Bexley passes texting ban
It is now official - if you drive in Bexley while text messaging, the police will write you a ticket.
Under the new ordinance passed on Sept. 22, anyone caught driving while using a cell phone for purposes other than sending and receiving calls will be charged with a minor misdemeanor.
The fine for breaking the law could be as much as $150, according to Councilman Jed Morison, who introduced the legislation.
Morison said he proposed the ban "simply to try to prevent accidents and to prevent injuries from happening. I am very hopeful our community will set an example."
State representative Nancy Garland, representing the 20th District, which includes Bexley, attended the council meeting to support the ban.
Garland recently introduced a similar bill to the state legislature.
"Bexley leads the way," Garland said. "At the end of the year (a texting ban) will pass at the state level - at least it will pass out of the state house."
Since Morison introduced the ordinance in July, people throughout central Ohio have shared their personal tragedies.
Nine years ago, Gahanna resident Sharon Montgomery lost her husband when a driver on a cell phone hit their car. Tom Whiteman lost his daughter when a distracted driver struck her motorcycle. Joe Teator's young nephew died in a car crash caused by a driver on a phone.
Distracted drivers cause 78 percent of accidents, Montgomery said. Laws are necessary to save lives.
"If personal responsibility were enough we would not see escalating (numbers of deadly collisions)," Montgomery said. "It is human nature to think 'it won't happen to me.'"
The new law does not prohibit driving while talking on a phone, however council may consider a complete cell phone ban in the future, Morison said.
In other news, anyone interested in applying to be on the Bexley Charter Review Commission should contact council Administrative Assistant Debbie Maynard at (614) 559-4210.
At the November meeting, the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission (OCFC) is expected to grant the Bexley Recreation and Parks Department $475,000 to renovate portions of Jeffrey Mansion.
Renovations to the outside of the mansion are nearing completion and the city estimates that the exterior project will finish $213,000 under the amount for which it was bonded.
The extra bond money will be added to the OCFC funds for a project total of $688,000, Parks Director Michael Price said.
The budgeted improvements include repairing the parking lot, asbestos remediation, repairing the fireplace, improving the restrooms and kitchen, and replacing the preschool's flooring.
The largest investments will be upgrading the HVAC system at an estimated cost of $250,000 and restoring the third floor into a usable space at an estimated cost of $220,000.
"There will be no change to the building's footprint, and all improvements will be to existing rooms and infrastructure," Price said.
The parks department will be hosting the 2009 Harvest Fest on Oct. 9 in Jeffrey Park. Festivities start at 6 p.m. and include a corn maze, hayrides, an enchanted walk, a bonfire, food, drinks and more.
The event runs until 8 p.m. For more information, call (614) 559-4300.
"It's always a fun program," Price said.
On Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of City Hall, Eloise Buker will discuss her initial findings concerning signage, parking and traffic issues in Bexley.
"She would like to hear from Bexley residents and merchants with any thoughts they might have regarding these matters," Mayor John Brennan said.
The mayor urges residents to attend the meeting or to contact Buker with any concerns.
Buker can be reached at email@example.com or (614) 239-1066.
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