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Here’s the deal with fireworks in Ohio (and what you’ll pay for shooting them off)

614now

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You may think there’s nothing more American than celebrating your great nation’s independence with a big ol’ Roman candle. But, don’t you think following the law is also an important part of being an American?

Ohio law allows you to purchase fireworks in the state, but only with the promise that you high-tail it out of state lines to shoot them off. But alas, year after year, that promise is broken. Ohioans that choose to break the law face a first-degree misdemeanor with up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, reports Cincinnati.com.

Sparklers on a wire stick, toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns, and noisemakers are all exceptions from the ban.

Legislators have made many attempts to lift Ohio’s ban on fireworks, but have been met with resistance from safety advocacy groups. Will they ever succeed in their mission to allow citizens to put set the sky ablaze?

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Senate Bill 72 would allow Ohioans to purchase consumer-grade fireworks and shoot them off on their own property beginning January 1, 2020—just in time to celebrate the New Year. Restrictions would include lighting fireworks while under the influence and using someone else’s property as a launch site without their permission. 

Fireworks vendors would be required to provide safety glasses and pay a fee (.4 percent of gross fireworks sales) for firefighter training programs, reports Cincinnati.com

Senate Bill 72 has yet to receive votes in committee, nor has the state fire marshal taken a position on the proposal.  

Above all, remember to have fun and, most importantly, stay safe this Fourth of July.

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New construction at I-70 split means more traffic for now

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Changes coming to a busy stretch of highway near Children’s Hospital could lead to serious-short term traffic headaches.

According to a report from 10TV, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has announced two changes to I-70 downtown which are set to begin this August.

First, traffic moving in both directions of I-70 will be shifted to the westbound bridge that carries traffic from the east side, past downtown, for one year. The bridge will host one westbound lane, as it does right now, along with the two eastbound lanes of I-70.

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In the next phase, Parsons Avenue will close between East Main Street and Mooberry Street for 60 days to demolish the existing roads, eventually re-building I-70 east over Parsons Avenue. Drivers should use Grant Avenue instead.

ODOT officials say that bringing I-70 to the top layer will eliminate the need for lane changes that lead to congestion and can cause accidents.

These changes mark the first of many planned projects for roadways in this area.

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Ohio legislation could bring marijuana possession fines down to $10

Mike Thomas

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It’s not easy being green, but if Columbus City Council has its way, it might get a lot easier to hold some green.

On Monday, July 22, the council will vote on legislation that would reduce penalties for marijuana possession in the city.

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If the measure is passed, those caught with up to 100 grams of cannabis would face just a $10 fine, with amounts between 100 and 200 grams earning a $25 penalty.

The council’s proposed measure would also contradict penalties enforced at the state level, meaning possession of up to 200 grams would no longer carry the threat of jail time.

A public hearing is planned this Thursday before the possibility of this new legislation getting the green light next week.


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Extreme, dangerous heat could be coming to central Ohio this week

Mike Thomas

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Freeze some ice packs, buy a spare fan, and get that rickety old AC unit serviced now—serious heat is on its way to the region later this week.

If forecasts from meteorologist Ross Ellet of 13 ABC in Toledo are accurate, central Ohio could be in for a scorching 111-degree day sometime between Thursday and Saturday. Note that this figure reflects the heat index, or the temperature it “feels like.”

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While our own NBC4’s forecast shows a slightly more conservative estimate, the projected heat index for Friday is still in the triple-digits at 107 degrees.

Extreme heat can be dangerous and even life-threatening, especially for the elderly and the very young. Be sure to check on vulnerable neighbors who may be without air conditioning during this summer heat wave, and keep your pets indoors and well-hydrated.

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