Friday, October 18, 2002

Tristate A.M. Report

Search is on for big Christmas tree

The Cincinnati Recreation Commission is looking for a live tree to decorate Fountain Square for the holidays. It will be decorated in time for the "Light Up the Square" ceremony Nov. 29.

The search must be completed by Wednesday. A final decision will be made on Oct. 25 and the tree will be moved to Fountain Square on Nov. 18 at no cost to the property owner.

After the holidays, the tree will be replanted at a Hamilton County park.

The tree must be 25 to 30 feet tall, short needle, a blue or green spruce; the trunk can't be larger than 12 inches in diameter; it must be accessible by crane and should not be near electrical or utility lines; and its position should accommodate a 10-foot radius for digging.

Information: Bill Blevins, 352-1987.

City would monitor new housing court

Cincinnati City Council and Municipal Court judges are near an agreement that would create a "housing docket" to speed enforcement action against the city's worst slumlords.

City Council passed a resolution Wednesday that calls for a one-year pilot project that would gauge the docket's efficiency. That proposal, by Councilman Chris Monzel, is scaled down from the original plan that would create a full-time housing court.

Mr. Monzel said the docket could be done with no additional cost.

Municipal Judge Guy Guckenberger has volunteered to hear the housing cases once a week.

The judges still must approve the housing docket, which could be in place by the end of the year.

Mill Creek cleanup gets $340K grant

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will distribute a $340,000 federal grant for a project designed to make a six-mile section of Mill Creek in Hamilton and Butler counties cleaner and its banks more stable.

Ohio EPA announced the grant Thursday. It goes to the Mill Creek Restoration Project, which is partnering with the Butler County Department of Environmental Services, Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Park Board, Lockland and Miami University.

The grant, which comes from the U.S. EPA, carries a local match of $223,523. Most of the local match will be paid in work by staff and volunteers.

The project will affect five miles of Mill Creek in Hamilton County, including the portion of West Fork Mill Creek in Lockland, and one mile of Mill Creek in Butler County.

Besides making the water cleaner to encourage more aquatic life, the project also involves removing debris and invasive plants from the creek's corridor and planting trees and native plants.

Former resident found dead in house

COLERAIN TWP. - The former resident of a house on Schon Drive was found dead inside a bedroom there Thursday.

The death of James E. Castleberry, 32, appears to be accidental, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, but an autopsy will be performed. Several pieces of evidence from the scene will also be examined by the corner, deputies said.

Deputies said the house had been vacant and in the process of foreclosure.

A maintenance worker from the mortgage company discovered the partly clothed body and alerted the sheriff's office.

Outpatient clinic opens near hospital

The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati has pumped about $3.8 million into a new outpatient medical clinic in Corryville for University Hospital.

A grand opening was held Wednesday for the offices, located in the Hoxworth Center just across an access road from the main hospital. The offices will offer expanded space and new equipment for the general medical practice, medical specialty center, adult medical faculty practice and the university internal medicine and pediatrics groups.

Combined, the practices receive about 140,000 visits a year, many by poor or uninsured patients. The clinics help to reduce the use of hospital emergency departments for nonemergency care.

Cumminsville man accused of murder

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted a Cumminsville man Thursday on an aggravated murder charge.

Ralph E. Smith, of the 1700 block of Elmore Avenue, is accused of shooting to death Darryl Jackson, of Avondale.

On Oct. 6 at about 2:30 a.m., Mr. Jackson, 52, was found shot once in the neck on the sidewalk along Elmore Avenue, officials said.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

If convicted as charged, Mr. Smith could face life in prison.

New police station welcomes visitors

FAIRFIELD TWP. - Officials will hold an open house and dedication Saturday of their new police headquarters, the first in this fast-growing community.

The event, from 1:30 to 4 p.m., will be held at the police station, 6485 Vonnie Vale Court.

Township trustees and Police Chief Richard St. John will attend.

The $1 million brick building is being paid for by a police levy passed in 2000.

Hospital upgrades imaging scanner

OXFORD - McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital has installed a $1.4 million, 6-ton imaging scanner that will make testing easier for patients and doctors.

"This system provides for all the applications that the hospital currently needs, as well as allowing for future upgrades for the newest imaging techniques," said Lynn Brown, director of Imaging Services.

The new scanner, called a Siemens Magnetom Symphony, provides patient comfort and high performance. It is the centerpiece of the expanded Imaging Department, which is to open Nov. 4.

The most up-to-date imaging techniques - including magnetic resonance angiography, fast stroke imaging and advanced orthopedic and spine exams - will now be available close to home, said Dr. Hillary Evans, a hospital radiologist.

Medical group promotes Tellez

Group Health Associates, the Tristate's largest multispecialty medical group, has named Dr. Patrick Tellez as its chief executive officer.

Dr. Tellez previously was the group's medical director. Dr. Michael Barber, a healthcare consultant from the Scheller Bradford Group, has been hired as interim medical director.

Group Health Associates, founded in 1974, includes more than 130 doctors in 12 offices in Greater Cincinnati and Dayton.

Compiled from staff and wire reports

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