Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Tristate A.M. Report

Biomedical engineering newest UC department

        Predicting “some wonderful results” for research, health care and local entrepreneurs, Engineering Dean Stephen T. Kowel won trustees' approval Tuesday for a new department of biomedical engineering at the University of Cincinnati.

        With their unanimous vote, UC begins to catch up with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and other Ohio schools. Among them, Dr. Kowel, said, only UC lacked a biomedical engineering department or program.

        Undergrads will enroll next fall and graduate programs could being a year later.

        Degrees will come from the College of Engineering, but the College of Medicine is an equal partner.

Keating steps down as UC trustee

               Retiring trustee William J. Keating was honored Tuesday by the University of Cincinnati with a reception after he moved the adjournment of his final meeting.

        Mr. Keating spent 14 years on the UC board, the second-longest service of a modern trustee.

        Trustees and others roared their approval when he said he wanted a “recount” when he learned predecessor John H. Hermanies had served 14 1/2 years.

        He was praised by faculty, administrators and others for his integrity, friendship and willingness to do anything asked for the school that granted more than a dozen degrees to his family.

        His replacement is to be named by Gov. Bob Taft, probably in the next couple months.

        Mr. Keating also has been a Hamilton County judge, a member of Congress and Cincinnati City Council, and publisher of The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Poorly performing schools targeted

               Three Cincinnati public schools have been recommended for redesign next year.

        Superintendent Steven Adamowski told the Board of Education on Monday that Burton, Central Fairmount and Rockdale schools should be closed at the end of this school year and “redesigned” under the district's School Accountability Plan.

        These three showed three years of consistent poor performance on a variety of indicators.

        Although the schools are designated as “closed” they will continue to serve the K-8 populations in their neighborhoods.

        At the same time, parents and the community will begin to work together to choose a new staff and educational model for the schools. The redesigned schools will reopen in August 2001 with new teachers and staff.

        Current staff and faculty can apply for positions in the school.

UC opts to generate its own electricity

               The University of Cincinnati decided Tuesday to generate its own electricity by mid-2003.

        Trustees agreed to expand UC's hilltop central heating and cooling facility on short Vine Street.

        James R. Tucker, associate vice president for administrative services, said UC will save at least $4.5 million a year and possibly $8 million.

        That should cover “most of the project's annual debt service” on construction bonds, Mr. Tucker said.

        Central to his optimism is co-generation. The facility will burn natural gas to power turbine generators to produce electricity and use the exhaust to create steam to heat UC buildings on the medical and Clifton Avenue campuses.

        Even if utility rates fall for electricity, related savings will come close to the predicted $4.5 million, Mr. Tucker said.

Woman denies she made up abductions

               MASON — A 26-year-old woman denied charges Tuesday that she falsely reported two sexual assaults to police and that she manufactured evidence in the case.

        An attorney for Nicole Gilmore of Lofton Court entered written pleas of not guilty to six misdemeanor charges of falsification and obstruction of official business.

        Police accused Ms. Gilmore following after an lengthy investigation that began Sept. 18, when she reported that a woman and two men kidnapped her from the parking lot of Portion Pac Inc. on Snider Road, where she worked. The three took her to an undisclosed location and sexually assaulted her, Ms. Gilmore said.

        On Nov. 9, Ms. Gilmore again reported she was abducted, from her driveway, authorities said.

Women's shelter moving offices

               LEBANON — The Abuse and Rape Crisis Shelter of Warren County has moved to Oregonia Road to make way for expanding programs.

        The rape crisis and batterer's intervention programs are growing to keep pace with the county's population, shelter officials said.

        The new address is 107 Oregonia Road, Suite A.

        Phone numbers also have changed. The batterer's intervention program can be reached at 695-1750, the rape crisis program at 695-2435 and volunteer information, 695-1751.

        The shelter's location and phone number, which are confidential, have not changed.

Kilgour, Oyler vie for major school award

               Two Cincinnati elementary schools are among a dozen statewide nominated for recognition in the National Blue Ribbon Schools program.

        Kilgour School in Mount Lookout and Oyler School in Lower Price Hill were selected by the Ohio Department of Education. Schools submitted applications to the state, which selected 12 schools to represent it in the national competition.

        Mark Lynskey, state liaison for the Blue Ribbon program in the state Education Department, said school applications are reviewed “so that when we nominate a school, it's because it has the strength to be considered as a Blue Ribbon school.”

        The next cut comes in January, when the U.S. Department of Education completes its initial review of schools and chooses schools to visit. School visits take place in February and March, followed by announcement of winners in May.

        Kilgour won a National Blue Ribbon in 1991-92. Principal Mary Ronan said the school's changes in curriculum and teaching methods prompted this year's try for another ribbon.

Head Start workers on strike

               CANTON, Ohio — Head Start workers went on strike Tuesday against the preschool program at six locations in Canton and nearby communities.

        About 200 striking workers were seeking higher pay and a longer school year from the Stark County Community Action Agency's Head Start program.

        Employees are paid an average of $10,000 for a 30-week school year.

        Head Start has offered annual raises of 6 percent, 4 percent and 4 percent, said Burt Jones, the agency's chief negotiator.

        The union representing the workers, the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, said Head Start can afford 10 percent increases.


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- Tristate A.M. Report