Tuesday, June 22, 1999

TRISTATE DIGEST


Accused gunman, 16, faces trial as adult

        A 16-year-old boy was sent to adult court Monday to face charges of shooting another teen over a $2 debt.

        Tristian Watkins could now be indicted on attempted-murder charges in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. A grand jury is expected to consider his case within a week.

        Mr. Watkins is accused of shooting 16-year-old Marcus Crooms three times with a .38-caliber revolver.

        Mr. Crooms remains hospitalized with gunshot wounds to his shoulder and hip.

        Prosecutors say the shooting occurred when Mr. Watkins and another man, Thomas Freeman, 18, confronted Mr. Crooms about a $2 debt.

Two proposed city laws deal with sex business
        Cincinnati City Council is to consider two laws Wednesday that would close some loopholes regarding sexually oriented businesses, particularly the Hustler store on Sixth Street downtown.

        The first law change is to deny a $20,000 moving expense to any business operating illegally. Normally, the city pays $20,000 if it takes a property by eminent domain.

        The proposal, spearheaded by Councilman Phil Heimlich, says the Hustler store is operating without the proper license. The city may take the property for use by the Contemporary Arts Center.

        The second law change would deny a sexually oriented business a license to operate if the business had been convicted of a crime within the past five years, including pandering obscenity.

        A council committee on Monday voted to recommend passage of the first ordinance but not the second.

West End group fails to halt demolition
        A federal appeals judge has denied a motion by the West End Community Council and Lincoln Court resident George Lee to stop demolition of the public housing.

        U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith denied the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order against the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) and the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), writing that the first phase of Lincoln Court had been substantially demolished and that granting a restraining order would delay the building of new units under a CMHA-HUD plan.

        The plaintiffs said they had been excluded from the Lincoln Court planning and that there is no plan for repopulating the community after construction is complete.

        Judge Beckwith gave CMHA and HUD until 5 p.m. July 2 to respond to the complaints.

        In all, 53 buildings at Lincoln Court will be demolished, and 2,000 people will be moved out of their apartments. The project — funded primarily by a $31 million federal Hope VI grant — reduces the number of housing units from 886 to about 500 and aims to create a mixed-income community.

Eden concert crowds problem for residents
        Sunday night concerts in Eden Park are a big hit with crowds but a disaster for local residents, the neighbors told Cincinnati City Council on Monday. Council members are considering canceling the remaining five of the eight-concert series. Or, they may make the concerts earlier (now, 8-11 p.m.) and require more portable toilets.

        The concerts were intended to keep cruising teens from migrating to Short Vine in Corryville on Sunday evenings. The merchants' association there says crowds interfere with their business.

        However, the concerts are drawing young families. Crowds average 2,500 this year, said Wayne Bain of the recreation department, up from about 500 last year.

City might ask that parking rates not rise
        Upset over rising downtown parking prices, some Cincinnati City Council members say it's time the city asks garage owners to stop raising prices during the riverfront overhaul.

        Those members — Todd Portune, Jeanette Cissell and Tyrone Yates — are hoping that garage owners will voluntarily comply with their request.

        Members of the Public Works and Utilities Committee Mondaysaid they plan next week to act on a motion that asks parking garage owners to not raise rates while the city reconstructs the riverfront.

        More than 1,200 downtown parking spaces have disappeared in the past year as construction on Fort Washington Way and Paul Brown Stadium has ripped up the riverfront.

        The latest rate hike came last week when the daily maximum rate (more than eight hours) went up from $7 to $10 at the 312 Walnut St. garage, and up from $8 to $10 at the 312 Elm St. garage.

2 city officers win American Legion award
        The American Legion Post 534 has honored two Cincinnati police officers in its Law and Order Program.

        The program, designed to promote public support of law-enforcement agencies, recognizes heroic deeds, dedication to duty and exemplary service.

        This year's awards go to Officers Kathleen “Katy” Conway and Stephen Fromhold.

        Officer Conway had been a street cop for 14 months when she shot and killed an attacker who ambushed her in her cruiser on Feb. 2, 1998. Even with her hip shattered, she fired back and calmly radioed for help.

        Officer Fromhold, a 20-year veteran of the police division, is being honored for productivity and leadership. His shift commander, Lt. Charles Ross, said: “Steve Fromhold is an example of a veteran police officer that does the right things the right way.”

Arson suspected in fire at Frisch's
        MASON — State and local fire officials and Mason police think an arsonist set a minor fire at the Frisch's restaurant on Ohio 741 near Interstate 71 Saturday night.

        Fire crews were called to the restaurant about 11:40 p.m. Saturday for smoke in the building. They found smoldering materials that had been placed in the restaurant's drop ceiling, said Mason Fire Chief William Goldfeder. The fire did minimal damage to the building and the restaurant was open Sunday.

        It did “very minor damage, but of course our concern is the fact that it was very obviously a set fire,” the chief said. “We do have some good indication of who may have set that fire.”

        It is not known how long the materials had been smoldering, he said.

        “We hope to be able to move quickly on this,” he said.

9% of stadium work goes to target groups
        With nearly $251 million worth of contracts awarded for the new Bengals stadium, Hamilton County has awarded 9 percent of the work to firms owned by minorities or women.

        The latest figures from the county show that through May 28, nearly $22 million in contracts had been awarded to women- or minority-owned firms.

        The county has a goal of awarding 15 percent of the work to firms owned by women or minorities, but officials don't think they will be able to reach that goal on the Paul Brown Stadium project.

        The 9 percent figure has stayed steady since March.

        The total cost of the stadium complex is $404 million. That figure includes the cost of land, the team's three riverfront practice fields and some infrastructure costs in addition to the stadium itself.

        The stadium is scheduled to open in August 2000.

       



Schools lose $5M in state funding
'Challenged people who can meet challenges'
Group sets goals to revitalize region
$1M grant to help with tuition
Damaged store reopening today
DUI No. 14 costs driver his freedom
Kosovar refugees experience city
Mount Adams residents question Art Club plans
Smog alert returns
Brits fly 5,000 miles to brave 'glorious' Beast
AIDS fighter to appear on 'Montel'
Eyesore finally sees paint
Father's Day sees 7 dads arrested
Glitches galore as Kenton center opens
Sting yields 7 arrests in Hamilton
Airport board picks new chairman
Brother-in-law pleads guilty to Dec. murder in Clermont
Corporex project financing gets OK
Drums drive dynamic Matthews Band show
Girl Scout camp is a day at the beach
Locals to shape parkway plans
When to stop, when to go
Workers comp law scrutinized
Coalition to spotlight the dangers of underage drinking
Deerfield Township unveils first-ever park on July 4
Jailed dad gets break for birth
Robert Crais talks about his life of crime
School improvement plan is the third try
Sycamore officially joins foes of light-rail line
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- TRISTATE DIGEST