Friday, March 16, 2001

Tristate A.M. Report




Man was held because of mistaken identity

        A Walnut Hills man was freed from jail Thursday after authorities took a closer look at the gun-running charges against him.

        David Pankey, 29, was among 14 people charged last month in connection with a gun and narcotics ring that reached from Greater Cincinnati to New York.

        Mr. Pankey's attorney, Clyde Bennett, said his client was the victim of mistaken identity. He said New York authorities visited Cincinnati to review the case this week and agreed to Mr. Pankey's release.


[photo] ZOO BABY TURNS 3: Ganesh, an Asian elephant born in 1998 at the Cincinnati Zoo, marks his third birthday Thursday with a special fruit-laden cake. He's now 5 1/2 feet tall and weighs 2,500 pounds.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
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        A spokeswoman for the New York District Attorney's Office confirmed Mr. Pankey's release but said the charges are still pending. She said the investigation will continue.

        Mr. Bennett said Mr. Pankey, who faced a possible 112 years in prison, became ensnared in the case when a suspect in the gun ring used his name and identification.

        “He is not guilty of anything,” Mr. Bennett said. “He's excited to be free.”
       

Industrial-waste spill shuts down I-75 ramp

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — A truck spilled industrial waste Thursday on a stretch of Interstate 75 in Butler County, closing the southbound I-75 exit ramp at Union Centre Boulevard for three hours.

        The truck was hauling 200 cubic yards of burner ash containing barium, which is an irritant on physical contact, and rinse water. The truck was traveling from Dayton, Ohio, to Cincinnati for the Midwest Environmental Transport Co. when at approximately 5 p.m. the driver noticed liquid leaking from the truck as he pulled onto the exit ramp.

        West Chester Township Assistant Fire Chief Tony Goller said no one was injured in the spill or subsequent cleanup.

        Officials from Midwest Environmental estimated the truck lost about 100 gallons of the burner ash, which they said is an industrial byproduct from reconditioning steel drums.
       

Council eases limitson street vendors at events

        After months of delays, a confusing tangle of rules regulating Cincinnati's street vendors and ticket sellers has been unraveled into one ordinance that could leave violators facing fines instead of jail.

        The ordinance, approved by City Council on Wednesday, will allow licensed vendors to operate throughout the riverfront corridor except in areas immediately around the two stadiums and Firstar Center.

        It opens streets that were previously off limits to vendors and also allows people to sell tickets out of their cars.

        Council also refused to support a ban on vendors around other storefront ticket-selling businesses, such as Riverfront Choice Tickets on Third Street, which pushed for an exclusion zone.
       

Dater Senior High gets $150,000 grant

        Gilbert A. Dater High School received a $150,000 grant Thursday from the Charles H. Dater Foundation.

        The funds will be used to refurbish an outdoor commons area at the school's new building on the Western Hills High campus on Ferguson Road.

        An official dedication of the new school and announcement of the grant took place at a ceremony Thursday night at the school.

        The foundation was created in the 1960s with $100,000 from the Dater family. Charles Dater also donated land to the district to build the original Dater Junior High, which was located on Boudinot Avenue.
       Teachers, parents, students, district officials, foundation members and Robert Siekmann, Dater's first principal from 1967 to 1977, were on hand for the event.
       

City pulls back on contract extension

        Cincinnati City Council has refused to give a two-year contract extension to a city-backed loan company that made only five loans totaling $470,000 last year.

        Instead, council members voted to partially fund the nonprofit Cincinnati Local Development Co. and then review its success after six months.

        Council members questioned why 95 percent of contacts made by the company did not close loans and why the city spent nearly $1 for every four that it loaned out.


[photo] BONDING WITH BUZZARDS: Thom Kotulak, of Cleveland, attends his 30th buzzard day at the Hinkley Metroparks Reservation in Hinkley Township, Ohio, Thursday. The buzzards didn't disappoint the dozens of people who gathered to watch the 182nd annual return of the birds. One was spotted about 6:30 a.m. at the reservation.
(Associated Press photo)
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        The city pays $136,000 every two years to the company in addition to providing office space and equipment worth about $40,000 annually.
       

Deputies seek suspect in Subway store holdup

        SYMMES TOWNSHIP — Hamilton County sheriff's deputies are searching for a man who robbed a Subway store at 8703 Fields Ertel Road on Wednesday.

        There were no injuries.

        Deputies say a man brandishing a handgun entered the store shortly after 9 p.m., approached the front counter and demanded money. The man took an undetermined amount of cash and fled through a rear door.

Council to hold night meeting quarterly

        To boost community participation in public meetings, Cincinnati's City Council will hold one night meeting every quarter.

        Council members agreed to switch their daily schedules once every three months after Councilman Paul Booth pushed for monthly night meetings.

        For about six months last year, council held a nightly meeting each month and experienced only a slight increase in attendence. Mr. Booth said several cities of comparable size have night meetings.

        The council regularly meets in council chambers Wednesdays at 2 p.m.
       



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- Tristate A.M. Report