Friday, August 25, 2000

Tristate A.M. Report

Mellencamp tour comes to square today

        John Mellencamp brings his stealth acoustic tour to Cincinnati's Fountain Square at 1 p.m. today. The Seymour, Ind., native has been crisscrossing the country and popping up on short notice for free concerts in Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Chicago.

        Traveling with only two backup players, a few instruments and a small public-address system, Mr. Mellencamp plays about midday in public places, where he draws fans who learned about his plans from his Web site, as well as unsuspecting lunchtime strollers.

        Thousands gathered on Chicago's Daley Plaza Tuesday to hear Mr. Mellencamp play for about 40 minutes.

        According to his Web site, Mr. Mellencamp intends to add more appearances before Labor Day.

Not-guilty plea in toddler's killing


[photo] A back-to-school fair in Camp Washington Thursday offered sight, hearing and dental check-ups and school supplies. Nurse Kris Hoffman checks the vision of Donald Ratcliff, 4. The fair at Washington United Church of Christ had help from Guardian and Union Savings Banks.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
| ZOOM |

        A Westwood man pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of biting and beating a child to death.

        Rodney Whipple, 27, will be held in jail without bond pending his trial in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. He is charged with aggravated murder in the death of 18-month-old Shandon Brown.

        Prosecutors say Mr. Whipple was baby-sitting the boy on April 4 when he beat the child and bit him several times on the back. He was indicted after prosecutors said they matched the bite marks to Mr. Whipple's teeth.

        If convicted, he faces a possible death sentence.

        In court Thursday, Judge Thomas Nurre ordered Mr. Whipple held without bond.

New police academy for citizens starting

        People interested in learning how the Cincinnati Police Division works can apply to be in the next citizens' police academy.

        The free classes start Oct. 18 and run one night a week for eight weeks from 6 to 9 p.m. They take place at Longworth Hall, 700 W. Pete Rose Way.

        Officers discuss detective work, the gang unit and domestic violence. To get an application, call 352-3562.

1-year-old's death under investigation

        Police are investigating the death of a year-old girl who died Wednesday night after two emergency calls.

        The first call was about a baby having seizures in an apartment on Westwood-Northern Blvd. in Westwood, according to police. The caller hung up, and a dispatcher checking back got only an answering machine.

        Firefighters responded to a second call at 7:50 p.m. about a child having trouble breathing, according to the police dispatch log. Firefighters called police after arriving, saying they suspected child abuse. Police said the baby had bruises on her face and head.

        She was pronounced dead at Children's Hospital. The Cincinnati Police Division's homicide unit is investigating.

Family night skating, movie at Sawyer Point

        The Cincinnati Recreation Commission's Bicentennial Commons Skating Pavilion at Sawyer Point will hold another Family Night skating event tonight.

        The event features in-line skating and roller skating from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and the movie Stuart Little afterward on a 30-foot screen at the Schott Amphitheater.

        Skating rink admission is $1, including the movie. Skate rental is free. For information call 352-3654.

Man represents self, is convicted in killings

        TOLEDO — A man who defended himself in court after firing his attorneys was convicted Thursday in the killing of a couple four years ago.

        James Jordan, 46, could be sentenced to death.

        A Lucas County jury found him guilty of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. Sentencing will begin Monday.

        Mr. Jordan fired two sets of attorneys and decided to handle the case himself.

        Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald Bowman pleaded with Mr. Jordan not to represent himself because death-penalty cases are so complex.

        Mr. Jordan is one of only a few people in Ohio to represent himself in a death-penalty case, said Joe Bodine of the Ohio Public Defender's Office.

        Mr. Jordan told jurors he did not kill Edward Kowalzck, 72, and Gertrude Thompson, 69. Their bodies were found in their home in December 1996.

        Mr. Jordan blamed another man originally charged in the case.

        Prosecutors said Mr. Jordan's blood was found in four spots near the bodies.

        Mr. Jordan was serving a 45-year sentence in Texas for armed robbery when he was charged in the killings.

Man shot dead after setting room on fire

        LIMA, Ohio — Police shot and killed a man who barricaded himself and then set fire to his room at a homeless shelter.

        Police officers tried for six hours Wednesday to get Michael Hildebrandt out of the room, police said. They didn't enter the room until they spotted smoke coming from his window, police said.

        “When they saw the fire, they went in with force and attempted to use rubber bullets,” said Colleen Ferguson, treasurer of Lima Rescue Home. “Those didn't faze him.”

        Mr. Hildebrandt had two knives and charged at the officers after being shot with a bean bag gun, police said. The officers then shot Mr. Hildebrandt with live ammunition, police said.

        Mr. Hildebrandt, 30, died an hour later.

        The fire was contained in his room. Other residents on the floor had been evacuated.

        Shelter residents said Mr. Hildebrandt was known to have knives and swords and was a martial arts enthusiast.

        John Malon, an employee and shelter resident, said residents had been complaining of Mr. Hildebrandt's behavior for almost two weeks. They said he was making noises and karatelike motions.

Book on Price Hill wins historical award

        A book written about Seminary Square Eco-Village in Price Hill has won the Educational Commendation Award from the Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums.

        Seminary Square Eco-Village is a revitalization plan covering a 2-mile stretch on Warsaw Avenue between Grand and Glenway.

        The book, A History of Seminary Square Eco-Village, was written by Rob Geiger, project coordinator. Mr. Geiger is also the Price Hill Historical Society coordinator.

        Mr. Geiger said the book was published in 1999 and distributed to residents. It acknowledges the assets of Price Hill that drew residents to the area a hundred years ago and seeks to restore pride in the neighborhood, he said.


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Mason's heritage celebrated
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MRDD measure among levies in Butler County
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Paramedic accused of abuse
Plan to improve schools rejected
Police seek links in two deaths
Possible hike in state gas tax delayed
Riverbend Row opens 1st house
Skaters top 'Survivor' ratings
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Tell us pros, cons of sprawl
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Warren district asks tax on income
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- Tristate A.M. Report