Thursday, April 19, 2001

State agency to assess damage

After the riots

        Ohio Gov. Bob Taft on Wednesday dispatched a state emergency management team to Cincinnati to gauge the damage inflicted by last week's rioting.

        The Ohio Emergency Management Agency will gather information and report back to the governor in anticipation of rounding up federal or state aid for more than 120 damaged businesses.

        “I can't say definitively what if any assistance would be available,” said Kevin Kellems, Mr. Taft's spokesman.

        The state may investigate the Small Business Administration's low-interest disaster-loan program, which offers loans to businesses with substantial uninsured losses or missed economic opportunity. It's triggered only if the president declares a state of emergency.

        But Glenn Clevenger, who heads the Cincinnati Local Development Co., told a group of Over-the—Rhine business owners on Tuesday that the SBA's emergency loan program was too cumbersome. He urged business owners to apply for conventional SBA loans that he offers. Those loans typically have a higher interest rate but can be completed quicker, Mr. Clevenger said.

Booth criticizes deadly force rules

               Cincinnati City Councilman Paul Booth wants to revamp the police division's deadly force policy, which he said leaves too much room for officer interpretation.

        “It's outdated and long overdue for a complete revision,” Mr. Booth said Wednesday in the wake of the shooting of an unarmed man, Timothy Thomas, by a Cincinnati police officer.

        But Police Lt. Col. Ron Twitty defended the policy and said the key is training. Officers are trained in the classroom and on the firing range on using deadly force, he said.

        Acting City Safety Director Gregory Baker said he would be willing to review the policy, but that doesn't mean changes will be made.

Business group back to normal

               The Cincinnati riot aftermath didn't disrupt Main Street Ventures' monthly meeting in Over-the-Rhine Tuesday.

        About 150 people showed up for meeting of the nonprofit business incubator, despite a brief but swift attack on the business district the week before.

        “They survived a 70 percent decline in the Nasdaq and a dearth of capital,” said Walter Solomon, president of Main Street Ventures. “They're not going to be afraid of a few marauding teen-agers.”

        Mr. Solomon likened the rioting to a tornado. A handful of windows were shattered and a few people were hurt. But there were few other signs.

        “It was pretty much back to normal by Wednesday,” said Mr. Solomon, also chief executive officer of ConnectMail.

Ch. 48 puts off Action Auction

        The WCET48 Action Auction, scheduled for today through April 28, has been rescheduled for May 31-June 9.

        The state of emergency, now lifted, prevented auction preparation.

        WCET48 President & CEO Susan Howarth said postponing the auction, which produces significant revenue for WCET48 and involves more than 3,000 volunteers, “will ensure the ultimate success of this 10-day event.”

County, city offer relief to businesses
Tape: After chase, a 30-second silence
Thomas' mother shows strength in grief
Findlay Market shoppers make stand
Poverty called first level of violence
State trooper also fired beanbag shotgun
Violence could spread elsewhere, Lawson warns
- State agency to assess damage