Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Local Digest

Two levy renewals may be on May ballot

        There might be two special taxes on the May ballot in Hamilton County.

        Don Thomas, director of the county's Department of Human Services, said Monday that he wants the Children's Services levy to be placed on the May ballot if the Health and Hospitalization levy is there.

        The Tax Levy Review Committee is studying the health tax — which pays for health care for the poor — and will make a recommendation next month to commissioners about whether it should go on the May ballot.

        The Children's Services levy provides counseling and other services to young people.

        Mr. Thomas said the spring ballot presents a few advantages: Voters will be able to give more focus to ballot issues because it is not a general election; it will be a less expensive campaign because there will be less competition for advertising time; and if the levy is voted down it could be placed on the November ballot for a second try.

Ex-Enquirer editor hired in Scranton

               Lawrence K. Beaupre, former editor and vice president of The Cincinnati Enquirer, has been named managing editor of the Scranton Times and the Tribune, the papers announced Sunday.

        Mr. Beaupre, 56, of Cincinnati has been the interim managing editor for the past three months and was a consultant to Times-Shamrock newspapers in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre since last August.

        He has been an independent consultant specializing in newsroom management and staff development since last spring, after leaving the corporate staff of Gannett Co. Inc., parent company of the Enquirer.

        Mr. Beaupre began as a reporter in the late 1960s at the Rochester (N.Y.) Times-Union. He was managing editor of the Times-Union from 1980 until 1984.

        He became executive editor and vice president of the Westchester Rockland Newspapers, a group of 11 dailies based in White Plains, N.Y. He was the top news executive at the Enquirer from 1992 to 1998.

        Mr. Beaupre has a pending lawsuit against Gannett, alleging that top Gannett officials made him a scapegoat for problems with the Enquirer's 1998 stories questioning Chiquita Brands International Inc. business practices in Central America.

Students from India organize relief drive

               The University of Cincinnati's India Students Association is raising money for victims of the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck their homeland Jan. 26.

        The Indian state of Gujarat was hit hardest with the death toll at 6,000 and predicted to climb as high as 30,000.

        For more information or to donate, call Viral Gandhi, 556-8422; Kiran Yerra, 556-7517; or Dinar Deshmukh, 556-7484. Or, go to their Web site at www.soa.uc.edu/org/isa/relief.htm.

Accident that killed pedestrian probed

               BATAVIA TOWNSHIP — The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating a one-car accident Sunday that killed a pedestrian.

        Officials say Virginia Cohen, 70, of New Richmond was headed south on Ohio 132 when her car struck a man walking along the side of the road.

        Steven Donald, 46, of New Richmond was pronounced dead at the scene.

        Neither Ms. Cohen nor her passenger, Bobby W. Cohen, 66, of New Richmond, was injured.

        The Batavia post is looking for anyone who may have wit nessed the incident or anyone who may have seen the man walking in the area. Call 732-1510.

Nursing award invites nominations

               Has a nurse gone above and beyond the call of duty to provide care to you or someone you love? Nominations for the Florence Nightingale Excellence in Nursing Awards will be accepted through March 5. Six registered nurses will be chosen for top awards, which include a $1,000 prize. Ten other registered nurses can receive $400 prizes.

        For information call 558-5803 or download a form at www.nursing.uc.edu.

Diabetes screenings available at churches

               Seventeen Tristate churches with mostly African-American congregations will hold “Diabetes Sunday” blood sugar screenings Feb. 4-March 25.

        The screenings are part of an American Diabetes Association campaign to reduce higher-than-average diabetes rates among African-Americans. More than 2 million African-Americans nationwide have diabetes, but about one third don't know it, according to the association.

        A dinner and training session for Sunday screening volunteers begins at 6 tonight at the Gregory Center, 601 E. Pete Rose Way. For information, call 759-9330, Ext. 6662.

Drug bust results in seizure, arrests

               FAIRFIELD — Two Kentucky men remain in custody after being arrested during a drug bust that netted $18,000 worth of illegal pills, Butler County Sheriff Harold Gabbard said Monday.

        The Sunday arrests came after undercover agents bought 600, 40-milligram tablets of OxyContin for $12,500. OxyContin is a powerful painkiller.Jesse R. Jones, 47, of Flat Lick, Ky., was charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs, permitting drug abuse and improper use of a firearm in a motor vehicle (a loaded .357 Magnum police said was in his glove compartment). Richard Craig Rickett, 38, of London, Ky., was charged him with aggravated trafficking.

Ind. bill would change DUI law

               INDIANAPOLIS — A House committee on Monday endorsed a bill that would lower Indiana's threshold for drunken driving but also allow courts to dismiss criminal charges in some cases.

        Members of the Public Policy Committee voted 10-3 to advance the measure, which would reduce the level at which drivers are considered drunk from a blood-alcohol content of 0.10 to 0.08.

        The bill passed after Chairman Rep. Robert Kuzman, D-Merrillville, proposed an amendment that would permit courts to dismiss charges against people arrested with blood-alcohol levels of 0.08 and 0.09, provided that those defendants meet key conditions.

        Only defendants without prior convictions and those whose offense does not involve injury or property damage would qualify. Those defendants also would have their driver's licenses suspended for 30 days and must undergo a court-approved alcohol treatment program, according to the bill.

        Prosecutors and judges could use discretion in offering that option and would not be required to do so, Mr. Kuzman said.

        More than 50 people attended Monday's hearing to comment on the bill. Police and supporters such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving have for years urged states to adopt lower drunken driving standards to get more drinkers off the roads.

        Several physicians testified that medical research indicates all people, even experienced drinkers, are sufficiently impaired at 0.08 percent and could pose a threat to others on the roads.


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