Friday, August 03, 2001

Tristate A.M. Report

Excess odorant fuels fears about gas leaks

        Too much odorant in natural gas lines prompted more than 300 reports of gas leaks throughout Greater Cincinnati on Thursday.

        Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. officials were initially baffled over the volume of the complaints.

        “We have excess odorant in the gas — way too much,” Cincinnati Gas & Electric spokesman Dave Woodburn said.

[photo] COMFORTING COP: Cincinnati Police Officer Melissa Cummins comforts two children who had been in an auto accident Thursday afternoon in the 1200 block of W. Eighth St., Queensgate. There were no serious injuries, said police at the scene.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
| ZOOM |
        Natural gas does not have an odor, so an odorant — mercaptan — is routinely added to the gas so customers can be aware if there is a leak.

        The excess mercaptan put into the system in its Foster station in Alexandria, Ky., made the smell so prominent that even the smallest leak produced a heavy smell of gas.

        “These are (small) leaks you'd never notice (normally),” Mr. Woodburn said.

        The gas smell will eventually dissipate, Mr. Woodburn said. But he cautioned gas customers to check their pilot lights because the excess mercaptan in the gas might create a mixture that won't burn.

        The calls about gas leaks started pouring in about 8:30 p.m., shortly after the excess mercaptan was inadvertently added to the gas, Mr. Woodburn said.

        The Meijer's store in Cold Spring, Ky., was evacuated Thursday night after employees and customers became nauseated with the smell of gas, Mr. Woodburn said.

3 of Most Wanted are arrested

        At least three more people on Cincinnati's newly expanded Most Wanted list were arrested Thursday:

        • Anthony Thomas, wanted for burglary, was arrested about 12:15 p.m. on Hamilton Avenue in College Hill after a police dog tracked him when he ran from officers.

        • Bennie Hogue, wanted for domestic violence, was arrested about 3 p.m. on Derrick Turnbow Avenue in the West End after a tipster called Crime Stoppers to report Mr. Hogue's movements.

        • Gilbert Dismukes, wanted for domestic violence, was arrested on Werk Road in Westwood.

        The division issued its original list of 42 persons last week as part of the Violent Crimes Task Force's work. Fifty-five more names were added Wednesday. Spec. Greg Meadows said Crime Stoppers' hot line, 352-3040, rang steadily all day Thursday with tips.

        These arrests bring to 18 the total of Most Wanted people found. Seventeen have been arrested since July 25; another was found dead.

Lebanon four plead not guilty

        LEBANON — Three former officials and the current city manager have pleaded not guilty to criminal charges involving questionable early retirement buyouts.

        The written pleas were filed Thursday in Warren County Common Pleas Court. The defendants are free on their promise to appear in court, where a scheduling conference is set for Aug. 13.

        Deborah Biggs, 52, retired city auditor, is charged with theft in office, unlawful interest in a public contract and conflict of interest. James William Duning, 57, former city attorney, faces the same three charges.

        Robert D. Newton, 53, former assistant electric department director, and City Manager James Patrick, 50, both face four charges: two counts of complicity to theft in office and two counts of complicity to an unlawful interest in a public contract.

Hamilton man convicted in killing

        HAMILTON — A 22-year-oldlocal man will be sentenced next month after being convicted of shooting a man to death.

        Keyawn Jackson is to be sentenced Sept. 7 before Judge H.J. Bressler in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

        Mr. Jackson was found guilty Wednesday on charges of reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault and two weapons charges. It took a jury about five hours to convict Mr. Jackson in the fatal Feb. 16 shooting of Damon Collier, 25.

City reserves ad time pending suit outcome

        LEBANON — The city has agreed to reserve advertising space on its cable system for a former councilman and an anti-tax group, pending the outcome of their lawsuit against Lebanon, a lawyer on the case said Thursday.

        John McComb and the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes sued Monday in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati to be allowed to advertise on Lebanon's cable system.

Speeding charge halts robbery suspect

        EVENDALE — The getaway of a man suspected of bank robbery may have been a bit too quick Thursday morning.

        James R. Sheperd, 29, of Elmwood Place is charged with aggravated robbery after police say he held up the Fifth Third Bank in the 10000 block of St. Rita Laneabout 11:20 a.m. He was arrested a short time later after a Woodlawn police officer stopped him, saying he was speeding west on Glendale-Milford Road.


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