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Toxins found near homes by Saunders Park

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In another blow to the area around Saunders Park, eight out of the nine residences that were tested had high levels of arsenic just like the closed park did and two of those properties also had high levels of lead and mercury. The people in the area have long been crying out about the potential problem because of how close the fertilizer plant had been to the area. Currently the recommendation is to not directly touch or come into contact with the soil that has been contaminated, the Dispatch reported. Columbus Public Health is set to decide if or what future measures should be taken.

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Previously October 20, 2014
More money needed for toxic park clean up

The city is going to need about $309,000 to clean up Saunders Park where high levels of arsenic have been detected. The extra money will go toward hiring engineers to create a way for the new soil to drain, the Dispatch reported. The park is set to reopen in 2016 after a heft $1.2 million plan to add new soil and clean fill.

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Previously September 18, 2014
Turns out, the toxic park hasn’t hurt anyone yet

Saunders Park has been under a bit of debate because of high levels of arsenic that have been found there. A health survey though has shown that local residents haven’t been harmed, or at least not yet. Thus far in the ongoing issues with the park, locals haven’t experienced any symptoms that would be consistent with arsenic poisoning. The city has also decided for the $1.2 million cleanup option to fix the park and rid it of the chemicals. That plan should begin in the winter pending City Council approving the contract for the cleanup.

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Previously August 15, 2014
Four options for cleaning toxic park

Saunders Park has been presented with four options for cleaning up the areas with high levels of arsenic. The prices for the different options span $1 million to $7.5 million and most would include digging up 2 to 6 feet of soil, according to the Dispatch. Friday morning City Recreation and Parks Director Alan McKnight said a decision would be made by next month and the nine acres currently closed should be opened by 2016, the paper reported.

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Previously July 2, 2014
Toxic park closed by city — finally

“Park Closed” reads across the sign at Saunders Park on the East Side. Mayor Coleman has order a health survey of the park that apparently have toxins in the soil the Dispatch reported, soil that children played soccer on and was surrounded by residential homes. Officials knew back in 2011 that the park had high levels of arsenic, lead and other toxins, according to the paper’s report. Following the mayor’s order, nine acres of the park have been closed off.

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Govt & Politics

Poll: Who won last night’s Democratic Debate in Westerville?

Regina Fox

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Last night, Westerville's Otterbein University hosted the Democratic Debate. Twelve presidential hopefuls took the stage to win the votes of spectators in the auditorium and viewers who watched from their living rooms across the nation.

According to co-host CNN, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar, and Bernie Sanders championed the night. Co-host The New York Times mostly agrees, with the opinion writers saying Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg were among the top performers last night, but Elizabeth Warren was the clear leader.

What do you think? Take our poll below to see who Columbus thinks won the Democratic Debate.

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Govt & Politics

DeWine urges background checks, mental health programs following Dayton shooting

614now Staff

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Following the heartbreaking mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend, Gov. Mike DeWine stepped up to the statehouse podium to lay out at least 17 proposals for gun law reform.

Among the initiatives were the Red Flag Law, expanded background checks, and mental health programs.

Watch the full address below

According to NBC4i, DeWine spent a great deal of time proposing increased penalties for felons who possess a gun illegal, or use a gun in the commission of a crime, or for when a gun is used in the commission of a felony in general, or for when someone makes a straw man purchase for someone else, or for when an adult sells a gun to a minor, to name a few. 

He also urged lawmaker to get better help for people suffering from a mental illness. DeWine also believes people inside psychiatric hospitals who are waiting to be deemed competent to stand trial for a crime would benefit from going through that process elsewhere.

WOSU reports DeWine recommended that the legislature pass laws requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales. Additionally, he thinks courts should restrict firearms access for people perceived as threats, also referred to as the Red Flag Law.

Ohio’s GOP-led state legislature has given little consideration to gun-safety measures introduced by Democrats this session, according to WOSU.

Visit WOSU.com for more information.

https://www.facebook.com/WBNS10TV/videos/646398229176244/
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Govt & Politics

Op-Ed: We won battle with Heartbeat Bill block, war continues

Caitlin Horwatt

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Ohio’s controversial “Heartbeat Bill” has been ​blocked by a federal court​, just days before it was slated to go into enforcement on July 11. The ruling is a temporary win for pro-reproductive rights activists and Planned Parenthood, ensuring that abortion clinics in the state of Ohio can stay open. But, the war over a woman’s right to her bodily autonomy is only ramping up.

The law would have banned abortions in the state of Ohio after six weeks, the earliest time in a pregnancy when a fetal heartbeat may be detected and well before many women know they are pregnant. There were to be no exceptions for rape or incest, although there would be exceptions when the life of the mother was in danger. The law would have classified violations as fifth-degree felonies, carrying up to one year in jail time and up to $2,500 in fines as a sentence.

The ​halt was ordered ​by Judge Michael Barrett of the Southern District of Ohio U.S. District Court. Barrett pointed out that the bill placed an “undue burden” on a woman seeking to terminate a pre-viability pregnancy. The law was on its face unconstitutional, a blatant attempt to overturn the federal government’s long standing decision to give women the right to the decisions regarding their bodies. Conservatives have tried to limit bodily autonomy well before women had the right to abortions; however, they fail to attack problems like infant poverty and child hunger with the same veracity.

The bill was part of a larger strategy that’s occurred nationwide at the hands of Republican lawmakers. The right to an abortion will stand nationally as long as Supreme Court rulings, including ​Roe v. Wade,​ remain in effect. By hammering out heartbeat bills nationwide, conservatives increase their chances of getting a ruling appealed up to the Supreme Court and from there the conservative-leaning court overturning ​Roe​.

Abortions are not only justified in the case of rape or incest, which has been a clickbait-inducing theme around this controversy. Abortion is a part of reproductive healthcare, a procedure nearly one in four women​ have before the age of 45. If lawmakers are so concerned about decreasing abortion rates, presumably because of a concern for the lives of the fetuses, they should fund comprehensize sex education ​and support for impoverished children already in this country.

The right to an abortion goes further than an outright ban. Strict regulations are a backdoor way to limit abortions, claiming to regulate the abortion providers for safety purposes. The state of Missouri​ famously has just one embattled abortion clinic ​still open and providing procedures, with the fight to keep the clinic licensed and running regularly boiling down to the wire in the past several months.

It is easy to move on from this debate when a new shocking headline runs about the state of politics or the crisis at the border. Wins like this, though important, cannot be accepted as permanent. As long as conservative lawmakers are proposing bills and regulations that limit abortion care, there is a battle to be fought, because we won’t go back.

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