Friday, May 30, 2003

Tristate A.M. Report

State agency approves highway widening

The first phase of the proposed widening of U.S. 22/Ohio 3 in Hamilton and Warren counties from two lanes to five got official approval from the agency that oversees road projects for the state Thursday.

The Transportation Review Advisory Council, which has final approval over any proposed projects involving state highway funds, awarded $4.4 million to the first phase of the project for 2004, to buy needed land, and then another $7.4 million for actual construction to be spent in 2006.

ODOT wants to spend $51 million to widen 6.5 miles of the highway to five lanes from Weller Road - just south of Interstate 275 - north to the Little Miami River bridge at Foster in Warren County.

Grand jury indicts dad on charges of abuse

A Price Hill man is accused of dipping his 17-month-old son in a bathtub filled with scalding hot water; scorching the boy's buttocks, legs and feet; and causing second- and third-degree burns.

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted 20-year-old Marcus Harden Thursday on two charges of felonious assault and three charges of endangering children.

The boy's mother was not home when the abuse took place May 20, according to the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office.

The baby was treated at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, where officials alerted authorities about the child's injuries.

If convicted, Harden could be sentenced to up to 40 years.

Harden is being held in the Hamilton County Justice Center on $50,000 bail.

Nurse gives up license after assault charge

MIDDLETOWN - A home-care nurse surrendered her nursing license Thursday in Middletown Municipal Court and pleaded no contest to an attempted assault charge that stemmed from alleged abuse of an 11-year-old disabled girl.

Peggy Headley, 54, of Brown County was facing an assault charge until she negotiated a deal with prosecutors.

Visiting Judge Larry Moore also sentenced the woman to five years' probation and chastised a quiet Headley for mistreating the girl, who cannot talk or walk.

He called Headley's treatment of Angelica Halcomb abusive and inhumane.

"I'm hoping you did not treat other people, other patients, the terrible way you treated this child," he said. "There's no excuse for it. You should not have taken the job."

The girl's father, Ray "Scott" Halcomb of Trenton, had placed a surveillance camera in his home that showed Headley treating the girl roughly and screaming at her while he was at work. His videotapes led to Trenton police filing the charges.

Little League to help fallen soldier's child

HAMILTON - Officials of the East Hamilton-Fairfield Township Little League have decided to donate half the proceeds from the league's annual golf outing to the 8-year-old stepdaughter of Army Pfc. Marlin T. Rockhold, the Hamilton native killed in Iraq on May 8.

The golf outing will be 11 a.m. June 22 at the Vista Verde Golf Club, 4780 Millikin Road, Liberty Township. Entry fee for a four-person team is $300.

Some of Rockhold's relatives play in the league, said Tom Hurst, a league volunteer. He said league officials thought this was a fitting way to honor the slain soldier and to help his stepdaughter, Therashia Jones.

To participate, call 737-0155 or 867-1080.

Cedar Point reopens ride after shutdown

SANDUSKY, Ohio - Cedar Point's new ride, Top Thrill Dragster, is up and running after being shut down for nearly three days.

A broken cable closed the world's tallest and fastest roller coaster Monday. Maintenance crews worked around the clock and the coaster reopened Wednesday evening, park spokeswoman Janice Witherow said.

Guests do not receive refunds when rides are down, but signs are posted at the gates to let them know about rides being repaired before they enter the park, which is 230 miles north of Cincinnati.

Top Thrill Dragster, towering 420 feet high, sends riders from zero to 120 mph in four seconds.

"Roller coasters are pieces of machinery and all machinery requires maintenance," Witherow said.

Middletown man faces charges after crash

HAMILTON - A Butler County grand jury on Thursday indicted a Middletown man on charges arising from a fatal Feb. 9 traffic crash.

Matthew A. Garitson, 26, faces two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol and a charge of driving under suspension. The charges stem from a crash on Nelbar Street, Middletown, in which his passenger, Steve Weiss, 35, of Middletown, was killed, said Assistant Prosecutor Brenda Cox.

Garitson is free on bond and is set for a June 6 court appearance before Common Pleas Judge H.J. Bressler.

Garitson faces three to 10 years in prison, plus a mandatory lifetime driver's license revocation if he is convicted, Cox said.

- Compiled from staff and wire reports

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