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How oversized 'super loads' will travel across Ohio to Intel site in New Albany

News Channel 4 - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 10:46

NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) -- The Ohio Department of Transportation is referring to them as "super loads," and soon they will travel across southern and central Ohio, bound for Intel's facility under construction in New Albany.

The oversized loads will go from docks at Manchester, in Adams County along the Ohio River, to Licking County as soon as Wednesday, March 6. They will move by semis and be taken to either New Albany or Hebron. Most, but not all, are associated with the Intel semiconductor plant.

Some loads will measure in at 900,000 pounds, 19 feet wide, 24 feet high and 270 feet long, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. Each will take an estimated 8-15 days to reach their destinations and will be escorted by Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers along the route. No official closures or detours are planned, but slow-rolling roadblocks will be necessary.

One of the "super loads" bound for Licking County (Ohio Department of Transportation)

"The biggest thing is for folks to plan ahead," Matt Bruning of ODOT said. "We recognize that these will cause an inconvenience, and we want to minimize that as much as possible."

Notifications will be made in advance of each load leaving the dock near Manchester, and the transportation schedule will be checked against local events to reduce impact, ODOT said.

Route from Manchester to central Ohio
  • From the dock site east of Manchester, it will travel east on U.S. 52 to West Portsmouth.
  • At West Portsmouth, cross over into the U.S. 52 westbound lanes just before the junction of the State Route 239 on ramp to U.S. 52 westbound.
  • Travel north on the State Route 239 southbound ramp to State Route 73/SR 104
  • Travel south in the northbound lanes of State Route 73/SR 104 to U.S. 52
  • Travel east on U.S. 52 in the westbound lanes to U.S. 23 in Portsmouth
  • Travel north on U.S. 23 southbound ramp to U.S. 52 westbound
  • Travel north on U.S. 23 in the northbound lanes to the intersection with Kinneys Lane and Argonne Road
  • Cross over into the northbound lanes and travel north on U.S. 23 to the Village of Piketon
  • In the Village of Piketon cross over into the southbound lanes of U.S. 23 at Market Street to maneuver around the traffic signals then cross back over into the northbound lanes of U.S. 23
  • Travel north on U.S. 23 to Chillicothe
  • Take U.S. 35 west to State Route 104 north
  • Take 104 north to State Route 762 near Commercial Point
  • Travel east on State Route 762 to Rickenbacker Parkway
  • Travel north on Rickenbacker Parkway North to Alum Creek Drive
  • Travel north on Alum Creek Drive to Rohr Road
  • Travel east on Rohr Road to Commerce Center Drive
  • Travel north on Commerce Center Drive to Green Pointe Drive South
  • Travel east on Green Point Drive South to Saltzgaber Road
  • Travel south on Saltzgaber Road to State Route 317
  • Travel north in the Southbound Lanes on State Route 317 past Groveport to Bixby Road east
  • Travel east on Bixby Road to U.S. 33
  • Travel east in the westbound lanes of U.S. 33 to the Gender Road southbound to U.S. 33 westbound ramp in Canal Winchester
  • Travel the wrong way on the Gender Road southbound to U.S. 33 westbound ramp
  • Take State Route 674/Gender Road north to Brice Road
  • Take Brice Road north to the intersection with Tussing Road/State Route 204 in Columbus
  • Travel east on Tussing Road/State Route 204 east to State Route 310
  • Travel north on State Route 310 to U.S. 40 in Etna

From there, the route changes depending on whether the load is heading toward Hebron or New Albany.

Loads traveling to Hebron
  • Travel east on U.S. 40 to State Route 79 in Hebron
  • Travel the wrong way on the State Route 79 southbound off ramp to U.S. 40
  • Travel north in the southbound lanes on State Route 79 to local roads
Loads traveling to New Albany
  • Travel west on U.S. 40 to Etna Parkway
  • Travel north on Etna Parkway to State Route 16
  • Travel east on State Route 16 to State Route 310
  • Travel north on State Route 310 to State Route 161
  • Travel west on State Route 161 to local roads

Categories: Ohio News

Westerville, Harlem Township propose merger to combat development powered by Intel

News Channel 4 - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 10:28

Watch a previous NBC4 report on Intel's investment in Ohio in the video player above.

WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) -- The city of Westerville announced on Wednesday plans to merge with Harlem Township as the area looks to combat development fueled by Intel's semiconductor plant under construction in Licking County.

The proposed merger would allow Harlem Township to preserve the community's rural quality of life, which Carl Richison, a Harlem Township trustee, said is at risk given growing pressure for development. Richison said a merger would alleviate threat of annexation and is necessary to give residents more power to control future growth.

"The risk is that land for farms and families become warehouses. Ohio law doesn't give townships the power to prevent it," Richison said. "Only cities can do that, which is why the committee has recommended that the Harlem Township Trustees move forward with an intent to merge with Westerville."

Where to find glasses in central Ohio for the April 8 solar eclipse

While Westerville's and Harlem Township's borders do not touch, Ohio law provides multiple avenues for local governments to merge as long as their councils and voters approve. That process will begin on Thursday with an informational meeting for Harlem Township residents at 6:30 p.m. at Harlem Road Church.

Westerville, with an estimated population of 38,466 in 2022, straddles the Franklin-Delaware county line, and its closest point, Harlem Township is about 1 1/2 miles east in Delaware County. Separating the two is Hoover Reservoir, with Smothers Road crossing over it to connect the two. About 4,629 people are in Harlem Township.

Westerville City Council will also be engaging with residents on the issue during a 7 p.m. introduction meeting on March 6 at Westerville City Hall. Additional public meetings will be posted on the proposal's new site, westervilleharlem.org.

The two communities will make the case to residents that growth in central Ohio lead by Intel's multi-billion dollar investment means local governments must be increasingly thoughtful about planning for future traffic, water and sewer, police and fire, recreation and other amenities that make their quality of life distinct.

Intel's semiconductor chip manufacturing campus, named Ohio One, broke ground in September of 2022 and has already spurred a mixed-use district proposed to be built on more than 400 acres north of Intel's campus. Amazon also announced in 2023 plans to substantially build out its data center presence in central Ohio through an estimated multi-billion dollar investment by the end of the decade.

Monica Dupee, Westerville city manager, said the investments show the two communities need to take an active role in helping manage growth. The partnership is a natural fit, Dupee said, given Harlem Township shares many of the same concerns Westerville residents have about what she calls unrestrained growth.

"Partnering with Harlem Township would give us both the tools we need to better manage the development around us and the power to take control of our future instead of having it taken from us," said Dupee. "There are still factors to consider but the upside for both communities looks significant."

The local governments noted the merger will not impact either communities' schools, since those are controlled by separate, independent school boards. Westerville students attend Westerville City Schools, and those in Harlem Township attend Big Walnut schools. The two communities have yet to decide whether combining police and fire, parks and other city services would be a benefit to residents.

A formal merger agreement would have to be approved by each legislative body by August in order to be submitted to voters for the November general election.

Categories: Ohio News

After aggressive morning storms, major cooldown settling into Central Ohio

News Channel 4 - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 09:51
Columbus and Central Ohio Weather QUICK WEATHER FORECAST:
  • Today: Isolated drizzle, temperatures falling, high 45
  • Tonight: Frigid, clouds clearing, low 23
  • Thursday: Cooler sunshine, high 42
  • Friday: Some clouds, few PM showers, high 51
  • Saturday: More clouds, high 59
  • Sunday: Warmer sunshine, high 68
FORECAST DISCUSSION:

Good Wednesday afternoon!

A cold front moving through the Midwest has flipped our weather pattern to the most aggressive we have seen all year. After seeing several thunderstorms move through in the first half of today, a bitter cold will settle in by tonight.

Skies will remain cloudy as we go through this evening with some mild clearing going on overnight. Temperatures started off today in the 60s, but we'll be sitting near freezing around dinner time and the evening commute. Overnight, we're dropping into the lower 20s.

Winds will remain high, especially once this front exits our area. Speeds will be in the teens and 20s with gusts pushing as high as 40 MPH. The steady winds will remain through tonight before they finally calm by tomorrow.

Thursday will see plenty of sunshine, but will be much cooler. Temperatures will only reach the lower 40s by the afternoon - meaning we'll be slightly below average. Through the rest of the week, we're warming back up to the 50s and close to 70 degrees for the first few days of March.

The near term pattern remains relatively dry with an isolated chance for rain later on Friday. The weekend remains dry with plenty of sunshine. Lighter chances for rain return going into the first half of next week.

Categories: Ohio News

Gahanna police cruiser damaged, two hospitalized after bar fight

News Channel 4 - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 07:00

GAHANNA, Ohio (WCMH) – An early Wednesday bar fight turned into a police chase and one arrest early Wednesday morning in Gahanna.

According to Gahanna police, officers responded to the The Pub on Johnstown Road at around 2:20 a.m. on reports of two women fighting in the parking lot. After officers arrived a car exiting the parking lot struck the police cruiser and a short pursuit took place westbound on Johnstown Road.

Two overnight crashes on South James Road yields one death

The vehicle lost control and slammed into the Valley Grinding and Manufacturing building at 2853 Johnstown Road, near the John Glenn International Airport. The driver of the vehicle, an unidentified man, was taken to Grant Medical Center at 2:28 a.m. A woman from the fight was hospitalized as well. Their conditions are unknown.

  • Damage is littered in the parking lot of The Pub in Gahanna after a police cruiser was struck. (NBC4/El Richards)
  • A car was nearly totaled after it crashed into a building on Johnstown Rd. in east Columbus. (NBC4/El Richards)

The vehicle was nearly totaled with extensive damage to the entire left side and losing a tire while the police cruiser sustained minor damage. A large gaping hole to the front of The Valley Grinding and Manufacturing building was the result of the collision.

Warrants have been filed for the arrest of the driver of the car that struck the police cruiser.

No officers were injured, and police are still looking for the second woman involved in the fight. Columbus police were aiding the investigating due to the location of the crash.

Categories: Ohio News

Strong storm system creates heavy damage across central Ohio

News Channel 4 - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 06:40
Columbus and Central Ohio Weather

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- A strong line of thunderstorms that woke up central Ohio to tornado sirens Wednesday morning caused damage to numerous areas in the region.

Starting at 4:45 a.m., Franklin County along with Fairfield, Licking, Knox, Madison, Morgan and Perry counties went under tornado warnings with strong winds creating tornadic conditions. Storm Team 4's LIVE VIPIR Radar reported a tornado that touched down in West Jefferson.

Columbus and central Ohio Weather Radar

The National Weather Service has yet to confirm any tornadoes as of Wednesday morning as they survey multiple areas for damage. In Madison County, a house received significant damage from the straight-line winds that came in well over 60 mph. Closer to Columbus, the storm uprooted massive trees that damaged a house in Blacklick.

Current traffic conditions in Columbus
  • A house on Lafayette-Plain City Road near London, Ohio in Madison County takes extensive damage after a strong storm surge on February 28, 2024. (NBC4/Eric Halperin)
  • A house on Lafayette-Plain City Road near London, Ohio in Madison County takes extensive damage after a strong storm surge on February 28, 2024. (NBC4/Eric Halperin)
  • A house on Lafayette-Plain City Road near London, Ohio in Madison County takes extensive damage after a strong storm surge on February 28, 2024. (NBC4/Eric Halperin)
  • A house on Lafayette-Plain City Road near London, Ohio in Madison County takes extensive damage after a strong storm surge on February 28, 2024. (NBC4/Eric Halperin)
  • The Ohio State Agricultural Center in Madison County takes extensive damage after strong storms on February 28, 2024. (NBC4 Photo)
  • Trees are uprooted and fall on houses in Blacklick, Ohio on Belangee Road after a strong storm surge early morning on February 28, 2024. (NBC4 Photo/Delaney Ruth)
  • Trees are uprooted and fall on houses in Blacklick, Ohio on Belangee Road after a strong storm surge early morning on February 28, 2024. (NBC4 Photo/Delaney Ruth)
  • Trees are uprooted and fall on houses in Blacklick, Ohio on Belangee Road after a strong storm surge early morning on February 28, 2024. (NBC4 Photo/Delaney Ruth)
  • Trees are uprooted and fall on houses in Blacklick, Ohio on Belangee Road after a strong storm surge early morning on February 28, 2024. (NBC4 Photo/Delaney Ruth)
  • A strong storm system brought damage to a house in Hilliard, Ohio on February 28, 2024. (NBC4 Photo/Jordyn Dunlap)
  • A strong storm system brought damage to a house in Hilliard, Ohio on February 28, 2024. (NBC4 Photo/Jordyn Dunlap)

The weather alerts have caused several central Ohio school districts to announce delays Wednesday morning and American Electric Power announced thousands are without power.

Click here for the latest central Ohio weather forecast.

Categories: Ohio News

Two overnight crashes on South James Road yields one death

News Channel 4 - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 06:05

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – One man is dead, another person injured after two overnight car crashes occurred within a mile apart in east Columbus.

According to Columbus police a man was found in a car that had crashed into a pole near the intersection of South James Road and East Main Street in Eastmoor.

Suspect arrested in fatal January shooting

At 1:11 a.m. Wednesday, officers found 28-year-old Shandar Weaver in the car while also suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to Grant Medical Center in critical condition but was later pronounced dead at 2:43 a.m.

Police do not know initially where the man was shot or what led to the shooting. The case is being investigated as a homicide.

  • Police are investigating a car crash on South James Road near Clermont Road, Feb. 28, 2024. (NBC4/El Richards)
  • A man was found with a gunshot wound after his car crashed near South James Road and East Main Street, Feb. 28, 2024. (NBC4/El Richards)

About 30 minutes earlier police were investigating a crash one mile south, near the South James Road and Clermont Road intersection.

One person was taken to Grand Medical Center in critical condition after police say a car ran into a tree. Accident investigators are still unclear as to what led to the crash or how many people were inside the car.

CPD is asking that anyone with information regarding the shooting to call Detective Poliseno at (614) 645-6420, the Homicide Unit at (614) 645-4730, or Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at (614) 461-TIPS (8477).

Categories: Ohio News

Where to find glasses in central Ohio for the April 8 solar eclipse

News Channel 4 - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 04:30

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Those in central Ohio will need a special pair of glasses to get a glimpse of the rare total solar eclipse that will loom over portions of the U.S. in April.

Marking the first time since 1806, Ohio will be in the direct path of the solar eclipse on April 8. Forecasters predict the phenomenon will last for just up to four minutes and 28 seconds, and could have some impact on weather as well. The eclipse could last twice as long as the previous eclipse in 2017.

Map: Solar eclipse will cover these Ohio cities

However, is it not safe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing, according to NASA. Viewing any part of the sun through a camera lens, binoculars or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the optics will instantly cause a severe eye injury.

"You must look through safe solar viewing glasses, 'eclipse glasses,' or a safe handheld solar viewer at all times," NASA states on its "Total Solar Eclipse Safety" site. "Eclipse glasses are not regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing the sun."

While NASA does not approve any particular brand of solar viewers, the agency does recommend those watching the eclipse purchase glasses that comply with the "ISO 12312-2 international standard."

Here's where central Ohioans can get their hands on the approved solar viewing spectacles.

American Astronomical Society
  • The society has collected links to selected suppliers of solar views that central Ohioans can be confident are when used properly. These include organizations that have demonstrated that their products meet the safety requirements, including local retailers include Meijer, Kroger, Walmart, Menards and Lowes.
Columbus Metropolitan Library
  • The library will offer central Ohioans free eclipse glasses beginning on March 18. Glasses will be given out at all 23 CML locations while supplies last and will be limited to four per family. Those interested are encouraged to call ahead at 614-645-2275 to check availability.
COSI
  • The downtown museum at 333 W. Broad St. is now selling packs of the solar viewing glasses. Bundles range from 30 glasses for $75 to a 1,000 glasses for $2,500.
Dublin 'In The Dark'
  • Stay at a participating Dublin hotel and receive free eclipse glasses and access to the VIP viewing event in downtown Dublin.
GreatAmericanEclipse.com
  • The site is offering a variety of glasses that have been certified, include a pack of five glasses of $17, "Eclipser" plastic eclipse glasses for $25 and a card solar eclipse viewer for $5.
NationalEclipse.com
  • The site has expertly curated a collection of eclipse-related items to help you prepare for your next eclipse. Along with typical paper eclipse glasses and hand-held viewers, Eclipser glasses are also available in several wacky designs.
Ohio History Connection
  • Free eclipse glasses will be distributed to those attending the viewing party at the John and Annie Glenn Museum in New Concord.

It is not recommended to search for eclipse glasses on Amazon, eBay, Temu, or buying from whichever vendor offers the lowest price, the American Astronomical Society says. Before you buy a solar viewer or filter online, they recommend that you make sure that the seller is identified on the site and the seller is listed on the page.

Categories: Ohio News

Power outages in Columbus and central Ohio after tornado warning

News Channel 4 - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 04:20
Columbus and Central Ohio Weather

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Wind gusts as fast as 80 mph whipped through Columbus and surrounding counties during a tornado warning Wednesday morning, leaving thousands without power.

AEP Ohio's outage map reported 59 unique outages affecting 7,748 customers as of 6:40 a.m. Separate power company OhioEdison also reported several outages in its coverage area, including London, where storms began to form conditions conducive to tornadoes early on.

AEP Ohio announced prior to the storm that it anticipated broken poles and downed power lines because of the potential for high winds. It warned residents in any affected areas to stay as far away from any downed cables as possible.

LIVE VIPIR RADAR

NBC4 has live power outage trackers available below from four central Ohio electric companies:

AEP Ohio

For a fullscreen map of AEP outages, click here. Users can find their neighborhood or using a dropdown menu on the left side of the screen, view the map by county or zip code.

If a customer checks their location and sees an outage, they can click on the outage icon and a bar on the right-hand side of the screen will appear. This shows how many customers are affected by the outage, when the outage was reported, and an estimated time that power will be restored.

Snow emergencies for Columbus and central Ohio, Dec. 23

Customers can report an outage on the left panel of the map.

FirstEnergy/Ohio Edison

FirstEnergy/Ohio Edison customers in rural parts of north-central Ohio can click here for a fullscreen map. This map allows users to search by county. However, it does not present the information in map form. Instead, it opens an alphabetized list of counties it serves, and the number of customers affected by outages.

Customers can report an outage by clicking on the button in the map's top right corner.

Union Rural Electric Cooperative 

Union Rural Electric Cooperative, which predominantly serves electricity to the Marysville area, breaks down its service areas by ZIP code, rather than county.

URE allows customers to report outages either by calling 937-642-1826 or online.

Southern Central Power Company

Ohio Southern Central power customers can find their outage map here.

Serving mostly the south-central part of Ohio, the map also allows users to search by location or break down the outages by county by clicking the “County” button on the right side of the key on the left-hand side of the map.

The company has instructions on how customers can report a power outage on its website.

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus employers will soon be barred from asking about salary history in job interviews

News Channel 4 - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 03:30

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Starting Friday, businesses, nonprofits and other employers in Columbus will no longer be allowed to ask job applicants how much they currently make.

A city ordinance will ban employers from asking prospective employees about their previous salaries, benefits packages or other compensation. Beginning March 1, Columbus-based employers who inquire about past wages or base a hiring decision off a person’s previous earnings can face up to thousands of dollars in fines.

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City councilmember Lourdes Barroso de Padilla proposed the legislation last year in an effort to combat pay inequity for women, particularly women of color. White women earned 83.3 cents for every dollar white men made in 2023, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while Black and Latina women earned 72.6 cents and 65.4 cents, respectively.

Several women testified before city council last February about their experiences being locked into lower wages than their male counterparts because they were candid about what they earned at previous jobs. But outlawing inquiries into applicants’ salary history benefits more than just women and other minorities, Barroso de Padilla said in an interview.

“All boats rise,” Barroso de Padilla said. “When we talk about pay equity, it’s not just about closing the pay gap for women. It’s about ensuring everyone will make more – it doesn’t matter who you are.”

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The salary history ban applies to all employers with 15 or more workers in Columbus. While it applies to the city, it doesn’t apply to other government employers at the local, state or federal level. The ordinance also explicitly specifies that employers are still permitted to ask applicants about their salary expectations.

Employers would be allowed to ask about prior compensation in limited circumstances, mainly for transfers or promotions within the company or for jobs whose compensation is dictated by collective bargaining agreements. Job applicants can voluntarily disclose their earnings history, although employers would still be barred from making hiring decisions based solely on that information.

Job applicants who believe a prospective employer is violating the salary history ban can report the employer to the Community Relations Commission. Employers face a $1,000 fine for their first violation, a $2,500 fine for a second violation, and up to $5,000 for three or more violations within five years.

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Cincinnati and Toledo passed salary history bans in 2019, while several states, including New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island, have passed statewide salary history bans. Barroso de Padilla said she hopes city council considers other ways to promote pay equity and boost wages in Columbus, including through requiring employers to include salary ranges in job postings.

Categories: Ohio News

WEATHER ALERT: Strong storms working through Central Ohio

News Channel 4 - Wed, 02/28/2024 - 01:48
Columbus and Central Ohio Weather QUICK WEATHER FORECAST:
  • Today: AM storms, falling temps
  • Tonight: Clearing clouds, low 23
  • Thursday: Mainly sunny, high 42
  • Friday: Spotty PM showers, high 49
  • Saturday: Clearing, warmer, high 59
  • Sunday: Warm sunshine, high 68
FORECAST DISCUSSION:

Happy Wednesday!

We start the morning off with some strong thunderstorms working through the region. Expect this activity to continue through the morning commute, before eventually pushing off to the southeast by late-morning to early-afternoon. Beyond that, we'll be on the back edge of a cold front. This will lead to falling temperatures through the afternoon, eventually down into the 30s. We'll be much colder this afternoon than we are this morning. We'll also be windy, with gusts as high as 40 MPH.

Clouds break tomorrow, giving way to lots of sunshine. Expect highs to be cooler, however, in the lower 40s. We will be much less windy by tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, a quick, weak system works through, bringing the chance for a few spotty afternoon showers. Otherwise, we kick off a warming trend into the weekend, with highs in the upper 40s.

We continue to warm into the weekend. Expect partly cloudy skies Saturday, with highs in the upper 50s. By Sunday we'll be into the upper 60s, close to 70, with lots of sunshine.

-McKenna

Categories: Ohio News

Suspect arrested in fatal January shooting

News Channel 4 - Tue, 02/27/2024 - 19:56

Watch a previous report on the shooting in the video player above.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- A suspect has been arrested in connection with a shooting that left one man dead late last month.

Leon Mason, 22, was arrested without incident Tuesday on charges of murder and felonious assault.

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On Jan. 28, Columbus police officers responded to the 2400 block of Kimberly Parkway, where they found Deangelo Williams Jr., 23, unresponsive in the driver's seat of a car that had hit several parked cars on the street.

Williams was pronounced dead more than 36 hours later at the hospital.

Categories: Ohio News

Lancaster looks to honor ‘underdog’ business owner with statue

News Channel 4 - Tue, 02/27/2024 - 18:30

LANCASTER, Ohio (WCMH) – About 200 years after a former slave broke barriers in Lancaster, efforts to honor his life are underway.

Until recently, not much was known about Scipio Smith. That's changed due to the work of Michael Johnson, a local historian and Marketing Director for the Fairfield County Heritage Association. As a historian, he spends a lot of time reading books and looking at older documents. About six years ago, an entry caught his attention. It was about Smith.

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“Just like a one line entry on Scipio. It talked about a six-foot-four black man with one leg who was the first Black businessman in Lancaster and that's all there was," he said.

He said it was the most unique description he'd ever read about Lancaster residents and was determined to find out more.

“First of all I love the underdog story, I love uncovering things that we know little or nothing about and I think it's important for Lancaster," Johnson said.

Locally, Johnson was able to learn Smith founded the AME church in town which is now Allen Chapel. Johnson also found reference to him being a slave in Virginia. Eventually through Virginia Untold at the Library of Virginia, he discovered Smith's emancipation documents.

"This was the major breakthrough," Johnson said.

Searching for the information then became easier, according to Johnson. Smith had been brought to Lancaster and his full emancipation took effect in 1821 when he was 25 years old. He founded the church about two years later. Johnson learned two years after that, Scipio opened a tinsmith store downtown, becoming Lancaster's first Black business owner.

“It’s absolutely phenomenal and he’s overcoming a lot, not just racism but his disability as well," Johnson said.

In 2023 the city put up honorary Scipio Smith street signs. Fundraising is going on to put a statue downtown in the area of where the tinsmith shop was. Johnson said about 40% of the $96,000 needed has been raised. 

“I would consider him a local legend, absolutely.  A hidden legend. He opened the doors for future Black entrepreneurship and I want to see that celebrated and I want to see that recognized," Johnson said. 

Johnson has told Smith's story at local schools. Some students in the area have gone on to start their own fundraising efforts to help with the project. Those interested in donating can do so through the Fairfield County Foundation.

"Our Black history has been under acknowledged, ignored, under appreciated,” Johnson said. “And most people are surprised when I show up to talk Black history of Lancaster because they think well there is no Black history in Lancaster, but there is. And it's a really rich history with a lot of amazing figures.”

Categories: Ohio News

What to expect from new John Glenn airport terminal

News Channel 4 - Tue, 02/27/2024 - 18:00

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Last year, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA) announced a massive renovation project: a new $2 billion airport for Columbus, aiming to be completed by early 2029.

Now, we’re getting a better idea of what to expect in the new airport, who will pay for it, and whether it will help Columbus take off.

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“You need the business demand to get the airport and you need the airport to generate the business demand,” said Eric Stavriotis, vice chairman for Advisor and Transaction Services for Location Incentives at CBRE, a commercial real estate and advisory firm.

From Old Port Columbus to now John Glenn International, the current terminal opened in 1958, prompting the demand to modernize.

The new terminal will be built on the ground where the blue parking lots and the cell phone lot are located. Plans call for the terminal to grow by seven gates to 36. The design will use one central terminal instead of the three in the current building.

  • (Courtesy/Columbus Regional Airport Authority)
  • (Courtesy/Columbus Regional Airport Authority)
  • (Courtesy/Columbus Regional Airport Authority)

“By bringing the passengers under one security checkpoint, we're creating a new efficiency and allowing access to more amenities, more concessions for all the passengers,” said Kristen Easterday, public affairs director for CRAA.

Those changes could prompt major growth; the authority estimates their annual passenger traffic could increase from 8.5 million to more than 13 million. It could also prompt additional direct flights to and from Columbus.

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“The decisions for new flights is decided upon by the airlines and we're there to help bridge the gap, to help them analyze the market,” said Betsy Taylor with CRAA’s passenger airline business development.

“It’s not just build an airport and they will come,” said Didi Caldwell, president and CEO of Global Location Strategies. “You also have to work with the airlines to ensure that there is going to be enough traffic to make that worth their investment.”

As for who will pay for the new terminal, no new taxpayer dollars will be used. Instead, over $1.5 billion will be repaid through bonds and revenue generated at the airport. In addition, there is about $240 million from the airport authority that will be used for the project.

The design phase of the project is about 60% finished, with construction expected to begin early next year.

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“This is a means to an end, but it also reinforces this idea that we need to continue to grow and to do things that are attractive to business and talent if we're going to continue on this path,” said Kenny McDonald, president and CEO of The Columbus Partnership.

There will be growing pains over the next few years, including parking. The airport is adding to its red and green lots to make space, and a part of the eventual plan is a 5,000-spot parking garage.

Categories: Ohio News

The Arnold expected to bring millions to Columbus economy

News Channel 4 - Tue, 02/27/2024 - 17:30

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- In just a few days, Downtown Columbus will be filled with athletes from all around the world for the 36th annual Arnold Classic Sports Festival.

Tourism officials call this one of the biggest events held in the city all year. This year, event leaders are expecting more than 100,000 people to attend.

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“Actually, it's going to have an impact on everything,” said Dan Williams, the chief sales officer for Experience Columbus. “They're going to fill the hotels, they're going to fill the restaurants, they're going to be Downtown, Short North, the Arena District, and then also, there's other opportunities to get to the museums and be part of the gallery hop.”

Williams said they are predicting The Arnold will bring in more than $15 million in direct visitor spending. Around 20,000 athletes will be participating.

Hotels in the area are busy preparing for their guests. Experience Columbus said more than 8,000 hotel rooms have been contracted for this event.

Williams said the event's impact stretches well beyond this weekend.

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“It'll benefit us in the future because we'll continue to bring these impactful events and that's extremely important to get those tax dollars that go to support all the other great things in our community,” he said.

This year, The Arnold Classic is debuting the Stack3d Pavilion, a place with more than 25 exhibitors for sports nutrition and an ingredient house for energy drinks. There will also be the classic events that people like Williams look forward to each year.

“I love the strongman competition,” he said. “I mean, I'm talking about the men's and the women's side. I mean, it's just amazing to see these athletes lift these massive, massive weights and it's just awesome to see.”

Williams said events like this one are a great exposure opportunity for the city.

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“We don't want them just one time,” Williams said. “We want them to continue coming back. So we make sure that they have an amazing experience when they come to this community.”

The official kick-off events begin Thursday.

Categories: Ohio News

Man scammed out of $6,000 on Facebook

News Channel 4 - Tue, 02/27/2024 - 17:30

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- A Westerville man learned firsthand that selling something to strangers online comes with a risk.

Every five years, Darren Macron replaces his wife's wedding ring with a well-deserved upgrade. Knowing her current set was still in good condition, he had it appraised, then listed it for sale on Facebook Marketplace for about half the price -- $6,600.

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"I thought I will just sell it," Macron said. "The money that we get, we will actually just go on vacation, have fun."

Not long after posting, a woman contacted Macron about the ring. Eventually, she agreed to buy it for $6,000.

The buyer was located in the Toledo area, but that wasn't a problem for Macron. He already had plans to drive to Chicago for business. So, he added a pit stop in Fort Wayne, Indiana to meet the buyer's brother, to hand off the ring and get the money, which came in the form of a cashier's check. Macron gave the check a once-over and deposited it into his bank account.

"The check looked good, the county looked good, the names looked good, the foil mark... everything," Macron said.

But looks aren't everything.

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"It was about eight, nine days later, I open up an envelope in the mail and I'm like, 'Are you kidding me?'" he said.

It was a letter from Macron's bank, returning the check, determining it to be "altered" or "fictitious," meaning the $6,000 Macron thought he pocketed from the sale didn't exist. And to make matters worse, he no longer had the ring.

"The ring I had doesn't have a code, doesn't have a VIN, doesn't have a SKU number," Macron said. "I can't chase it down."

Macron tried to get ahold of the Facebook buyer.

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"I was even trying to play the nice guy," Macron said. "I had a couple of questions to see if they would even... nothing. Communication was gone. And then the only thing I thought of is, 'How can I help anyone else not fall for this?'"

Macron started by posting a PSA on Facebook. Then, he called Better Call 4.

"If it opens anyone's eyes, if I can save one person -- go to the bank with the person you're buying from, get a cashier's check and then walk away," Macron said. "I don't want to be that guy, but I am a totally changed person. I have a vehicle on Facebook Marketplace right now for sale, and... no, am I not taking a cashier's check. Cash only!"

Unfortunately, there isn't much recourse for Macron in this situation, since he didn't lose any of his own money. And this isn't a new tactic or the only way scammers use cashier's checks to claim victims.

Need help? Contact ‘Better Call 4’

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has a list of common scams and how you can spot them here.

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus neighborhood bars hit by thieves

News Channel 4 - Tue, 02/27/2024 - 17:00

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- A beloved bar in the Historic Harrison West neighborhood of Columbus had money stolen and windows smashed, which can be fixed. However, the thieves got away with something priceless. 

Zeno’s was hit twice in 24 hours. One of the items stolen made the workers feel like they were punched in the gut. 

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The vandals used a hammer to break the glass and get inside both times.

“When the alarm went off and they scrambled, they grabbed two bottles of liquor off the back bar, one that happened to be a memorial bottle to our bartender, Katie, who passed away in a car accident years ago,” Zeno's owner Quinn Allen said.

That bottle was sentimental to everyone who worked and visited Zeno’s over the years. 

“It was priceless," Allen said. "It was given to us as part of the charity auction we were doing to help raise money after Katie passed. Katie Fox, she’s been a fixture at this bar forever and she still lives on to this day. Everybody who comes here still knows who she is. Her personality just rang so bright.”

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While they realize they’ll probably never see that bottle again, that wasn’t the only thing stolen. The first night, in addition to the alcohol, thieves got away with employee tips. The second bottle of alcohol stolen didn’t make it far -- Allen found it broken down the street. 

“Then the second morning after we were all digesting all that, they came back again and made a quick in and out and ripped our ATM out of the floor and made off with that," Allen said.

The thieves did trip the alarm, but they were in and out in minutes. Allen said watching the security footage is the worst part. 

“You’re angry, you’re upset, but in the grand scheme of things, it could have been much worse," he said. "We’re happy that it wasn’t. Now all we can do is put our best foot forward and think about what we can do to take action to prevent these things from happening to other people."

About 10 minutes away, another bar -- the Quarry Co. Bar and Grille -- was also broken into. Zeno's has co-ownership of Quarry Co. It happened around the same time Zeno’s was hit for a second time. 

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“It’s definitely unnerving," Allen said. "I mean when you see that it’s happening at a frequent rate and the pain and stuff that we’re enduring, people are also feeling on the same fronts."

While Allen said this isn’t the first time Zeno’s has been hit and he doesn’t think it’ll be the last, he has advice for other small businesses that may be wondering if they’re next.

“You never know what night it’s going to hit, never get too comfortable and just make sure you’re going through your procedures to tighten up so that you can avoid things like that,” he said. 

Zeno’s is still open for business and is preparing for it 40th annual St. Patrick’s Day party. 

Anyone with information regarding the break-ins is asked to contact Columbus Police at 614-645-4545.

Categories: Ohio News

DeWine takes step to better Ohio mental health treatments

News Channel 4 - Tue, 02/27/2024 - 16:00

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is getting to work on a new group that he said will work to better the state’s mental health systems.

“The work we are doing together is helping more and more people, but we certainly have more work to do,” DeWine said.

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Addressing mental health care shortfalls is something DeWine has talked about several times during his tenure as governor.

“We’re ready to get stuff done with all of our people out in the fields,” former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton said.

The governor previewed the new working group Tuesday afternoon after he said he thought of putting it together earlier that day. He said it will have judges, mental health experts and law enforcement officials on it.

DeWine said one example of what the group will do is look at things like how often sheriffs are dealing with people who have significant mental health challenges.

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DeWine said that right now, 93% of beds in the state’s psychiatric hospitals are being occupied by people in the criminal justice system, sometimes for months at a time. He added that is creating a problem for other Ohioans who don’t have the means to get private help and are not in the criminal justice system. DeWine said they are being told they have to wait.

“There’s no room there," he said. "There’s no room in the hospital for you. That’s an outrage and we have to do something about it.”

DeWine said he still wants to be sure to take care of people in the criminal justice system who need mental health attention, but said the working group will look at the best pathways for that.

“We know the courts need to be able to put that person somewhere, but our state hospitals probably are not the most appropriate place for some of them to be,” he said.

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DeWine said that while the new working group has a big task, he thinks the work they are setting out to do can be effective in multiple ways.

“We know that we can save lives, we know that we can save a ton of money if we reach people early enough,” DeWine said. “If they can get treatment early -- by early, that means within the first six months, first year -- the chance of them being able to live a better life goes up dramatically.”

DeWine said the official announcement about the working group will come soon. He said the goal of the group will be to put together recommendations that they can bring back to the statehouse for lawmakers to work to enact.

Categories: Ohio News

Report lists warnings pilots received before plane from Ohio State Airport crashed in Florida

News Channel 4 - Tue, 02/27/2024 - 14:59

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Three engine warnings occurred about a minute before a plane coming from the Ohio State University Airport crashed onto a highway in Naples, Florida, killing a pilot and co-pilot and injuring several passengers, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The plane, a Bombardier Challenger 600 operated by HopAJet, crashed about six miles from Naples Municipal Airport on Feb. 9 with five passengers and two pilots onboard. A preliminary report released Tuesday by the NTSB showed that the plane emitted three warnings about the engines, two of which related to oil pressure, seconds before the pilot reported double engine failure and subsequently crashed onto Interstate 75.

The pilot, 50-year-old Edward Murphy from Oakland Park, Fla., had accrued more than 10,500 hours of flight experience, while co-pilot and 65-year-old Ian Hofmann from Pompano Beach, Fla., had accrued nearly 25,000 flight hours, according to the report. Both had experience flying the Bombardier Challenger 600.

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The crew was cleared for landing by the Naples airport's air traffic controller at 3:08 p.m. About a minute later, according to the plane's flight data recorder, the plane's system warned of an issue with the left engine's oil pressure. One second later, an issue with the right engine's oil pressure was recorded. Within seconds, the plane emitted a third engine warning.

About 20 seconds later, the pilot told air traffic control that it lost both engines and was making an emergency landing. The controller cleared the airplane to land.

"We are not going to make the runway," one of the pilots said, the last transmission from the plane. "We have lost both engines."

AirNav RadarBox flight tracking shows the path the jet took before the crash. As it approached Naples Airport flying east, the pilot veered slightly north before curving back south over Interstate 75.

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The NTSB reviewed dashcam footage it received from a driver in the area of the crash. It showed the plane touch down into traffic on I-75 before crashing into a concrete sound barrier, engulfed in flames and smoke.

Neither engine appeared to have anomalies, according to the NTSB report. Main fuel pumps, fuel injectors and fuel filter bowls also appeared in working order. One fuel sample from the right fuel filter bowl had a "yellowish tint," while all other fuel samples appeared normal. About a half ounce of water was recovered from the tail fuel tank.

The NTSB will continue to investigate the crash and release a final report, a process that can take one to two years.

Categories: Ohio News

Ohio woman accused of killing boy, 5, facing murder, abuse of a corpse charges

News Channel 4 - Tue, 02/27/2024 - 13:51

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- The woman accused of killing a 5-year-old boy she was the legal guardian of has been formally indicted on murder and other charges.

Pammy Maye, 48, was formally indicted by a Franklin County grand jury Tuesday on charges of aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse, and three counts of tampering with evidence.

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Maye is scheduled to appear in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on Friday for a formal arraignment.

Maye was first accused of kidnapping the boy, Darnell Taylor, on Feb. 14, setting off a statewide Amber Alert. However, court records show that when Maye's husband called 911, he told the operator that Taylor was dead.

The car Maye drove on Feb. 14 was found abandoned near Cleveland later that day. Maye was arrested one day later in Brooklyn, Ohio, and Taylor's body was found in a sewer drain on Feb. 16.

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Maye and her husband became the legal guardians of Taylor in May 2023.

Categories: Ohio News

Construction worker in critical condition after injury at Rumpke recycling facility

News Channel 4 - Tue, 02/27/2024 - 13:01

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- A construction worker is in critical condition after they were injured at a Rumpke recycling facility in northeast Columbus Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities responded to the scene at 1190 Joyce Ave. at about 1:05 p.m., according to Columbus Division of Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Geitter. The worker had been assisting with a project at the recycling facility when they were injured and then transported to Grant Medical Center.

Geitter said the injured worker is not a Rumpke employee.

Categories: Ohio News

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