Monday, February 18, 2002

Funds sought for fire victim

Friends rally around owner of adult store

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Friends are rallying around the adult-store owner and her great niece severely burned last week in a fire, raising money to help pay for their care.

        They've established Elyse's Compassion Fund for Elyse Metcalf, owner of Elyse's Passion, a Northside store that sells sexually oriented gifts and toys.

        Ms. Metcalf, who beat obscenity charges last year, was in fair condition Sunday at University Hospital, where she has been since a Feb. 10 fire ripped through her Carthage house.

        Some of the same people who supported her through her trial last May have started the fund to help her and 6-year-old Taylor Brogan.

        William Messer, founder of the Campaign Against Censorship in the Arts, said in a statement that Ms. Metcalf was just enjoying a resurgence in business after the store moved back to Northside from Over-the-Rhine, where she said last April's riots forced her out.

        Ms. Metcalf, 42, no longer needs a respirator to breathe, he said, but remains on oxygen and morphine. She could soon begin skin-graft operations. Nearly half of her body was burned, and she suffered smoke inhalation too.

        Her recovery has been tracked nationally with daily updates on the Adult Video News Web site.

        Taylor remained in critical condition Sunday at Children's Hospital. Mr. Messer said the girl stayed overnight with her great-aunt about once a month.

        Donations to the fund will be accepted at Elyse's Passion, 4181 Hamilton Ave., or at Northside Bank and Trust, 4125 Hamilton Ave., 45223.



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