Saturday, March 29, 2003

Tristate A.M. Report

Compiled from staff and wire reports

Witness sought in March 19 slaying

Cincinnati police investigators are looking for a possible witness in the slaying of Laverne Jansen.

Authorities want to talk to a man seen on a video taken inside the Glenway Pony Keg at Glenway and Relleum avenues. The two were the only customers in the store at 1:30 p.m. March 19, about 45 minutes before Jansen was killed in her apartment on Clevesdale Drive in Covedale.

"He is not a suspect," said Lt. Roger Wolf, homicide supervisor. "He is a witness and a witness only."

Officials said the man is black, 6 feet tall and was wearing a blue ball cap, dark jacket and a yellow button down shirt and jeans. Police hope the man may have seen something as he walked outside.

Investigators would not give details about how Jansen died or whether she was robbed. They said the elderly woman carried a purse and a lottery ticket on her way home from the store.

Metro adds Blue Ash, Sharonville routes

Metro has announced that it will start limited service between downtown Cincinnati and job sites in Blue Ash and Sharonville on April 6.

The new lines will fill a void caused when the city of Cincinnati eliminated the Cincinnati Institute for Career Alternatives because of budget cuts. Metro had provided van service to augment the center.

The Blue Ash line will run once in the morning and once in the afternoon, seven days a week, to serve employment sites, including 26 hotels. The Sharonville line will offer one trip each weekday morning and two on weekday afternoons, and will serve Procter & Gamble, Champion Windows and several hotels. The fare will be $1.10 each way.

Donations for fallen firefighter collected

Visitors to a Bond Hill restaurant will be able to help the family of fallen Cincinnati firefighter Oscar Armstrong III, who was buried Thursday.

The Gold Star Chili restaurant, 4544 Reading Road, is collecting donations for the firefighter's family through April 16. Armstrong was killed fighting a house fire on Laidlaw Avenue in Bond Hill on March 21. He worked on Engine 9, based on Reading Road in Avondale.

The donations will go to the memorial fund established for Armstrong's family.

Armstrong leaves behind two young sons and a pregnant fiancee.

Former priests plead not guilty to abuse

Two former Catholic priests pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that they sexually abused boys while working at churches in Greater Cincinnati.

George Cooley and Ken Schoettmer entered the pleas through their attorneys at their arraignment in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. Neither attended the hearing and both remain free on $25,000 bonds.

Both men have admitted to sexual misconduct in the past, and both were charged with crimes last week.

Cooley is accused of molesting an 8-year-old boy in 1984 while a priest at Guardian Angels parish in Mount Washington. He faces eight counts of gross sexual imposition and up to 10 years in prison on each count if he is convicted.

Cooley was removed from the priesthood and sentenced to 90 days in jail in 1991 after admitting that he had abused four other boys.

Schoettmer is charged with rape and sexual battery of a 17-year-old boy in 1999. He faces more than 15 years in prison if he is convicted.

DeSales project groundbreaking today

An East Walnut Hills developer will break ground today on one of the most anticipated neighborhood developments in years.

The DeSales Plaza project, at the northwest corner of Madison Road and Woodburn Avenue, will create 14,500 square feet of first-floor retail space. Two restaurants, a coffee shop and a gift shop are already committed to the project.

Above will be three stories of apartments - 45 in all - with rents starting at $725.

The city is contributing $1.7 million toward the project. Construction has already begun, but city officials and developer Keith Glaser will participate in a ceremonial groundbreaking at DeSales Corner this morning. The project will is expected to be completed in early 2004.

Uncle Milt's liquor license revisited

A Franklin County judge will consider reversing himself to keep a troubled Avondale bar closed.

The Ohio Liquor Control Commission revoked the liquor license for Uncle Milt's following a year-long battle that started when undercover officers bought cocaine from a bartender. But Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David W. Fais issued a stay of that order this week.

After hearing protests from the Ronald McDonald House, a home for parents of children hospitalized at Children's Hospital Medical Center, the judge has scheduled a meeting with attorneys Wednesday to discuss Uncle Milt's, said bailiff Tim Jackson.

A spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General's Office said the judge never considered the state's protest of the stay.

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