Sunday, November 26, 2000

Tristate A.M. Report

Parks project seeks children's clothes

        LEBANON - Lebanon Parks and Recreation is sponsoring a Giving Tree Project for residents to share the spirit of the holidays with less-fortunate children. Tags requesting items of children's clothing may be picked off the tree situated in the lobby of the City Building, 50 S. Broadway.

        All gifts are due by Dec. 8. Information: 932-3060.

Ex-officials still owe restitution

        AKRON — Former Summit County officials ordered to pay restitution after their convictions in a bribery-kickback scandal haven't paid up, and at least one says he can't afford to pay at all, a newspaper reported Saturday.

[photo] A two-alarm fire at 1710 Vine St. Saturday morning started by a 5-year-old boy playing with a cigarette lighter left 22 people without homes. The fire started about 10 a.m. and was put out within the hour. It started in a third-floor apartment occupied by Paul aBaltimore and her six children, Cincinnati Fire Division Chief Stephen J. Kluesener said. No one was hurt. Damage was estimated at $35,000.
([name of photographer] photo)
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        Former county Chief of Staff William Hartung hasn't paid any of the $305,000 he was ordered to repay the government about a year ago, the Akron Beacon Journal said.

        Seven people were convicted of various charges in the scandal, but only Michael Smith, a welfare consultant convicted of bribing the county's former welfare director, has made full restitution.

        Mr. Smith, who served eight months in federal prison, has paid $594,441 in restitution and a $30,000 fine.

Entire county now part of MS study

        LORAIN — A study of a higher-than-average multiple sclerosis rate in the city of Wellington has been expanded to include all of Lorain County, a state health official said.

        Robert Indian, chief of community health assessment for the Ohio Department of Health, said officials have no evidence of a higher rate in the county, but want to learn if there is one.

        “If Lorain County's rate is not high, there will be perhaps more significance to the numbers in Wellington,” he said.

        State health officials first became interested in Wellington in 1999 after a preliminary study by the county health department identified 25 potential cases in Wellington's 4,200 residents.

        At that rate, there would be about 595 cases per 100,000 people, almost five times the regional average of about 160 cases per 100,000.

Cell phones used to update parents

        COLUMBUS — Teachers in the Northeastern Local School District near Springfield are using cellular phones to make sure parents are updated on their children's progress.

        Sixth-grade teacher Michelle Heims said she and her colleagues wondered at first if the phones weren't a waste of district money. The bill averages $200 a month for 15 phones.

        But she said they have become a valuable tool.

        “Cell phones are efficient, they are effective, they are immediate,” Ms. Heims said.

        Sixth-grade teachers at South Vienna Middle School were the first to get the phones because that year can be one of the most challenging for students.

        “Both hormones and emotions for sixth-graders are raging,” Superintendent Larry Shaffer said. “There's constant bickering, constant unhappiness, constant upheaval. If we can control some of that by direct contact with the home, all the better.”

Small farmers offer holiday catalog

        ATHENS, Ohio — Appalachian Ohio's small farmers and entrepreneurs are hoping to cash in on the Christmas season by offering their goods in a holiday catalog.

        Good Food Direct! is a holiday catalog produced by Rural Action, a nonprofit organization dedicated to revitalizing the poor counties of southeastern Ohio. It promotes the homegrown products of 20 farmers and small businesses.

        The group hopes to entice shoppers with gifts ranging from fresh turkeys to soap.

        “By making this purchase, you're supporting someone who's living their dream and surviving in a rural economy,” said Colin Donohue, a development director for Rural Action.

        “Our hope is to have thousands of customers and make an impact on the economy.”


Airport numbers soaring
Officials say growth requires fourth runway
Worst delays: flights to Newark
County delays vote on art fund
Walnut Hills leaders envision revival for structure, neighborhood
WILKINSON: Close calls
Camp cancels HIV/AIDS retreat
Hurt officer sees absence of sympathy
Powerball hopeful line up
Teachers' pay system pondered
BRONSON: Sore losers
Trumping the Klan
CROWLEY: Politics
Giving to others brings couple joy
Golden Lamb is a treasure
Hoseas prepare home for holiday
Last call to comment on new bridge
Red Cross gets roomier, more visible digs
To many, he's a hero on wheels
Tristate schools attract notice
Vehicle tax still stuck in Assembly
- Tristate A.M. Report