Monday, May 24, 1999


3 hurt as police car hits vehicle

        Three people were injured, including a Cincinnati police officer who apparently lost control of his cruiser and crashed into another car in Fairmount, Saturday afternoon.

        Cincinnati police are investigating the crash that sent the officer and two women in the struck vehicle to area hospitals. The accident happened as Officer Steven Givens, 30, was driving southbound in the 1900 block of State Avenue to assist another officer making an arrest.

        Officer Givens was treated at Good Samaritan Hospital and released. The driver of the second car was Willie May Bradshaw, 58, Over-the-Rhine. She was listed in fair condition at the same hospital Sunday. A passenger in her car, Brenda Simms, 28, of Price Hill, was listed in good condition Sunday night at University Hospital.

        According to police, Officer Givens, with the department less than a year, was driving southbound on State Avenue without lights and sirens on when he lost control of the cruiser. His car crossed the center line and struck Ms. Bradshaw's vehicle.

        No further details were available Sunday. The accident remains under investigation.

Last chance to sound off on school budget
        Citizens will get one more chance to sound off on Cincinnati Public Schools' $360 million, 1999-2000 budget proposal at today's school board meeting 7 p.m. at district headquarters, 2651 Burnet Ave., Corryville.

        Rick Williams, approved May 13 to fill the unexpired term of longtime school board member Virginia Griffin, will be sworn in.

Taft's temper now the talk of capital
        COLUMBUS — Gov. Bob Taft has a fiery side that's beginning to surface on the job, a newspaper reported.

        Mr. Taft's temper became a topic of discussion after an April 22 incident at the Governor's Residence, the Columbus Dispatch said in a story Sunday.

        The Cincinnati Republican slammed his spoon into a bowl of cereal, sending raisin bran flying and his personal aide, Michael Wellendorf, scurrying for cover, the newspaper said. Mr. Wellendorf, 27, resigned a short time later and went to work for state Treasurer Joseph Deters.

        Another time, Mr. Taft publicly dressed down Scott Borgemenke, his chief policy adviser, for failing to provide doughnuts for a morning meeting with legislators, the Dispatch said.

        Mr. Taft and his wife, Hope, declined to be interviewed by the newspaper. Messages were left Sunday with Mr. Taft's spokesmen.

        Brian Hicks, the governor's chief of staff, went to work for Mr. Taft in 1991 and managed his gubernatorial campaign last year.

        “I have seen him be a demanding boss who has very high expectations,” Mr. Hicks said. “I have seen him be not overly patient with individuals who are not prepared or who are not meeting reasonable expectations.

Must juvenile sex offenders register?
        COLUMBUS — Juvenile justice experts are debating whether children convicted of sex crimes should be labeled as sex offenders and forced to register their addresses with local authorities.

        Ohio's version of Megan's Law makes no provision for children because the juvenile court system in the state is built around rehabilitation and giving kids another chance, the Columbus Dispatch reported Sunday.

        But one case in Columbus involving the rape of two young girls by a 16-year-old boy has prompted debate about whether Megan's Law should be changed, the newspaper said.

        The boy, now 19, must be anonymously released by the state Department of Youth Services by age 21 because his crimes were committed as a child.

        “As a parent, I'd want to know if the 19-year-old who moved in down the street has a history of sex offenses,” said Yvette McGee Brown, a juvenile court judge in Franklin County. “But if the kid is following his therapy, I'd hate to stigmatize him with a label.”

Taft weighs raises for future cabinet
        COLUMBUS — Gov. Bob Taft is considering asking the legislature to raise the salaries of cabinet members to keep future candidates interested in state government.

        Mr Taft's cabinet members have an average salary of $103,627. But comparable executive-level positions in the private sector pay 50 percent to 100 percent more, said Brian Hicks, Mr. Taft's chief of staff.

        “There's an entire class of individuals who we will never get in public service,” Mr. Hicks told the Columbus Dispatch in a story published Sunday.

        To remedy that, Mr. Taft is giving “some very serious thought” to approaching the legislature about increasing the salaries for department directors, Mr. Hicks said. Mr. Taft has not set a timetable for such a push.

        The $103,627 average for Mr. Taft's cabinet is one-third more than the average pay of $77,576 cabinet members earned under George Voinovich when they took office eight years ago.

Industries, utilities vie to woo lawmakers
        AKRON, Ohio — Ohio's biggest industries are using money to get the attention of lawmakers in the debate over opening up Ohio's electric utility industry to competition.

        Ohio industries have outspent the state's five investor-owned electric utilities more than 3-to-1 in campaign contributions since 1994, according to a computer analysis of 1.1 million contribution records by the Akron Beacon Journal.

        The newspaper's analysis showed 60 companies and trade groups contributed more than $5 million, mostly to help elect Republican candidates. At the same time, the utilities gave $1.5 million to state campaigns, the Beacon Journal reported in a story Sunday.

        Most Ohioans stand to see a savings of 1 percent to 2 percent on their electric bills in a deregulated market. But it's the industrial customers who most actively support deregulation because competition is expected to lower their rates, which are already about half of the rates residential customers pay, the newspaper said.

Builder's failure leaves some homeless
        AKRON, Ohio — The closing nearly a month ago of a New Philadelphia store for manufactured homes has left some families without places to live and led to more than $15 million in lawsuits.

        New Philadelphia police have received more than 50 complaints about Schwartz Homes Inc. from dissatisfied customers in Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Maryland, the Akron Beacon Journal reported on Sunday.

        Capt. Sam Hitchcock said police are investigating each complaint and turning them over to Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Amanda Bornhorst, who will decide whether to file criminal charges against Schwartz Homes.

        The attorney general's office also is taking complaints.

        Steven Schwartz, president, secretary and treasurer of the company, cited financial problems for the April 26 closing.

        In a statement that day, he expressed his “deep regret and concern” and promised to be “actively committed to resolving the current situation.”

        But since then, he could not be reached and no documents have been filed in bankruptcy court, the newspaper said.

        “It's like Elvis, there have been sightings,” said David Schaffner, a New Philadelphia attorney who is representing about 80 customers.


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