Thursday, October 10, 2002

Tristate A.M. Report

Change in AK Steel permit is criticized

Activists criticized the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday for granting AK Steel Corp. authority to dump more pollutants into waterways near its Middletown Works mill - even while the EPA backs a lawsuit aimed at limiting pollution from the steel mill.

The agency said it agreed to changes in a pollution control permit issued to AK Steel in 1997. The changes would allow the steelmaker to increase the amounts of copper, zinc and cyanide discharged from the Middletown mill into Dicks Creek and the Great Miami River, into which the creek flows.

AK Steel spokesman Alan McCoy said his company requested the changes in the wastewater discharge permit. The company contended that the Ohio EPA made an error and should have included those limits in the original pollution control permit issued in 1992.

Critics said the EPA's decision suggests that the agency isn't serious about supporting a federal lawsuit filed in June 2000 that accuses AK Steel of seven years of air and water pollution and hazardous-waste violations at the Middletown mill. The EPA filed in court as a supporter of the lawsuit.

“It calls into question the Ohio EPA's desire to fully enforce the Clean Water Act,” said Bryan Clark, legislative advocate with the Ohio Public Interest Research Group.

AK Steel doesn't plan to increase the emission of pollutants into the creek.

Regional health care subject of new study

After months of headlines about doctors leaving town and hospitals struggling to hire enough nurses, a

business group and a coalition of health organizations have launched a study of the quality of health care in Greater Cincinnati.

The Health Care Data and Trends Project will be conducted by Deloitte Consulting. The project is sponsored by the Cincinnati Business Committee and the Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati.

The study is expected to compare Cincinnati health-care factors to other regions and to state and national benchmarks.

Hoxworth issues emergency donor call

Hoxworth Blood Center is issuing an emergency appeal for volunteer blood donors.

The center said Greater Cincinnati has a critical need for all blood types, specifically O positive and A positive.

As of Tuesday morning, the community blood supply was down 389 units of type O and 252 units of type A.

Donations will be taken at any of the seven neighborhood donor centers, including Central (near University Hospital), downtown, Tri-County, Anderson, Western Hills, Blue Ash and Fort Mitchell. Hours at each center vary.

Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. To make an appointment or for information, 451-0910 or (800) 830-1091.

Monroe development plan to be reworked

MONROE — After hearing from residents, city council members Tuesday moved to send a controversial rezoning proposal back to the planning commission for reworking.

Jay Stewart, development director for Monroe, said the city has to start from scratch with a new proposal for the 500-acre residential and commercial project planned for the southeast corner of State Route 4 and Ohio 63.

The Monroe Planning Commission will hold its first public meeting on the new rezoning proposal on Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers.

Slider indicted on 21 charges

The man accused of abducting and robbing two women last week, and raping one of them, has been indicted in Clermont and Hamilton counties on a total of 21 charges.

Randy Joe Slider, 40, faces seven charges in Clermont County and 14 charges in Hamilton County. He is being held on $3 million bond at the Hamilton County Justice Center.

Mr. Slider was indicted Wednesday in Clermont County on two counts of attempted rape and one charge each of kidnapping, robbery, grand theft of a motor vehicle and two counts of failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer.

In Hamilton County, he faces six counts of rape, five counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of kidnapping and one count of aggravated burglary.

Police find drug sellers up early

A Cincinnati police supervisor, looking to combat drug-selling, got his officers up before church Sunday. Lt. Mike Neville wasn't sure his team would be able to buy drugs so early, but he wanted churchgoers in District 4's neighborhoods to see that they were out trying. They made their first buy at 9:30 a.m. — a 15-year-old sold them crack in Avondale, then ran.

Four other undercover buys followed over the next eight hours. The nine officers made 13 total arrests.

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