Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Push to rename 12th St. bridge for Poweleit

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The signs are already up, but a group of state lawmakers is pushing for the name of the new 12th Street bridge between Covington and Newport to be changed.

        The new span over the Licking River was named the Licking Valley Girl Scout Bridge by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in December. The fiscal courts of Campbell and Kenton counties as well as the city commissions in Newport and Covington endorsed the Girl Scout name.

        But Republican state Sens. Dick Roeding of Fort Mitchell, Jack Westwood of Erlanger and Katie Stine of Fort Thomas have filed a resolution in Frankfort that would name the bridge for Dr. Alvin C. Poweleit.

        In addition to years as a physician in Newport, Dr. Poweleit was also a World War II hero, having survived the Bataan Death March.

        “I have absolutely nothing against the Girl Scouts,” Mr. Westwood said Monday from Frankfort. “And maybe at some later date we can name something for them.

        “But Dr. Poweleit is very deserving of this honor. He touched so many lives on both sides of the Licking River, and he served his country. We should pay him this honor.”

        Last year the senators and others backing the Poweleit name collected petitions with the signatures of more than 2,000 people who supported naming the bridge for the late physician.

        Mr. Westwood said the Transportation Cabinet, which has responsibility for naming bridges when the General Assembly is not in session, was asked to hold off naming the bridge until the legislature began meeting this month in Frankfort. “For whatever reason, they didn't wait,” he said.

        Ruth Bauman of Bellevue, who helped rally support for the Girl Scout name, said she is upset lawmakers want to change the name of the bridge. “I was afraid something like this was going to happen once they got down to Frankfort,” Mrs. Bauman said. “I don't have a problem with Dr. Poweleit, but this has already been done — and the Girl Scouts deserve to have that bridge named for them.

        “I hope it doesn't pass the legislature.”


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