Thursday, December 26, 2002

Tristate A.M. Report

No one hurt in interstate accident

Compiled from staff and wire reports

A Christmas Day crash left a vehicle severely damaged but the driver and passenger were not injured. The one-vehicle crash on southbound Interstate 75near Hopple Street happened about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The vehicle hit the side wall and overturned.

Man seriously hurt after assault in bar

A 39-year-old man remained in critical condition Wednesday night after being assaulted about 2 a.m. in an Over-the-Rhine bar.

Officers responding to a report of a person being beaten at Martin's Bar in the 100 block of E. McMicken Avenue found Timothy Breland who had sustained a severe head injury, police said. The victim, whose address was not available, was transported to University Hospital.

Two black men are being sought in the case: one described as in his late 30s, 6-feet, 200 pounds, wearing a red shirt and dark jacket. The second was estimated to be 23-25 years old, 5-feet-6 to 5-feet-7, 160 pounds, wearing a green sweater.

Both men were last seen leaving the bar.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Cincinnati Police Department's criminal investigations section at 352-3542 or Crime Stoppers at 352-3040. Callers can remain anonymous and may receive money for their information.

Drop-Inn Center short of fund goal

The Drop-Inn Center is about $30,000 off its fund-raising goal for 2003.

The center, which provides food, shelter and clothing, was hoping to raise $250,000 during the holiday season for next year. About 95 percent of the money raised goes toward providing essentials for the poor, said Pat Clifford, the center's general coordinator.

"We still have a week, so I'm hoping we can close the gap," he said.

1960s rights activists to be honored here

Cincinnati civil rights activists who marched in Washington with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 will be honored Jan. 20 during the 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial March and Commemorative Program.

Activities begin at 11:15 a.m. on Fountain Square.

The program will begin at noon in Music Hall. The year 2003 marks the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington and the Rev. Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. The program's theme this year will be "Honoring the Past, Confronting the Present, Anticipating the Future."

Keynote speaker and special honoree will be the Rev. Dr. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, founder and pastor of Greater New Light Baptist Church in Cincinnati.

Ohio court favors jurors on privacy issue

COLUMBUS - Prospective jurors may ask a judge to withhold personal information outlined in juror questionnaires, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday.

While juror questionnaires traditionally are available to the public and news media, a juror may ask a judge to hold a hearing on the issue of keeping private certain personal information, the court ruled.

" The ruling came in a case in which the Akron Beacon Journal had requested juror questionnaires in the October 2000 trial of Denny Ross, charged with rape and murder .

Personal identification information, such as Social Security, driver's license and telephone numbers, aren't related to juror impartiality and may be withheld from disclosure, the court said.Bishop's Christmas message urges unity

CLEVELAND - Roman Catholic Bishop Anthony Pilla used his annual Christmas message to urge church unity in a time of trouble.

"I sense that we have new and deeper insight into the frailty of our human condition," Bishop Pilla wrote in a Christmas message to Catholics in the Cleveland diocese, which includes eight northeast Ohio counties.

Bishop Pilla questioned whether Catholics are "willing to claim membership and leadership in a church where the gift of ministry is sometimes misused."

He added, "The world is awaiting our response."

Shop with a Cop kids get paltry 5%

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. - A Shop With a Cop charity in Bullitt County has shut down after it was criticized for giving only five percent of the money it raised to the children.

In 2000 and 2001 alone, Bullitt County residents donated more than $150,000 to the local Fraternal Order of Police's Shop With a Cop program. But only about $7,000 of that was spent on the children, according to FOP records.

More than $90,000 went to William Cherry and Jimmie Miller, the solicitors paid by the FOP lodge to raise money for the program. And the FOP used an additional $53,000 to pay for other programs and bills throughout the year, said Joe Laswell, president of the police union.

The practice isn't illegal - there is no law in Kentucky limiting how much solicitors who raise money in the name of charities can keep for themselves, the Courier-Journal reported Tuesday.

Helen Sparks, president of the committee that organized a festival that helped raise money for the Bullitt County Shop With a Cop, said members were outraged when they learned this spring how the FOP charity worked.

"If we're raising money for Shop With a Cop, then the kids need to get the money," Sparks said, adding that her group donated about $1,000 each year. "We thought it was a good program to help. I was upset when I found out where all the money was going. That's not what we worked so hard for."

The Shop With a Cop program has helped between 30 and 50 families a year in Bullitt County since 1996.

In four of the five years in which Cherry and Miller solicited donations - records for 1999 were unavailable - Bullitt County residents gave more than $300,000 to the program, according to information from the attorney general's office and the local FOP.

Cherry and Miller, who are based in Louisville, kept $191,000, or about 63 percent.

The Bullitt FOP used most of the rest of the money to pay its bills and run other programs. It is unclear how much went to the children, although FOP officials estimate it to be about $15,000, or 5 percent of what was raised.

After much criticism, the FOP voted last summer to fire Cherry and Miller and cancel the Shop With a Cop program.

Laswell, the FOP president, acknowledged that telemarketers should have told people that money raised for Shop With a Cop also would be used for other union programs and costs.

Miller also said that might have headed off the problems.

But both Laswell and Miller said the Bullitt program operated no differently from many other charities throughout the state.

Because there is no law governing how much money solicitors for charities can keep for themselves, many charities get only a small portion of the money raised in their name.

Like Bullitt, the eight FOP lodges in Louisville and Jefferson County also use Miller's company to raise money for their charities.

Miller takes 54 percent of the more than $400,000 normally raised each year for the several FOP programs, including Shop With a Cop, and gives the union 46 percent to dole out for charities, said Denis Spalding, who coordinates fund-raising for the lodges.

"I deal with FOPs all over the country and that is probably one of the best percentages paid to an organization by a solicitor," he said.

Miller said his company did nothing wrong or unethical in Bullitt or Jefferson counties.

"Any fund raising you see anymore, there's expenses that have to be endured," he said. "Nobody does anything for free anymore."

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