Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Tristate A.M. Report

Barber tries to suppress confession

        A confession by downtown barbershop owner Tony Ringer that he accidentally fatally shot Cassandra Betts, 25, of Fairfield, is now the core issue Mr. Ringer's attorney, Kenneth Lawson, is trying to have excluded as evidence before Mr. Ringer stands trial. A motion-to-suppress hearing enters its third day today before Judge Richard Niehaus in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

        Mr. Ringer, 30, who has not testified at the hearing, faces trial on two counts of aggravated murder in the death of Ms. Betts, his former girlfriend, and the fetus she was carrying. The shooting occurred two days before Mr. Ringer was to marry another woman.

        Hamilton County sheriff's investigator William Rarrick testified he was called to sit with Mr. Ringer after the suspect invoked his right to silence, because he wasn't privy to the case.

        Detective Rarrick and another officer chatted with Mr. Ringer, who then requested a formal interview with investigators.

        He then told police in a taped statement that he and Ms. Betts were arguing when the gun accidentally went off.

Band selling CD for trip to Tenn.

        The steel drum band at Clark Montessori High School will travel to Nashville, Tenn., in April to entertain participants at the annual Amnesty International general meeting.

        The student band, taught by Bruce Weil, will also attend workshops to learn about how to get involved in human-rights work.

        To raise money for the trip, students are selling copies of their CD, Follow Your Hearts. The CDs can be bought in local music stores and from band members.

        Transportation costs for the 58 students will be high because they also must take all of their equipment — including some very large steel drums.

        For information on buying the CDs, call 533-7380, ext. 7339.

Boy, 5, collapses in gym class and dies

        XENIA — A 5-year-old boy died after collapsing during gym class at an elementary school Tuesday, authorities said.

        William McCarthy, an investigator with the Greene County coroner's office, said the boy collapsed inside Tecumseh Elementary School.

        “They were playing some type of game of tag,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He was running across the court and suddenly collapsed.”

        Medics took the boy to Greene Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

        Mr. McCarthy declined to identify the boy. He said all family members had not yet been notified.

        Because of the boy's young age, Mr. McCarthy said, there is no significant medical history that would point to a problem. An autopsy was scheduled for today , he said.

        Xenia is about 15 miles east of Dayton.

Hooters settles sex-harassment suit

        COVINGTON — A former waitress who claimed she was sexually harassed by managers at a Hooters Restaurant in Newport has reached a settlement with the company.

        The attorney for Sarah Hope Steinhoff, 26, of Cincinnati, said he could not reveal the amount of the settlement, which ends the case that began in 1996, when Ms. Steinhoff said she was first subjected to rude behavior by managers.

        In July 2000, a federal jury in Covington awarded Ms. Stein hoff $275,000 after concluding that she had been sexually harassed. The jury said Hooters should pay $250,000 in punitive damages and $25,000 in compensatory damages to Ms. Steinhoff.

        Hooters then asked U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman to reconsider the jury's award.

        In October, Judge Bertelsman threw out the $250,000 in punitive damages, but allowed the $25,000 compensatory award to remain. The judge said that different levels of proof are needed to justify punitive and compensatory awards.

        While finding that sexual harassment did occur, Judge Bertelsman said Ms. Steinhoff should have proved that top managers at Hooters failed to correct the problem once they became aware of it. Judge Bertelsman said top officials at Hooters took action when they were made aware of the problem.

Dayton, state request judge lift busing order

        DAYTON, Ohio — The city school board and state of Ohio on Tuesday asked a federal judge to lift a desegregation order that has resulted in crosstown busing for the past 25 years.

        In a motion filed in U.S. District Court, the two parties said traces of past discrimination in the school district have been eliminated to the greatest possible degree.

        “Under the watchful eye of the community and this court, the Dayton schools have eradicated the blight of a dual system, and there is no chance the mistakes of the past will be repeated,” the motion said.

        Dayton is the only school district in Ohio still under a desegregation order. The city began busing students across town in 1976 in response to a court order resulting from a lawsuit filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Residents upset toxic waste may remain

        DAYTON, Ohio — Nearly 100 residents of a neighborhood that surrounds a former landfill that is now a Superfund site gathered outside the site to ask that the removal of toxic-waste drums not be halted.

        “It doesn't make sense to stop something before it is (finished),” resident Joe Vires said Monday.

        Mr. Vires remembers when companies began dumping drums into the abandoned gravel pit that became the Valleycrest landfill.

        “We had a meeting sometime in the '60s and begged them not to put a dump in our back yard, but they did it anyway,” Mr. Vires said.

        Under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the companies that used the dump started removing the drums two years ago. They found and hauled out 23,000 of them from one section.

        But the companies, led by Waste Management Inc., General Motors and NCR, have appealed to the EPA to halt the costly drum removal, an action the agency's Midwest regional office has said it may approve.

        The prospect of an incomplete cleanup has left residents with fears about their health and the city's water supply.

States meet to combat abuse of OxyContin

        RICHMOND, Va. — Law enforcement officials from eight Eastern states, including Ohio, will meet here Thursday to figure out how to stem the abuse of OxyContin, a powerful synthetic morphine blamed for dozens of deaths.

        The summit was called by Attorney General Mark Earley of Virginia, where at least 32 deaths have been blamed on the prescription painkiller over the past four years. At least 59 OxyContin overdose deaths have been reported in Kentucky in the past year.


High Court backs use of Clean Air Act
Alliance appoints new chief
Case record in wake of protests a mixed bag
Deadline today for Delta, pilots
Gizmo may cost public
RADEL: Oh say, can you see?
SAMPLES: Coach battles unruliness
CROWLEY: Kenton GOP's honeymoon over
Circus fans line route for parade
One-stop Human Services proposed
Parole reversal at issue
Electronic voting touted
Fiber-optic cut disrupts business
Lebanon opts out of land for wells
Lewis Co. wildlife preserve OK'd
Man dies as RV wrecks on I-75
Man gets prison for drug trafficking
Morgue case faces challenge
Murder-robbery suspect arrested
Own a piece of Earnhardt's car
Sentence in riot appealed
Taft endorses Bush's budget
Two overturned trucks snarl traffic along I-275
Kentucky News Briefs
- Tristate A.M. Report