Sunday, January 5, 2003

Tristate A.M. Report

Compiled from staff and wire reports

College students can register for jobs

The Urban League of Greater Cincinnati is holding early registration for college students interested in its Youth Employment and Development Initiative.

College students can register 1-4 p.m. at the Urban League offices in Avondale on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and on Jan. 13, 15 and 17.

New applicants will undergo a brief orientation.

Students who participated in the program last year will redo their resume and determine whether they want to return to their previous job site.

Beverly Hardy, director of youth employment for the Urban League and coordinator of the program, said it placed about 600 high school and college students in jobs last year.

More than 90 percent of the employers, which included companies such as Federated Department Stores, FACS and Cinergy, want their student employees to return, she said.

"This registration is strictly for college students because some of them will be headed back to school from holiday vacations," Ms. Hardy said.

General registration will begin in February.

For information, call Peggy Place, 487-6525

Ex-official pleads not guilty to theft

BURLINGTON - Former Florence Finance Director Ron Epling, accused of stealing more than $1 million from the city over at least 12 years, pleaded not guilty Friday in Boone Circuit Court to 17 counts of theft in office.

Though he was formally charged Friday, Boone County Commonwealth Attorney Linda Tally Smith had previously disclosed that the 17 charges were pending against Mr. Epling, who was arrested Dec. 16 and charged with one count of theft.

If convicted, Mr. Epling, who is being held in Boone County Jail on $1 million bond, could face up to 20 years in prison.

Florence Police, Kentucky State Police and the FBI are investigating Mr. Epling.

According to federal court documents, he told FBI agents he has stolen more than $1 million from the city since 1990. The money, he said, went to buy houses and cars for his estranged wife and girlfriend and to take gambling trips to Las Vegas.

Florence defense lawyer Burr Travis, who is representing Mr. Epling, had no comment on the new charges.

Sycamore teachers, district put off talks

SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP - Sycamore teachers and the district's board of education on Saturday postponed a negotiation session scheduled for 1 p.m. today until noon Thursday.

The district's teachers have been without a contract since it expired July 31.

The Sycamore Education Association, after rejecting an offer by the board, took an "intent to strike'' vote in November.

Teachers have said a strike would be a last resort.

The union and board have been at odds over salary increases and health insurance premiums.

Crosby Twp. firm damaged in blaze

CROSBY TOWNSHIP - An electrical circuit panel sparked a fire early Saturday morning at Miami Valley Ready Mix Inc., 7466 New Haven Road.

Crosby Township Fire Chief Bruce Downard said nobody was injured in the 5 a.m. blaze, which engulfed offices in the building.

Chief Downard said the loss is estimated at $300,000.

An employee arriving for work called 911 when she saw the fire.

"When we rolled up, it was already fully involved," he said. "There wasn't much to save to begin with."

Firefighters from the townships of Crosby, Ross, Morgan, Colerain, Harrison and Whitewater contained the blaze from a nearby building, Chief Downard said.

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