Infinity Aerial Is The Most Empowering Workout Around Town

Infinity Aerial is home to four different types of aerial apparatus’ that let you feel like you’re a superhero.

CEO and Owner Valerie Schrader owned her studio in 2007, going on a mission to bring the liberating exercises and arts to the community. Since her first opening, she has moved locations to accommodate even more apparatus’ since she had so much success at her smaller location.

Our intern, Hannah, and I were both complete newbies, but we headed up to their spot at 9032 Cotter St. in Lewis Center to give it our best shot. I had never done aerial arts before but I was certainly ready to try! I’m so glad I did because it was the most empowering feeling of accomplishment when you did a move correctly.

Read the rest of the story here at ColumbusNavigator.com

Originally published on May 25, 2019

Only 3% of female students at Ryerson approve of the Ford government: poll

71% of female students disapprove of the job the provincial governmental lead by Doug Ford is doing and abortion rights and sex education are amongst their concerns

71 per cent of Ryerson students who identify as female disapprove of the job the provincial government is doing, according to a recent poll conducted by Ryerson School of Journalism students between March 1-4.

Of the people who identified as female, when asked, “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the job the provincial government led by Doug Ford is doing?,” 71 per cent disapprove, three per cent approve, and 25 per cent neither approve nor disapprove. (Numbers have been rounded down to whole numbers.)

First-year Ryerson School of Journalism students surveyed 1,179 Ryerson University students in person and online between March 1-4, 2019.

First-year social work student Taylor Rogers said that the Doug Ford government has been “absolute garbage.”

Rogers said she highly values gender equality and isn’t seeing that in the current government.

“He’s a white male, who thinks he’s superior and he’s a higher class, so I think he’s utilizing that to dismiss women,” Rogers said.

She said that Ford’s pro-life ideologies are bad for women and promote inequality by taking away their ability to choose whether they have children.

As reported by the Toronto Star, Doug Ford questioned why teenagers need permission slips from parents for school trips but not to have an abortion.

The issue of abortion was also a concern for first-year sociology student Sissy King.
“I’m not for men having such a strong opinion about something that doesn’t affect them,” King said.

Emma Hoskins, a first-year undeclared arts student, quoted a common abortion rights advocate slogan, No Uterus, No Opinion, to explain her feelings on Doug Ford’s opposition to abortion.

“I find it ridiculous that you would make people be parents when they’re not ready to be parents,” she said.

Sex-Ed curriculum reversal

One of Doug Ford’s major policy changes since his election was the plan to reverse the Ontario sex-education curriculum to the 1998 curriculum. However, the ministry of education recently announced that the curriculum will not be entirely rolled back, according to reports from the CBC.

Instead, topics like gender-identity will not be discussed until grade 8 rather than grade 2.
King said that this is inherently conflictual with Ford’s pro-life views.

“If you’re pro-life and against abortions, then why are you taking away sex education?” she said.
Hoskin said some people argue that sex-education encourages young people to become sexually active but she disagrees.

“It just makes it so people can do it safely and they’re knowledgeable about what they’re doing and how to be safe about it,” Hoskins said.

First-year creative industries student Brennan March is concerned about the poor sex education that his high school age sister will now receive.

“She’s not going to learn the proper sex-ed curriculum and I think it’s disgusting,” March said.

Lack of LGBT+ sex-ed

Of the 17 students polled that identify as non-binary or gender fluid, 76 per cent said they disapprove of the Ford government, five per cent said they approve, and 17 per cent said they neither approve or disapprove. Numbers have been rounded down to whole numbers. The margin of error for these numbers will be larger due to the small sample size.

The new sex education curriculum that was recently implemented does not include sex education for LGBTQ issues until grade 8, according to the CBC. This is a major concern for Leandra Budau, a first-year biomedical engineering student.

“It’s already an issue where they don’t have a whole lot of it in the sex education system, so I don’t love that they’re taking even more of it out,” Budau said. “I think that’s really unsafe.”

Budau said that as a queer person she can understand the disapproval of the Ford government among her community.

March said that as someone who identifies as bisexual he can understand the wide proportion of disapproval among marginalized people like women and the LGBT+ community.

March said that this delayed sex-education policy is only about the personal views of Doug Ford and the conservative government rather than the importance of educating the public.

“Taking away anything that gives you knowledge is a bad idea,” March said.

Results for the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20; it may be larger for subgroups.

More like home

(RSJ/Tess Stuber)

Horizons for Youth shelter is helping young people get off the streets and back to pursuing their passions

The sounds of slamming doors, stomping feet, and angry voices rang in John Huynh’s ears as he stuffed just his phone and his wallet of only a few bills, into the pocket of his pyjama pants.

His feet tried to catch up with his racing heart as he swiftly left the front door for the relative safety of a nearby Subway restaurant in the summer of 2018.

Toronto police arrived in response to Huynh’s 911 call and held him for lengthy questioning. The frightened 22-year-old answered with hot tears still streaming down his face.

He had become accustomed to the feeling of fear while living with his family.

“I really didn’t like living at home for my whole life. I never felt safe anywhere. And I had nowhere to go to feel safe,” now 24-year-old Huynh explained. “Even if I lock the door in my room, my dad would just find another way in, like breaking the door down.”

Read the rest of the story here at Tdotcommunity.ca

Originally published on April 16, 2020

Am I gay enough?

Queer shame in a binary world.

Celebrating pride when I’m in a straight relationship feels fraudulent. Like somehow I’m not gay enough to be here. I know I still get to celebrate pride as a queer person, but somehow I feel like I don’t really have anything to celebrate. 

I thought I was a lesbian for four years and for those four years I felt like I had all the pride in the world. I used to tell people “June is my favorite month even though my birthday and Christmas are in December.” I knew it was silly but it was true.

I can feel the joy in the air at Pride. I stand among the crowds and watch the people all around me with their big smiles and the love just radiates off of them.

Then I fell for a man and my queer-world turned upside down. Clearly, I can’t be a lesbian. So who am I? I’ve primarily avoided trying to find a new identity for myself so that I don’t have to be wrong and come out again.

So I tell people I’m queer. That works. It’s an all encompassing word, or at least I use it that way, and I’m taking back a word that was once fueled by hate. “Yes, queer. I’m just queer,” I would say to myself as if I need convinced. But now June has arrived and I don’t find myself wanting to shout to the word that I’m queer and I’m proud! What happened to my pride?

I let the binary view of the world take over. The binary world insists there is a right and a wrong way. A right sexual preference, a wrong way to be gay. I won’t let this binary view of the world steal my pride. I live in a queer world, I fight for a queer world, where there is no right or wrong way to love and to be proud.

I am reminding myself that I am not alone in this. I am not the first queer woman to feel ashamed for dating a man. I will not be the last. But I will not be ashamed of my love.

This is what we’ve all said, that no one chooses who they love and that ‘love is love,’ no matter who it is with. That still stands. I am queer, I am in love, and I am proud. I must be proud in order to fight for a queer world. That’s what I get to celebrate. My pride. Our vision of a queer world. 

My Morning Cup of Coffee

My right-hand holds the warm mug in my crossed-legged lap as I sit on the end of my partner’s twin bed. My back slightly hunched, sitting up straight when I remember, inhaling deeply, focusing on my breath, when I remember. 

Breathe in

smell the coffee

breathe out.

The clanking and banging sounds of constant construction come in with the breeze. 

It’s late February, the sun is out and the snow mounds are nearly gone, the largest of the piles holding on, covered in dirt. I gaze out the window, admiring the city I’ve lived in for the past three years and drinking my morning cup of coffee.

As I sat, watched, and sipped, I thought about all the other places that I had sat. watched. sipped. 

On the porch swing of my family home where I pour from the hefty, family-sized canister that my stepfather and I have no problem finishing on our own, mostly his own. 

In my dorm room, listening to my morning podcasts. Where I learned to use a French Press for smoother coffee, with whatever milk was on sale that week, usually almond, and a pinch of sugar. 

On the screened-in balcony, of the house we rented in South Carolina where my stepmother and I watch the water, hoping a dolphin will emerge if we’re lucky enough. 

On my grandparents’ leather couch, admiring the forest beyond the sliding glass doors, where we drink strictly Dunkin’. 

On the balcony of the apartment that we sublet for the summer during the pandemic, where the neighbors below sat and sipped their morning coffee at the same time. 

When I’m here, I drink Tim Horton’s Instant Dark Roast, with a splash of milk and sugar. 

When I have my coffee, I have no other responsibilities. Yes, sometimes the mornings are rushed and I take my coffee in the car or to class. But most days, I try to wake up early enough to have my coffee, a privilege, I know. I came to realize that my morning cup of coffee was my favorite part of the day because it was time I took to just be. I could read if I wanted to, scroll through my phone if I wanted to. But over time I stopped doing anything and just sat, watched, and sipped. Because I could. 

I’ve had coffee nearly every day since I was 17. When I think about it, there are few things that I’ve done every day for that long, that I choose to do. Most of the things we do every single day are things that we have to do or are expected of us. How many things do you do for yourself in a day? What would our lives be like if we spent more time in a day doing things for ourselves? 

Having my coffee can be almost like a meditation, or sometimes it can be a time to schedule my day, reflect on a situation I haven’t had time for, or set an intention for the day ahead. 

Whatever it is I choose to do during that time, it’s time I’ve allotted for myself and nothing else. 

It’s a time that makes me look forward to getting out of bed the next day. 

Zelden’s Goes Beyond Traditional: A Modern Twist On Family Deli In St. Clair Neighbourhood

After taking over the family deli business, Irene and Shelley Zelden moved to the St. Claire area to open up a pub and a deli across the street. Although their pub has been around longer, the Zelden’s passion is in the deli business and this place is as close to them as family.

  

Zelden’s Deli & Desserts is a cross between a restaurant and a deli, bringing deli meat into their recipes and putting a modern spin on traditional deli sandwiches. Their sign reads “the evolution of deli” as they work to incorporate non-traditional items into their menu. This family-owned business is making a name for themselves with house-made classics like the pastrami sandwich and homemade spicy mustard that’s so good it was being stolen off the tables. The menu also features their evolution items such as strawberry cheese blintzes and stuffed challah grilled cheese.

When did you begin thinking about the deli business?

We had a place in Thornhill in the 80s that we sold in 1989. And then in between that, we had a few other places, pubs and restaurants, but deli was always our passion. So when this location came up, we decided to jump on it. We live in the area. We have another business in the area, the Jester on Yonge and it’s directly across the street. We have been there 15 years and we’ve been here just over two years and that’s been going good so far.

What were your original motivations in getting started with this place and starting the place across the street?

That’s kind of what we do. We’ve always been in the restaurant business.

Zelden’s serving staff served the late lunch crowd on Monday. (RSJ/Tess Stuber)

Did you choose this location for any particular reason?

It’s right in the center. When we were looking to buy a restaurant or to acquire a business we went from the East end to the West and North and South and we kind of ended up right here in midtown right in the middle, which worked perfect for us. We came from the suburbs and we both really liked the city so we moved to Yonge and St. Clair when we bought the Jester.

When you first got started, what were some of the biggest challenges that you faced?

Mostly awareness, just getting people to realize that we’re new and we’re here. This unit has had many restaurants in it that haven’t succeeded. So we had to get over that because sometimes it’s the address or the location that kind of has a bit of a stigma, right?

What do you love specifically about this location as opposed to some of your other locations or businesses that you’ve had?

I built and started this one with my husband from scratch from the bottom up with no other influences, just us. It’s sort of our baby. You know, it’s our thing. The one in Thornhill was my husband’s family business. His mother became sick and we ended up having to sell the restaurant in Thornhill. People still walked in here remembering it because it was called Zely’s Deli and we’re Zelden’s deli. So people still walk in here recognizing the name and us because we were at the deli all the time.

Where did the style come from?

We did all of the décor ourselves. I did all of it. I did the tile work. I did the upholstery. I did the ceiling. So we built it ourselves. But I really like to do that end of it as well. I like to design the restaurant. I picked a colour scheme and I just went with the colour scheme and just kept adding until it was perfect.

All of the tiling and tin ceiling panels were done by Irene Zelden who enjoys that aspect of the restaurant business as well. (RSJ/Tess Stuber)

How would you describe the environment?

It’s very comfortable in here. And I’ve had customers, like single women that come in and actually say that they feel very comfortable coming in, you know that to a place on their own. This is very comfortable here. We are a very family business. We’re not corporate at all. We like to know that people know that the owners are here and we run the place, you know, and we’re very hands-on. My staff likes it too. I’m not like an owner that just walked into the kitchen and they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s worked out really well here.

Who are the main cooks?

My husband doesn’t cook. He’s on the meat slicer. I’m the main cook and then I’ve got three or four other cooks with me. They’re all self-sufficient now because they worked here for two years, but I taught them all the recipes.

Irene Zelden started selling her homemade spicy mustard in jars because the popular condiment was being stolen off her tables. (RSJ/Tess Stuber)

How much trial and error did you have when you started making the menu? Where did the ideas come?

Most of it came from my mother in law and the original Zely’s so I really already had all my recipes and knew the direction we were going to go with everything. Except we’ve added like an evolution sort of twist to our menu by doing deli meat pasta, quesadillas and stuff where we’ve infused our deli meats. We just thought you know, just to be a little bit different than anybody else.

How often does your menu change?

It’s pretty consistent. If it does change, it’s very minor. We do the evolution stuff which is new stuff that you wouldn’t see, but we also stuck with really traditional stuff as well like the beef knish and matzah balls and Kishka and potato latkas. All that is made in house except for the kishka.

What are your most popular items?

I want to say our pastrami because we do our pastrami in house and we have a special dry rub that you can’t get anywhere else. So if you like our pastrami, you can only get it here. We have so many popular dishes. The reuben is also one of our top sandwiches. And then we do also our steak sandwich, which is really one of our favourites as well.

What would you say is your biggest source of income?

Right now I think (the restaurant and catering) are pretty much hand in hand. Our lunch trade and our brunch trade are pretty much the busiest times of day. The weekends are the busiest. We have a unique brunch menu, that’s why. There’s a lot of stuff on our brunch menu that other places don’t do like our breakfast nest, our breakfast “Zkillet”, our cinnamon roll pancakes and our strawberry cheese blintzes.

So what’s next? What are the future plans?

The evening business and the catering are two things that I would really like to concentrate on building. (The catering) has been picking up in the last few months. We only have 40 seats so you can really only do so much with a space this size. In order for us to really be out there and get our name out, we go to offices and cater. People order trays for home and stuff too.

Opinion: We Are Done Dying For Your Right To Own Weapons Of War

My name is Tess, I’m 18 years old and if I get killed tomorrow I want my little sister to know that I’m doing this for her.

No person should have to consider this. Especially kids. But unfortunately, this is the reality that we have to live with every day. We go to school in fear, and these fears are real.

Following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting, my high school was business as usual. I went to class, I listened to lectures, I took notes. But I didn’t learn. I haven’t done any learning since 17 students were brutally shot dead. School has continued for the majority as if we are expected to show up to school without fearing for our lives.

But how can I learn when all I can focus on in class is where I’ll go if a shooter comes into the building? Or how fast I can get to my sister if her elementary school is attacked. I’ve decided it’s three minutes if I’m parked in front of the school and obey no traffic laws.

The list of school shootings in America is larger than any other country. This violence directly corresponds to our lack of gun control.

Read the rest of the story here at ColumbusNavigator.com

Originally published on March 12, 2018

The Columbus Yoga Community Is Facing Facts And Creating Connections, One Inclusive Yoga Class At A Time

It’s time to say goodbye to the cliquey vibes of yoga and exercise in Columbus.

Studios are beginning to pay more attention to who their clientele is and the limited range of people that traditional yoga spaces bring in.

Ashton Colby, a yoga instructor RYT200, is part of a new initiative in Columbus to create inclusive and accessible yoga classes. For those that aren’t familiar with the RYT200 yogi term, it means that Ashton completed 200 hours of yoga teacher training.

Ashton found that in many yoga classes, they would use language particular to the women’s body or to the man’s body that he couldn’t connect with because he is transgender.

“It takes me out of my zone when we assume that bodies are just this way or that way,” he said.

Read the rest of the story here at ColumbusNavigator.com

Originially published May 20, 2019

Testimony against House Bill 36, The Pastor Protection Act

My name is Tess Stuber, I’m a junior in high school and I am standing here today to urge you to say no to the Pastor Protection Act. In every history class I have taken, we have discussed the monumental moments in history that stay with people forever. The moments where you can remember exactly what you were doing and how you heard the news. For some people that’s July 1969, when we put the first man on the moon. For many, it’s September 2001 when thousands of lives were so tragically lost. For me, it’s June 2015. When I was finally given the right to get married and have a family, nationwide.

It was June 26th, a Friday, my dad’s birthday and we were on vacation. I woke up to a flood of notifications on my phone. That day made history. It took much longer than it should have, but it still felt amazing to know that we had finally achieved what we have been fighting for since 1924 when the first gay-rights organization was created. I can close my eyes and picture exactly where I was laying in bed in our hotel room and I can feel the pain in my cheeks from smiling so hard upon hearing the news. I can feel the tightness in my chest from the squeals of excitement I struggled to contain. But our fight is not yet over.

I am here today because we, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, are not done fighting for equality. You can look at the history of the gay rights movements and see that we are long overdue for the equality that we deserve. Being gay was not removed from the list of mental disorders until 1973, and “civil unions” between gay and lesbian couples were not recognized until 2000. Even then, it was only in one state, Vermont, and they wouldn’t call it a marriage. The Pastor Protection Act seeks to take away our fundamental rights that we have fought so hard to finally receive. This bill is moving backward toward inequality instead of acceptance, despite the recent progress we have made nationwide. Legislature like this tries to solve problems that do not even exist which results in only creating a greater divide from our community. Couples that wish to have their marriage officiated by their religious figures do so because they have a special connection with their faith and with that person so they already know them well. A couple would not ask their pastor, rabbi, or whomever, to officiate their marriage if they know that they are not accepted there. Our community would not go out of their way to ask someone that is not accepting because it would only create problems. That is what this bill does, it goes out of the way to cause a problem where one does not exist. This bill will do nothing but prove that we as a community are not accepted, and we are not equal.

On behalf of myself and the rest of the LGBT+ community, I urge you to say no to this bill that opens up a door to more discrimination and inequality in an already unfair and unjust world. We have fought long and hard to gain the rights we currently have. Not once have we stopped fighting. Not during the riots of 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, and not now. We have persisted toward legislation that gives us our basic human rights and protects us from hateful, unlawful, discrimination. The Pastor Protection Act tears down what we have worked so tirelessly to achieve. Our fight for equality is far from over. But by saying no to this bill, you are choosing love over hate and proving that Ohio, and America will fight the discrimination and unjust treatment of those who are different from you. I truly hope that you will take this into consideration. Thank you.

The Bexley Sleep Out 2016

This year I worked with students, teachers, and community members to raise awareness and funds for the YWCA family center. We ran an event at Jeffrey Park called the Bexley Sleep Out, where members of the community joined us for music, food, camp fires, and a night in tents to raise awareness of homelessness and raise funds. This is our second year of the now annual event. The Bexley Sleep Out became a school club this year and we spent months sending emails, making phone calls, and having meetings to prepare for this event. This event was organized almost entirely by students. We formed small committee’s to accomplish different tasks. Jackson Lee (senior), Max Lehman (senior), and Simon Luscher (senior) spent a lot of time getting together the food and entertainment plans. Next year when these seniors are graduated the underclassmen will take over. These underclassmen, like myself, helped a lot also. Evie Lewis (freshman) and William Brotherton (freshman) did a lot of the marketing design for the event this year. Delia Grantham (sophomore) did a lot of the publicity for the event.

I followed Annalise Phelps, the head of the Bexley Sleep Out, and Anna Schottenstein (Ms. Schotty), our teacher and club adviser, to meetings and helped out almost as a trainee in hopes of taking over the event next year when Annalise graduates. It was a great experience to be a part of a club that’s making an impact. When we first toured the YWCA family center, we knew we wanted them to be our beneficiary because of the focus they put on children and helping these families get back on their feet. The center is more than just a place to stay, it is a temporary home. The staff at the YWCA family center provide food, shelter, job search assistance, home search assistance and child care for the families in need. They really put an effort to make sure the children are still able to get a stable education and be with their friends at school during the hard times in their lives. This year we raised over $4,000 and had around 200 attendee’s at the event.

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We kicked off the event around 5:00 with the Bexley High School drumline. Bexley Mayor, Ben Kessler was a huge help with planning and organization. He also grilled up the hot dogs and hamburgers, donated by The Top steak house. We had a performance from the Capital University A Capella group, the Capatones. One of the biggest hits of the night was the Jazzercise class conducted by the Bexley High School Spanish teacher, Profe Higgens. Through out the night we sold Johnson’s ice cream, baked goods, Frost Top root beer, S’mores, and walking tacos at midnight. Almost all of the food and supplies were donated by businesses around the area and clubs from the school. We also had a raffle with items donated from places like Vineyard Vines, Jeni’s ice cream, Bath and Body works and more. We continued the night with performances from a student band, Wrath of Wednesday and yoga under the stars from our English teacher, Julie Horger. Angela Stoller-Zervas, the director of the YWCA family center came and spoke on behalf of the center to explain what they do and how we have helped. We also had Columbus city councilman, Michael Stinziano speak about the efforts Columbus has been making to fight homelessness. As the sun went down people trickled off and we started calming down with a performance by the high school Jazz band. Some people turned into their tents for the night around 11pm or 12. Others, like Ms. Schotty and a few students stayed up all night long. I slept from around 1am-4am. I had to be awake at 4 because the news came around 4:30. I was interviewed a total of 8 times. The story aired in multiple short clips. Here’s one story:  NBC 4 News Report

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The turn out of the event was amazing and we all had a great time. Whether it was roasting hot dogs or s’mores, they both tasted great at 5am. The cold night was an eye opening experience. We were cold even with all our warm clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, and tents. It’s hard to imagine a life where you spend everyday in the rough environment without all these luxuries. I hope that our event will help people realize that we are surrounded by people who are struggling. We live in a privileged community, it’s easy to slip into what is known as the “Bexley Bubble”. Events like this help us notice the world around us and make an effort to help those who are less fortunate. Awareness and funds were the goals of our efforts, but they were not the only thing we accomplished.

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Students like myself who were involved in planning this event learned leadership skills, event planning, and organizational skills that we can’t learn in a class setting. Events like the Bexley Sleep Out are what build growing students in excited leaders. I can’t wait to begin planing for next year. I hope that each year we can continue to grow this event to raise event more funds and spread awareness to an even greater number of people.

I would really like to thank everyone who made this possible, the businesses who donated, the people who came, the Mayor of Bexley and all his support. The greatest thanks I have to give is to Ms. Schotty. She is more than just a teacher. She is a mentor, a friend, and a nurturer of young leaders. She helps plant the seed in us to grow as students and leaders. When Annalise came to Ms. Schotty with a big idea, she could have said no, said that it was too big and too much work. But she didn’t. She said Okay and helped make the necessary phone calls to get this event going.

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