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Smart Columbus & Linden Work Together in Community Dialogue

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More than 170 Linden community residents shared their views and ideas on what will make Linden a “smart” community as part of the City of Columbus’ Smart Columbus initiative. The two-day community dialogue and workgroups were held February 10 and 11 at St. Stephen’s Community House, 1500 E. 17th Ave. Discussions centered on multiple elements of the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) Smart City Challenge Grant awarded to the City of Columbus in June 2016. 

“Engaging Linden area residents as part of our efforts for the Smart Columbus work is critical to the success of the grant implementation,” said Columbus City Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “The insights we learn from those who live in this community will help inform how we incorporate and deliver technology and drive initiatives on the many different elements of what is planned for the Linden area.”

Saturday’s working session gave the participants an opportunity to have more in-depth dialogue about specific Linden-focused projects as part of the Smart Columbus plan and offer opinions and thoughts on what may work for the neighborhood.

Residents learned about Smart Columbus projects such as:

  • Multi-Modal Trip Planning
  • Mobility Assistance
  • Common Payment Systems
  • Connected Vehicle Environments
  • Smart Mobility HubsSmart Street Lighting

 “We have to recreate Linden pride and Linden excitement,” said Dr. Keith A. Troy, Pastor, New Salem Missionary Baptist Church. “I am excited about transformation. So often people plan for us and not with us, so having a chance for people in this community to have their voices heard, their thoughts considered, and give their input to help shape the outcome, goes a long way in people taking ownership.”

Information gathered during the two-day Linden community engagement session, as well as community surveys and other feedback, will be used by Smart Columbus officials as guidance and insight to inform design projects that will impact the Linden community.

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Daily double: New legislation calls for huge minimum wage hike

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If new legislation passes, Ohio’s minimum wage could nearly double in the next several years. Two Democratic senators are working to increase hourly pay from $8.55 to $15.

State Senators Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) and Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) introduced the legislation Wednesday, reports 10TV.

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The new legislation stipulates a $12 minimum per hour beginning in January 2020 and a $1 yearly increase until 2023 to keep up with inflation.

“We have an obligation to make life better for the people in our state and that includes providing living wages,” said Sen. Thomas, per 10TV. “This increase to the minimum wage will help workers and their families have a better life. And when people have more money, it also benefits the local economy from increased spending in the community.”

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“Speaks to Columbus values,” Council shows support for immigrants in sanctuary

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At Monday night’s City Council meeting, a resolution was passed in support of two women living in sanctuary here in Columbus.

Edith Espinal has been living in sanctuary at Columbus Mennonite Church for over a year. Miriam Vargas has been living in sanctuary at First English Lutheran Church for over seven months. Both women are waiting to become legal residents of the U.S.

NBC4i reports the resolution based by council is not legally binding, but is an on-the-record show of support by the city.

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“While this resolution doesn’t change federal law, it speaks to Columbus’ values,” wrote City Council President Shannon Hardin on Twitter.

Neither Espinal nor Vargas were in attendance last night due to fear of being detained.

“It’s no secret that our immigration system is broken,” said council member Elizabeth Brown, per NBC4i. “Unfortunately Miriam and Edith are at its mercy.”

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Republicans propose “Heartbeat Bill” in both Ohio House, Senate

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The very controversial “Heartbeat Bill” that would outlaw abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat has been proposed in both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate.

Republican lawmakers in both champers of Legislation introduced the abortion bill this week.

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If approved, it would be among the most restrictive abortion measures in the country, reports 10TV. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, which is early enough that many women may not even know they’re pregnant.

Former Gov. John Kasich voted down the bill twice, saying it would lead to costly and lengthy court battles that would ultimately result it in begin found unconstitutional. However, Gov. Mike DeWine has pledged to sign it.

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