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Justice served: Suspect found guilty in Westerville cop slaying

614now Staff

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The trial of the man charged in the 2018 shooting deaths of Westerville police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering has come to an end. A jury found Quentin Smith guilty on all charges.

Sentencing in the case will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday. Smith was found guilty of two counts of aggravated murder, and is eligible for the death penalty.

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Officers Morelli and Joering were slain on Feb. 10, 2018, while responding to a 911 hangup call that originated in a Westerville apartment. Joering died at the scene, while Morelli died later that day at the hospital.

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Update: Bexley’s single-use plastics ban far from in the bag

614now Staff

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Update: Just when Bexley thought they had a new ban in the bag, state lawmakers are swooping in to disrupt things.

An ordinance to outlaw single-use plastic grocery bags was passed by Bexley City Council in May, but two new bills could block it from ever going into effect.

According to The Dispatch, both House Bill 242 and Senate Bill 222 would bar local governments from imposing a “fee, assessment or other charge” on the use of “auxiliary containers” such as bags, boxes, and cups given out by restaurants and retailers.

If even one of the bills pass, the ban on plastic bags in Bexley could be squashed. Visit dispatch.com for more information.


05/29/2019: A ordinance banning single-use plastic bags was passed by the Bexley City Council last night by a 6-1 vote.

The ban will apply to all businesses within Bexley city limits and at all city facilities and city-sponsored events beginning Jan. 1, 2020

A ban on beverage straws, stirring sticks, drink stoppers and cutlery will begin in 2021.


05/23/2019: Single-use plastic grocery bags, straws and cutlery could become obsolete in Bexley in the next few years if a new ordinance is passed.

Ordinance 14-19 would place a ban on plastic grocery and carryout bags at all businesses within Bexley city limits and at all city facilities and city-sponsored events beginning Jan. 1, 2020. A ban on beverage straws, stirring sticks, drink stoppers and cutlery would follow on Jan. 1, 2021, reports This Week News.

Also on January 1, 2021, the ban on single-use plastics would extend to educational institutions, with the exception for plastic straws for those with special needs. Mobile businesses, like food trucks, would be another exception to the single-use plastic ban.

Customers would be encouraged to bring their own bags, but business owners would be allowed to offer paper or other reusable bags for a 10-cent charge under the proposal. Troy Markham, chairman of council’s service and environmental committee who introduced this ordinance April 23, ensured that the 10-cent charge would not be collected by the city, but rather, would be itemized by the store to the consumer, reports This Week News.

Bexley City Council will vote for the third and final time on this legislation during the meeting Tuesday, May 28, at 6:30 PM at t Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.

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Major downtown ramp to close permanently soon

Regina Fox

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Dear Third Street drivers, enjoy the Interstate 70 ramp while you can because soon, it'll be but a distant memory.

Starting Monday, November 25, the Third Street ramp to I-70 east in Downtown will close permanently as part of ODOT's project to improve I-70/71.

https://twitter.com/ODOT_Columbus/status/1194370732286992384

The ramp must close to make way for a new exit ramp from I-70 east to Parsons Avenue, reports ODOT, which is expected to open next month. The Parsons Avenue ramp will replace the 18th Street exit ramp, which will also close permanently in December. 

When the project is complete in 2021, another new ramp from Fulton Street will restore access to I-70 east. In the meantime, downtown drivers headed east will have to use alternate routes. See below for suggestions from ODOT:

From German Village:

  • East on Livingston Ave. to Kelton Ave. OR to Alum Creek Dr. to I-70 east

From the Brewery District:

  • South on High St. to west on Greenlawn Ave. to I-71 north to I-70 east

From Olde Towne East:

  • East on Main St. to Miller Ave. OR to Alum Creek Dr. to I-70 east

From the Arena District:

  • West on Spring St./Dublin Rd. to SR 315 south to I-70 east
  • West on Spring St. to Neil Ave. to I-670 east (to I-71 south to I-70 east)

To see a rendering of the project once all phases are complete, click here.

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Heads up, Buckeye fans, game day traffic undergoing changes

Regina Fox

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As part of a pilot program to evaluate new ways to move more people faster, the flow of game day traffic is undergoing some changes.

The City of Columbus and COTA announced the "Game Day Mobility Lane," a one-day test that will close a lane near Ohio State's campus to normal traffic.

On November 23 starting at 10am (Ohio State vs. Penn State football game), the southbound curb lane along North High Street from Dodridge Street to Lane Avenue will be dedicated to bus, bike, and scooter traffic only.

Immediately after the start of the football game at noon, the cones will move to change the northbound flow of traffic. At that time, the northbound curb lane will be dedicated to bus, bike, and scooter traffic. The northbound traffic flow change will be in place during the game and for two hours after the game ends.

According to a release from the City of Columbus, analyses gleaned from the Game Day Mobility Lane test will inform future decision about how to best optimize traffic patterns, and could serve as a model for future tests.

The Game Day Mobility Lane is the second project in a series called the Mobility Innovation Tests, which provide critical information to help understand how to better connect residents to education, jobs, healthcare, and, in this case, OSU football.

The first test was on Third Street downtown. By dedicating the curb lane to buses, bikes and scooters, COTA saw a 25 percent time savings and closed their time range to travel the corridor from 3-24 minutes to 2-10 minutes.

“With a million people coming to our region in the coming decades, now is the time to rethink how our roads and transportation system work to give our residents convenient, affordable choices,” said Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin. “We know from other cities that dedicated lanes make a transit system more efficient and effective.”

Learn more at columbus.gov/council/mobility-innovation.

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