What you missed in Columbus for Oct. 11

A COVID pill, canceled flights, California wildfires, Honest Jobs in the news, and more from the mid-October weekend

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
Harley Blakeman, founder, Honest Jobs

Merck is asking the FDA to authorize molnupiravir, which would be the first antiviral pill to treat COVID.

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In yet another example of cancel culture gone crazy, Southwest Airlines canceled over 800 flights on Saturday and more than 1,000 flights on Sunday, accounting for nearly a third of its scheduled flights. "The airline blamed the problem on air traffic control issues and weather," USA Today reported.

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On Saturday, NPR's Weekend Edition aired an interview with Harley Blakeman, CEO of Honest Jobs, a Columbus-born startup that Alive profiled late last year. Honest Jobs helps employee candidates with criminal records find work.

"The vast majority of people with felony convictions in America are not recently released," Blakeman told host Scott Simon. "So many of these Americans, five, 10 years after they've paid their debt to society are still held under the stigma that they're not ready for employment just because they failed the background check. And the truth is, they are your neighbors. They are in our society. Their kids are at the same playground your kids are at. And we should give them that chance to prove that they can be a valuable employee."

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The New York Times compared recent California wildfire data with info from previous years, and the results are alarming. In the last two years, California wildfires have burned an area larger than New Jersey. “The fire situation in California is unrecognizably worse than it was a decade ago,” said Michael Wara, a Stanford University scientist.

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In college football, Ohio State crushed Maryland 66-17, moving the Buckeyes up to No. 6 in the AP poll, which features five Big Ten teams in the top 10 spots. Elsewhere in college football, unranked Texas A&M upset Alabama 41-38, handing the previously top-ranked Crimson Tide its first loss since 2019 and putting smiles on the faces of everyone outside of Alabama.

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In soccer, the U.S. Men's National Team lost 1-0 to Panama in an uninspiring World Cup Qualifier match on Sunday night, which marked the team's first qualifying loss. The USMNT will take on Costa Rica here in Columbus at Lower.com Field on Wednesday, Oct. 13, a match that will find Crew/USMNT forward Gyasi Zardes on opposite sides of the pitch from the Crew's Costa Rican winger, Luis Diaz.

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Today is Columbus Day, which many now celebrate as Indigenous Peoples' Day. Christopher Columbus' legacy has also caused some to consider renaming our city. Last year we offered some suggestions.