Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Tristate A.M. Report



Compiled from staff and wire reports

Heart patient home after cell experiment

Five days after making a piece of medical history, a Middletown man left Christ Hospital pm Tuesday with high hopes that muscle cells transplanted from his leg to his heart will help restore his heart's beating power.

On June 5, Charles Emrick, 71, became the first of up to 10 patients nationwide to get millions of leg muscle cells injected into their scarred hearts as part of a closely-watched experimental treatment for heart failure.

If successful, experts say, the procedure could lead to longer life for hundreds of thousands of Americans who suffer from heart failure but rarely qualify for heart transplants. About 4.6 million Americans have heart failure, with about 550,000 new cases diagnosed each year, according to the American Heart Association.

Emrick got the experimental treatment as part of a second cardiac bypass operation. He needed the bypass because his heart had continued to weaken after damage from a heart attack suffered in 1981.

Emrick will be closely followed for the next two years and expects to know within months if the transplanted cells are helping.

2 Mason High grads enter not guilty pleas

MASON - Vincent Dean and Jennifer Ball, two of five recent Mason High School graduates charged in the June 3 theft and release of birds and animals into the school, entered written pleas of not guilty Tuesday.

Two others, Maria Butler and Chad Scheben, were granted continuances without appearing before the judge for arraignment.

John Schatzel, the only teen to be charged with a felony, was not yet scheduled to appear in court.

The five, who are all 18 or 19, were charged last week with a variety of theft-related offenses following the prank that left a peacock and rabbit dead. Scheben and Dean also face animal cruelty charges.

Warren County sheriff's officials said the students stole peacocks, rabbits and chickens from two area farms after drinking at a party, then hatched a plan to release them into school on the seniors' last day.

Eleven students were initially barred from Saturday's graduation ceremonies, but four were allowed back in after last-minute appeals to the school board.

Liberty Twp. granted $200,000 for parks

LIBERTY TWP. - This Butler County community has been selected to receive a $200,000 federal grant for parks administered through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the National Park Service.

The township applied for the grant last year and plans to use the money to make payments on a $2.5 million purchase last year of 44 acres on Wilhelmina Drive west of Yankee Road.

The land's then-owner donated about 12 additional acres to the township. The land was zoned for multifamily housing but township trustees wanted to preserve it as green space.

Township leaders feared that if the land were developed to build condominiums, it would overburden the schools and police and fire departments.

Board president calls allegations 'baseless'

HAMILTON - The president of the Butler County Children Services Board issued a statement Tuesday denying a board employee's allegations.

Debbie Collins, a supervisor in the Children Services intake unit, filed a lawsuit in Common Pleas Court last week, alleging sexual harassment, retaliation, defamation and tortuous interference with her employment.

Children Services Board President Hall Thompson, in a written response, called the accusations "baseless," and said they are a "rehash" of allegations that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reviewed and dismissed earlier this year.

Collins is facing disciplinary action relating to her job performance and has been on administrative leave.

Because of her lawsuit, Thompson said he is excluding himself from any further board action involving Collins.

Key Bank donating to Freedom Center

Key Bank is expected to donate $500,000 to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center today to help fund one of the museum's exhibits.

The exhibit, titled "Reflect, Respond, Resolve," is a high-tech forum designed to connect individuals to community resources. Key Bank's contribution will be announced during a news conference at 11:30 a.m at the bank's Walnut Street offices.

Key Bank's contribution brings the total raised for the Freedom Center to more than $92 million of its $110 million goal.

Reece to help Reds try for All-Star Game

Vice Mayor Alicia Reece said Tuesday she would support the Reds in petitioning Major League Baseball to make Cincinnati the site of the 2006 All-Star Game.

Reece said she would introduce a resolution at today's City Council meeting expressing the city's desire to host the game at Great American Ball Park.

An aide to the vice mayor said because of the need for convention space, the Reds are required to get the approval of the city before proceeding with their petition.




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Tristate A.M. Report

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