Sunday, January 23, 2000


Aurora fire blamed on hot steam pipe

        AURORA, Ind. — Authorities say a steam pipe that came into contact with wooden ceiling beams is to blame for the $1 million fire that destroyed the old Aurora High School.

        Fire broke out in the school Wednesday and lasted 10 hours.

        Aurora fire officials said the blaze started near the basement boiler room.

        Although the building had been shut since the last day of classes in spring 1998, rehabilitation was just getting under way.

        “We were told it could have been smoldering for a year, five years, or 30 years,” Mayor Richard Ullrich Jr. said Saturday.

Businessman gets 31/2 years for fraud
        A Tristate businessman has been sentenced to nearly 31/2 years in prison for a fraud scheme.

        U.S. District Court Judge S. Arthur Spiegel on Friday sentenced Richard E. Siegel, 41, to 41 months in federal custody on two counts of interstate transportation of goods taken by fraud. Mr. Siegel pleaded guilty to the charges, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

        Mr. Siegel was ordered to pay $1,752,991 in restitution to 45 wholesale suppliers and two banks victimized by the fraud scheme, prosecutors said.

        He either owned or operated businesses known as Tri-State Distributing, Tri-Star Distributing, Siegel's Grocery, D&D Sales and G&H Distributing. Between April 1996 and Jan. 13, 1999, Mr. Siegel is accused of using bad checks and credit to buy goods, then sell them off and keep the proceeds.

Forum on black drivers stopped by police
        “Driving while black” will be the topic of a free community forum at 7 p.m. Jan. 31 at Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, 103 William Howard Taft Road.

        Panelists will look at fallacies and facts about police and whether they target African-American drivers.

        Panelists will include Rep. Peter Lawson Jones, D-Shaker Heights; Keith Fangman, Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police president; Cecil Thomas, president of the Sentinel Police Association of Cincinnati; Thomas Streicher Jr., Cincinnati police chief; Pamela Sears, a Hamilton County assistant prosecuting attorney; defense attorney Kenneth Lawson; and Tom Luken, former Cincinnati councilman and congressman.

        The program is presented by the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area and Southwest chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.

        Mr. Jones has introduced legislation that would require communities to report the race of persons in traffic stops and whether tickets were issued.

        Toledo University law professor David Harris studied traffic stops in Cleveland, Akron, Dayton and Columbus and concluded that blacks were twice as likely to get traffic tickets as nonblacks.

I-275 lanes might be closed for survey
        Starting today, weather permitting, the high-speed lanes of northbound and southbound Interstate 275 are scheduled to close in various locations between Five Mile Road and Ohio 32.

        The closures, which will take place from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. each night, will continue through Friday.Crews will be surveying the area for a widening project scheduled to begin in 2002. It will add a third lane to each direction.

Boater missing in East Fork Lake
        AFTON — Clermont County rescue workers were looking for a second person reported to have fallen in East Fork Lake late Saturday night.

        Sheriff deputies and troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol were searching East Fork Lake near Afton after a report that two people fell from a boat about 9:21 p.m. By 11 p.m., one person had been rescued.

        Taken to Clermont Mercy Hospital was John Norton, 36, of Batavia, who was in good condition late Saturday, hospital officials said.

Dorm fire rousts residents into cold
        TIFFIN, Ohio — Fire damaged a 93-year-old residence hall at Heidelberg College early Saturday, sending its residents and others nearby out in frigid weather with little to keep warm.

        Students, some in pajamas or sweats and slippers, stood outside and watched the fire at three-story Williard Hall that began about 4 a.m. and took four hours to contain.

        The fire cut through the building's attic and also damaged several third-floor rooms, college officials said. The entire building had smoke and water damage.

        Firefighters do not know what caused the fire and do not have a damage estimate.

        College spokesman Jamie Abel said the building's 63 residents will be transferred to other rooms.

        The dormitory had alarms and a sprinkler system, Mr. Abel said.

        Heidelberg, a school of about 1,700 students, is affiliated with the United Church of Christ.

Elkhart to debate commandment display
        INDIANAPOLIS — The Elkhart City Council will debate Monday whether to send a clear message to state lawmakers: Let the Ten Commandants stand.

        Council members will consider a resolution supporting state legislation allowing the display of the Ten Commandments on government property.

        Elkhart City Council President Mary Olson said she is confident Monday's resolution will pass and hopes it influences the Legislature.

        A bill in the state Senate would allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed on government property alongside documents, such as the Magna Carta and the U.S. Constitution, that have helped form the U.S. legal system.


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