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CBUS circulator is free … until 2016

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For those of us who love free things (which, admit it, is ALL of us), we’ve got some good news! COTA’s Board of Trustees voted to keep the CBUS Circulator free. Well, until 2016 – which is when the current funds will have been used up. But don’t worry too much, COTA and CBUS have created a task force that’ll look for a sustainable source of funding for the buses, so that they can continue to run for free. CBUS Circulator rolled out last May (2014) for use in the downtown area, offering free rides. It travels High and Front St., going back and forth from the Short North to the Brewery District. (deb)

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Previously Nov. 19, 2014 

CBUS circulator will still be free…for now

While rumors of a fare for the currently free CBUS were circulating, it looks like the bus will be free for a bit longer. Wednesday morning the board cast its votes to keep the bus free and it will stay that way up until at least May. Fares for all other buses also will not go up for next year. The board is hoping to find a way to subsidize the line by May 3, the Dispatch reported.

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Previously Oct. 22, 2014

Board members not fans of CBUS fare

COTA board members might not all be ready to charge 50 cents for the CBUS which is currently free. Some even said that charging for it could kill the circulator, the Dispatch reported. “I think we are jeopardizing our success if we move to a fare,” said trustee Craig Treneff, according to the paper. “Frankly, a lot of young people don’t carry cash with them.” COTA is considering raising the fare to cover the costs of runnings the bus.

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Previously Oct. 15, 2014

Proposal asks for higher COTA fare + no more free CBUS

COTA has officially put in its proposal to raise the COTA fare by 25 cents and the free CBUS line would cost 50 cents. “(The fare increase) enables us to continue growing our service and improving our service,” said spokesman Marty Stutz, according to the Dispatch. The CBUS line, which began in May, has allowed for transportation from the Short North and the Brewery District and about 250,000 people have taken the bus. Yearly that line is set to cost the city $1.3 million and with the addition of a fare for the bus, COTA is hoping to offset that.

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Previously Sept. 24, 2014 

COTA bus fare could get pricier

Officials are looking at COTA bus fares, and riders could see an increase in ticket cost. COTA looks at fares every three years to see if any changes need to be made and the last time that happened it was 2012, according to the Dispatch. Not all of COTA’s money to run an operate depends on fares, and only 20 percent is made through tickets, while the rest is paid for through a sales tax. While the authority addresses the issue of rising bus fare prices, they will also discuss the free Cbus Downtown Circulator. The bus was only approved to give free rides through the end of 2014, which is nearing, and COTA will discuss if that free ride will still be available come the new year.

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Dear I-670 drivers, your lives are about to change

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Notice anything different on your I-670 and/or I-270 commute this week? Could be the nine 600-square-foot, 110,000-pound digital signs towering over the freeway.

When operational this fall, these signs will display information about the first ever Ohio SmartLane.

The I-670 “SmartLane” is the left shoulder that will be opened when traffic slows to a crawl. It will begin just east of I-71 in downtown Columbus and extend to I-270 on the East Side.

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The SmartLane will be closed most of the time, indicated by a red X. But when traffic dips below 50 mph, The Dispatch reports traffic monitors will send signals to the overhead signs to open the SmartLane.

A green arrow will appear along with a speed limit for SmartLane drivers to abide by (slower speeds keep traffic moving during congestion). A yellow indicator will appear when the lane is about to close.

ODOT will be installing more than 30 traffic cameras to monitor the lane for any obstructions, reports The Dispatch. The right shoulder of I-670 will be free for disabled vehicles to use.

The $61 million project is expected to be open in October. Visit ODOT.com for more information on the project and the new traffic patterns.

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Review: “Not” Chicken at HCT is poised for a takeover

Mitch Hooper

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Hail seitan!

No, this isn’t a religious cry—it’s a plant-based one. And the newest addition to the ever popular Hot Chicken Takeover will soon have everyone from carnivores to vegans saying the same thing.

Hot Chicken Takeover is a solidified Columbus staple. The lines for lunch at the North Market prove that, and expanding to Clintonville as well as Easton Town Center further show that the hype for HCT is real. And as a vegetarian, my jealousy was at an all time high. But now I can officially confirm: Hot Chicken Takeover is certified good. Look out Impossible Burger, you’ve got some competition.

The menu option at HCT is created out of the aforementioned seitan. Basically, as Wikipedia so eloquently describes it, it is: “Wheat gluten is a food made from gluten, the main protein of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch granules have been removed, leaving the sticky insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.” I know what you’re thinking: yummy!

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But before you stick up your nose, this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill tofu knock-off. Compared to tofu which can become squishy and sponge-like, seitan holds it’s consistency where it stays more firm similarly to what happens to fried chicken. And this holds true at Hot Chicken Takeover. Whether you have yours served on a sandwich or atop two slices of white bread, the seitan never loses it’s texture and consistency. It goes to show that nine months of hard work pays off (shout out to Craig Morin!).

Speaking of texture and consistency, the exterior of the seitan brings all the flavor and heat you’d imagine from the regular menu options. It’s crispy and soaks up that house-made ranch dressing, plus little fried bits fall off throughout the eating process. It’s the simple things like crispy and spicy bits of the “skin” that give you the full experience.

Eating this “Not” Chicken Takeover really reminded me of my first experience of trying the Impossible Burger. As a vegetarian, you almost feel guilty eating something that resembles what it’s trying to replicate so well. Though the Impossible Burger takes the crown for appearance (it freakin’ bleeds, ya’ll), HCT is a close rival. And the seitan at HCT isn’t nearly as a flavor diva like the Impossible Burger. The flavor is similar to chicken, but it also allows the other flavors to shine like the sauce. Meanwhile, the Impossible Burger sometimes feels like it’s just trying too hard. Chill out, ya know?

It’s a big ask for meat-eaters to ditch the delicious chicken at HCT for a meal, but it’s worth it. As I brought back leftovers to my predominately carnivorous office, the only complaint they had was they wanted more. As for my vegan and vegetarian friends, save some house made ranch for me.

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Former attorney of Casey Anthony, Aaron Hernandez could represent Mt. Carmel doc

Mike Thomas

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The attorney who previously represented Casey Anthony and former NFL player/convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez could now take up the case of embattled former Mt. Carmel doctor William Husel.

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Attorney Jose Baez has filed a motion to represent Husel, who faces 25 counts of murder after allegedly providing deadly doses of the drug fentanyl to patients under his care.

Husel was fired by Mount Carmel earlier this year following an internal investigation. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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