Wednesday, April 04, 2001

Tristate A.M. Report




Pair charged with OxyContin trafficking

        NORWOOD — Two Cincinnatians are accused of trafficking in the prescription drug OxyContin in Norwood.

        Roscoe McGeorge, 54, of Quebec Road has been charged with three counts of trafficking in drugs and one count of drug abuse. Ida Thomas, 39, of West McMillan Steet is charged with one count of trafficking. All of the charges are felonies.

        Norwood police say the pair was arrested March 28 on Smith Road in Norwood after officers purchased OxyContin from them.

        OxyContin abuse has become a growing abuse problem in the past year as the opiate has been increasingly prescribed for pain management, police have said.
       

Cinergy faces lawsuit over marketing rules

        Cinergy Corp. is being sued for more than $26 million by a Newark, Ohio-based energy cooperative which acquired its retail gas marketing subsidiary more than a year ago.

        The Energy Cooperative Inc., filed suit in Licking County Common Pleas Court, claiming that Cinergy and its affiliates conspired to change the rules of its gas marketing program, undercutting operations of the former Cinergy Resources, which supplied gas to about 20,000 former customers of Cincinnati Gas & Electric.


[photo] HEAD-ON CRASH: Cincinnati police officers confer at the scene of a head-on collision Tuesday afternoon on Reading Road at Cleveland Avenue in Avondale. Larry Lyons, 49, Lawndale Avenue, Pleasant Ridge, was driving his sedan south when he struck a northbound tow truck. Mr. Lyons was in critical condition at University Hospital. The driver of the tow truck, Steven Jewel, 24, of Delhi Township, was treated and released.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        CG&E took those customers back into its system this winter and the customers were faced with sharply higher gas bills when TEC was unable to supply gas at contracted rates. That triggered at least three consumer class-action lawsuits and a probe by the Ohio Consumer's Counsel.

        TEC said Cinergy failed to disclose during sale negotiations that it was drafting new tariff rules that “would eliminate and destroy the Gas Customer Choice program because it effectively precluded (contract) renewals.”

        A Cinergy spokesman said the utility holding company had no comment until it had a chance to review the lawsuit.
       

Professors criticize UC strike remarks

        University of Cincinnati President Joseph Steger's anticipation of a faculty strike is “unnecessarily alarmist and even irresponsible,” the professors' union said Monday.

        UC's chapter of the American Association of University Professors acknowledged Dr. Steger's need to lobby Columbus for smaller cuts in state support, but said he went too far last week when he suggested that lack of new state money would stymie contract negotiations.

        AAUP indicated last week that it probably will seek a 5 percent raise in the first year of the new three-year contract.

        The union said it could precipitate a strike if Dr. Steger offered no raise for any of the three years to be covered by the new contract.

        “We challenge Dr. Steger and the UC administration to find ways of generating funds for decent faculty salary increases that do not depend on tuition increases for students,” AAUP said.

        If state support is inadequate, then UC must turn to students or cut the budget, spokesman Greg Hand said on Monday.

        If cuts are required, they must come from funds that are supported by state general funds, Mr. Hand said, and that includes salaries and services to students.
       

Overturned truck shuts down Ohio 63

        TURTLECREEK TWP. — A Pennsylvania truck driver escaped serious injury in a Tuesday morning accident that shut a portion of Ohio 63 for more than six hours.

        George E. Shook, of West Finley, Pa, told state troopers his semi-tractor trailer carrying sheets of steel overturned after he went off the side of the road and lost control at 5:20 a.m. just east of Ohio 741.

        Mr. Shook was treated for minor injuries at Bethesda Warren County Hospital. Troopers cited him for failure to maintain control.

        Ohio 63 was closed between Ohio 741 and McClure Road until just before noon while workers uprighted the truck and cleared steel from the roadway.
       

Benefit will assist firefighter's family

        Blue Ash and Sycamore Township firefighters will raise money Sunday for the family of Bill Ellison, the firefighter for Anderson and Miami townships who died March 20.

        The benefit starts at 1 p.m. at Logo's Sports Bar, 8954 Blue Ash Road. T-shirts will be sold for about $10, with split-the-pot and other raffles until 8 p.m. Cover charge: $10.

        All proceeds go to Mr. Ellison's wife and two young daughters. Mr. Ellison was burned while fighting a fire March 8 in Miami Township.
       

Unions challenge drug-testing law

        COLUMBUS — Two labor unions sued the state Tuesday over the constitutionality of a new law that allows employers to order drug and alcohol tests after workplace injuries and presume employees caused the accidents if they fail or refuse the tests.

        The Ohio AFL-CIO and United Auto Workers filed the lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court asking the justices to bar the state from enforcing the law, which takes effect Tuesday.

        Under it, workers will be denied workers compensation unless they prove their innocence.

        Before, employers could withhold workers compensation payments only if they proved that workers were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the accident occurred.

        “With this, you're guilty until you're proven innocent,” said Jim Harris, a UAW lobbiest.
       



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Kentucky News Briefs
- Tristate A.M. Report