Tuesday, January 23, 2001

Local Digest

Two gunmen rob Springdale bank

        SPRINGDALE — Police are searching for two men who robbed the Key Bank branch Monday morning, then ditched their loot when a dye pack exploded in the cash package.

        The bank at 11355 Princeton Road has been the target of four robberies in the last several years, police said.

        The masked men walked into the bank shortly after 9:30 a.m. Monday, brandishing handguns. They got away with a bag of cash, but dropped it in a parking lot after the dye exploded. The cash was recovered. The amount was not revealed.

        About six people were inside the bank when the robbery occurred, police said. No one was injured.

        The men were last seen in a blue early-1980s Chevrolet Cavalier driving west on Tri-County Parkway. The branch remained closed for much of Monday.

Hearing delayed for murder suspect

               A downtown Cincinnati barber accused of killing his girlfriend was in court Monday for determination of whether his bond should be raised or revoked, but the judge did not rule.

        Hamilton County Judge Rich ard Niehaus said he will wait until a Municipal Court judge rules Feb. 1 on whether Tony Ringer, 30, of Westwood fled police after a traffic stop last week.

        Police pulled over a man they say was Mr. Ringer for a traffic violation around midnight Wednesday. They say the man declined to give his Social Security number and then sped away.

        Mr. Ringer faces two counts of aggravated murder in the slaying of Cassandra Betts and her fetus on Dec. 20. The 25-year-old Fairfield woman was four to six weeks pregnant, officials said. Mr. Ringer was freed after posting a $1 million bond.

        Ms. Betts was found dead in her car outside a Woodlawn car-repair shop. Judge Niehaus said he will rule Feb. 2 whether to raise the bond.

Boiler fire closes elementary school

               NORTH COLLEGE HILL — Goodman Elementary School will be closed today and Wednesday because of a boiler fire.

        The North College Hill Fire Department responded to a call about 11:35 a.m. Monday after an alarm alerted school officials.

        Students and staff were evacuated. Kindergarten students went across the street to a school neighbor's home, where they watched a video.

        The other students walked about three blocks to North College Hill High School gymnasium, where they had lunch. Parents were notified and asked to pick them up.

        The fire was contained to the boiler. A new boiler will be installed and is expected to be running by Thursday.

        The K-3 school, at Savannah Avenue and Goodman, has an enrollment of about 150.

Group to open search for Banks developer

               The group overseeing the Banks riverfront project will begin searching for a developer as early as February even though questions remain about parking and financing.

        The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority plans to put out a call for developers to drum up nationwide interest for the project. Later, the port authority will invite the top developers to send detailed proposals.

        The idea is to turn plans into action as quickly as possible, said Timothy Sharp, the port's interim president, during the initial Banks Development Committee meeting Monday.

        Also, the committee talked about changing the mix of retail, office and homes planned for the development between Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park, but took no action.

        The port authority, recently created by Hamilton County and Cincinnati to guide the Banks, wants phases of the riverfront development started by 2004.

DeWine, Voinovich urge heat-bill help

               WASHINGTON — Ohio's U.S. senators on Monday urged that federal funding be increased to help the elderly and the poor pay higher natural gas heating bills.

        Republicans Mike DeWine and George Voinovich asked Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott for help getting more emergency funding, because the $300 million in emergency assistance had already been distributed and demand remains high for help.


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