Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Tristate A.M. Report

County to offer flu vaccinations

        LEBANON — The Warren County Health Department will begin offering flu vaccinations Thursday.

        The shots are particularly recommended for those with health conditions such as diabetes or cancer, those who are 65 and older, and those who care for the elderly or the ill.

[photo] TAKING A BIG STEP: Ohio first lady Hope Taft helps Hannah Newport, 2, up the steps of her new home in Lebanon. The house is being constructed as part of the Lebanon Blitz Build by TriState Habitat for Humanity. It's one of 25 houses being built as part of the first lady's Circle of Hope project.
(Gary Landers photo)
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        The health department will charge $10 for the vaccinations. They will be given to walk-ins at the department's office, 416 S. East St., Lebanon, at these times: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday; 8 to 10 a.m. Monday; 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 16; 8 to 10 a.m. Nov. 19; and 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 29.

        They will be given in other Warren County communities on other dates and at the department by appointment every Friday in December.

        Pneumonia vaccinations will be offered to the elderly and the chronically ill by appointment only for $15.

        Call Charlene Wilson at 695-1464 or 925-1464 for neighborhood sites or an appointment.

Meeting to discuss farmland preservation

        LEBANON — Warren County commissioners and the committee studying farmland preservation will meet again Nov. 20 to continue discussing the county's options.

        The committee, led by farmer Tom Spellmire and developer Mark Stenger, presented commissioners Tuesday with 11 possible ways to keep farmland from disappearing here.

        The commissioners were skeptical of some proposals, such as the theory that letting houses be built closer together in some areas would discourage developers from turning farmland into subdivisions.

        Commission President Mike Kilburn also had a suggestion of his own to ease the national loss of farmland: The federal government could exempt farmers from paying income taxes.

        The meeting ended without any decisions except to meet again.

Church to honor military veterans

        The First Baptist Church of Milford will recognize all veterans and members of the military on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

        The 80-voice choir will perform a medley, “Salute to the Armed Forces,” and other special music is planned. Each branch of the military will be recognized.

        Service begins at 10:05 a.m. at the church, 367 Woodville Pike. Information: (513) 575-1705.

Group allocates tobacco-suit money

        Several Greater Cincinnati hospitals and health groups will receive a share of $1.2 million in tobacco settlement money distributed by an arm of the Ohio Hospital Association.

        Among 44 grants awarded statewide:

        • $100,000 to the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation, $46,000 for the Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati, and $40,000 for Mercy Health Partners for programs serving uninsured children and pregnant women. Many of these programs focus on asthma control or smoking cessation.

        • $15,000 for Bethesda North Hospital, $12,000 for the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation, and $12,000 for Clinton Memorial Hospital for pulmonary rehabilitation programs. Many of these programs include increased transportation services, exercise and education programs.

        The grants were awarded this month through the Foundation for Healthy Communities, a charity arm of the OHA. The organization was selected by the Ohio Health Department to manage a portion of Ohio's $10.1 billion settlement with the tobacco industry.

        Ohio legislators have earmarked the biggest portion of the settlement fund to pay for school construction.

Lecture to discuss racism, environment

        Clark Atlanta University professor Robert D. Bullard will speak on racism and environmental issues at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 at Xavier University's Cintas Center.

        The free public lecture is sponsored by XU's Ethics/Religion & Society Program and Xavier's Environmental Studies.

        A discussion will follow at 8:30 p.m. and a reception at 9 p.m. Dr. Bullard is professor of sociology and director of the Environmental Justice Center at Clark Atlanta.

Man sentenced for raping girls

        CAMBRIDGE, Ohio — A judge labeled a man a sexual predator and sentenced him to five years in prison Tuesday for raping two girls.

        Norman Byler, 69, of Birmingham in eastern Ohio, pleaded guilty earlier to raping the girls, ages 3 and 5. Guernsey County Common Pleas Judge David Ellwood rejected a plea-bargain recommendation that Mr. Byler be sent to a nonresidential treatment center.

        The judge said he felt Mr. Byler could not be rehabilitated. The judge labeled him a sexual predator, requiring him to register with the county sheriff.

        Mr. Byler's attorney, Diane Menashe, said she would challenge the prison sentence by trying to have the guilty plea withdrawn. She said prison life would be difficult for Mr. Byler, who is Amish and who first saw television when he was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment.

        “Even the state psychologist said sending Norman to prison would essentially be a death penalty for him,” Ms. Menashe said at the time of the guilty plea Sept. 17.

        It was a rare case of Amish crimes being prosecuted in secular courts, attorneys on both sides said. Members of the Amish community had wanted to deal with Mr. Byler's case within their church, said Prosecutor C. Keith Plummer, who said he was satisfied with the sentence.

Unclaimed taxes total $1.4 million

        Taxpayers in Ohio are owed a total of $4.1 million in unclaimed tax refund checks and should contact the Internal Revenue Service so it can send the checks to them, agency officials said Tuesday.

        That includes $1.4 million owed to 2,101 taxpayers who have not claimed their refund checks, and another 9,306 taxpayers who have not claimed their advance tax credit payments.

        The average undelivered refund in Ohio is $823, IRS officials said.

        Taxpayers who fail to claim their advance tax credit payment refunds by Dec. 5 will have to wait for the money until they file their 2001 income tax returns next year. The checks cannot go out after Dec. 31, and the IRS needs a few weeks of processing time.

        Nationally, about 295,000 rebate checks worth $95 million were returned to the IRS. That often occurs when a taxpayer moves to a new address or changes the last name, often because of marriage.

        People who believe they are due a check can call the IRS. Taxpayers can also notify the IRS about a new address by filing Form 8822, which can be downloaded from the agency's Web site.

        Nationally, the checks returned to the IRS represent only a fraction of 1 percent of the 85 million that have been mailed out.

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