Sunday, June 11, 2000

Local Digest

Cincinnati still under smog alert

        Cincinnati remains under a smog alert today.

        The Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services advises people at risk to protect their lungs by minimizing outdoor activity and taking frequent breaks from physical activity.

        As of 5 p.m. Saturday, the highest air quality index was 75.

        Tristate air quality is potentially “unhealthy” for sensitive groups such as the elderly, children and people with respiratory illness (such as asthma).

        To reduce pollution, officials urge all residents to minimize auto travel, conserve electricity, fill gas tanks after 6 p.m. and use gas-powered lawn equipment after 6 p.m.

        An alert means the conditions are ideal for unhealthy levels of smog. An air quality violation actually occurs when the air quality index, a measure of ozone, exceeds 101.

Man injured after being hit by race car
        MIAMI TOWNSHIP — A 33-year-old man was in serious condition with head injuries Saturday night after he was struck by a race car and trapped underneath, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said.

        Bradley Abrams, of Brookville, Ind., was working at the starting line at the Edgewater Sports Complex on East Miami River Road when a race car backed up and struck him, shortly before 6 p.m.

        Mr. Abrams was taken by Air Care to University Hospital. The incident is under investigation.

Helen Thomas tells grads to seek equality
        ATHENS, Ohio — Former White House correspondent Helen Thomas called on about 3,000 Ohio University graduates Saturday to work for equality throughout the world.

        “The nation is at peace and the economy is on a roll,” she said. “At the same time, it will fall to you to make our society more equal, which it is not when millions still live below the poverty line.”

        Ms. Thomas, 79, a reporter for United Press International for 57 years, spoke at Ohio University's two commencement ceremonies.

        She resigned from UPI last month, a day after the company was sold to News World Communications Inc., the parent company of the Washington Times.

        She said Saturday that she had no plans to retire and was considering offers to cover the 2000 presidential election.

City underestimates cost of curb ramps
        COLUMBUS — Building wheelchair ramps to settle a lawsuit will cost $14 million more than anticipated because the city miscalculated the number of curb ramps needed and their costs.

        “I'm outraged that last year the city could be so far off on what this project would cost our taxpayers and that our managers were not held accountable,” Mayor Michael Coleman said in a statement.

        The Toledo-based Equal Justice Foundation sued the city for violating curb-ramp requirements included in the Americans with Disabilities Act. The federal law requires cities to make curbs accessible to people in wheelchairs.

        Columbus now plans to spend $20 million to build more than 11,000 ramps, about $1,800 a ramp. Under the previous plan, the city was to spend $6.2 million to build 5,000 ramps, an average of $1,240 per ramp.

        In a settlement reached last year with the foundation, the city agreed to install the ramps by December. Officials now say that deadline cannot be met.

Best poison ivy treatment: Stay away
        COLUMBUS, Ohio — It's the height of the season for poison ivy, and thanks to a wet spring, gardeners, farmers and road crews are seeing a lot of the shiny plant.

        According the American Academy of Dermatology, about 85 percent of the population is allergic to the oily sap — called urushiol — in the plant's leaves, stems or roots.

        Most people don't realize they have come across poison ivy until they break out with itchy rashes and blisters.

        For workers picking up trash or clearing brush along highways, the rashes and itches come with the job.

        “We're just trying to go to a preventive mode,” said J.R. Maynard, health and safety director for the Ohio Department of Transportation's District 6, which covers Franklin and Delaware counties.

        Avoiding the plant's effects means wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, a special blocking cream or dashing to the faucet to wash off the plant's oily sap within minutes of exposure.


Gay rights making quiet gains
Northside becoming center of gay life
PULFER: Playing 'Let's Make a Deal'
BRONSON: Pandering to poison
Bank heists soar from '99
Traffic deaths stun Delhi school
Pig Parade: A Pig for All Seasons - Spring
Pigs on parade at Fountain Square 'PigNic'
Purloined porker found, a little worse for wear
The ideal blue seats: their own
Ranking comedies is funny business
McGurk's 100 best
Players, city tangle over pickup games
CCM fest focuses on new music
GELFAND: Spoleto casts musical spell
Pianist begins CSO summer dazzlingly
Cincinnati Ballet steps into second phase of fund-raising
DEMALINE: Wexner's lineup worth drive
KENDRICK: Disability information easier to obtain
KIESEWETTER: PBS' '1900 House' shows 'dirty, hard work'
King, Clapton put personal stamp on blues standards
KNIPPENBERG: Pageant winner on a mission
WILKINSON: Talk about an early heat
CROWLEY: GOP learns about taxes the hard way
DAUGHERTY: AC turned us all into wimps
SAMPLES: Hard work will bring changes to dog pound
Cleanup targets Ohio, tributaries
Gardens on display in Hamilton
Lawmaker spotlights daughter's battle with cancer
- Local Digest
McCrackin's work goes on
Mock drill shines skills
New dispatch system catches on
Ohio schools must evalu ate test guides
Prosecutor's slaying highlights job risks
Reward for school-funding solution
Taste of Green Township kicks off suburban food fests
Thoroughbred owners play campaign hosts
Water snake receives endangered status