Monday, May 28, 2001

Local Digest

p7 2 men sought in video store robbery

        Two men who robbed the Blockbuster Video store in Kenwood late Saturday after forcing the manager to open the store safe were still at large Sunday.

        The robbers, one armed with a handgun, entered the store at 7690 Montgomery Road in Sycamore Township about 11:55 p.m. and announced the holdup, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said.

        After receiving money from the front register, the suspects took the manager and employees to the rear of the store and forced them to lie on the floor, the sheriff's office said.
       The armed man then forced the manager to open the safe.

        None of the employees or two customers in the store were injured.

        The incident remains under investigation by the sheriff's office criminal investigation section.

Children's, UC get $2.3M for research

               Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati will use a $2.3 million grant to build a supercomputing center for pediatric research.

        The grant was provided by the Ohio Board of Regents and Sun Microsystems as part of an effort to build up the genetic research capabilities of Ohio medical centers.

        The computer equipment is expected to be installed in June, with testing continuing through the summer. The supercomputing center also is expected to be electronically linked to the Ohio Supercomputing Center in Columbus, so it can serve researchers statewide.

Claim: State not aiding study on bias

               COLUMBUS — A company says interference from state officials forced it to stop work on a study of whether Ohio discriminates against minority contractors.

        The Taft administration in April 2000 hired D.J. Miller & Associates of Atlanta to conduct the $922,000 study for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

        The independent analysis of the state's history of contracting with minority- and female-owned businesses was to be completed June 30.

        Company officials said this week they cannot continue the project because state agencies and university officials are not cooperating. The company also questioned the lack of what it described as equitable payments for its work.

        “It's a smoke screen,” Ben Piscitelli, spokesman for the Department of Administrative Services, said of the company's decision. “Any allegation that we're trying to steer the results is ridiculous.”

        State officials said the company has had financial problems, including a recently lifted federal assessment that required the state to pay $5,000 to the Internal Revenue Service for each $50,000 payment it made to D.J. Miller.

OSU students: Police played part in riots

               COLUMBUS — A survey sponsored by Ohio State University said students think police bear some responsibility for recent off-campus disturbances.

        About 70 percent of the 565 undergraduates contacted in the random telephone survey said the police presence in the university district “creates a hostile environment that leads to violence.”

        In addition, 76 percent said students themselves have the biggest responsibility to help stop the disturbances, and 54 percent said the university's handling of the incidents has been appropriate.

        The survey was conducted from May 7 to 13 by the OSU Center for Survey Research on behalf of the university's Division of Student Affairs.

        It was taken following two April weekends in which off-campus parties grew out of control.

        City and university police dispersed crowds of as many as 2,000 party-goers, some of whom threw bottles at police, turned over cars and started fires.

        City police spokeswoman Sherry Jones said she wasn't surprised by the finding that students think police were partly to blame for what happened.

        “This is a group of people who don't want to take responsibility for their actions, so it's easy for them to point the finger at someone else,” she said.

Vandal wants refund on grave reparations

               BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Repairs made to a cemetery eight years ago apparently cost less than expected, and one of three vandals fined for knocking over tombstones wants a refund.

        J. Scott Hicks, who represented Tracy Snyder in the case, said that if the city did not need the money to repair the cemetery, his client should get a refund.

        Tracy Snyder and two others were sentenced to jail time and ordered to pay restitution after they were convicted of knocking over more than 100 tombstones at Oak Grove Cemetery in September 1993.

        Damage to the cemetery on the Bowling Green State University campus was more than $18,000, and the defendants paid about $18,250 in restitution, court records show.

        But not all of the money was used. The Wood County clerk of courts paid the city about $750 and Maumee Valley Monument Co. donated $5,500 for work at Oak Grove, court records show. No other bills were submitted, and about $12,000 has remained in an account held by the clerk's office.


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