Sunday, February 11, 2001

Tristate A.M. Report

Cigarette dropped on bed causes fire

        A cigarette accidentally dropped on a bed caused a one-alarm fire Saturday morning at a three-story apartment home in Walnut Hills, District Fire Chief Dallas Kelly said.

        No one was injured. Smoke, fire and water damage amounted to about $25,000.

        Chief Kelly said the building's owner — Eugene Briers, 73 — was smoking in his first-floor bedroom and thought he had extinguished his cigarette when he accidentally dropped it on his bed.

        He then took a bath. After leaving the bathroom, he discovered smoke in his bedroom.

        He tried to put out the flames before calling 911 about 8:30 a.m., Chief Kelly said.

        Twenty-five firefighters took 10 minutes to bring the flames under control, Chief Kelly said. Fire damage was contained to Mr. Briers' apartment. There was smoke and water damage throughout the residence.

        Mr. Briers and a friend staying in a third-floor apartment escaped unharmed. The second floor was unoccupied.

Luken to kick off re-election campaign

        Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken begins his re-election campaign Monday with a breakfast downtown at the Westin Hotel.

        Mayor Luken, running for the new strong mayor position, will deliver a brief speech on his vision for Cincinnati. Other speakers include state Sen. Mark Mallory and real-estate developer Tom Humes. Mike McConnell of WLW radio will emcee the event.

        The breakfast begins at 8 a.m.

Police investigate fatal traffic crash

        SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP — Police on Saturday were investigating a fatal traffic crash in which a car flipped over.

        Officers were dispatched to Hamilton Avenue and Kemper Road at 8:42 p.m., a dispatcher said.

        No further details were available late Saturday.

Group to hold event about racial justice

        This Valentine's Day, several community groups will hold a racial justice breakfast in downtown Cincinnati.

        Known as “Heart-to-Heart,'' the Wednesday breakfast, beginning at 7:50 a.m., will feature a panel of speakers discussing diversity, as well as local legal specialists sharing their thoughts on racial justice.

        After the panel, participants will visit Washington Park Elementary School at 9:45 a.m., where Judge Nathaniel Jones of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will speak to students. A presentation by Raptor Inc., a nonprofit group that uses birds as a diversity education tool, will focus on color in nature as a metaphor for diversity.

        The event is sponsored by the YWCA; the Cincinnati Bar Association; the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati; the BLAC-CBA Round Table, a collaboration of the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Bar Association; and Washington Park Elementary School. For more information, call the YWCA at 513-241-7090.

Minister picked for commission's top spot

        COLUMBUS — A minister appointed to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission five months ago by Gov. Bob Taft has been chosen by the governor to be the panel's chairman.

        The Rev. Aaron Wheeler Sr., a special assistant at Ohio State University and pastor of Mountaintop Missionary Baptist Church, will replace John Burlew of Cincinnati in the commission's top post. Mr. Taft appointed Mr. Burlew as a Hamilton County Municipal Court judge this week.

        The governor's office said the change was not related to problems at the commission.

        Melanie Mitchell resigned as the panel's executive director in January and her chief deputy, Mackenzie Milo, was fired this week after missing a deadline to resign. The commission has been under investigation regarding alleged misspending and other improprieties.

West Nile virus expected in Ohio

        COLUMBUS — A mosquito-borne disease responsible for killing seven New Yorkers in 1999 was found in Pennsylvania near the northeast corner of Ohio last summer and is expected to move into the state this year, health officials said.

        Ever since the West Nile virus was found near Ashtabula County, state agencies have been meeting to discuss ways to reduce the number of mosquitos.

        Jay Carey, Ohio Department of Health spokesman, said the key to keeping West Nile at bay is keeping standing water to a minimum.

        Tires, buckets, recycling containers, gutters, plastic wading pools, wheelbarrows and bird baths are all sources of stagnant water — ideal mosquito breeding ground.

        “All it takes is water that is standing for four days when the temperature is consistently above 50 degrees,” Mr. Carey said.

        Tires are a particular threat.

        “The idea would be to try to get folks to properly dispose of tires, to properly drain tires, so (mosquitoes) won't have the opportunity to breed,” said Linda Oros, spokeswoman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. “Even one tire in your back yard is a problem.”

        Blue jays and crows are especially susceptible. Ohio residents who find either type of dead bird should report it to the local health department, Mr. Carey said.

        West Nile virus originated in Africa in the 1930s and made its way to Egypt in the 1950s. The first North American appearance was in 1999.


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Ohio's bash big for bicentennial
Mill cutting hundreds of jobs
Money, yes - and muscle, too
Teaming up: Partners aplenty
Coalition backs new bike path
CROWLEY: Sweet deal?
Limit sought for birth control
Beer for brunch? Not in Covington
Blue ribbon whiners
BRONSON: Just the facts
Church has renaissance
'Daughters' day losing momentum
Lebanon parks on drawing board
Mason Schools in the money
Mobile-home fire in Thelma kills 2 guests
More than shuffleboard
Orthodox priest to talk at basilica
Parents, teens can resolve differences
Veteran finally gets his Purple Heart
- Tristate A.M. Report