Friday, December 13, 2002

Tristate A.M. Report

Compiled from staff and wire reports

[photo] City fire investigators try to determine the cause of a two-alarm fire Thursday in Walnut Hills.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
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Firefighter hurt in on-job accident

A Cincinnati firefighter was home resting Thursday afternoon after stepping into an open heating vent at a fire in Walnut Hills.

Capt. George Hornback was treated at University Hospital after the 8 a.m. accident.

"His knee and his leg, all the way up to his hip, are pretty sore,'' said Joe Arnold of the firefighters union. "But he's OK.''

Capt. Hornback, 41, is with Engine 23 in Walnut Hills. Firefighters were called to a house fire in the 2400 block of May Street.

Damage was estimated at $5,000.

Driver flees car; drug found inside

The driver of a car loaded with 30 pounds of marijuana remained at large Thursday after fleeing Cincinnati police on foot in Roselawn Wednesday.

Officers tried to pull over a white Pontiac Grand Prix on Reading Road for a traffic violation just before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. But the driver led them on a brief chase until he bailed out of the car on Eastlawn Drive in Roselawn.

Officers searched the car and found the pot. Estimated value, according to police reports: $30,000 to $60,000. Investigators found the owner of the 1993 car, a Golf Manor woman. She might have loaned the car to a relative, police said.

The camera in the cruiser recorded the chase and has been sent to the department's Criminal Investigations Section.

Race tension blamed for fight at school

DAYTON, Ohio - A 16-year-old boy was injured when he was hit with a pole during a school cafeteria brawl that officials said likely stemmed from racist graffiti at the school entrance.

The Belmont High School student was hit in the face with a metal pole during the fight Wednesday, police Lt. Robert Mannix said.

The boy was treated at Children's Medical Center for facial injuries and released Wednesday night, said hospital spokeswoman Arundi Venkayya Cox.

Police were called to the school on the city's east side and found students engaged in heated verbal confrontations in the cafeteria, hallways and throughout the school, Lt. Mannix said. At one point, up to 20 students were fighting in the cafeteria, he said. No arrests were made.

[photo] PIONEER DAYS: Summerside Elementary School fourth graders (from left) James Hodge, Tyler Thompson, and Jeremy Misch "shave" Thursday morning with a brush and "straight razor" at a Pioneer Days exhibit in the school's gym. The traveling exhibit allows students to experience several facets of pioneer life in six stations with over a dozen hands-on activities.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
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When officers arrived, school officials were removing graffiti including a swastika, the words "white power" and a racial epithet.

Belmont, a school of about 1,000 students, has a nearly equal number of blacks and whites, a school official said.

"This is like the third time something like this has happened this year," said Daniel Meade, whose son attends Belmont. "There shouldn't be this kind of racial tension anywhere."

UC completes its search committee

The final two members of the University of Cincinnati's presidential search committee were chosen Thursday night by the faculty senate.

The two faculty representatives on the 13-person committee will be Rita Taylor, chairwoman of the business and economics department at Raymond Walters College, and Richard Karp, chairman of the faculty senate.

The committee meets Dec. 19.

Plants win award for risk reduction

A large plastics plant and a local utility will be honored next week for taking big steps to reduce the risks of an accident or terrorist attack causing a large release of dangerous chemicals.

The risk reduction awards, from the Alliance for Chemical Safety, will be presented Dec. 18 to Bayer Corp. and Cincinnati Water Works.

Two cops fired for sex and lies

Two Cincinnati police officers were fired Thursday for having sex on duty and lying about it.

A woman accused officers Robert Kidd and Robert Johnson of driving her home from a bar where she was celebrating her 40th birthday a year ago. The woman said they let her drink beer in the back of the cruiser and that they both had sex with her in her apartment while she was too drunk to refuse.

The officers have been on desk duty without their uniforms, badges and guns since May. They admitted to the sexual conduct.

"It was ultimately determined,'' spokesman Lt. Kurt Byrd said, "that in addition to the charges of sex on duty, there were some matters of dishonesty too.''

Officer Kidd had been a Cincinnati officer since July 1998, Officer Johnson since January 1997.

The woman is suing the officers.

Pride Center opens to boost Vine St.

Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken christened the Vine Street Neighborhood Pride Center Thursday, 11 months after he declared the Over-the-Rhine thoroughfare "the most important street in the city."

The center, at 1321 Vine St., will serve as a satellite office for city services, staffed by the mayor's Vine Street coordinator.

In a short ceremony Thursday, Mr. Luken acknowledged that progress on Vine Street has been slow.

"We're nicking in the right direction. It's always more difficult than you think it would be. It always takes more time than you would hope," he said.

Luken rethinks budget proposal

Two of the most controversial cuts in Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken's proposed two-year spending plan will be restored, he said Thursday.

The Neighborhood Support Program, which provides direct support for the city's 52 community councils, will be restored to its previous level of funding. The additional $260,000 necessary to give each council $10,000 - up from the $5,000 originally proposed - will come from a one-time transfer from parking meter revenue.

Park maintenance will get another $200,000 from the sale of parks property to the Cincinnati Board of Education for the schools' building plan.

Neighborhood groups had protested the cuts. City Council is expected to vote on the budget Dec. 18.

Owners circle the wagons to protect their equine friends
Reading scores up slightly
Lawmakers stay course on school fund setup
Finan: Taft may have to cut increases for schools

City housing development fund supported
Obituary: Clifford Whigham, gym owner
City's planning director resigning amid breakup
Police narrowly OK 2-year contract
On sale: Chance to blow up stadium
Blue Ash planning documents available for public inspection
English Woods demolition on
Health officials prepare for smallpox vaccinations
Tristate A.M. Report

BRONSON: Schools case
SMITH-AMOS: From the heart
HOWARD: Some Good News
WELLS: Trent Lott

Cox Road finally loses hated array of barrels
We want to talk to you, Fairfield
Grant deal aids Mercantile repairs

Slain priest returns in coffin to church he served
Dayton urged to keep sirens
Passing car badly hurts trooper at crash site

NKU, others brace for cutback
Fuel-oil tanker collapses bridge
Henrys expecting 2nd child
Animal case cost Kenton $30K
N.Ky. to hire coordinator in case of biological attack
Community protests adult book stores
Conner's nursing home just about out of money; could close soon
No drugs found in home of man killed in cuffs
Former Lexington bishop moving to new Ky. location