Friday, December 01, 2000

Tristate A.M. Report

Police plan hopes to aid mentally ill

        Cincinnati police officers will team up with social workers in a new project aimed at getting better help for mentally ill people whom officers sometimes encounter.

        Officials from the Cincinnati Police Division and Hamilton County Community Mental Health Board will explain the pilot project at a briefing this morning. The project will initially start in District 5 on Monday but could be expanded later.

        A social worker from University Hospital's Psychiatric Emergency Services department will be available during the week to accompany officers on calls, follow up on calls from other shifts and monitor cases.

[photo] A one-week-old Little Blue Penguin born on Thanksgiving Day, calls for food Thursday morning at the Cincinnati Zoo.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
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        The Police Division has been criticized for its handling of mentally ill people, most notably after the 1997 killing of escaped mental patient Lorenzo Collins, who charged at officers with a brick. The pilot project shows that officials are trying to learn to better deal with such situations, said Ted Schoch, director of the Cincinnati Police Academy.

Motorist helps officers with arrest

               COLERAIN TOWNSHIP — A 17-year-old has been charged with fleeing, resisting arrest and receiving stolen property after allegedly jumping out of a stolen van Thursday morning and running from police officers.

        A Hamilton County sheriff's deputy was injured while chasing the juvenile. Steve Barnett, spokesman for the sheriff's office, said Deputy Sean Hughes fell and broke his arm but got up and continued the pursuit.

        The chase began about 9:15 a.m. Thursday when police spotted the youth in a 1993 Plymouth minivan that had been reported stolen Wednesday night in Springfield Township, police said.

        The youth headed south on Colerain to Galbraith Road, where he slowed and jumped out of the moving minivan, police said. The van ran into the Rolling Pin Bakery.

        Mr. Barnett said a motorist saw officers chasing the youth on foot. He pulled over, got out of his truck and “kind of blocked the kid's escape, slowing him down. The two officers grabbed (the youth) and arrested him.” Officers did not learn the driver's identity.

City official appealing demotion

               A city of Cincinnati supervisor who oversaw a West End development group that officials say misspent nearly $1 million in taxpayer funds is appealing a demotion and $17,000 pay cut.

        Susan Utt, suspended from the Department of Neighborhood Services in March for allegedly failing to monitor Owning the Realty and leaking details of a city investigation to the group's director, will fight the disciplinary action at a hearing Thursday.

        A hearing officer upheld city claims that Ms. Utt, a 29-year employee, failed to supervise the development group, but found no wrongdoing in providing details of an investigation.

[photo] Eric West, manager of Mail Boxes Etc. on Vine Street downtown, wraps “Construction Porker” for shipment Thursday to New York. His shop has wrapped and will ship eight pigs from the Big Pig Gig.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        Ms. Utt, who returned to work in the summer, was removed from her position and demoted from a $69,000 annual salary to $52,000.

Camp may reschedule AIDS patient retreat

               AMELIA — Woodland Lakes Christian Camp and Retreat Center officials said Thursday a miscommunication was behind the recent cancellation of a retreat for the Ohio AIDS Coalition, and that a rescheduled retreat is being considered.

        Woodland Lakes contacted the coalition and both sides agreed that a retreat for AIDS patients is not feasible there now. But Woodland Lakes offi cials agreed to consider a future retreat by the group and said the camp “loves all people and strives to minister to them in a Christ-like manner.”

        The center, which came under fire for the cancellation, is located on Lindale-Mt. Holly Road in Amelia.

Bring donation, ride free in Butler Co.

               The Butler County Regional Transit Authority will begin collecting donations today for “Go Full Blast: Fill the Bus for the Holidays.”

        Passengers who bring a nonperishable food item or new toy may ride any set route free today through Dec. 17.

Imagemaker Award nominations accepted

               Applause! magazine is accepting nominations for the 11th annual Imagemaker Awards, which salute the achievements of African-Americans in Greater Cincinnati.

        The awards are presented in the following categories: advocacy, arts, corporate achievement, education, entertainment, entrepreneurship, medicine and health, public service, research and technology, and sports. Imagemakers will be recognized at an awards ceremony at the Aronoff Center in February.

        The deadline for nominations is Saturday. Nominations are available at the Applause! office at 7710 Reading Road, Suite 108, or on the Web at, or e-mail Applausemagazine Contact Marian Butler at 761-6900 for more information.

Head Start workers near contract deal

               CANTON, Ohio — A tentative contract agreement was reached Thursday in a two-day strike by 200 employees of Head Start preschool programs in Stark County.

        Stark County negotiator Burt Jones said unionized employees would get annual pay raises of 6.7 percent, 4 percent and 4 percent under the three-year deal.

        The union said strikers would return to work today, with a ratification vote in several days.

Freight train derails near Canton

               CANTON, Ohio — Some of the 15 Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway cars that derailed Wednesday evening were placed back on track Thursday and others were set aside pending repairs.

        Stark County Sheriff's Major Rick Perez said a broken track in Sugarcreek Township caused the derailment of the 114-car train. The cars derailed near the railway's Brewster yard shortly before 5:30 p.m.

        Its freight included steel and some plastics, but no hazardous materials.

        Bill Callison, spokesman for the Brewster, Ohio-based Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway, said the track would be fixed by Thursday night.

Egg farm expansion worries residents

               MASSILLON, Ohio — State environmental officials have approved an egg farm's plan to add more than 451,000 hens.

        After months of reviewing plans to dispose of chicken manure and storm water drainage, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency agreed to allow an expansion of the Horst Brothers Farm. The farm now has about 99,700 hens.

        Residents said they were concerned about odors and flies.

        “I am not very happy,” said resident Michael Saracina Jr. “That is going to be too large an operation for what will be a suburban area. And now you have this 500,000-hen farm. It is going to affect property values.”


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- Tristate A.M. Report