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Map: Local man thinks he has the answer to Ohio passenger rail

Regina Fox

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Kevin Verhoff really doesn’t like the idea of cars. He believes they’re
“highly inefficient,” they take up a “ton of space,” and they cost a “lot of money,” not to mention the “ridiculous amounts of money” Ohio shells out on highways every year.

Instead, Verhoff would like to see the Buckeye State use its resources to build a comprehensive rail network, which looks a little something like this:

“Is this crazy? Yes. Would it be awesome? Yes,” wrote Verhoff.

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Not only would this proposed network “use technology and processes which are currently available (unlike the hyperloop),” according to Verhoff, there’s several more reasons to get onboard, literally:

  • It would serve 23 of Ohio’s 25 largest counties
  • With stops in 44 of Ohio’s counties, it would serve 9.6 Million residents (about 83% of Ohioans).
  • Cleveland to Columbus in about 2.5 hours.
  • Columbus to Cincy in 2 hours.
  • It could be part of a broader regional and national rail network that would connect Ohio to other major cities in the region, along with international connections in Canada.

Verhoff knew he couldn’t get this train on the tracks, literally, without a projected cost. He estimates that in total, the 1,800-mile project would bear a $8.98 billion price tag ($5 million per mile), spread out over 20 years.

“That’s about a 10% increase in ODOT’s annual budget!” Verhoff added.

No doubt that’s not a number to scoff at, but Verhoff believes the implication of passenger rail in Ohio would be much larger.

“Imagine someone being able to go from Sandusky to Cleveland for cancer treatments or a heart surgery, without having to pay $8000 per year to own a car,” he wrote. “Businesses would start to look to Ohio as an innovative place that creates opportunities and links human capital together. More importantly, people would just have more options for getting around. It’s not that expensive, and it would be life-changing for a lot of Ohioans.

“It’s a crazy idea. But, it’s also a really good idea,” Verhoff said.

To read more about Verhoff’s master plan for passenger rail in Ohio, click here.

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Kahoots suit blames disbanded Vice unit for closure

614now Staff

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The fallout from Columbus' embattled former vice squad continues, as a new lawsuit has been leveled against officers by the owners of Kahoots.

According to WOSU, Icon Entertainment Group, which owned club operations at the now-closed gentleman's club on Kenny Road, has sued former Columbus Vice officers Steven Rosser and Whitney Lancaster. The suit claims that Rosser and Lancaster's improper enforcement activities are the reason that the club went under.

Rosser and Lancaster were among the officers who arrested porn star Stormy Daniels at Columbus' Sirens Gentleman's Club in 2018. In addition to this new suit, several former Kahoots dancers sued Rosser and Lancaster for unlawful arrests, claiming the officers targeted the dancers in retaliation for the club firing a police informant.

The Columbus Vice Unit was disbanded in the spring of 2018 following multiple FBI investigations into its officers' conduct. Rosser and Lancaster are still employed by the department in other roles.

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Dublin will never be the same with new pedestrian bridge, opening soon

614now Staff

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Get those walking shoes ready because we have an official open date for the pedestrian bridge connecting the city of Dublin's historic district to the Bridge Park development.

According to 10TV, the new bridge spanning the Scioto River will open to the public on March 13. A community celebration and dedication will take place that day from 7pm- 11pm at the West Plaza.

Opening celebrations for the new bridge will land right between Dublin's annual State of the City address on March 12 and the "Greenest, Grandest" St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 14.

“We couldn’t be prouder to open this pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Scioto River, which has been a vision of the Dublin community and Dublin City Council for decades,” says Megan O’Callaghan, Deputy City Manager and Chief Operating Officer in a news release.

“We know the end result is something Dublin residents can be extremely proud of. From the sleek main tower and suspension design to the 'S' shaped bridge deck and special lighting features, this is truly a unique bridge that will serve as one of Dublin’s defining City icons.”

For all the latest info on the bridge and its progress, click here.

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Man identified in apparent fall at Ohio State construction site

614now Staff

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Update: The body discovered at a construction side on Ohio State University's campus has been identified.

Fox8 reports foul play is not suspected in the death of Corey Ray Bias, 20, of Johnstown. He was a third-year political science major.

A call came in on Friday morning about a man appearing to be on some scaffolding about five or six stories up and then falling off.

Columbus fire crews arrived at the site near Neil and West 11th avenues around 6:30am, but Fox8 reports it appeared he had been on the ground for some time and was not breathing.

Both Ohio State and Bias' high school in the Johnstown-Monroe Local Schools are making counselors available for students.

***

01/17/2020: A body was discovered at a construction site on Ohio State University’s campus Friday morning.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Ohio State University Police were first called the area of Neil Avenue and 11th Avenue near the dorm Mack Hall around 6:30am.

The university said there is no ongoing threat.

No additional details were released as the investigation continues.

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