Union will abide by boycott
        A union representing 37,000 state workers has told city officials it will not hold its 2005 convention in Cincinnati.
Text of letter

Schools gear up for state tests
        It's the academic version of March Madness.
Questions, answers about Ohio proficiency tests

Commission ponys up for skateboard fest
        Hamilton County commissioners are “totally stoked” about bringing a professional skateboarding festival to Sawyer Point this summer.

Navy mom beckons other parents
        Deborah Eckert is a mother; she would worry about her 27-year-old son even if he were living on the other side of town.

City cops, ATF work to get federal drug and gun charges
        Closer cooperation between the Cincinnati Police Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has led to what police hope is the first of more federal prosecutions of city suspects.

Contest lets fans leave their mark on ballpark
        Hamilton County will allow 100 people to leave a lasting impression on Great American Ball Park.

Councilmen address life quality
        Two members of Cincinnati City Council say City Hall needs to do a better job addressing “quality of life” issues in the city's 52 neighborhoods.

Home addition faces razing
        ANDERSON TOWNSHIP — The township is prepared to begin on Monday demolishing a home addition that was built without a building permit.

Murder defendant faces decision on plea bargain
        Former downtown barber Tony Ringer will decide today whether he'll plead guilty and head to prison for 21 years or risk a life sentence by proceeding with a jury trial.

Norwood schools to buy Shea
        By April 1, Norwood City Schools will hand over $1 to buy city-owned Shea Stadium, where high school football and soccer teams have played for three decades.

Peter Max enters bid for escaped cow
        A world-famous New York artist who heard the story of Cincinnati's runaway cow wants to set her free in an animal sanctuary.

Recents busts yield cocaine worth $4M
        Three recent cocaine busts, the latest one Monday, took more than 80 pounds of high-grade cocaine off the streets, authorities say. Local drug enforcement officers say the drug was earmarked for distribution in Greater Cincinnati.

Response to reforms criticized
        One of Cincinnati's influential African-American activists has serious concerns about the city's responses to police reforms suggested by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Sierra Club files suit against Hamilton Co.
        The Sierra Club sued in federal court Wednesday to force the Metropolitan Sewer District to clean up raw sewage overflows in Hamilton County.

Witness says he saw fatal shots
        Prosecutors in the aggravated murder trial of Montez Taylor introduced a surprise witness Wednesday who said he saw Mr. Taylor fire the shots that killed two men last year.

Tristate A.M. Report
        State Auditor Jim Petro's office will not perform an audit of Cincinnati 2012, the defunct organization that tried to bring the Summer Olympic Games to the Queen City.

PULFER: Cyber museum
        Although Erma Bombeck had about 31 million readers, she seemed to speak to each of us separately. She was funny. Consistently, reliably funny for 30 years.

HOWARD: Some Good News
        St. Thomas School in Fort Thomas, Ky., is observing Lent by participating in several of the seven corporal works of mercy.

RADEL: Unity Week
        Cincinnati needs a day of healing, a time for a new beginning, a place for unity.

Business projects on ballot
        LIBERTY TWP. — Voters will decide in the May 7 primary whether two commercial developments will rise at the intersection of Ohio 747 and Princeton Road. It's the latest showdown over development in this rapidly growing area.

Butler pols chew the fat on tax hike
        WEST CHESTER TWP. — After 1 1/2 hours of face-to-face verbal jousting Wednesday, Butler County Commissioner Mike Fox and West Chester Township Trustee Catherine Stoker found the chasm separating them on a proposed county sales tax hike to be as wide as ever.

County leaders back hospital
        LEBANON — School and business leaders are lining up to support Middletown Regional Hospital's planned move to Warren County.

Hamilton man guilty of smut charges
        HAMILTON — A Hamilton man who had programmed computers for a living now faces up to 16 years in prison for using his computer to store child pornography and contact minors about sex.

Hamilton's new football coach praised
        HAMILTON — Hamilton school officials formally introduced coach Eric Gillespie, who is taking over the city's storied Big Blue football squad, at a reception in the school board office Tuesday evening.

Lakota ponders adding office
        WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP — Operations of the Lakota Local Schools would run more efficiently if records and people were together in one spot instead of in several locations throughout the district, educators say.

Landfill cleanup questioned
        WEST CHESTER TWP. — Trustees and some residents are questioning whether the Skinner Landfill has been properly capped.

Man who crossed median not guilty in fatal crash
        LEBANON — A jury took less than an hour Wednesday to acquit 19-year-old Jerad Rushlow in a crash that killed a Georgia woman and her 3-year-old twin daughters.

OxyContin suit status argued
        HAMILTON — At least 28 lawyers from several states have invaded the Butler County courthouse to wage a battle in the war over who's to blame for OxyContin's widespread abuse.

Agreement could drum up support for permanent college tuition cap
        COLUMBUS — The deal between public universities and Gov. Bob Taft to limit tuition increases for one year might stir up support for reinstating a permanent fee cap, said lawmakers who support a cap.

Tobacco farmers' fund eyed for budget
        COLUMBUS — To balance the state budget, Gov. Bob Taft has proposed using all of the money — about $32 million over the next two years — from a fund that helps tobacco farmers hurt by slowing production.

Bill on historic documents stays put
        FRANKFORT — A bill to require students to be taught and tested on five historic documents, all of which mention God, touched off some strong debate but failed to clear the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

House votes for Sweet 16 review
        FRANKFORT — Even before the start of “March Madness,” basketball captured the Kentucky House's attention Wednesday.

Kentucky News Briefs
        NASHVILLE — University of Louisville President John Shumaker was recommended to become the next president of the University of Tennessee by a search committee on Wednesday night.

You still pay ... just not a cashier
        NEWPORT — The first fully automated “cashier-less” parking payment system in Greater Cincinnati will be fully operational this summer when all the entertainment venues are open at Newport on the Levee.

E N Q U I R E R   I N V E S T I G A T I O N
Ohio's secret shame
        Instead of keeping people healthy and safe, Ohio's mental retardation system is so chaotic it routinely fails to prevent deaths, correct problems or enforce minimum standards of care, The Cincinnati Enquirer has found.

Cincinnati's unrest: A look at a divisive year
A special section examines the racial unrest of the past year and the many lives it touched.