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Arts and cultural events will cost you 5% more starting in July

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The controversial ticket tax saga may actually be over.

Late last night, Columbus City Council agreed that imposing a 5 percent admissions fee on arts and cultural events in the city is fair, sparing the following circumstances:

  • Events that charge less than $10
  • Events in venues with 400 seats or less.
  • Events put on by 501(c) nonprofits that don’t receive funding from the Greater Columbus Arts Council.
  • Fundraising events by GCAC-backed entities.
  • Events by public and private educational institutions, and sporting events sponsored by the NCAA, including at Ohio State University.

The tax is projected to generate $6 million annually for what’s being called the Creativity Fund.

A separate 5 percent tax on events at Nationwide Arena also passed council.

Eighty percent of the revenue from this tax will be set aside for repairs and maintenance of the publicly-owned venue. The other 20 percent will go towards other arts venues.

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The Nationwide tax is expected to raise $3 million a year,

The taxes won’t go into effect until July 1.

“It’s a smart investment and a bold plan by a future-thinking city council that will ensure the arts continue to contribute substantially to the economy and provide access to arts experiences for kids and families in every neighborhood regardless of their zip code,” Jami Goldstein, Arts Council spokeswoman, told Columbus Business First.

While City Council celebrated their successful compromise, opponents hung around to voice their opinions, calling the council “tone deaf” towards small businesses and the people of the city.

A ballot initiative to overturn the new admissions fee was promised, reports Columbus Business First.

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Orange Barrel Hell: 5 road projects to avoid at all costs

Mike Thomas

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The ubiquitous orange construction barrel: a sign of central Ohio’s continual growth, and the stuff of traffic nightmares.

Road construction in central Ohio is a headache that may be impossible to avoid, but at least you can try. Here are five ongoing road projects to watch out for.

Watkins road at 33 – Closed indefinitely
A truck hit the 33 overpass at Watkins Rd on Thursday, leading to a closure of Watkins that could last for months, according to ODOT officials.

I-70 between I-270 and Wilson Rd – southbound Wilson closed for the weekend
I-270 to I-70 eastbound on the west side, as well as Southbound Wilson Road over I-70, will be closed beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday. The closure will last through the weekend. All lanes will reopen at 5:00 AM Monday.

I-71 South Side ‘Mega Fix’ Between Grove City and Columbus
The South Side construction project on Interstate 71 between Columbus and Grove City will add extra lanes, new bridges, and exit ramps throughout five miles of highway. The project will be under construction for at least three years, with completion targeted for the Fall of 2020.

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I-670 / I-270 Smart Lane
Construction on the Ohio’s first SmartLane has begun. The project spans seven miles miles of I-670 between downtown and John Glenn International Airport.

The new lane, called a SmartLane, will utilize state-of-the-art digital overhead signs installed every three-quarters of a mile to let motorists know if the lane is open to traffic. SmartLanes are intended to ease traffic congestion during peak rush hours.

3rd Avenue Widening near Railroad between Edgehill Road and Columbus Fire Station #25
Eastbound 3rd Avenue is detoured at Northwest Boulevard, except for local business traffic. This detour is expected to be in place for the rest of the year for a widening, reconstruction, and pedestrian path project.

What ongoing road project grinds your gears in your daily commute? Let us know in the comments.

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Video: Local church apologizes after kids spit on pastor

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Please consider this story your weekly reminder not to spit on people—even if they’re literally asking for it.

The Impact City Church in Pataskala has issued an apology over an Easter lesson gone wrong, in which youth minister Jaddeus Dempsey encouraged kids to slap him and spit on him. One student, at Dempsey’s direction, even cut the pastor’s bare back with a knife. The exercise was intended to teach students about Christ’s crucifixion.

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In a statement posted to Facebook, the church assured the public that there is a formal review and investigation of the incident under way from their Board of Directors:

While Dempsey’s future at the church is uncertain, perhaps this bizarre incident did manage to convey a simple lesson—don’t spit on people!

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There’s still hope for bigger, better Whitehall Kroger

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Two years has gone by since Kroger purchased a former Big Bear grocery store at the Town and Country Shopping Center in Whitehall, but the massive marketplace is still promising a bigger, better store for the community.

The place may just be a vacant lot right now, but according to This Week News, the 8.2-acre site at 3680 E. Broad St could become a shopping center with a drive-through pharmacy, fuel center, expanded kosher offerings, ClickLists, and other amenities.

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But ultimately, the project timeline is still being worked out.

Via a 15-year, 53% tax-increment-financing agreement Whitehall City Council approved in 2016, Kroger’s deadline to begin construction was pushed back from the end of 2018 to the end of 2021.

Kroger purchased the property for $4.2 million and is expected to shell out another $24 million to build the new store.


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