Sunday, December 31, 2000

Who, When and Y2K

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

• Local • U.S.Sports
DanceVisual Art
        From the moment the Peace Bell in Newport rang in the new year to the last frigid days of December, it was a year to remember in the Tristate.

        There was joy — joy over a native son known to baseball fans as Junior coming home, joy over a quartet of Cincinnati baseball heroes joining the immortals in Cooperstown.

        There was sadness, too — sadness over the passing of one of the city's giants, sadness over the death of a police officer.

        And, of course, there was all the strangeness, anxiety and occasional anger that comes in any year, as events roll by.

    Here are the Top 10 local news stories as selected by readers who voted online at Cincinnati.Com.
   1. Ken Griffey Jr. joins Reds.
   2. Officer Kevin Crayon killed.
   3. Paul Brown Stadium overruns.
   4. Fort Washington Way opens.
   5. Big Pig Gig.
   6. Tornado hits Xenia.
   7. Gas prices fluctuate.
   8. Local athletes at Summer Games.
   9. (tie) Kentucky Speedway opens.
   9. (tie) Nordstrom won't come.
   11. Cincinnati submits Olympic bid.

   Here are the Top 10 local news stories as selected by editors at The Cincinnati Enquirer.

   1. Paul Brown Stadium overruns.
   2. Procter & Gamble stock tumbles.
   3. Ken Griffey Jr. joins Reds.
   4. Fort Washington Way opens.
   5. Big Pig Gig.
   6. Gas prices fluctuate.
   7. Riverfront development continues.
   8. Officer Kevin Crayon killed.
   9. Cincinnati Public Schools' levy passes.
   10. Perez, Anderson, Brennaman inducted into Hall of Fame.

        It was, all in all, quite a trip


        • 1 It's hard to imagine now, but there were a lot of people, including some in the Tristate, who feared the world would dissolve into chaos the moment the clock struck 12 on Dec, 31, 1999, and the year 2000 arrived. But Y2K turned out to be a snoozer.

        • 11 Slugger Tony Perez may have been the most beloved of Cincinnati's “Big Red Machine” stars in the 1970s, so Cincinnati celebrated when their “Doggie” was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in his final year of eligibility.

        • 24 A corporate merger fell apart when Procter & Gamble officials announced they were breaking off talks in a $140 billion takeover of Warner-Lambert and American Home Products.

        • 24 The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra hired Paavo Jarvi as its next music director.


        • 3 Reds fans scored again when Marty Brennaman, the team's play-by-play radio announcer since 1974, was chosen for the broadcast wing of Baseball's Hall of Fame.

        • 10 Traffic stopped; commerce was practically suspended; and Cincinnatians talked of nothing else on this day, when superstar Ken Griffey Jr., a Moeller High grad, signed a nine-year, $116.5 million contract to play for his hometown Reds, even though he could have made more elsewhere.

[photo] Ken Griffey Jr. signs with the Reds
(Enquirer file photos)
| ZOOM |
        • 13 The taxpayer-financed construction of Paul Brown Stadium, due to open in August, was determined to be tens of millions of dollars over budget, possibly as much as $45 million. By December, the overruns had risen to $50 million and the total stadium price tag to $457 million.


        • 7 Thousands of Tristate investors took a beating when Procter & Gamble stock took a one-day fall from $87.44 a share to $60.38.

        • 9 University of Cincinnati Bearcat basketball fans' hopes of an NCAA championship faded when superstar Kenyon Martin broke his leg in a Conference USA tournament game. The Bearcats ended up being eliminated in the second round of the NCAA tourney.

        • 18 Michelle Munoz led the Mason girls' basketball team to the state Division I championship.

        • 25 Northern Kentucky University's women's basketball team won the NCAA Division II title with a 71-62 overtime win against North Dakota State.


        • 2 Cinergy Field was packed on Opening Day, with fans beside themselves with excitement over the debut of Ken Griffey Jr. Junior went 0-2 in a rain-soaked game that was called in the sixth inning with the score 3-3.

        • 10 A 20-year-old murder mystery ended when Michael Proffitt of London, Ky., called Kentucky State Police and confessed to the murder of Betty Hoffmann in July 1980 in Winton Woods. In September, he was sentenced to 15 years to life.

        • 18 Reds fans had even more to celebrate when Sparky Anderson, skipper of the Big Red Machine teams of the '70s, was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame.

        • 25 Ohio's long-time state motto — “With God, All Things are Possible” — is ruled an unconstitutional mix of church and state by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.


[photo] The newly restored Tyler Davidson Fountain.
| ZOOM |
        • 6 A crowd of nearly 10,000 gathered on Fountain Square for the unveiling of Cincinnati's most recognizable symbol — the newly restored Tyler Davidson Fountain.

        • 9 Warren County officials celebrated the announcement by upscale department store chain Nordstrom that it would build a store in Deerfield Township. By December, local officials were glum over Nordstrom's decision to pull out.

        • 11 The Reds and Hamilton County officials unveiled detailed drawings of the Reds' new $280 million “Great American Ball Park,” scheduled to open in 2003.

        • 14 It started out as a whimsical experiment in public art — the “Big Pig Gig,” an areawide display of cleverly-decorated porcine sculptures. It turned in to a major tourist attraction and charity fund-raiser.

        • 15 A pay plan for teachers based on merit and performance instead of seniority was approved by the Cincinnati Board of Education. It was the first such plan adopted in the country.

        • 31 African-Americans protested at City Hall after Cincinnati Police Chief Thomas Streicher was accused of using a racial slur in a training class. The chief, who said the remark was meant to show officers what they might hear on the streets, is ordered to have counseling.


        • 8 After months of sluggish earnings and dropping stock prices, top management at Procter & Gamble underwent a shake-up — Durk Jager was out as president and chief executive officer; Alan G. Lafley was in. John Pepper returned from retirement to become chairman of the board.

[photo] The Kentucky Speedway opened in Sparta.
| ZOOM |
        • 17 The 66,000-capacity Kentucky Speedway opened in Sparta with a truck race, but the debut was marred by gigantic traffic jams on Interstate 71 and a mud-covered parking area.


        • 1 Humana Gold Plus, a health maintenance organization, said it plans to cut 14,000 from its coverage in the Cincinnati area.

        • 11 The African Methodist Episcopal Church, holding its national convention in Cincinnati, elected Vashti McKenzie of Baltimore as the church's first woman bishop.

        • 11 Daniel Schwarberg — the “Average Joe” bank-robber — is arrested in Lexington. In October, the 43-year-old Verona man — he of the nondescript looks, brown hair and glasses — pleaded guilty in federal court to robbing 11 banks, including three in Northern Kentucky.

        • 22 John S. Holcomb, Butler County's prosecutor for 28 years, died of an apparent heart attack while at the races at River Downs. Mr. Holcomb's death came in the middle of a tough re-election campaign.

        • 23 It seemed that half of Cincinnati made the trek to Cooperstown, N.Y., to be part of the overwhelming crowd that watched Tony Perez, Sparky Anderson, Marty Brennaman and 19th century Reds player Bid McPhee inducted into baseball's hall of fame.

        • 23 On the same day, the Reds quartet was entering Cooperstown, Reds executives were inking a three-year, $27 million deal that would keep Reds shortstop Barry Larkin in Cincinnati, just when it looked as if the hometown hero would soon be a New York Met.

        • 28 Mack Wayne Metcalf of Kenton County won a $65.4 million Powerball jackpot. But it wasn't long before law-enforcement officials noticed its good fortune. He failed to show up in court in August on a drunken driving charge; the judge issued a warrant for his arrest. It turned out, too, that he owed $31,000 in back child support payments. In October, a judge ordered Mr. Metcalf to put more than $800,000 in escrow in lieu of future support payments.


        • 10 Northern Kentucky's Democratic congressman, Ken Lucas, caused a stir when he said on the eve of the Democratic National Convention that he couldn't back Al Gore's candidacy and wouldn't attend the Los Angeles convention.

        • 14 The popular “American Girl” doll collection debuted a new character, one with local connections — “Kit,” a Depression-era girl from Cincinnati.

        • 19 A packed house shows up at the brand-spanking new Paul Brown Stadium for the first game there. And they went home happy — the Bengals won a pre-season exhibition with the Chicago Bears 24-20.

        • 30 Waynesville Mayor Charles Sanders is faced with a recall vote in the November election, after accusing police officers in the Warren County village of racial profiling. Mr. Sanders, an African-American, is voted out of office in November.


[photo] The funeral of Officer Kevin Crayon.
| ZOOM |
        • 1 Cincinnati Police Officer Kevin Crayon died in the line of duty when he was dragged to death by a car on Colerain Avenue in Mount Airy in the early morning. The car was driven by a 12-year-old, Courtney Mathis, who was killed by a bullet fired by the officer.

        • 10 The Bengals lose their first regular season game in their new home, 24-7 to the Cleveland Browns.

        • 15 Justin, the 3-year-old who has spent most of his life in a Kentucky-Ohio custody battle, can stay with the Girard, Ohio, family trying to adopt him, instead of his natural parents in Burlington, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled.

        • 25 After an 0-3 start, Bengals coach Bruce Coslet quit and was replaced by defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

        • 26 Cincinnati's Ricardo Williams lost his boxing match for the Olympic gold at the games in Sydney.


        • 2 After a disappointing baseball season, Reds manager Jack McKeon — National League Manager of the Year in 1999 — is fired. In November, the Reds hired Bob Boone, father of third baseman Aaron Boone.

        • 4 Firstar and U.S. Bancorp merged in a $19 billion deal to become the nation's eighth-largest bank.

[photo] Ted Berry's grandson Joshua at Mr. Berry's funeral.
| ZOOM |
        • 15 Cincinnati mourned the loss of 94-year-old Theodore M. Berry, the city's first African-American mayor and a towering civil rights figure.

        • 19 Cincinnati and other Ohio River towns braced for the effects of a 250-million gallon spill of coal sludge in the Big Sandy River; the sludge dissipates before it can cause damage to the water supply here.


        • 7 Election Day brought the election of the first Democrat as a Hamilton County commissioner in 36 years. Cincinnati Councilman Todd Portune defeated Republican incumbent Bob Bedinghaus, who could not overcome public anger over the Bengals' stadium deal, which he engineered. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Public Schools won a levy.

        • 13 Angry citizens packed City Council chambers to protest the deaths of Roger Owensby and Jeffrey Irons, two young black males killed in arrests by Cincinnati police. A grand jury is investigating the death of Mr. Owensby.

[photo] Family members mourn Roger Owensby.
| ZOOM |
        • 16 Dozens were arrested in mass protests of the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue meetings being held in Cincinnati.

        • 22 Nordstrom announced that it won't build a downtown Cincinnati store, at least for now, despite a $50 million tax incentive package. Mayor Charlie Luken called the deal “dead.”

        • 27 Finneytown native Jeffrey R. Immelt, 44, is named chairman of General Electric.


        • 20 Despite a 4-12 season, Bengals head coach Dick LeBeau was given a multiyear contract.

        • 27 Cincinnati's three-volume bid to bring the 2012 Olympics here was dropped in the mail to Olympic officials. The ambitious proposal said that six cities in Ohio and Kentucky would host events.

        • 28 When George W. Bush becomes the 43rd president next month, a Cincinnatian will be at his side in the White House. Joseph Hagin of Indian Hill, who worked in the Bush-Cheney campaign for eight months, was named deputy White House chief of staff.

        • 28 Preliminary census figures showed that while population rose in Ohio and Indiana, both states will lose a congressional seat in the next election.


Don't look for river to freeze over soon
Electricity choice off to slow start
Key questions about electric choice
Final accounting of an odd year
- Who, When and Y2K
Notable passings
CROWLEY: Party crowd
PULFER: Locally tested
Sampling backup urged
Shoppers race to buy New Year's cheer
Single mom thankful for gift of dressers
Old-time barber out, UDF in
Parents start XP support group
Towns' chiefs, politicians butt heads
Wyoming class has 1st holiday homecoming
Campbell gem now a bargain
Carmel, Ind., woman killed on snowy road
Charter school founder had financial problems
Churches to focus on police-public issues
Dayton Power may be sold
Mini-versions of Hamilton for sale
No trace of missing teen from Africa
OSU officer closes his sex site
Politics, disaster top news
Store robber took too much, gave change
6 teens, friends since childhood, die in crash
Tristate A.M. Report