Quick hits of news and fresh ideas for busy parents.

From the Cool Beans File.



Neel Koyawala, 18, of Dublin and a student at Columbus Academy, won a $15,000 in the Young Epidemiology Scholars competition. Koyawala won for a research project studying the link between sleep patterns and adolescent suicide attempts. Also winning an award from Central Ohio was Upper Arlington H.S. student Yuxi "Joe" Xiang, 18, who won a $2,000 scholarship for his research into drug poisonings. The Destination ImagiNation teams from Marysville High School and Bunsold Middle School in Marysville were Central Ohio winners at the State of Ohio tournament, held on April 16 in Mt. Vernon. Both teams will be moving on to the "global finals" tournament, slated for May 25-28 at the University of Tennessee. Destination ImagiNation tests students in elementary- through high-school ages with creative problem-solving team challenges. The high-school team members are: Caleb Goode, Kelsey Mack, Hannah Putney, Devan Smith and Joe Woolum. The Bunsold team, which also made a trip to the global finals two years ago as fifth graders, includes: Megan Church, Evan Crozier, Kristin Langlois, Nick Langlois and Jacob Newsome. Teams from Buckeye Valley Middle School and Granville Elementary School also had scores that qualified them to move on.

These six students won $2,500 National Achievement Scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Corp.: Rahel Adugna (Bexley H.S.), David N. Edgar (Bishop Hartley H.S.), Osaze C. Udeagbala (St. Charles Preparatory H.S.), Djenab L. Conde (Thomas Worthington H.S.), Dareen Osman Elgindi (Upper Arlington H.S.), and Janet A. Adegboye (Westerville South H.S.). The Columbus Downtown High School has opened its Downtown Cafe for lunch business, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., on Wednesdays and Thursdays through May 12. Among the items prepared and served by the students is a Classic 55 Salad ($5), potato skins with bacon and cheese ($3), and a turkey panini ($5). The Cafe is located at 364 S. Third St., Downtown. For more information, call 614-365-2283.

Art for Art's Sake
The home-decorative arts are employed each year to help the Columbus Museum of Art. This year, the annual Decorators' Show House set up its fundraising shop in a Spanish-revival home in Upper Arlington. Eighteen designers have transformed the historic home, located at 4125 Oxford Dr., and Columbus Parent got a sneak peek at the nursery with its jigsaw-puzzle flooring, which was designed by Columbus designer David M. Berg.

The Show House will be open from April 30 through May 22, from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $20 per person at the door ($15 in advance at the CMA). Please note that the house is not handicapped-accessible, and children under 8 cannot be admitted. All proceeds benefit the CMA.

Calamity Days Restored to School Calendar
Ohio lawmakers last month approved legislation that restored two so-called calamity days to the 2010-11 school-year calendar, restoring the number available to five. On April 6, the Ohio Senate added its approval to the bill already approved by the Ohio House, making it official.

In a statement issued after the final vote, Gov. John Kasich said, "I look forward to signing this, not only for the relief it provides, but also because, let's face it, kids love snow days."

Celebrate Adoption
An upcoming day of family fun at COSI will also answer some very important questions for prospective parents: The Forever Home Adoption Celebration will help those who are interested in foster care or adoption but don't know how to get started.

The event, sponsored by Capital University's National Center for Adoption Law & Policy (NCALP), will include personalized information about foster care and adoption, including discussions about domestic and foreign adoption. NCALP will also present the first Central Ohio Adoption Hero Awards, recognizing heroes of the adoption and foster-care world.

There's lots of family fun planned, too. Kids will be able to enjoy games, magic, visits from Columbus Zoo animals and COSI science experiments.

Forever Home takes place on Saturday, June 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at COSI. The event, which is open to the public, costs $5 per person to attend and includes admission to COSI with event participation.

To learn more about the Adoption Hero Awards and Forever Home, visit NCALP's website at ncalp.org/forever_home.htm.

Get up and Go
Nowadays many parents and child-care providers are very concerned about the education of their children. Are they mastering fundamental skills? Are they meeting curriculum benchmarks? Are they prepared for the world of testing? How can we pull our children away from worksheets, workbooks, homework, drilling to take old-fashioned walks? Who has time for such frills?
Legitimate questions, so to answer them, let's talk a walk and see what we can learn along the way:

Look for letter and number shapes in tree branches (nature has great handwriting!) Read street names, billboards, historic markers, for sale signs, traffic directions, license plates Find geometric shapes in rooftops, skylines, buildings, streets, gardens, utility wires, urban and rural landscapes Decide what to count. In most of the local nature centers, there is a tab, always active, that cites animals seen that day. Kids love to count and this is a natural as you walk. How many animals all together? What did we see more of? How many more rabbits than chipmunks? Create your own playful categories: how many people are still in long sleeves and jackets and how many are walking or running in t-shirts and shorts? It doesn't matter the subject, it's what you do with it! Our children are waiting to read, write, sing, dance, examine the world. Don't wait too long! Get walking!

--Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld, arts educator