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Save the Bees: ODOT’s blooming roadside beautification initiative

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You may think the Ohio Department of Transportation is responsible for patching potholes and rerouting highways, but they’re looking out for more than just your safety on the road. The ODOT Pollinator Habitat Program, piloted back in 2011, exists to plant native prairie species around the state to restore the habitat, beautify the landscape, and provide food for struggling and even endangered populations of pollinators like bees and monarch butterflies. 

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A bonus benefit of the Pollinator Habitat Program is the amount of money it has saved the state on mowing expenses; $2.2 million last year alone. The planting also decreases blowing snow and provides a net-like stop to litter that would’ve otherwise been carried off by the wind.

Today, about 800 acres of roadside in 45 counties are covered in new foliage, including a milkweed patch on I-71 near MAPFRE Stadium—the first roadside prairie in an urban setting, reports WOSU. The goal is to add more with a goal of 125 acres every year.

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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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