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Columbus Day expected to go away in Oberlin

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    Thunder Nation of Cleveland performs in a drum circle during "Connecting with Oberlin's Indigenous Heritage" on Saturday at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Oberlin.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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OBERLIN — Big crowds are anticipated for a Council meeting Monday night where the city’s leaders are expected to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day.

Interim Police Chief Mike McCloskey said additional officers will be stationed at the doors of City Hall, where all visitors are asked to go through a metal detector.

Visitors are required to go through a metal detector for every meeting — not just this one — and the extra officers will make the process faster because all bags will be searched.

McCloskey said people would be turned away after maximum capacity is reached, which is 100 for Council chambers and 50 for the lobby where a broadcast of the meeting is broadcast.

“There are very passionate people on both sides of the issue,” McCloskey said, “Everybody was very respectful when they filled up the City Council chambers during the last meeting.”

Council tabled the vote on a resolution to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day on July 3 when Law Director Jon Clark said he needed more time to clarify wording, but Council members had voted unanimously to approve the resolution on two prior readings.

If the city passes it Monday, it would be the first in Ohio to establish Indigenous Peoples Day.

Oberlin has received significant pushback on the resolution, with many in the Italian community claiming Columbus Day represents Italian-American heritage.

At the July meeting, Basil Russo, who is chairman of the Cleveland Columbus Day Parade Committee and national president of the Italian Sons and Daughters of America, told Council that the people he represents are not against Indigenous Peoples Day, but they are against it replacing Columbus Day.

However, Council made a point of noting that none of the people who had come out in opposition were from Oberlin.

Typically, the doors to City Hall open just a few minutes before the 7 p.m. meeting but because there is a land-use hearing before the meeting at 6:30 p.m., doors will be open then.

City Hall is at 85 S. Main St.

Contact Jodi Weinberger at 329-7245 or jweinberger@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @Jodi_Weinberger.



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