Sunday, April 08, 2001

Tristate A.M. Report

Lightning blamed in fatal house fire

        Lightning is being blamed for starting a fatal house fire Friday evening on Eight Mile Road in Anderson Township.

        A 39-year-old woman, described as mentally and physically challenged, died about 40 minutes after being taken from the home by firefighters. Fire investigator Lt. Perry Gerome said the woman was found unconscious in the living room.

        Firefighters said they received a report of the blaze at 6:46 p.m. The house, at 2710 Eight Mile Road near the cross street of Devon Road, was described as a mobile home with three rooms added to it.

        Firefighters said it took 90 minutes to control the blaze.

        The woman was home alone at the time of the fire. She reportedly lived with her father, whose name wasn't available. Lt. Gerome estimated $50,000 damage to the home, which is uninhabitable.

        One firefighter was treated for dehydration and exhaustion at Mercy Hospital Anderson and released.

Former HUC president joins funding group

        Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, the former president of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, has been chosen to head the New York office of Birthright Israel, a Jerusalem-based organization that funds trips to Israel for college-age Jews.

        Rabbi Zimmerman, 58, will become executive vice president of the organization's North American operations on June 1.

        “This is a totally new project,” he said. “The goal is to open new gateways into Jewish identity, affirmation and understanding for young (Jewish) men and women who have had minimal contact with the Jewish community.”

        Birthright Israel, founded less than two years ago, has $210 million in start-up funding from philanthropists, Israel and various Jewish agencies.

        Hebrew Union College was founded in Cincinnati in 1875. It also has campuses in Los Angeles, New York and Jerusalem.

        Rabbi Zimmerman resigned in December as president after he was accused of sexual misconduct preceding his five-year tenure there. Details of the allegations were not made public, but they led to his suspension from the Central Conference of American Rabbis for two years.

        Marlene Post, spokeswoman for Birthright Israel, said those allegations were investigated but she received “only positive responses” from many people.

        “To us, that was something from the past,” Ms. Post said.

        “We saw all of his positive, outstanding qualities as being beneficial to Birthright Israel.”

Proposal aims to ease prescription drug cost

        A bill being given top priority by Republican leaders in the GOP-controlled House is aimed at helping the elderly and the disabled with prescription drug costs. The bill would:

        • Require the Ohio Department of Aging to establish a prescription drug discount card program that enables cardholders to receive discounts on prescription drugs dispensed at participating pharmacies.

        • Require the department's director to appoint a program administrator.

        • At the director's discretion, permits the program administrator to charge a fee for the card.

        • Exempts from Ohio's public records law any records that identify the recipients of Golden Buckeye Cards or prescription drug discount cards.

        • Cost the state up to $117,000 annually for a new Aging Department position and other costs including travel, additional toll-free telephone calls, printing and promotion.


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Kentucky News Briefs
- Tristate A.M. Report