What you missed in Columbus for July 6

Blue Jackets goalie dies in fireworks accident, Gov. Mike DeWine commits to sending Highway Patrol officers to Texas and more from the long weekend

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks (80) is shown during an NHL hockey game in New York in this 2020 photo.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died of a chest injury caused by an errant fireworks mortar blast on Sunday. According to police in Novi, Michigan, the firework tilted slightly and started firing toward partygoers, with one striking Kivlenieks and causing major damage to his heart and lungs. (Initial reports that Kivlenieks died from head injuries sustained during a fall were inaccurate.) 

"There was some minor injury to his exterior, which would lead us to believe that some portion of the firework made contact with him, but we're not really sure if it was a direct hit or whether the percussion from the explosion caused his injuries," Lt. Jason Meier said, according to The Detroit News.

"We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Matiss Kivlenieks, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his mother, Astrida, his family and friends during this devastating time," Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson said in a statement. "Kivi was an outstanding young man who greeted every day and everyone with a smile and the impact he had during his four years with our organization will not be forgotten."

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Gov. Mike DeWine is the most recent Republican governor who has committed to sending state troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to pleas from two Republican border governors. On Monday, DeWine announced plans to send 14 Ohio State Highway Patrol officers to Texas for two weeks to “assist local law enforcement with border surveillance,” DeWine’s office said in a statement.

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J.D. Vance, who last week announced that he would be seeking the Republican nomination for the senate seat being vacated by Rob Portman, took another step required of any Republicans seeking office in this political era: He walked back his past criticisms of Donald Trump, who lost a free and fair election to President Joe Biden in November. Most recently, Vance deleted a series of 2016 tweets critical of Trump, as reported by Andrew Kaczynski of CNN.

“Like a lot of people, I criticized Trump back in 2016,” Vance said. “And I ask folks not to judge me based on what I said in 2016, because I’ve been very open that I did say those critical things and I regret them, and I regret being wrong about the guy.”

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The Columbus Crew opened its new Arena District stadium on Saturday by storming back to tie New England 2-2. While the game might have ended in a draw, the new facility has received generally rave reviews.

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Finally, since today is apparently National Fried Chicken Day, revisit this April feature from Breakfast With Nick cataloguing 16 fried chicken sandwiches to sample in Columbus, including offerings from Boxwood Biscuit Co., Meshikou Chikin and Wario’s Beef & Pork, among more than a dozen others.