of activities, events, and learning in the past 4 years than any organization here on the Columbus Westside Hilltop has attempted to do in the past 25 years. This in my opinion makes for a true leader, an inspiration for us all!


By Andrew Keiper
The Columbus Dispatch

Posted Jul 8, 2017 at 9:01 PM
Updated Jul 8, 2017 at 9:01 PM

Laughter rises from the mingling crowd, mixing with music booming across Westgate Park and the smoke from the eclectic array of food trucks. For an afternoon, all is right on the Hilltop.
The fourth annual Summer Jam West arts and culture festival kicked off early Saturday afternoon, bringing in a diverse group of community members, artists and vendors. From a children’s face-painting tent and a local ice cream shop to a broad display of area bands, the festival hosted a bevy of Columbus offerings.
The festival is an attempt to break down the formal cultural and physical distance that make Downtown galleries often inaccessible to Hilltop residents, said Patti Von Niessen, the executive director of the Summer Jam West nonprofit.
“Being able to have art brought to them is huge,” Von Niessen said. “We’re an art desert out here. There’s virtually no public art.”
This year’s theme is “Moving and Grooving,” and, per tradition, a huge mural was painted to commemorate it. Local artist Roger Williams donated his time and talents to complete the massive 95-foot-long painting along the nearby Camp Chase Trail. Murals from years past can be found dotting Westgate Park.
Von Niessen has been a neighborhood resident since 2009, and began the organization in 2012. What started as a modest 1,000-attendee festival has blossomed to attract an estimated 6,000 this year, taking up most of Westgate Park’s 43 acres.
Brian Marcus, Hilltop resident and local artist, has witnessed the growth and positive effects of the festival over the years. His hand-drawn, psychedelic artwork decorated his vendor’s tent, which he said was meant to help showcase the creativity of the community rather than turn a profit.
Marcus was commissioned by Von Niessen’s organization to paint a panel that was awarded to a local business for quality work in the community. Such initiatives aren’t uncommon for Summer Jam West, which Von Niessen said tries to proliferate permanent art installations throughout the neighborhood.
“We keep as much of our money on the Hilltop as possible,” she said. “We try and live up to our socialist attitude, you know?”

Her hyperlocal commitment is recognized by a wide coalition of sponsors from across Columbus. The $30,000 festival is made possible by donations from Heartland Bank, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ohio Arts Council, Hollywood Casino and Puffin Foundation West, to name a few.
Summer Jam West is a welcome change of pace for community members and local police officers alike.
Horse-mounted and K-9 officers watched as children played with the animals, a cruiser was open for kids to inspect and take photographs, and patrol officers roamed the park grounds with ice cream or fried chicken in their hands.
Brian Newsome, a community liaison officer for the Hilltop precinct, has worked at the festival for the past several years. He’s noticed the benefits brought on by the artistic initiatives of Summer Jam West.
The event, which he said has remained peaceful in years past, helps to revitalize and bond the neighborhood.
“Just trying to bring back that neighborhood feel of community, to know your neighbor,” Newsome said. “I just think all around, it makes it more of a community event.”


Some say myth of Hilltop

Was in a discussion thread yesterday and a prominent community person challenged by saying that “we keep maintaining the myth that the Hilltop is some sort of slum.” and that “we must limit ourselves to the actual truth.” We cannot continue to sugar coat issues that steadily occur on the Westside-Hilltop from entities that sit in ivory towers holding award ceremonies on accomplishments to our community and neighborhoods that perhaps would seem “mythical” to us. We cannot have members of our community continue to sit on prominent boards or lead in prominent entities when they themselves fester the problem with their own slumlord properties or properties that sit on prominent corridors of our Westside-Hilltop that have been decaying for decades with no improvements or plans to develop. Perhaps we can wonder why these people sit on such entities and ask businesses from outside of our community to develop here when they themselves have made no effort to make something viable of their properties?



Letterto the Editor: City is turning its back on Hilltop – Ruth Thurgood Mundy

In response to letter to the editor (see below):

I’ve said for three years now that the Hilltop is the no man’s land between 70W/W. Broad St and Wilson Rd. It’s even an embarrassment going west of Wilson Rd with the new sidewalks, lighting, and streets and the wonderful median strip that was beautifully filled with weeds this year. But let’s go further west on W. Broad St and see the wonderful developments going on in Lincoln Village. Their median strip was beautifully kept with sustainable plants that made a pleasure to go thru Lincoln Village. So why has the Hilltop failed and Franklinton and Lincoln Village have succeeded? Perhaps we are a lost cause. Perhaps we are the dumping ground of Section 8 vouchers from other areas of the city that had to move those populations out in order to revitalize. Perhaps we have land development banks that claim to be doing us good and patronize our community but really they are sectioning “poor” dollars to our neighborhoods in developments so that they can take the higher end dollars to better neighborhoods. Perhaps we are the new “project” place to be for homeless shelters, free medical facilities, and mental institutions after all that’s the people we have. Perhaps we are the famous place for out-of-state LLCs to buy up all our housing dirt cheap and then renting these properties unfixed, broken to people desperate for housing that will pay the high rent prices because they don’t qualify for other housing. And of course let’s thank and kiss the asses of our great Columbus City officials who walked our streets and talked the talk but still shy away from any tough stance on slumlords, tougher regulations from LLC’s buying up property, especially from out-of-state, and setting up slum housing right next to Hilltop residents who still give a damn but are damned for trying to get the city to do something. Let’s not even get into our new claim to fame of being the heroin place to be for the City of Columbus. Let’s continue to allow the city to dump clean needles and naloxone which we all get to view daily discarded in our alleys and sidewalks. Let’s continue to thank the City of Columbus for continually setting loose habitual drug sellers so that they continue to come back to our communities and continue our fame. Let’s continue to thank the city for turning a deaf ear on reported call-ins of known drug houses in our communities because resources can only be devoted to the “big gamers” while our small time drug dealers flourish on our streets and laugh and boldly sell in our streets because they know they are untouchable – they know the game. And finally let’s not begrudge the Hilltoppers that moved here and tried to do their best to make a better community but realize they are only one against many and are leaving in defeat because they only want a safe, clean, and sustainable, vibrant place to live.
Letter to the Editor: City is turning its back on Hilltop
Saturday November 26, 2016 5:00 AM

In his 2016 State of the City address, Mayor Andrew J. Ginther stated, “We know there are other neighborhoods that could benefit from more city investment.” He then outlined plans for the Hilltop and Linden neighborhoods (Dispatch article, Feb. 25). However, it seems Ginther has quickly abandoned the Hilltop.
Since Ginther took office, Linden has emerged as the ostensible favorite child, with promised inclusion in the Smart City transportation program, offices for the new Department of Neighborhoods, and tax incentives for a new Huntington headquarters (“Huntington investing in Northland, Linden,” Dispatch article, Wednesday).
On the Hilltop, it is more of the same neglect: The city approved a tax credit to a major employer, Big Lots, to move offices out of the area (“Big Lots gets city tax break,” Dispatch article, July 19), and COTA is actually cutting bus service on some lines after voters in November renewed a sales tax for the transit system. The current administration takes credit for Hague Avenue improvements and sidewalk and sewer improvements, but these long-overdue Hilltop improvements were already set to be made under the administration of Mayor Michael B. Coleman.
Watching the promised investment go to Ginther’s pet project and not balancing the investment between the two neighborhoods is yet another signal to the West Side that City Hall is leaving the Hilltop further and further behind. How disappointing.
Ruth Thurgood Mundy

Heroin Zombie Parade to Columbus City Council – 10/31/16

We could get a really cool zombie parade tomorrow in front of Columbus City Council if we just go out today or early tomorrow before the sun comes out and round up all the heroin junkies hanging in the alleys, bushes, vacant buildings, passed out in front of businesses or our school yards and parks. We could get tons of free needles provided by our outstanding city and can even get free Naloxone to keep these zombies stable while we put them in the tons of free grocery carts that clutter our alleys, parking lots, or recycling centers. We then just have to wheel them downtown just in time for council meeting. We’ll parade them around – all will be happy! Great community involvement round them up and leave them in the shopping carts in front of city hall. Yeah that’s the way. <Smiling smugly> Happy Halloween!


Hope Over Heroin gathering brings hundreds for addiction help to Dodge Park

Obviously we need tougher initiatives stopping the dealers especially when you can realistically state on average at least two houses (mostly rentals) selling on each street thru out the Columbus Westside. We need tougher Judges in putting the dealers away. I understand we have overcrowded prisons but we need to think outside the box on handling these dealers. Heck, I’d ban them from living in the state. Ship them out. LOL, sarcasm aside, if you make the product harder to obtain, people addicted to these products will be forced to reevaluate what they are going to do and hopefully seek drug counseling services. Once here Counseling services need to step up and not focus so much on the stopping of the addiction but to find out what circumstances mental or otherwise have caused the addiction to begin with. This opens up a whole other door about providing adequate health and mental services for everyone as truthfully we all have been raised in an addictive society with doctors and the pharmaceutical industry pushing drugs down our throats from the day we are born. It takes a strong mind and character from the onset to maneuver around this constant bombardment from the doctors, pharmaceutical companies and especially the daily barrage of advertisements encouraging us to take pills for everything from gas, pain, too much hair to too little hair. Unfortunately, not everyone has this strong mind and character for a variety of reasons – Why? Perhaps if we find out, we can finally curb this and all drug epidemics!

Hope Over Heroin gathering brings hundreds for addiction help to Dodge Park
By Mike Huson
The Columbus Dispatch • Saturday August 20, 2016 5:08 AM

When Christina Littler learned last week that she nearly lost one of her legs due to an infection that had set in from repeatedly plunging syringes into the back of her right knee, she knew she had to make a change.
She knew she had to kick her heroin addiction. And she knew she would need help.
“I’ve been to rehab seven times,” Littler, 25, of the Hilltop, said. “But this time I have to. I’m going to die. And I need to be here for my 2-year-old daughter.”
She joined several hundred Ohioans Friday at Dodge Park in Franklinton for the first of a two-day “Hope Over Heroin” event, a faith-based gathering that offers freeheroin-addiction support to the public, along with food and live music.
Hope Over Heroin launched in summer 2014, after more than 14 deaths from heroin overdoses in a single week in Hamilton County in southwest Ohio, according to the group’s’ website.
That year, 2,531 Ohio residents died from unintentional drug overdoses, a 20 percent increase from the year before, according to an Ohio Department of Health report. Heroin accounted for about 47 percent of those deaths.
Since then, the Cincinnati-based movement has gone mobile, bringing its mission to end heroin addiction to cities throughout Ohio, as well as parts of Kentucky and Indiana.
The Rev. Jeff Leslie, of Judah Tabernacle on the South Side, joined other pastors and volunteers onstage Friday to offer hope and motivation to the crowd.
“We want the community to come to the awareness of the epidemic of heroin that is here, and offer the opportunity to get freedom from that and not have to stay in that condition,” he said.
To Leslie, faith in a higher power offers a powerful partner on the road to recovery.
About 30 churches participated in the Dodge Park event, helping connect addicts with on-hand representatives from 35 rehab and detoxification services.
Access to resources, however, wasn’t restricted based on spirituality or religion.
Ohio Addiction Recovery Center CEO Josh Butcher was there, offering his organization’s non-faith-based services to recovering addicts.
After eight years of sobriety from heroin, Butcher said he appreciates the importance of assistance in recovery, regardless of its connection with spirituality.
“In recovery, it’s about helping another addict, so if I see someone struggling, I’m going to give them the tools for the knowledge that I have,” he said. “Whether they decide to use it is up to them.”
Littler, who is not religious, huddled with volunteers for a group prayer after being blessed near one of the four large baptismal pools by the stage.
She said she plans to again attempt to detoxify and rehabilitate at a center in Gahanna starting Monday, this time, with the Lord watching over her.
Hope Over Heroin will continue Saturday at Dodge Park, 667 Sullivant Ave. The event, which begins at 7 p.m., will be preceded by a prayer march and memorial at 5:30 p.m.