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Storm returns to Columbus police, lawsuit filed for conspiring to protect Trump

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Though the charges against adult film star Stormy Daniels were dropped within hours of her arrest at a central Ohio strip club this past summer, the Columbus Police Department has not heard the last of her.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has filed a federal lawsuit against four Columbus Vice officers who made the arrest at Siren’s Gentlemen’s Club in July 2018, accusing them of conspiring to protect President Donald Trump, reports NBC.

Daniels claims to have had an affair with Trump more than 10 years ago and is suing him to end a non-disclosure agreement.

“Defendant Officers believed that Ms. Clifford was damaging President Trump and they thereafter entered into a conspiracy to arrest her during her performance in Columbus in retaliation for the public statements she had made regarding President Trump,” reads the lawsuit filed Monday in a federal court in Ohio, per NBC.

Daniels was charged with three misdemeanor sex offenses for allegedly inappropriately touching a female undercover officer under a seldom-enforced law.

This law applies only to regular strip club performers and since Daniels was a guest performer, the charges against her were dropped.

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The Fayette Advocate reports that after Daniels was let off, a whistleblower came forward with emails exchanges between several high-ranking detectives prior to the raid that included news clippings about Daniels’ planned appearances in Columbus, pictures of Daniels with President Donald Trump, videos of her dancing, and even a map to Sirens where she was going to perform.

Many of these emails provided by the whistleblower were allegedly from the email account of Detective Shana Keckley, who was one of the lead-arresting officers at Sirens and also one of the four officers Daniels is suing.

The other three are Lt. Whitney Lancaster, Det. Mary Praither and Det. Steven Ratner.

Columbus Vice Detective Shana Keckley

“Defendant Officers also arrested Ms. Clifford because they believed that doing so would damage her credibility in relation to any statements she had make or might in the future make against President Trump. Damaging Ms. Clifford’s credibility in this way was another purpose of Defendant Officers’ conspiracy,” reads the lawsuit filed Monday in a federal court in Ohio, per NBC.

A spokeswoman for the Columbus Division of Police released the following statement regarding Daniels’ lawsuit.

“We’ve been made aware of the lawsuit filed by Stephanie Clifford,” said spokeswoman Denise Alex-Bouzounis. “The Columbus Division of Police internal affairs bureau continues its investigation. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on this matter at this time.”

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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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