Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Local Digest


375,000 trips affected by strike

        The Comair pilots strike turns 16 days old today, having affected well more than a quarter-million passengers, according to the National Airline Passenger Coalition.

        The Washington, D.C.-based passenger advocacy group estimates that the strike has forced nearly 375,000 travelers to convert e-tickets, book alternate flights or cancel plans altogether. The Erlanger-based regional carrier's 1,350 pilots walked out March 26. The remaining sticking points include work rules, retirement, job protection and pay.

        Monday, officials from the union and the airline said no contact had been made and no negotiations were scheduled.

        Through today, Comair has canceled 13,040 flights, and officials have scratched flights through April 17.
       

PNC Bank branch robber flees on foot

               The PNC Bank branch in Pleasant Ridge was robbed just after 11 a.m. Monday by a man who threatened a teller with death unless the teller handed over cash, Cincinnati police said.

        "Give me all your $20s, $50s and $100 or you'll die. And don't alarm anyone,” read the note the robber handed to a teller at the bank at 6070 Montgomery Road.

        After he received an undisclosed amount of cash, the robber fled across Montgomery Road and disappeared behind Provident Bank, police said.

        The robber is described as black, 35 to 40 years old, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He was wearing a black sweat shirt, sunglasses, light-colored pants and bandannas on his head and neck. He had two Band-Aids on his cheek.

        Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call CrimeStoppers at (513) 352-3040. Callers may remain anonymous and receive compensation for their information.
       

School board backs home ownership help

               The Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education on Monday unanimously approved a resolution to support a home ownership program for all full-time district employees.

        Employees, regardless of income, can qualify for low-rate mortgages, reduced closing costs and the chance to buy a home in the city with 3 percent down (only $1,000 need come from the buyer; the rest can be from grants) and no need to pay mortgage insurance.

        The district joined with Firstar Bank, the Home Ownership Center, the University of Cincinnati and other city funding agencies to create the program.

        Firstar Bank made a three-year commitment to the Cincinnati schools program. Officials expect at least 50 people each year to take advantage.
       

Hall turns down Peace Corps job

               WASHINGTON — The Bush administration approached Rep. Tony Hall of Ohio about becoming director of the Peace Corps, but the Democratic congressman is not interested in the job, a spokesman said Monday.

        “He rejected the idea,” aide Michael Gessel said. “There have been discussions. He said that he is not considering it at this time.”

        Mr. Hall was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand from 1966 to 1968.

        The Washington Post reported Monday that Mr. Hall was interested in the job.
       

Most would-be teachers pass test

               The latest batch of Indiana college students aspiring to become teachers achieved an overall 92 percent pass rate on tests required before they can obtain a teacher's license, a state official said Monday.

        The 38 Indiana colleges and universities are required by a 1998 federal law to release their teacher proficiency test results. But how they stack up against one another may not be known for a while.

        Judy Miller, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Professional Standards Board, said the schools had until just before midnight Monday to release their pass-fail figures on the 1999-2001 tests.

        And even then, the state won't be prepared to release its comprehensive comparison of the institutions until October, she said.

        “There's a lot at stake at where those rankings come out,” Ms. Miller said Monday. “All of the schools want to know where they rank and I can't even tell them that.”
       

AP promotes Cincinnati native

               COLUMBUS — Howard Goldberg, news editor for The Associated Press in Columbus, has been promoted to assistant chief of bureau.

        The appointment was announced Monday by Eva Parziale, Ohio chief of bureau.

        Mr. Goldberg, 44, has been Ohio news editor since 1998, following 12 years as a supervisor and editor on AP's national editing desk in New York.

        He is a native of Cincinnati and a graduate of Duke University. Prior to joining the AP in 1986, Mr. Goldberg worked for three newspapers in North Carolina.

        He succeeds Beth Grace, who was named chief of bureau for upstate New York.
       

Man apparently was killed in Ohio

               ERIE, Pa. — A state police investigation into the death of a man whose body was found in the back of a burning truck was turned over to authorities in Ohio.

        Investigators determined Monday that Howard Rose, 34, of Elyria, Ohio, died at a residence in the Maple Heights, Ohio, area and that that city's police department should handle the investigation.

        Mr. Rose's body was found in the back of a pickup that was found on fire along Interstate 90 near Erie on March 24.

        An autopsy by the Erie County Coroner's office determined the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.
       

Unopposed mayor uses campaign fund

               AKRON — Mayor Don Plusquellic, who has run unopposed in this city's past two mayoral elections, has raised thousands of dollars for his campaign war chest and found ways to spend it, a newspaper reported Monday.

        Even in an off-election year, Mr. Plusquellic brings in about $60,000 from his two big fund-raisers, a black-tie Mayor's Ball in January and a golf outing in June. Among the mayor's campaign expenses recently were $1,051 for roll-top desk for his home, $12,125 in meals and $8,600 paid to friends who helped work on campaign activities, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

        But all of Mr. Plusquellic's purchases appear to be legal, the newspaper reported.

        The desk is for use in his home for campaign business and is reasonable because he keeps no campaign finance office or staff, Mr. Plusquellic's spokesman, Mark Williamson, said Monday.

        “There is nothing questionable there,” Mr. Williamson said. “He does everything frugally. His campaign treasury is chicken feed compared with those of some others.”

        Mr. Plusquellic's term runs through 2003.

        The mayor said he consulted lawyers before spending the campaign money and found out that the law allows spending on “anything that is even closely related to performing your job.”

        Mr. Plusquellic said the desk has allowed him to maintain domestic tranquillity at home after his wife complained that he had a habit of “dumping all my stuff on the dining room table.”

       



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