Monday, March 19, 2001

Local Digest


Two charged with robbing UDF store

        Two men were charged Saturday with robbery in connection with a theft at a South Fairmount convenience store moments earlier, Cincinnati District 3 police said.

        Mashon Blythe, 37, of the 1900 block of Kentucky Avenue in Northside, and Brandon Godfrey, 20, of the 400 block of McAlpin Avenue in Clifton, are accused of robbing the United Dairy Farmers at 1865 Queen City Ave.

        The men were confronted by a cashier inside the store at 5:10 a.m., police said. Mr. Blythe also was charged with resisting arrest.

        Both men were caught on Westwood Avenue eight minutes after the incident.
       

Blazes break out in apartment buildings

               Two weekend fires caused thousands of dollars in damage to apartment buildings in Over-the-Rhine and Corryville:

        • Cincinnati fire investigators are calling a fire that caused $2,000 to an apartment building in Over-the-Rhine suspicious. The fire, reported at 7:27 p.m. Saturday, apparently started in a vacant first-floor apartment at 272 W. McMicken Ave., the fire division said.

        There were no injuries. The cause remains under investigation.

        • A fire at a Corryville multiunit dwelling caused $15,000 in damage, but no injuries, Cincinnati fire investigators said Sunday.

        The fire was reported at 9 E. University Ave. at 8:17 p.m. Saturday. The cause remains under investigation.
       

Avondale wants more police on the streets

               The president of the Avondale Council today will ask Cincinnati police for two months of stepped-up patrols on Burnet Avenue to fight what he calls escalating crime.

        Tom Jones has invited police officials, Cincinnati City Council, Avondale businesspeople, and representatives from nearby Children's Hospital Medical Center and the Ronald McDonald House to a meeting.

He is asking for regular patrols on Burnet — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — to deter growing drug trafficking, burglaries and thefts reported by Avondale residents and businesspeople.

        A police substation in the neighborhood is not staffed around the clock, but there are two crime cameras mounted on Burnet, Mr. Jones said.

        “We have to develop a business corridor,” said Mr. Jones, chairman of the Avondale Public Safety Task Force. “That's not going to happen until we clean up the neighborhood.”
       

Energy secretary to speak in Butler Co.

               HAMILTON — At a time when natural gas prices and deregulation of utilities are hot topics, President Bush's secretary of energy, Spencer Abraham, will speak at a Butler County Republican Party event.

        Mr. Abraham is the keynote speaker for the party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner, set for 7:30 p.m. March 30 at the Sharonville Convention Center.

        Information: Butler GOP headquarters, 893-5292, or 423-8547 from Middletown.
       

Prepaid tuition program popular

               COLUMBUS — The recent talk of tuition increases among Ohio's public universities may be behind the record enrollment in a state program that allows families to pay their children's college tuition in advance at today's rates.

        The Ohio Tuition Trust Authority's College Advantage Savings Plan has 15,171 people enrolled.

        Since July, enrollment has increased by 41 percent, its biggest jump in years.

        The new plan, called Variable Investment Funds, offers options based on the child's age and the risk a parent or other investor is willing to take. The money, which can be deducted directly from paychecks, is invested by Putnam Investments, based in Boston. The return fluctuates with the stock market.
       

Milford Main principal hands in resignation

               MILFORD — Gary Gardella, principal of Milford Main Middle School, submitted his resignation effective at the end of this school year.

        Mr. Gardella was hired as assistant principal in August 1995. He became principal in August 1997.

        Superintendent John Frye said the matter was a personnel issue and he could not comment. Mr. Gardella said he did not want to comment, other than to say he is pursuing new opportunities.
       

Zoo destroys birds to stop spread of TB

               CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has destroyed some exotic birds to stop the spread of avian tuberculosis.

        Stan Searles, curator of ornithology, said the killing started last fall. He could not say how many birds were killed because he did not have records at home.

        Zoo officials last euthanized a bird in February, he said.

        Mr. Searles was not sure what caused the TB outbreak. He said the zoo could have acquired a bird with the disease because the illness does not always show up in screening tests.

        He said the TB was spread among the birds by droppings. He said it posed “virtually no harm to humans and pets.”
       

Dismiss incest charge, man's attorney says

               LOUISVILLE — The attorney for a 24-year-old Louisville man charged with incest has asked that the case be dismissed because state law doesn't specifically forbid sexual intercourse between uncles and nieces.

        The law forbids it only between parents or grandparents and children or grandchildren, and brothers or sisters. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Stephen P. Ryan said he was surprised when he read the statute and it didn't specifically refer to uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews.

        Judge Ryan is expected to rule on the matter soon.

        The man is accused of having sex with his niece last year when she was 16 — the age of consent in Kentucky. Therefore, the uncle could not be charged with statutory rape, prosecutor Anne Haynie said.

       



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