Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Tristate A.M. Report

Compiled from staff and wire reports

MU board to vote on one-price plan

Miami University's board of trustees is expected to vote today on a new plan that would charge all students one tuition price. It's one piece of a comprehensive plan that aims to make college more affordable to middle-class families in Ohio.

If approved, Miami would become the first public university in the nation to adopt the tuition model often used by private schools, officials said.

The new cost structure would begin with those admitted in the fall of 2004. If the new model were in effect today, the charge to every student would be $16,300. But Ohio residents would then receive average scholarships of $8,700 to bring the net cost back down to $7,600. It would reduce a family's debt load by replacing student loans with cash scholarships, Miami president James Garland said.

Miami now charges $7,600 per year in tuition for in-state students on the Oxford campus and $16,300 for non-Ohio students.

Work to close lower level of viaduct

The lower level of the Western Hills Viaduct will be closed for water main construction beginning today. The lower level will remain closed through May 9.

Both ramps to the upper deck will remain open.

Thomas More raises tuition by 9.5%

CRESTVIEW HILLS - Citing increased expenditures and a dip in giving, officials at Thomas More College announced a 9.5 percent tuition hike Tuesday for the upcoming academic year.

The increase will become effective at the start of summer classes and will take tuition from $14,200 annually to $15,549.

"This is an action dictated by economic necessity and was taken only after extensive consideration," said Thomas More president E. Joseph Lee II.

The last two tuition increases, for the 2001-02 and 2002-03 academic years, were about 7.5 percent each.

The additional money collected will go to pay for faculty pay raises at the liberal arts school affiliated with the Diocese of Covington.

The private school finalized a new faculty contract in March that specifies gradual increases in salary over the next three years.

The funds will also help meet the increasing costs of technology that school officials say is important to attract students.

Deaf woman loses suit based on ADA

A deaf woman has lost her federal lawsuit against a retirement community that refused to hire her because of her disability.

After deliberating for four hours, the jury determined Cottingham Retirement Community discriminated against Janet McBride, but that McBride was an undue safety risk. Therefore, the discrimination is excused.

McBride, 36, of Cleves, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in 2000 alleging the Sharonville retirement community violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it decided not to hire her for the job of resident assistant.

Cottingham administrators testified that McBride, who can read lips and needed no special assistance in the courtroom, might not have heard if a resident fell and called out for help, or might not be able to communicate effectively in an emergency.

McBride's attorney, Randolph Freking, said the defendants played on the jury's fears and that the jury overlooked the fact that McBride had raised two children and cared for her elderly grandmother before the woman died.

McBride is extremely upset, Freking said. "This is very disappointing."

Killing suspect ruled not stable for trial

A Kenton County judge has ruled that a Covington woman charged with gunning down another mother outside of Latonia Elementary isn't stable enough to stand trial.

Circuit Judge Greg Bartlett ruled Monday the state should immediately begin involuntary hospitalization proceedings against Marjorie McElfresh. Although he did not dismiss the murder charges against the 32-year-old, the judge wrote in his six-page order that it is unlikely McElfresh will be able to stand trial any time soon.

Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Michael Folk has filed a motion to begin the process for McElfresh to be admitted to a state psychiatric hospital. Under Kentucky law, McElfresh can ask for a jury trial on her competency if a judge rules she can be held against her will.

McElfresh has remained behind bars since her arrest on Sept. 12, 2001, in connection with the fatal shooting of Linda Gegner.

McElfresh told psychiatrists that Gegner was the ringleader of a cult that had the power to invade people's minds. The cult, McElfresh said, put voices in her head.

The voices taunted her about how they abused her son and invaded her home to do unspeakable things to her and her children.

Psychiatrists who examined McElfresh noted her long history of mental health problems, which included hearing voices, delusional thoughts and a personality disorder.

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Ohio Moments

Buddhists find home in N.Ky. schoolhouse
Florence finances now in order
Woman incompetent for trial in fatal shooting, judge rules
T. More College's tuition to go up 9.5%
All-star lineup attracted to sports seminar
Mayor's porn source sentenced to halfway house
Quilters arrive early for convention